Review: NEC 23-Inch LCD Monitor

NEC's 23-inch LCD 2335WXM has enough entertainment features to blow you out of the water, but it's not quite as useful as an office display.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

August 2, 2005

6 Min Read

In this day of LCD super-sizing, NEC-Mitsubishi has cooked up an order that will raise your cholesterol count by 163 points. The 23-inch NEC MultiSync LCD2335WXM is a widescreen banquet that will give any multimedia geek an oversized order of digital delights. This is a serious widescreen solution for folks who yearn for something above and beyond a plain vanilla LCD screen.

Overall, the 2335 has high-quality fit and finish. It is wrapped with a silver plastic casing and mounted on a simple stand. Ports on the back include analog VGA and DVI jacks for the 2335 PC monitor capabilities, along with two sets of component video connections for HDTV and other high-end video connections.

The 2335 also has an internal tuner, so you can hook your cable or antenna up to the RF jack. In addition, there's one set of composite RCA jacks and an S-video connection, so you can connect any number of AV devices, including DVD players and game consoles, directly to the monitor.

The audio speaker runs across the bottom of the bezel. While audio quality is passable, you'll definitely want to use the included audio-out jacks that also offer a subwoofer connection.

Buttons across the top of the bezel let you access the setup menu, adjust volume, change the channel, and pick the video source. While this allows for a very clean design on the front, it's not the best from an ergonomic standpoint. Thankfully, the 2335 comes with a full-featured remote that gives you control over most of the monitor's functions. Aside from the usual volume, channel, and video source selection, there is a Still button that freezes the onscreen image, Mute, and an aspect ratio that lets you toggle between 4:3 and 16:9 screen sizes. An excellent Picture In Picture function lets you move and resize the PIP window easily. Clearly, with extras like channel lock, Sleep timer, and ten levels of Zoom, the 2335 is loaded for channel surfing.

If you plan to use the display in the office rather than the living room, the 2335 is a mixed bag. The primary issue for heavy office users is the display's native resolution of 1280 x 768. The screen measures a healthy 19.7 x 11.8 inches. While delivering an excellent 16:9 picture for video, the widescreen ratio isn't the best for daily office tasks (although it can be handy for viewing documents and windows side by side). Secondly, the ergonomics of the 2335 aren't ideal for the desktop. The screen has no height adjustment or rotation, and minimal tilt, so you might have to elevate the unit on a platform.

That said, after a week of daily use on an office PC, I had no complaints. While the 2335 worked well as a general Web-surfing and text-editing screen, it would be an ideal solution for people who do a lot of in-house presentations and perhaps some video editing. Test Results
I evaluated the LCD2335WXM against the same set of tests I used for my recent review of six 19-inch LCD monitors. I benchmarked monitor performance with the DisplayMate Multimedia Edition test suite, which looks at everything from color balance to brightness to text readability. I also used the digitally remastered DVD of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope to test video performance. And EA's Medal Of Honor: Pacific Assault game let me test the monitor's response time and color accuracy.

DisplayMate calibration and tests were revealing. I had to turn the brightness down all the way to get the proper black levels; however, even at this muted setting, the overall brightness was still more than enough to deliver crisp whites.

I had to turn the brightness down all the way to get the proper black levels; however, overall brightness was still more than enough.

In the grayscale tests, there were noticeable red, green, and blue tints with the monitor's color temperature settings at the standard normal. I had to switch to the custom-user setting where separate controls for Red, Green, and Blue saturation let me calibrate to proper grayscale representation. After I turned all of the color channels up to the full 255 saturation to correct the errors, the 2335 aced the grayscale tests. While there was some of the usual banding between different hues that are typical of digital LCD displays, they were minimal and regular in nature.

The Scaled Font test showed that the 2335 wasn't as sharp as some of the 19-inch monitors I recently tested, but this is somewhat due to the 2335's lower native resolution of 1280 x 768. Even so, text was quite readable, and the gray-on-black text test results were even better. The 2335 scored a perfect 100 on the video bandwidth test, and even though I had to use an oddball brightness setting to calibrate the monitor, the gamma test results were only slightly off. Color tests were solid with vibrant hues and the monitor was able to resolve differences between shades quite well.

Aside from the oddball settings I had to use to get the monitor calibrated, the DisplayMate test results were good. The 2335 didn't blow me away in any of them, but it's a steady performer.

Since real-world performance is the critical factor, I fired up my PC DVD player, plus a few videogames, and let 'er rip.

Viewing the Star Wars: Episode IV DVD was something of a mixed bag. Blacks were very deep, and dark-to-light transitions were well balanced. Some scenes had excellent skin tones, while others seemed a bit oversaturated with red. Midtones, particularly grays and medium browns, were slightly muddled. On the whole, however, the 2335 didn't have any glaring abnormalities, and the overall cinematic experience was solid, if unspectacular.

In the game test, Medal of Honor Pacific Assault's colors were excellent, but with a refresh rate of 25 milliseconds, the monitor struggled a bit at times to keep up with the action. Hardcore PC gamers would most likely want a faster monitor. On the other hand, performance with video game consoles was better. I hooked up an Xbox to one of the RCA component audio/video jacks -- the Project Gotham auto racing game (and others) played great, and there wasn't the lag we saw with Medal of Honor. However, as in the Star Wars test, the midtone browns and grays weren't as bold as we would've liked.

While not an ideal choice for a small office, the NEC MultiSync LCD2335WXM is a very capable LCD monitor. However, it is best suited as a home theater display doubling as a PC monitor. Its size makes it well-suited for a small living room or a multi-use office, and its nimble multifunction capabilities let the 2335 handle just about any video source you throw at it.

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