The first thing you’ll notice about the MultiSync is its slim 15mm bezel. It makes the screen appear larger than 23in, and the NEC will be more economical in terms of desk space if you plan to run multiple displays side by side. This isn’t enough to justify the high price alone, but the NEC offers other advantages over budget 23in displays, too. See also: Group test: what's the best display?
One is the flexible metal stand, which can raise or lower the screen by 110mm, and rotate the panel into portrait mode. This lets you view entire pages of a document without scrolling. Visit Group test: What's the best 19 to 24-inch LCD monitor?
A USB port at the top of the monitor allows a webcam to be attached. Inputs are limited to DVI and DisplayPort, but you can connect a device with an HDMI or VGA output using a simple adaptor.
To save power, NEC has added proximity and ambient light sensors. These turn off the screen when you move away from the desk, and ensure the panel isn’t unnecessarily bright as darkness falls. The onscreen menu also measures your carbon savings, and calculates the amount of electricity and money saved in Eco mode.
With the MultiSync set to maximum brightness, we recorded 23W power consumption; this fell to 13W at 120cd/m2.
An obvious difference between the EX231Wp and a budget display is its PVA panel. This looks identical to any other matt panel when switched off, but offers better contrast and viewing angles than TN technology. Like every monitor in our round-up, it sports a full-HD native resolution (1920x1080 pixels).
The colours are impressive with minimal calibration, both accurate and natural-looking at their default settings. We measured 95 percent of the sRGB gamut, and 72 percent of NTSC. The even LED backlighting helps here, and is surprisingly bright at 293cd/m2.
NEC claims a slightly less preposterous dynamic contrast ratio than some manufacturers at 25,000:1; our own tests recorded 2,190:1.
Gamers won’t like the NEC’s 25ms response time: it doesn’t affect video playback too much, but noticeable blur is observed when objects move across the screen.