If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ve probably read my NEC PA Series reviews. I love my NEC displays because they are a fraction of the cost of an equivalent Eizo with quality differences that can only be measured with instruments, and not the naked eye. The price / value ratio of these displays have made them some of the hottest selling displays on the market for photographers, so I was pretty excited when my NEC contact informed me about the new backlit models they are introducing.
The NEC PA242W (and upcoming PA302W in November) take everything you love about the current models, and add HDMI input and a backlight to them which translates into a 41% power consumption savings. While I’m told the green and blue primaries in the new backlit displays are supposed to be better, I can’t easily notice a difference.What I do notice is that these are effectively as great as the monitors that I’ve enjoyed over the last few years, but my electricity meter spins a little slower now. ;-) Given how many electronic devices I have in my house, this is a very good thing!
The Upgrade Question
I think the burning question on the minds of any PA Series owner is going to be – should I upgrade?
My short answer is probably not. While it’s great to use less energy for both environmental and cost savings reasons, this model isn’t going to look measurably different against your current display. I do think if you are buying a new PA Series, this is the model to get because of the energy savings which theoretically should also translate into a longer service life. The energy cost savings will probably pay for itself after a few years, and if this gives you a longer life for your display then it just makes sense. In addition, HDMI is becoming even more popular so that might be a great reason to own it for some as well.
I wouldn’t dump my old PA series for this model just to have the latest model as I haven’t fully realized my investment cost of my display. I suspect this will be the case for many of my readers as well. However, if I were to add another display, then this would certainly be the one I’d get.
What about the Calibration Hardware & Software?
As I’ve mentioned in my previous review, you definitely need the SpectraView II software and a compatible calibration device. If you buy the bundle you get the best deal, but if you already have a compatible calibration device and/or the software then it makes sense to buy the monitor by itself. The SpectraSensor Pro does not appear to have improved since I reviewed it last, so if you own that device and/or the SpectraView II software then all you need is version 1.1.15.00 or later and you are in business.
It should be noted that SpectraView II supports multiple NEC displays, so you can mix and match with wide gamut PA series models without any problem. No new hardware or software purchase is required for this scenario.
Click here to learn more about SpectraView II and its compatible devices.
I had already moved to a backlit TV in my family room, so I already had some expectations about what to expect with this new PA series display. While I was a little disappointed that the picture quality didn’t really improve as it had done for my TV, I was very pleased that I was still able to get excellent calibration and soft proofing performance using SpectraView II and a SpectraSensor Pro. This is a great display to add to your system when you are in the market for a new display, but I wouldn’t retire a healthy current generation PA series display for this one.
Please consider my previous review when shopping for NEC displays.
Where to order
Click here to order the PA242W or click here to order the PA302W from B&H. My friends at Adorama have it available here. You can also click here to order from Amazon (but look carefully at the model numbers).
Other articles you may enjoy
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these:
- NEC PA Series Monitors (NEW- 30" Display Review)
- NEC SoundBar Pro Display Speakers
- NEC SpectraSensor Pro (powered by X-Rite)
- NEC MultiProfiler - A Must for NEC Displays!
- Understanding 10-bit Color by NEC’s Art Marshall
- Choosing The Right Display Calibration Device
- Printing Series
- Eizo CG243w – PA Series competitor that performs slightly better
If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.
My love for NEC displays landed me on their testimonials page, but I do not get financially compensated from NEC.