We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Displays Reviews
15,669 Reviews

NEC MultiSync EX231W review

£226.72 inc VAT

Manufacturer: NEC Display Solutions

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The NEC MultiSync EX231W is a 23in widescreen display, built for business applications but with a slim profile.

The NEC MultiSync EX231W is a 23in widescreen display, built for business applications but with a slim profile

We see many a cheap LCD panel in the PC Advisor lab, offering full-HD resolution for sometimes little over £100. So what’s the point of spending almost three times that for a similar spec from a name brand?

In the case of NEC, you’re buying into a brand that specialises in supplying industry with dependable products, backed up with long warranties and good after-sales support.

NEC is a more business-focused display maker, and build quality tends to be higher, just as styling is more conservative. The EX231W here is an unusually lightweight model, yet features the quality of construction that suggests this is a product built to last.

But unusually for NEC, and despite the high price, this panel is using cheaper twisted-nematic (TN) display technology. Colour reproduction is not as good as premium panels using, for example, IPS technology.

One way around limited colour quality is to use more dithering in order to smooth out banding, or colour gradients. It’s a technique often used in digital signal processing, essentially adding noise to the signal in order to linearise resolution when bit-depth is limited.

In display technology, a little dithering can make a 6-bit per pixel TN panel have a colour spread that looks like 8-bit.

On LCD panels this can result in a sparkly, silvery effect, evident in pure whites, for example. And sure enough, there is a patina of silveriness visible on the screen when you look carefully.

More troubling for some eyes, black text can look a little smeared and coloured in fast scrolling. But overall image quality was found to be good, with decent viewing angles too. As you move your head off-axis,    the screen darkens and colours fade, but it is still basically viewable.

Conservative styling in panel design means you’re not troubled by the current fashion for high-gloss plastics or reflective shiny screens. That, and the nicely slim 14mm matt bezel lends the EX231W a timeless style that’s highly practical too.

The panel itself is very slim in depth, aided here by the use of edge- rather than true back-lighting. And the other concession to slim down the screen is the use of an external power supply, a modest power block as big as a netbook charger.

On-screen display (OSD) controls are found in the bottom right corner of the bezel - touch-sensitive areas that allow swift and easy adjustment of image settings.

One of those is Human Sensing, which can read when you’re sat in front of the screen, dimming the screen when you step away for a few minutes. This benefits from some adjustment: we found it initially didn’t sense our presence when we were still working at the screen and would dim regardless until we lowered the threshold level.

Other modes include Eco, the default, which knocks down screen brightness to lower levels.

As you’d expect of a professional monitor, height is full adjustable on the pillar stand, and you can also easily rotate the screen 90º for portrait use. It feels a little wobbly when adjusting, but because the panel is so light it does stay put after adjustment.

A neatly fitted USB port on the screen top, with rubber bung, is a useful touch for attaching a webcam.

NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict >>

See also:

LCD monitor reviews

Group test: what's the best budget LCD display?

Group test: what's the best LCD display?

NEC MultiSync EX231W Expert Verdict »

23in LCD display
1920 x 1080
W-LED TN technology
0.265mm pixel pitch
250cdm2 brightness
1000:1 contrast ratio
5ms response time
1 x DVI-I, 1 x DisplayPort
17W typical power consumption
height adjustable stand with 180º swivel
540 x 318 x 48mm without stand
3-year warranty
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Image quality is not quite up to NEC’s usual high standards, but build quality, style and control features may make up for that, to provide a lightweight but well-designed widescreen monitor for the modern office.

  • NEC MultiSync EX231Wp review

    NEC MultiSync EX231Wp

    With its thin bezel, flexible stand and great image quality, the EX231Wp can almost justify its high price. However, a slow response time makes it unsuited to gaming.

  • NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi2 review

    NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi2

    The NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi2 - NEC's latest LCD monitor - is an upgraded version of the popular LCD2690WUXi, and like its predecessor, it's designed as a high-quality display for designers who don't have the need or budget for a £1,000-plus display.

  • NEC MultiSync LCD 1770NX review

    NEC MultiSync LCD 1770NX

    Given NEC's big reputation in the world of displays, it's perhaps surprising to see the company unveil an LCD screen that's diminutive in terms of both dimensions and price tag. The NEC MultiSync LCD 1770NX is a rare beast these days: a 17in model.

  • NEC MultiSync P221w review

    NEC MultiSync P221w

    The NEC MultiSync P221w is an attractive, well-designed 22in widescreen monitor that offers impeccable image quality.

  • NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi 26in flat-panel monitor

    NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi 26in flat-panel monitor

    The NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi lacks the extras, style and standout performance we expect from an expensive 26in (25.5in viewable) widescreen.

IDG UK Sites

How to use an Apple Watch: Everything you need to know about the Apple Watch

IDG UK Sites

Why Scottish Tablet is better than the iPad mini

IDG UK Sites

How Microsoft's HoloLens AR headset will work without needing a computer or phone

IDG UK Sites

Apple MacBook 1.1 GHz review (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015): The future of Apple laptops