If it's good enough for our Dream Machine it's good enough for you
We admittedly put the cart a bit before the horse by featuring NEC’s PA301W in our pages twice before finally publishing our review, but this 30-inch display breezed through our benchmarks like a Corvette in a box car rally while we were researching our Multiscreen Madness feature story. And after that, we simply had to have it for our Dream Machine.
The PA301W’s 2560x1600 resolution is the same as the less-expensive Dell UltraSharp U3011, and its base tilts, swivels, and is height adjustable. Unlike Dell’s U3011, however, the PA301W can also pivot into portrait mode. It’s outfitted with two DisplayPort inputs, two DVI ports (with HDCP), but there’s no HDMI. The PA301W sports three downstream USB 2.0 ports and two upstream USB ports, so you can operate two computers with one mouse and keyboard connected to the display.
NEC's PA301W won the honor of accompanying our 2011 Dream Machine
NEC’s monitor excelled in each of our benchmarks, particularly DisplayMate’s pixel-tracking tests, which can expose digital noise. The PA301W produced, a true deep black in the dark gray-scale tests; and it aced the color-tracking test. The NEC came out ahead of the Dell in both the static video bandwidth test (which measures a display’s ability to produce fine detail), and the static gamma correction tests (which evaluates the accuracy of gray-scales and color mixtures).
If you can afford the best tools, the NEC PA301W is the right monitor. But we have to suspect Dell will sell a lot more U3011s while making a little less profit per unit.