NEC MultiSync P241W

NEC MultiSync P241W-BK specs:

  • Display: 8-bit 24.1-inch e-IPS LCD
  • Pixel Format: 1920×1200
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:10
  • Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
  • Response Time: 8ms GTG
  • Brightness: 300 nits
  • Viewing Angles: 178/178
  • Backlight: CCFL
  • LUT: Internal 14-bit, 3D programmable
  • Color Gamut: 96.7% sRGB, 71.4% NTSC, 75.2% Adobe RGB
  • Connectivity: DisplayPort, DVI-D (2), VGA
  • VESA: 100×100 mm

The P241W-BK tilts, swivels, pivots, and is height adjustable. For proper positioning of a monitor the ability to adjust the height is important and unfortunately a feature lacking in all of Apple’s current IPS monitors.

Let’s talk about the LCD. Enhanced IPS or e-IPS sports a wider aperture ratio. The manufacturer is LG Display and the company increased the aperture ratio by shrinking the thickness of the thin film transistors (TFTs). Thinner TFTs mean more light can be transmitted through. This efficient design allows for less bright, and therefore less costly, backlight units (BLUs). The 300-nit brightness is not the highest I’ve seen but should be bright enough for most environments. As a comparison, the Apple 27-inch Thunderbolt Display has a brightness of 375 nits.

BLUs make up roughly 30% the bill of material of a LCD so reducing its cost has a significant impact on the overall cost of a LCD. The reason why a BLU is so costly is because there are so many components: light source (CCFL or LED), optical film stack (diffusers, brightness enhancement films, etc.), light guide plate, etc.

One major knock on the P241W-BK is in its use of CCFL as a light source. There are some disadvantages to CCFL compared to LED:

  • CCFL uses mercury, which is a carcinogen.
  • It takes time to turn on whereas LEDs react almost instantly.
  • Not that you’d drop a monitor, but LED is a solid state device and therefore more rugged.
  • LED generally consumes less power.

Unfortunately, the lower-cost e-IPS LCD doesn’t translate into a lower-cost monitor in the case of the NEC MultiSync P241W-BK with a US$749 MSRP. There are cheaper IPS monitors than the NEC MultiSync P241W-BK but few have a 14-bit programmable LUT, a must-have feature for folks serious about color.