Tuesday, September 10, 2013

REVIEW: NEC PA-241W & PA-271W LCD Monitors

My PA241W-BK is configured in Landscape mode at 1920x1200 with a hood

Here’s an index of my NEC reviews not covered by this article:

In September 2010 one of my most respected photography mentors contacted me and told me that I needed to review the NEC PA-Series displays because he felt they were almost as good as the Eizo ColorEdge CG221 ($5,034 @ B&H on 12/24/2010) for a fraction of the price (I paid $899.95 for My PA241W-BK on 8/3/2010). I liked my Dell 2407WFPb display and thought that there was no need to replace it. It had served me well for several years and I was actually looking forward to the day when I could buy a monitor for a couple hundred bucks!

Every time I talked to my mentor he would rave about this PA-Series monitor which he had added to his own collection, and during my printing series I was really struggling to get soft proofing results that matched what I was seeing in my GTI light box.

I did a little shopping around and some research and found out that this NEC display might be a wise investment, so I finally put down my own cash for the monitor and hood. I had no contacts with NEC (at that point) and purchased it just as you would. Here was my email to my photography club after I got this display:

So I ended up buying this NEC PA series monitor and calibrated it last night - OMG this thing rocks! I feel like I did when I went from my old TV to a nice LED 1080p HDTV. I thought my old Dell was good, but this thing blows it away. I felt like I could reach in and touch stuff in the photo.

I did the monitor hood too which has helped a lot and was built a lot better than I expected. Its felt lined on the inside and has a trap door for the calibration device, so it’s a lot more complex than one would think. I see why it’s $99 now, and given the cost of hoods I think it’s an okay value for what you get - much better than I thought when I threw it in the cart.

No regrets on this one - it’s a great monitor. I had zero noise with it too - can’t hear anything from it. I was glad to see it had USB ports and multiple input ports too. My pro source below told me that NEC engineers said the best results are only possible with the Display Port, and I have to use DVI so that’s a bummer. However, I can’t see how it could be much better - it’s damn good with DVI.

Since I have a MacBook Pro with a Display Port this sent me on a quest to try this display out with a Display Port to see if I could see the “better” results. Eventually this quest ended up with me talking to NEC directly where I got many of my questions (and probably some of yours too) answered. Here’s what I learned:

  • The PA241W came out in February and the PA271W has been released since then. The PA271W has a slight edge in pixel density. Both are great displays, and I haven’t been able to observe any practical differences in everyday use between the 24 & 27 (more on that later).
  • One REALLY cool feature is that you can do side-by-side of the same input in two windows on one of these displays and display the windows using different picture modes.

    Where this is really cool is that I could have one set for the full color gamut and the other set for a sRGB (for web proofing) or a printer paper profile (for soft proofing). This works best when the monitor is in portrait orientation as over and under looks a lot better than side by side. I find this extremely useful because wide color gamut displays show more of the red portion of the color gamut so it is easy to overcompensate for sunburned looking skin only to have the sRGB image for the web look like crap. Alternatively there are also shortcut buttons on the display to just change picture modes for the whole display so you can edit for the web’s sRGB colorspace and return to the wide colorspace when imaging for print.
  • This display has built-in KVM functionality so you plug your mouse and keyboard in and when you switch inputs they will go with you to the other computer – this even works between the Mac & PC. Furthermore, you can stick a USB Flash drive in the display and that device will be available for the active computer so you can use it for situations where file transfer between computers isn’t working well (especially on mac/pc or pc/linux scenarios)
  • The SpectraView II calibration device that NEC ships (offered below) is the X-Rite i1Display 2 that has been modified to support the wide color gamut display. Other calibration devices will work too and are shown here – page down. The word on the street is that the i1Pro or the ColorMunki are the preferred calibration devices for the best results.
  • Calibration typically works on the display card by creating a profile that acts as a mapping table to render the accurate results on the display. Their SpectraView II software is unique in that it actually programs the look up tables in the display itself for what NEC claims offers OS independent calibration (especially useful if you are switching between computers with the same display – you only need to calibrate once)
  • The MultiProfiler software on their web site is worth downloading and you can use it to control the Ambient Light Compensation (recommended off), Response Improve (on – esp, if motion video is important), Metamerism correction (optional and personal preference).

In the end I learned that there is a PC-only configuration that can be done to get the improved 10-bit display output which does require a display port video cable using a video card that has yet to be released and a PC driver configuration that is not for the faint of heart. In short, it’s vaporware now so don’t worry about connecting your NEC display via the DVI port at this time.

Should I buy the NEC Calibration Device or Software?

My recommendation is that if you don't have an i1Pro or ColorMunki spectrophotometer, and you don't intend to generate paper profiles then get the NEC bundle with the calibrator as you'll save yourself a lot of headaches. It is included in bundles when ordering (see below) or you can purchase it after the fact here, but even with it you’ll need to purchase the NEC software separately.

If you have one of the X-Rite products then just get the display and buy the SpectraView software from NEC.

I also found this article to be useful in discussions about calibrating this display.

One very cool feature of these displays for calibration is that you can use the MultiProfiler tool to load your paper profiles as input to get display based softproofing which can effectively bring softproofing to Lightroom – which doesn’t exist today. NEC confirms that Photoshop’s soft proofing of paper profiles is superior, but this method works wonders for those looking to bring soft proofing to well color managed applications that don’t currently support it.

How does the PA241W compare to the PA271W?

My PA271W-BK is configured in Portrait mode at 1440x2560

After I got involved with NEC my contact suggested I try out the 27” display to which I replied – I’d love to if you send it, but I can’t afford it. NEC agreed to let me borrow one for a short time which is kinda like your local crack dealer giving free samples for newbies – some things you shouldn’t sample unless you are prepared to make it a part of your life!

My PA241W-BK with my old Dell 2407WFPb on the right
(NOTE: Colors and lighting way off in photo so make no inferences from this shot)

When I got the 27” I ditched my Dell 2407WFPb and put the PA271W-BK in portrait mode as shown above and configured in my control panel below as follows:

My Windows 7 system display layout

In practical use I’ve not seen any negative aspects of the 27” over the 24”, and in fact I use the 27” to write my blog articles as I’m doing now. I absolutely love this 27” display and it is wonderful when viewing Lightroom 3.3’s 2nd display window in Grid mode as the high resolution allows me to see the details I need yet still view a lot of images from the library.

PA231W-BK – The new addition to the family for much less

NEC has added the PA231W to the line up for a much more friendly price at a slight cost in features. This is effectively the budget minded solution at the expense of not being a wide-gamut display (useful for photo editing – critical for soft proofing/printing).

I have not tested this display, so I only mention it for completeness. It should be suitable for sRGB photo editing and proofing for display, not print, output. it is for this reason why I’m perplexed as to why this monitor is part of the PA series as it seems more suited to a different series of displays.

I am of the opinion that it’s not worth replacing your display unless you are moving up to wide gamut so my advice is for the other PA series displays featured in this article.

A word about switching to wide color gamut displays

When you go from a normal display to a wide color gamut display it takes some getting used to because the colors that you can now see (especially in the reds) can throw you when you edit your photos. This is why when I do my final photo edits before sending them to display output (i.e., web, facebook, flickr, etc…) I like to switch my NEC display to sRGB mode to see how it will look. I still edit with the full color gamut turned on which can burn me sometimes for output to web browsers, but the output on properly color managed devices and print is brilliant. I therefore edit for print and then adjust or remove some Photoshop layers to get my display output – in a separate file (or virtual copy in Lightroom). This is a challenge for moving to ANY wide color gamut display, not just these NEC’s.

I also advise that if you are a business and you are doing color critical work that you should only upgrade your displays until you can afford to move all color management displays up to wide color gamut displays to avoid headaches of switching between color spaces and having two people image the same file differently because of what they see on their display.

UPDATE: Comparison to Eizo FlexScan SX2762W

The 2560 x 1440 resolution makes of the FlexScan SX2762W makes it competitive with the PA271W, so its clear that Eizo is targeting this display to NEC PA Series buyers. The SX2762W seems to have a slight benefit in edge to edge performance, and it has the typical Eizo super fast startup & warm up times (which is critical for accurate calibration). I much prefer the PA Series SpectaView calibration software and hardware and the PA series value is unmatched, so if I were buying a 27” display I’d still go for the NEC. With that said, Eizo loyalists will probably favor the SX2762W for its impressive feature list (click here) and the superior edge to edge performance that make Eizo so popular. However, if I were buying a 27”, I’d go for the NEC.


I love these displays! They’ve been rock solid and a joy to use. I did have one glitch in that my display started to blink, but it turns out that it is known issue if you have your PIP (picture-in-picture) display input set to display port (not the default). If your PIP input is set to anything else then you won’t see this problem.

I also missed my speakers attached to my Dell display, but you can buy the NEC Soundbar to work around that problem.

Now that I have used both I’d want to keep the 27 over the 24 as the extra screen real estate is VERY nice to have, but it is also a no comprise high quality display. The 24 is better on paper, but the 27 is just as good to me and my eyes.

I strongly recommend the hood (27” requires a different model) for those displays in landscape mode, but I find the hood useless and annoying in portrait mode. I had zero issues with glare, so the hood recommendation is based on pure color management advice of avoiding light contamination on your photo editing display.

It’s also a must that you get the SpectraView II Software (sold here) if you wish to properly calibrate this display with non NEC calibration devices. I do suggest buying the NEC calibration device if you already don’t own a supported calibration device). UPDATE: Check out this article for NEW calibration devices by X-Rite which support wide gamut displays like these.

These are a great couple of displays that I can’t recommend highly enough. I will warn you though – once you try them you’ll be hooked, so if you don’t have the budget then run away now! :)

Online Ordering Information

PA241W-BK 24" Widescreen LCD Monitor with Wide Color Gamut

  • VGA + DVI-D + DisplayPort
  • 1920 x 1200
  • 1000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 360cd/m² Brightness
  • 178° Viewing Angle
  • 8ms ray-to-Gray Response Time
  • 98.1% Coverage of AdobeRGB Color Space
  • Height Adjustment and 90° Pivot

PA241W-BK-SV 24.1" Widescreen LCD Monitor with SpectraView II Color Calibration Solution

  • Same as above, plus SpectraViewI I Colorimeter and Software

PA271W-BK 27" Widescreen LCD Computer Display

  • · DVI-D + DisplayPort
  • · 2560 x 1440
  • · 1000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • · 300cd/m² Brightness
  • · 178°/178° Viewing Angle
  • · 7ms Response Time
  • 97.1% Adobe RGB
  • 3-Port USB 2.0 Hub

PA271W-BK-SV 27" Widescreen LCD Monitor with SpectraView II Color Calibration Solution

  • Same as above, plus SpectraView II Colorimeter and Software

NEC PA231W Series

  • VGA + DVI-D + DVI-D + DisplayPort
  • 1920 x 1080
  • 1000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 270cd/m² Brightness
  • 178°/178° Viewing Angle
  • 8ms Response Time
  • 72% NTSC
  • 3-Port USB 2.0 Hub

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NEC loaned me a PA271W display, a Spectraview II calibration device and the software, but everything else I owned via my own private party purchase. I may get a link if you purchase using the links in this article, so I would appreciate your support for more articles like this if you come back here when making your purchases.

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This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity


Sarkar said...

Hi Ron,

Very informative article indeed. What I was wondering is if web and print are essentially smaller gamut, why do I care to edit my photos on an expensive wide gamut display?


ronmartblog.com said...

Good question Sarkar!

The audience who should care the most about wide gamut displays are those who are printing their work as printers these days will generally print a wider color gamut than sRGB.

Another theory behind this is that it is time consuming to edit photos, so why not edit them using the best quality you can (16-bit ProPhoto RGB via RAW) and take advantage of all of that data you captured from your expensive DSLR and then downrez to the limitations of web browsers today, but have higher resolution work available for later when the wide color gamut becomes more mainstream (and that transition is happening now). After all, why throw away image quality and colors when you are editing?

With those statements up front, if you don't intend to print (which is a shame) then you can probably get away with a cheaper sRGB display but it should still be one that can be calibrated to represent the sRGB colorspace accurately.

Sarkar said...

Thanks Ron for the insightful comments. If I shoot in AdobeRGB and then import into LR3 in ProPhotoRGB space; but, my monitor can only display sRGB, what would I be editing on?

I would think it would be sRGB space since that's what the monitor can display. Is that correct?

If yes, do you know how the monitor maps the ProPhotoRGB content to the smaller display gamut?

This would mean that one should ideally have a ProPhotoRGB gamut monitor to take full advantage of the tools?


ronmartblog.com said...

Yes, your monitor is the weakest link in the chain usually so while you might have opened up your file in 16-bit ProPhoto if you are on a sRGB monitor you are still editing it with the limitations of sRGB - sorta. You actually are changing the pixels in the higher color gamut and bit depth, but you are not seeing your results as they are being saved in the file which can lead to surprises when printing or downconverting that image to a true sRGB image file (i.e., a sRGB JPEG).

My overall advice is that if you care about color and you want your investment in photo editing now to be preserved in the future, then if your income can support a wide color gamut display then get it. You can always switch the display to sRGB to see what it looks like on others monitors, but you will be editing the pixels you paid for when you bought your DSLR.

I've got a Eizo and a NEC monitor, and I can tell you this NEC is cheap for what you get.


Anonymous said...

Hello Ron,

Thank you for posting this very informative review of PA-241W.

You mentioned this display has built-in KVM functionality.
I plugged my flash drive into the monitor's USB hub to no avail. It doesn't work. (I have the monitor connected to my laptop via display port cable.)
Would you know by any chance what am I missing? Maybe an additional cable is needed between the notebook and the display to take the benefit of those additional USB hubs?
Many thanks for your advice.


ronmartblog.com said...

Yes, Anna it requires a USB cable from your display to your laptop

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot Ron!


L Phillilps said...

Hi Ron,
Thank you for your indepth review. It does make my 'gadget glands' salivate ... but all the printing companies we work with require sRGB files. Would you make a recommendation for what you think is the best line of "regular" or not so much wide gamut LCD's? We are in the market to replace one that is almost 10 yrs old.

ronmartblog.com said...

L Phillips,

I hear where you are coming from. I was thinking the same thing as you when I was shopping for my new display, but after talking to some of my photography mentors and printer partners it became clear to me that it really makes no sense to image in the sRGB color space anymore. If you have to use a service that requires sRGB then down convert your image, but all of that imaging energy should be future proofed by editing in the ProPhoto color space. To display that color space faithfully, you need a wide gamut display.

More printers are supporting 16-bit printing and a wider color gamut, so while the transition has been slow - it's finally happening. Browsers are also starting to support advanced color spaces, so if you are using IE9, Safari5, or Firefox 4 your images in a wider color space can be displayed accurately. Chrome doesn't support it yet, but I'm sure it will soon.

You can always set the PA series to display in sRGB and then kick it up to wide gamut as needed if you are concerned about color shift differences of the smaller color gamut. That's actually what I do when proofing something where the online display must be very good, but even then it's annoying because IE has a warm color cast on its images versus Firefox and Safari (iOS version is actually better) that display the colors faithfully.

I've been trying to find a cheaper alternative that I can recommend, but thus far I haven't been able to find one. There's a lot of cheap crap out there, so your 10 year old display is likely built like the higher end displays these days because its lower quality that has driven the prices down for displays. If and when I find one I'll post an article, and probably pick up one for myself, but if you can swing getting at least one PA series as your primary display you won't be disappointed.

ronmartblog.com said...

Oh, and one other thing - don't forget that these displays are advanced enough to support different color spaces in picture in picture mode. This means you can do split screen with sRGB on one side and full wide color gamut in the other side. That's a neat trick for proofing sRGB quickly. I did that at first when I was paranoid about sRGB, but these days I just work in wide and tell people to use Firefox or Safari for the best results when viewing my images.

Anonymous said...


I'm considering one of these monitors, but I need to find out if my mid-2009 Macbook Pro is capable of running these in 10-bit per color mode.

I've seen some noise in the net about Apple and/or Nvidia not being able to rn 10-bit, "yet".

ANy guidance or suggestion of where I can find the info?



ronmartblog.com said...

There is no current Apple operating system that supports 10-bit color. Hopefully that will change with Lion, but I haven't confirmed that yet.

Currently if you want 10-bit per channel color (also called 30-bit color (10xR+G+B) then you have to use a PC.

Here's the thing though - I have 10-bit color and while it is cool, it just makes things more tricky when photo editing because the web is still the sRGB color space so your perfect 10-bit color image is going to look TOTALLY different on the web, so my advice is stick with traditional 8-bit color for now.

Oh and Photoshop CS4 and CS5 support 10-bit color, but CS5 is much more reliable.

Udayan said...

I have a MacBook Pro 17" connected to an NEC PA241W; any idea how I can get the portrait mode to work?

ronmartblog.com said...


With the second display connected you need to go to Apple Menu->System Preferences->Displays->Rotation

This was a good question as I hadn't done this before myself. I actually asked my NEC contact who was quick to give me the answer.


Anonymous said...

Searching for PA241w and blink / glitch I found your excellent article. I am having this problem ironically using Photoshop CS4 and I see the problem when a large layered image has a layer adjusted or turned on or off. It is like the old VHS tape scramble just for a brief moment. So far changed dvid cables, mice!, Photoshop memory useage (60 up to 80% of 8GB...running win 7 64bit with built in Intel HD3000 GPU. Any ideas welcome. Thanks

TheVideoCommunity said...

An amazing collection of very useful information. Masterful. I'm right now thinking about upgrading my old Sony monitor. I print landscapes and portraits on an Epson Stylus Pro 4800 with a Mac Pro. And I know I need to calibrate my new monitor with my printer. Right now, it's Russian Roulette in getting the colors right. Sounds like the NEC PA 27 is the way to go. Budget aside. True?

ronmartblog.com said...


Yes, but make sure you get the Spectraview II software and use a wide gamut calibration sensor (NEC sells one as does X-Rite). ONLY use NEC's software and you'll have a perfectly calibrated display.

The 24 works equally well also.

Anonymous said...

Hey there, very informative review.

Could you please help me with your personal opinion/recommendation on what monitor to purchase (for best picture quality & features) from among:
EIZO ColorEdge CG243W
EIZO Foris FX2431
EIZO FlexScan SX2462W

Thank you. Monica.

ronmartblog.com said...

If cost is no object, the EIZO ColorEdge CG243W is the best display without question. However for most people cost is a concern, and the NEC PA241W-BK is almost as good.

Fwiw, I bought the NEC PA241W-BK and have no regrets.

Gijs Sommerdijk said...

Dear Ron,

Because of your nice review of the NEC PA241W, I'm asking you for some advice.

Firstly I'm an enthusiast in photography, i.e. not a professional.

I'm planning to buy the NEC Multisync PA271 monitor for editing my EOS 7D raw files/pictures. For printing I'm planning on buying the Pixma Pro-1. To get the most out of the monitor I want to calibrate it. After reading some other fora I believe it's wise to calibrate the Pixma Pro-1 as well.

After reading some of your posts and comments, and inspecting Canon, X-rite and NEC's website I believe the X-rite Colormunki Photo (Spectrophotometer) is compatible with both NEC's Spectraview II software (for doing adjustments inside the monitor LUT's) and Canon's Color Management Tool Pro, and is quite affordable.

1. Do you believe the Colormunki Photo can do these tasks well, i.e. calibrating this (wide gamut) monitor and printer?

2. Or is a colorimeter (X-rite's iOne Display pro) enough; i.e. just to calibrate the monitor and stick with Canon's paper profiles for the Pixma Pro-1?

Your advice is much appreciated!

Kind regards,
Gijs Sommerdijk

ronmartblog.com said...


I should start by saying that you don't typically calibrate your printer. Paper have their own color and way accepting ink, so we need to create a ICC profile that allows us to make sure that any give color is represented accurately on that paper. Without this, if I printed blue on a yellow paper I'd get a green result, but the ICC profile makes sure that if I want blue I get blue.

You need ICC profiles for every paper, and it's a bit of art and science to get them the done properly.

1. Yes, the ColorMunki Photo is up to the task and it's what I use.

2. A colorimeter and sticking with Canon's paper profiles for the Pixma Pro-1 is doable, but limiting. If you will only print on Canon papers that have profiles for the PRO-1 and those profiles are really good, then this is enough. However, people tend to print on a wide variety of papers, so running into scenarios where profiles don't exist is common.

Using paper profiles for a different printer or paper always gives bad results when compared to one with an ICC profile.

Chuck said...

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the excellent review. It's very helpful.

This is my first foray into serious color territory. My laptop only provides VGA and HDMI output. If I go with the NEC is there any downside to using an HDMI/DVI converter for photo editing?

Thanks again!

Digital KVM Solutions said...

One very cool feature of these displays for calibration is that you can use the MultiProfiler tool to load your paper profiles as input to get display based softproofing which can effectively bring softproofing to Lightroom – which doesn’t exist today.

ronmartblog.com said...

Actually Lightroom 4 & 5 support softproofing, but yes that feature can be handy for earlier versions of Lightroom.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ron, this helped me a lot but I still have so many questions. I'm not computer smart. All of this graphics card, srgb, pro photo, display port over dvi, sv II stuff confuses me so much that it kind of depresses me honestly. Nothing makes you feel quite as stupid as reading a page of words you don't understand. I've stopped editing my photos because my laptop was just not working. That has in turn kept me from taking my camera out of its bag for a while. It's tough. I don't have the lenses or camera that i want, nor the accessories and gear that i want. I can't afford it. Which is why i have to be very careful in what i ultimately do buy. For this reason i've put a good monitor at the top of my list. After a lot of research, seeing a pro like yourself use Nec is what has me thinking it's the one for me. I can't commit to buying one until i'm familiar with all of these things i'm clueless about though. One of my biggest questions is if I can get a nec display to work at its best if connected to my current crappy laptop. I know there will be a delay but are there other worries when pairing up a weak laptop with a high performance monitor? Ideally I'd buy this monitor and either a macbook pro or a high end asus, but it has to be one or the other, and in this case it has to be a monitor over a laptop. Another question i have is about the calibration and software. Does it come with its own calibrator like i had heard it does, or do we need to buy one. And what is the software we need to buy. If there's anyway you could take the time to reply to this it would be much appreciated. I am the biggest noob out there but i really want to get familiar with this stuff so I can start shooting again. I miss it so much.

ronmartblog.com said...


The NEC PA Series are a good investment, and even if you did nothing they come pretty well calibrated right out of the box. Of course, the best results are going to be with a calibration device so your best bet to keep things simple is to get the PA242W-BK-SV">newest PA242 with all the calibration items you need. This will cost a little more up front, but you'll use a lot less electricity so the cost difference will pay off over the life of the display.

With that option you have everything you need to get great results. I have both a Macbook Pro and Asus Zenbook Touch, and I prefer my Zenbook touch for many reasons. The Macbook Pro's are very cool, but I much prefer touch displays. Once you use it, you can't go back.

Here's the latest Asus Zenbook Touch and Macbook Pro models.

I'd advise you to get a good quality laptop and display FIRST then if you still are unhappy you should consider getting an external display. Just keep in mind that you should get the most RAM you can afford up front - that's more important than processor speed and even hard disk space (because you can always add more externally). Photoshop really prefers more than 8GB of RAM if you can afford it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the advice Ron, very much appreciated.

Mitzi said...


Your information has been incredibly helpful to me and after a lot of research have decided to purchase the NEC PA271w with bundled SpectraView II. My question is related to compatibility of this monitor with my MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch... I've read some comments on the mac forums that makes me think there might be connectivity issues for me with the NEC PA series. Here's a notice from NEC Display Site:

Important compatibility notice:

Due to issues with the new Mac OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and the recent update to Mac OS 10.7.5, SpectraView II is not able to communicate with the displays on some systems with Nvidia based video chipsets when connected to the DVI inputs on a display. This includes both Thunderbolt (miniDisplayPort) video outputs when using a miniDisplayPort to DVI cable, and DVI to DVI connections. This impacts all MultiSync 80 series, MultiSync 90 series, and the MultiSync P221W models. NEC is currently working with Apple to resolve this issue, which is expected to be fixed in future updates to Mac OS.

The NEC MultiSync PA series and newer MultiSync P series models can utilize a USB connection to the display if necessary.

Customers with impacted systems currently using OS 10.7.4 or earlier are encouraged not to update to OS 10.7.5, or OS 10.8 at this point.

My OS is currently 10.8.5 -- will I be impacted? I can't find anything that says the issue has been resolved.

How, then, do I connect the NEC monitor to my MBP retina? USB? This technical stuff is all a bit beyond me... I'd appreciate any insights you can offer.

ronmartblog.com said...

All you need to do to connect your retina MacBook Pro to your display using a mini display port to display port cable and connect a USB from it to the small square USB under the display. You plug your colorimeter into the side of your NEC display (only - very important).

This technique works with all MacBook Pros and PA series from what I have seen.


Blake said...


In a Mac OS only workflow, do you feel that there are still benefits with these wide gamut displays? I'm concerned that the lack of 10-bit support in the OS will not allow the full benefit of using a display such as the NEC PA series.


Unknown said...

Ron, Thank you for the most helpful advice in getting me started with my PA27. I connected the monitor to a 2011 MACBook Pro, with IOS 10.9, via mini display port to display port cable, and I was in business immediately. A problem arose when the display went to sleep for about two hours. The monitor slipped out of standby mode, and it shut down. Any thought on how the monitor can remain in standby mode no matter how long the MBP sleeps?
Best, Alfred

ronmartblog.com said...


I think you need to set OFF mode to OFF - see page 13 of the manual:


ronmartblog.com said...


Wide gamut and 10-bit color are different concepts, so yes a Mac can still benefit from a wide gamut - especially for photo editing.


Unknown said...

Hi Ron,

I'm thinking of getting a monitor for photo/video work soon and I wonder if in 2017 the NEC 271W is still an ok buy. They sell sometimes for $250 and since they are old I would rather go with a professional older monitor compared to an cheap newer monitor. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Thank you!

ronmartblog.com said...

Hi Michael,

I still have my NEC PA241W as my 2nd display, so that ought to give you some idea what I think! :) Honestly though, the 271W will consume more electricity versus the newer model, but I do find the color just slightly better to my eyes when proofing over the newer backlit models, so if you can get a good deal one one then go for it.