NEC PA302W 30-inch 16:10 Professional Monitor Review

Brightness And Contrast

To read about our monitor tests in depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. Brightness and Contrast testing is covered on page two.

Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

Our most recent reviews of wide-gamut displays have been the two 5K models from Dell (UP2715K) and HP (Z27q). We also have the BenQ SW2700PT proofing monitor. Rounding out the group is NEC’s other 16:10 model, the EA305WMi (based on the same panel part) and the PA322UHD Ultra HD.

NEC claims a typical brightness of 340cd/m2, but our sample measured a little higher than that. There aren’t too many situations where you’d need more output, and most professional working environments are dark where lower white levels are more appropriate. The default settings yield 80cd/m2 for sRGB and 160cd/m2 for Adobe RGB.

The entire group fits into a small black level window. They are all IPS panels so that makes sense. It seems that NEC’s own IGZO-based PA322UHD is the place to find the deepest blacks in this group.

Max contrast comes pretty close to our preferred 1000:1 level. Image depth is more than adequate for the PA302W’s intended use.

Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level

NEC favors extremely low backlight levels in its monitors. We can’t imagine a situation where 19cd/m2 would be useful. As you’ll see below, this setting has a negative effect on contrast.

Even with such a dim backlight, the PA302W remains mid-pack.

We haven’t seen a result like this in recent memory. Typically any monitor will render a similar contrast level at all backlight settings. The PA302W is an exception with its 637.8 result. However, all you have to do is up the slider to 56 (50cd/m2) to make the contrast a more consistent 976.3:1.

After Calibration to 200cd/m2

After calibration we took measurements with uniformity compensation both on and off. There are five levels, so we used number 3 for our tests. As you can see it has almost no effect on output.

Turning UC on raises the black threshold a bit but not significantly. This should have a good effect on our final contrast numbers.

Calibration has actually raised the contrast ratio to 1016.7:1 which is a win in our book. Uniformity compensation only reduces that by 16 percent. This is the third of five settings, so numbers 4 and 5 will reduce contrast a bit more. So is the feature actually useful? Check out our surprising results on page seven to find out. It should also be noted that UC is sample specific, meaning it will have different effects on each individual monitor. Our sample appears to need only slight alterations to achieve NEC’s design goals.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

ANSI contrast is similarly affected by a UC setting of 3. A 10 percent reduction is hardly visible to the eye. So far, this looks like the best implementation of the feature we’ve seen to date.

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8 comments
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  • Nuckles_56
    That is a very impressive monitor, especially with the colour uniformity numbers, they are crazy
  • beetlejuicegr
    30 inch and 2560x1600, couldn't it be 2160p? The resolution seems low for 30 inch monitor.
  • fordry06
    I think to do what this monitor does, making it a 4k monitor would be incredibly expensive.
  • Tom Griffin
    I wish my 27" 16:10 ASUS monitor was still alive. This monitor not only being cost prohibitive along with the previous NEC monitor review for consumers. But TBH, once you have used a NEC monitor for awhile you never EVER want to go back.
  • beshonk
    Where are all the 1440p 144hz IPS gaming monitors? there's only two on the market with horrible quality issues >.<
  • kittle
    506869 said:
    Where are all the 1440p 144hz IPS gaming monitors? there's only two on the market with horrible quality issues >.<

    Actually you can probably game on this monitor just fine.

    I have the 27" version of this one (PA270W). I play a lot of games and watch quite a bit of netflix with no issues. The color accuracy makes the games and movies look great -- exactly the way the designers and filmmakers intended them to look.
    The only issue is it puts out a LOT of heat. Im guessing the 30" one will produce a bit more.
  • bit_user
    5211 said:
    506869 said:
    Where are all the 1440p 144hz IPS gaming monitors?
    Actually you can probably game on this monitor just fine.
    60 Hz != 144 Hz.
  • kittle
    328798 said:
    5211 said:
    506869 said:
    Where are all the 1440p 144hz IPS gaming monitors?
    Actually you can probably game on this monitor just fine.
    60 Hz != 144 Hz.

    True there. my NEC only runs at 60hz. but gaming and movies work just fine