By Neil Bennett | on June 09, 2008
Pros: Accurate output; wide colour gamut; innovative Auto Luminance system.
Cons: £300 more expensive than the equally good FlexScan SX3031W.
The LCD3090WQXi is a high-end 30-inch monitor, a grade above the likes of Apple’s 30-inch Cinema HD Display and Dell’s UltraSharp 3008WFP. Both the Apple and Dell monitors have proved popular recently, since price cuts have placed them in the reach of most creatives. The specs and price of the LCD3090WQXi are closer to Eizo’s FlexScan SX3031W though.
Thirty-inch displays offer higher resolutions than smaller displays: 2,560-x-1,600 – 78 per cent more pixels than the 1,920-x-1,200 resolution offered by 23 to 26-inch monitors. This gives the user much more screen space for their work, so you can see more of your artwork or timeline inside the palettes of your tool’s interface. You can also work on HD footage at full resolution.
NEC’s monitor is pricier than Apple or Dell’s monitor, but this is explained by the much better colour reproduction and accuracy it offers. Behind this are some sophisticated technologies providing a wide colour gamut. There’s an IPS LCD panel, and a 12-bit LUT (Look Up Table) to ensure that the colour output by your graphics card is correctly translated for output through the panel.
We tested the LCD3090WQXi using an X-Rite i1Display2 monitor calibrator (which was previously known as the Gretag-Macbeth Eye-One Display 2). We found it to have a gamut on a par with the FlexScan SX3031W – and way larger than Apple or Dell’s displays. It was also a match for the SX3031W for colour accuracy. Both before and after calibration, NEC’s monitor delivered excellent representation of our test images – bright colours were vibrant and subtle shades were smoothly shown.
The monitor also has some innovative functions. There’s Auto Luminance, which uses a sensor on the front bevel to check the ambient light in your room. It then adjusts the backlight of the display to compensate. There’s also ColorComp technology to feedback and fix slight variations in colour uniformity across the panel.
The LCD3090WQXi is an excellent display with only one major flaw – its price. While the Auto Luminance system is unique for a 30-inch display, this alone isn’t worth the £300 extra the LCD3090WQXi costs over Eizo’s FlexScan SX3031W.