Well, we decided to get the NEC EA231WMi after all. A contributing factor was that my wife wanted a new bedroom tv. So we got both.
As flat screens go, it really is brilliant. It seems almost completely insensitive to viewing angle, although when you tilt it up and down you can see the gamma changing very slightly.
This screen is factory calibrated so it gives you pretty much correct sRGB (gamma 2.2) colours right out of the box.
When gaming it is brilliant to have a large wide screen. Crysis never looked so good. With our XFX Radeon 4890 Black Edition I’m able to play with maximum settings @ 1920×1080. The first time I tried it it really made me go
I did consider the Dell U24010 for its 1920×1200 resolution, but in the end it wasn’t worth the extra money (+50%). Also, the Dell is nowhere near as nicely calibrated out of the box. (And I don’t have a calibrator thing.)
The NEC pivots, but I noticed that my pivoting software interferes with Crysis for some reason, so I un-installed it. And after having Googled around for a while, I now realize that it is possible to rotate the screen by hitting Ctrl+Alt+arrow. Edit: I’ve found that to be incorrect. However, I’ve been able to set a keyboard shortcut in the ATI Catalyst Control Center.
It also turns very easily around its foot. The turning mechanism on our old screen was so stiff that you always ended up moving the stand as well as the actual screen.
Here are some photos comparing it to our old screen, an Acer AL1722. The most obvious difference is the colour temperature of the screens. I did each comparison straight on and with the screens at ~45 degree angles.
Nothing much to complain about with a normal picture.
Here you can see that the NEC is affected a lot less when viewed from an angle.
For these shots the exposure was increased to exaggerate the effect slightly. But this is still pretty close to what it looks like in a pitch dark room.
These two photos show that the colour temperature is very consistent across the screen. First I thought I could see a slight gradient from left to right, but when I analyzed them in Photoshop I realized I was just imagining it.
Edit: Added a few comments about the comparisons.
Edit 2: Decided to continue with some more thoughts …
As I said above, the gamma varies very slightly with viewing height. But the difference is small enough to be unnoticeable between your left and right eye when the screen is pivoted. (Our old screen was a bit of a pain to use pivoted because the left and right eye got significantly different gamma which resulted in a very weird feeling.)
The screen comes with a nice cover that snaps into place on the back of the foot to keep the cables in place. The
snap is a bit weak though so I have stuck ours in place with some blue-tak.
The screen came with automatic brightness adjustment enabled by default. I found this to be rather annoying, since the effect was very noticeable when switching the desk light on or off. It would perhaps have been less annoying if the brightness was adjusted in a smoother fashion. As it is now, the brightness
jumps up or down in a series of small yet very noticeable increments.
Instead I usually have the brightness constant at around 40–50%.
It is interesting how quickly you get used to the extreme width of the screen. I thought it would take much longer. Already I feel that going back to 1280×1024 would be pretty tough.
I’m beginning to see the possible benefits of Windows 7′s improved window handling (without actually having tried Windows 7 yet). It would be very nice to be able to easily get two windows side by side. I know it is possible in XP too, but it is quite a tiresome process: Minimize all other windows, then choose the menu option after right-clicking the Task Bar.
I’ll end with a summary: Highly recommended!