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NEC have drastically changed how they handle their colour accurate monitor business in Australia in 2017 and now monitors with up to 8 defective pixels will NOT be warranted by NEC as faulty. We've been told 32% of monitors tested by NEC in 2015/2016 had faulty pixel issues (and the rate was apparently over 50% at the end of 2016) - so you have a one in three (or worse!) chance of receiving, and being stuck with, a monitor with a faulty pixel.
With great reluctance, we have come to believe this means their monitors are unsaleable in the high end monitor market place until such a time as they come to their senses and reverse this decision. We can still order one in for you but we very strongly recommend you look at the alternatives listed below.
NEC have written to us and now confirmed their pixel 'warranty' to be as follows:
For your reference, during the 14 day pixel warranty period, the current P/PA series monitor’s maximum 'acceptable' number of defective bright dots and dark dots, respectively, are as follows:
N.B. NEC Claim a 'bright dot free' rate of 95% for the PA272W, PA302W and PA322UHD so the key, but definitely not only, risk with those is dark pixels.
Dark pixels, admittedly, are a lot less bothersome than bright (lit) pixels - you can generally only really notice them on white backgrounds.
So to be clear - NEC would not accept a warranty claim for a PA272 - approximately $1800 worth of monitor - if it had (worst case scenario) 2 bight and 6 dark pixels on the day of delivery.
(Note it's possible the ACCC might well have a different view on this, but who wants the hassle of dealing with that scenario?).
Compare this to Eizo Monitors*:
Summarised, Eizo have a zero bright pixel warranty for six months on most models.
Compare this to BenQ Colour Accurate Monitors*:
BenQ have a zero pixel failure warranty for six months on all monitors sold via Image Science.
(*In both cases you should read the full warranty terms and conditions of course - but we've found both to be excellent at supporting our customers)!
We think this new pixel policy is unacceptable for products at this price point, and doubly so when you compare NEC to their competitors.
Whilst we've got an excellent track record with NEC overall, we will only order you an NEC monitor as a special order once we're sure you've read this material and are fully aware of these conditions.
We strongly recommend you consider alternatives.
NEC colour accurate monitors are clearly a very poor buy with these new conditions.
Here's our guide to the logical alternatives. In most cases, if looking at NEC PA monitors, the Eizo CS range are the better clear choice - yes they cost a little more (not that much once you factor in the extra price of SpectraView 2 with NEC monitors, typically around $200) - but for the modest extra you get: a better monitor, 2 years of extra general warranty (5 from Eizo, vs. 3 from NEC, and Eizo's support is simply unparalleled in the industry) - AND of course a proper pixel warranty (although it's actually been years since we saw an Eizo with a dead pixel!).
But if you're on a tighter budget BenQ are emerging as a very viable alternative.
If you're considering the NEC PA242W:
At $1289 for the monitor plus $150 for SpectraView2, the NEC cost would be $1439. The Eizo is a tad more, but in this case the small amount of extra is worth it for the two years of extra warranty alone, so even without the current NEC conditions, about 9 out of 10 folks were already buying the Eizo CS24 model instead.
BenQ have also now got an excellent new option in the PV27 model. Whilst this has not been around for long, we're super impressed with our demo model and it seems just about the best value at this price point right now. Read our recent evaluation here!
If you're considering the PA272W or PA302W:
In this case the Eizo equivalent is about $250 more. Again, it's a better screen, and has two years of extra warranty and a proper pixel warranty. It's our choice for the best of affordable 27" colour accurate monitors. The BenQ PV270 is distinctly cheaper and very very good as well, though, so should mentioned here again.
If you're more after size, and willing to accept a little drop in quality, then BenQ have a huge option for you in their PV32 model, but note this is standard, not wide gamut. The SW32 model is wide gamut, but not uniformity corrected and with a reduced overall image quality.
If you're considering the NEC PA322UHD:
This is slightly tougher - here they say no bright pixel are acceptable, and given this is a 4k model the pixels are very small so dark pixels are probably a very minor issue, so its arguable this model still makes some sense. That said, were I spending anything like this sort of money, I would go the whole hog and buy the crème de la crème of large, colour accurate monitors:
- Kelley M -
I just wanted to thank you for the print profile you did recently for me.
My prints are now much improved, especially in b&w, as the neutral tones are now so much better.
Thank you also for your very prompt service, it is very appreciated.
I know I won’t hesitate to contact you in the future should I need any further professional photographic services.