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.