It’s a shame to test an LCD monitor that’s able to create sharp whites and rich blacks, only to watch it struggle to display common color gradients. And it’s downright frustrating given our benchmarking process. We first test a display’s ability to produce detail in blacks and whites. And in that race, NEC’s 24WMCX finishes toward the front—a noteworthy start.
But when our DisplayMate benchmark included a larger range of gray gradients, this 24-inch monitor quickly faltered. Banding and color-tracking issues plagued the 24WMCX; in fact, we can’t remember testing a monitor with this severe a coloration issue.
And these deficiencies aren’t limited to synthetic benchmarks. The 1920x1200-resolution display’s inability to produce smooth gradient blending between lighter and darker colors was evident in high-definition digital photographs as well. Where subtle shade changes should have been apparent, the 6-bit display showed chunky patterns of discoloration.
The ugly patterns also emerged in games. We use the first moments of BioShock for our gaming test with displays, and the exact same gradient issues popped up when fog effects billowed across the screen. This was the most disastrous example of the 24WMCX’s problems. Minor gradient issues also affected lighting and glows throughout the game.
We believe the monitor’s color-tracking problems are also responsible for another issue: Any adjustment to the screen’s contrast adds green to the picture to varying degrees. In real-world content, the issue was most apparent when the image was light in color, but we detected the color imbalance in all content.
On a positive note, NEC included a wide array of connections: DVI, VGA, HDMI, and connections for both composite and component cables. Had the company put as much care into the picture quality as it did with the video inputs, we might have had a real winner on our hands.
Hits dark and light extremes; includes a wonderful number of connection options.
Severe banding and coloration issues destroy any and all picture integrity.