Hardware Reviews

NEC MultiSync EA271U review: the Rolls-Royce of 27in 4K monitors?

NEC MultiSync EA271U review
NEC MultiSync EA271U
NEC MultiSync EA271U review

Product Name: NEC MultiSync EA271U

Product Description: Simply the best-quality 4K 27in screen we've seen: buy it if you love your eyes

Price: £850

Availability: InStock

Summary

Simply the best-quality 4K 27in screen we’ve seen: buy it if you love your eyes

Overall
4.5

Pros

  • Stunning image quality
  • Amazingly flexible stand
  • Endless list of features

Cons

  • The price
  • Not a great choice for print designers

There’s no need to spend this much on a 27in monitor. No need at all. Earlier this year I tested a 32in Iiyama that costs around £300 from Amazon and it’s a very decent screen. So how can I possibly finish this NEC MultiSync EA271U review with a Buy Now award when it costs almost £800? Simple: its flexibility, its features, its looks, but most of all its quality.

NEC MultiSync EA271U review: just how good is it?

NEC MultiSync EA271U review

There are two sides to this question. First, how good does the display look when you first take it out? The answer is brilliant. Almost literally: whites burst from this screen without a hint of the yellow you get with lesser panels. Its viewing angles are superb – there’s virtually none of the drop-off that afflicts cheap rivals – the 4K 3,840 x 2,160 resolution on a 27in diagonal means that text and images look super-sharp.

The other side concerns technical quality, and for that I needed to put the EA271U through a battery of tests using a colorimeter. Full results are listed at the foot of the review, but the key things to know are that it can display every colour you’re likely to need and do so with exceptional accuracy.

While I wouldn’t recommend the EA271U as a monitor for gaming – there’s no support for tear-free technologies such as AMD FreeSync, and more vivid screens are available for much less money – a 5ms response time means it’s quite happy displaying fast-moving action.

NEC MultiSync EA271U review: menus that make sense

It’s worth noting that I had to delve into the EA271U’s colour settings to increase the panel’s colour coverage, and if you do decide to buy the EA271U I’d suggest investing in a colorimeter. I test using an X-Rite i1Display Pro, which costs around £180, but you can buy the Datacolor Spyder5PRO for £114.

Unlike common or garden monitors, the MultiSync is designed to be tweaked, with an exceptional on-screen display that’s actually navigable. Press the MENU button on the bottom bezel and contextual icons appear above each touch-sensitive button, each relating to the feature-rich menu you can see in my photo below.

NEC MultiSync EA271U OSD

NEC has left nothing on the cutting-room floor when it comes to options, either, allowing you to tweak everything from the brightness of the blue LED you can also see in that photo to the “multi picture” options. For example, you could have inputs from two different computers and divide the screen vertically between them.

NEC MultiSync EA271U review: flexible stand

NEC MultiSync EA271U review

This is the most flexible stand I’ve used. Excellent build quality means the panel stays locked in place when you need it, but if you want to rotate the screen to show its contents to a colleague then it’s a simple matter of pushing or pulling: it rotates 170 degrees in either direction.

NEC MultiSync EA271U review

Add smooth height adjustment from its lowest 378mm to a high of 528mm, plus a tilt of -5 degrees to 35 degrees, and there’s really nothing it can’t do. Naturally, it can pivot to portrait mode if you want to.

Indeed, the thin bezel means you could use an array of these monitors to provide a super-display.

NEC MultiSync EA271U review: connections and bonus features

Unless you’re still hanging on to DVI (which isn’t worthy of this monitor due to its limited bandwidth), the EA271U includes every input you need. Two HDMI ports, a full-size DisplayPort and a forward-thinking USB-C port are all ready for delivering audio and video, with the latter capable of powering the monitor too.

There’s also a three-port USB-A hub, with two USB ports tucked next to the display inputs and the third one easily accessible on the left-hand port along with a 3.5mm audio jack. While the EA271U does include a pair of clear-sounding speakers, they lack bass so aren’t suitable for music or films.

Then we come to the bonus features – stuff you don’t tend to see in cheaper monitors. I really like the fact it detects whether someone is sitting in front of it, and dims the screen and then switches itself into standby if no one is there (you can set the times).

There’s also an eco mode, complete with a carbon savings tab in the on-screen menu, which shows the money and CO2 savings you’ve made by switching to it. If you happen to be an IT manager, you can also lock this and every other setting down, enabling you to measure your environmental and financial impact.

NEC MultiSync EA271U review: buying time?

NEC MultiSync EA271U review

There’s no point pretending that dialling down your power usage will ever recoup the cost of this monitor compared to rivals that cost half the amount. By most sane measures, it’s crazily expensive.

However, every single day you use this screen you’ll be glad you spent the money. Plus NEC backs it with a three-year warranty, which covers the backlight too.

In truth, most people should buy something far cheaper. But if you’re in a financial position where you can find the extra cash without making sacrifices elsewhere, then it’s money well spent.

NEC MultiSync EA271U review: test results

In sRGB mode

  • sRGB colour gamut: 97% (98.6% volume)
  • Adobe RGB gamut: 67.9% (68% volume)
  • DCI-P gamut: 69.9% (69.9% volume)

In custom mode after tweaking

  • sRGB colour gamut: 97.6% (109.5%)
  • Adobe RGB gamut: 71.4% (75.4% volume)
  • DCI-P gamut: 77.4% (77.5% volume)

Delta E results (colour accuracy)

  • Average: 0.5
  • Maximum: 1.29

READ THIS NEXT: Is this curved 32in screen the best choice for gamers?

About the author

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine and has written about technology since 1999. He enjoys playing with gadgets, playing with words and playing tennis. Email tim@bigtechquestion.com

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