If you’re used to more modest monitors, the SpectraView Reference 271’s specifications read like science fiction. The 27in, 10-bit colour panel generates 1.7 billion colours, with a native resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. And there’s more. The SpectraView increases the number of available colours from nearly 2 billion to 4.3 trillion, when using a DisplayPort connection. This is achieved through a 14-bit Look Up Table (LUT) – a cubic colour matrix that the display uses to smooth gradients and sharpen subtle detail.

It’s immediately obvious that using one of these to run iTunes and iPhoto would be overkill – and the SpectraView comes with a hefty price tag of £1,859 that matches its professional class.

Specifications only tell part of the story, though. It’s worth pointing out, for example, that if you use one of the two DVI-D ports, rather than the DisplayPort, you’ll get a more standard 16.7 million colours out of the display, drawn from a 65 billion colour palette, courtesy of the LUT. But, whether you’ll notice this difference is relative to the production environment you’re working in. For the majority of tasks, including the design and photographic uses we’re thinking about in this round-up – that’s easily enough for most eventualities. Baked-in calibration hardware pushes realistic colour reproduction as far as it can go. The shipped SpectraView software can be used in conjunction with a spectrophotometer to configure the display’s software and hardware levels, the latter enabling you to program the display’s praiseworthy 3D LUT.

On a more practical level, the SpectraView is a solidly built display with a no-nonsense design, reflecting its industrial application. That’s not shorthand for ugly, either. As is common for monitors in this class, it ships with a hood designed to reduce reflection and overhead glare.

OUR VERDICT

The SpectraView Reference 271 is a very high performance piece of kit in other ways too. Identical screens are used in another NEC monitor – the PAC271W. The difference is, the screens in this monitor are handpicked from the production line, and once tested, only the best make it into the finished product. This is a monitor that’s hard to fault.

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