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This is the full review of the new NEC 3090WQXi.
We’ll see what place it is going to occupy in the modern world of monitors and how close it is to perfection – multipurpose, universal monitor.
The equipment for the test includes:
NEC 3090WQXi – test model
NEC 2490WUXi – reference monitor
17” CRT monitor
2 brand name PCs
SpectraView II calibration software
LaCie Blue Eye Pro calibration software
GretagMacbeth Eye-one Display2 probe
Blu-ray stand-alone player
Blu-ray movies
DVD movie
Digital Still Camera
Mini-DV Camcorder
Photo images

Detailed information is available in the manual.

Design and mechanics

3090 represents traditional for 90 series design.
It has Pivot – a rare feature for 30” monitors.
Overall build quality

This is a solid product in terms of assembly quality and materials used.
There are no dead pixels found.
Moderate backlight bleeding is present in some areas closer to panel edges.
It’s only visible in full darkness and on the black screen. It seems to be of that kind of bleeding which improves over some time.
The panel is (slightly) loosely placed in the cabinet – the panel corners can be pressed little deeper inside when pressure is applied. There is ~1 mm space between the panel and the cabinet rim. After an hour of work, when the monitor is warmed up – panel placement becomes tight.
The NEC 3090WQXi does NOT produce any kind of noise.
The upper part of the monitor is NOT hot to touch. It’s within normal limit.
The monitor screen does NOT radiate heat.


3090 has two digital inputs: DVI-D (HDCP), DVI-I (digital/analog) and USB port for direct colorimeter connection (Standalone calibtaration).


The sound bar is optional. It can be easily attached to the monitor. See the manual for details.
Controls and OSD

3090 offers the same rationally designed and convenient controls and sophisticated OSD as 2490/2690 model do.
There are some changes.
A separate OSD is added for Standalone calibration feature.
The only brightness regulation mode covers the whole range of monitor brightness (2490/2690 have three separate modes for Standard, Low and Advance Low brightness).
Simultaneous switch to SpectraView setting is no longer available in Tag E of Advanced OSD. All of them may be turned on/off separately in respective sections of OSD.
SpectraView calibration software is supported.
ColorComp is now called Uniformity.
Overdrive is now called Response Improve.

The NEC 3090 specification says:
Luminance Output – 350 cd/m2
Contrast ratio – 1000:1

Factory settings for brightness and contrast are 100%/50%
A usable range of brightness and contrast controls IMO would be:
Brightness 100% - 15%
Contrast – standard 50% is an optimum.

Below is brightness/contrast measurements summary.
Brightness control: 100% - 0%
Contrast control: 50%
Although the promised contrast ratio 1000:1 was not achieved (BTW nobody expected that) 819:1 is an excellent result for IPS. It’s slightly better than the reference monitor shows – up to 800:1 (same in it’s specification).
But the “quality” of 2490 contrast ratio is better as it corresponds to lower black level.

Brightness regulation
The NEC 3090WQXi has a new mode of brightness regulation. Let’s look at brightness control scale. Backlight intensity reduces brightness from 100% down to 73.2%. Below that point brightness is digitally compensated as manual says. It makes the depth of black stay at 0.3 cd/m2 with no change beginning from 230-240 cd/m2 of white, while brightness of white gradually goes down to ~62 cd/m2. So contrast ratio gradually reduces as well. I am not ready to say if this new system is good or bad. I guess, NEC’s engineers designed brightness regulation this way for a particular purpose.
The reference monitor NEC 2490WUXi has “regular” scheme of brightness regulation: three independent levels. The first level is managed by backlight intensity only and covers ~230-240 to ~ 130-140 cd/m2. Low Brightness mode decreases (by backlight and “digitally”) brightness by 50%, and so does Advanced Low Brightness mode – by another 50%.

As experts say, DeltaE (dE) represents a measurement between the color requested and the one really displayed on the monitor. The higher the result obtained, the less true colors are.
More precisely, here is how to interpret the graphs:
Delta E > 3: the desired color is noticeably different from the one on the screen.
2 < Delta E < 3: color quality is satisfactory, but a graphic designer probably wouldn’t be content.
1 < Delta E < 2: colors are accurate.
Delta E < 1: the result is perfect.

Color accuracy is measured with Gretag colorimeter paired with LaCie Blue Eye Pro calibration software.
These are results “out of box” for Native and sRGB modes.
The NEC 3090WQXi is calibrated with SpectraView II software and GretagMacbeth Eye-one Display2 .
This invaluable calibration kit calibrates monitor internal LUT (not a videocard as in case of a regular monitor) producing more accurate and stable results.
And what is most important for a non-professional user – this calibration is very simple, user-friendly, it provides a variety of settings and it’s done automatically – just press the button.
The last version of SpectraView II supports 3090 so in fact we have the NEC 3090WQXi-SV in front of us.
I also tried another colorimeter – Spyder3 from Spider3 Elite kit.
Spider3 failed to produce reliable results.
1. It does inaccurate measurements of brightness, especially brightness of black.
2. It shows 3090 color gamut smaller that it is.
3. In comparison with GretagMacbeth Eye-one Display2, Spyder3 calibration is less accurate – checked with LaCie Blue Eye Pro calibration software.
My own observations are pretty much the same as you can see in Spyder3 Elite Test.
Below are two examples of SpectraVew hardware calibration of the NEC 3090WQXi and the reference monitor NEC 2490WUXi. Gamma curves are perfect in both cases.
SpectraView reports 3090 CR less than 2490 (we know – due to it’s specific brightness regulation). Does this difference “pop up”? No.
3090 picture is sharp, well saturated, stable and pleasant for the eyes.
Here you can compare the NEC 3090WQXi color gamut with the Dell 2408 and the Samsung XL20 with LED backlight (the latter is taken from
Another feature the NEC 3090QWXi offers is Standalone Calibration.
You just plug a colorimeter directly in the USB connector on the monitor and let the built-in software do the rest. This feature is useful when you have no regular calibration software available or if you need to cross-calibrate several monitors in the office to have them all on the same page.
Below: Standalone calibration is useful but it seems to be less accurate than proper SpectraView calibration.
The Uniformity function (former ColorComp) works effectively
General Image Quality

Native/Programmable mode (wide gamut)
Standard gamut Images outside “color-aware” programs like Photoshop exhibit typical wide gamut oversaturation.
With Photoshop capabilities added, standard gamut images look as close to the reference monitor as never before (this is the fourth wide gamut monitor in comparative test with the NEC 2490).

sRGB mode
Unlike the Dell 2408, the NEC 3090WUXi sRGB mode looks very usable, it looks “alive”.
Dell 2408 sRGB mode dE94 = 7.3
NEC 3090 sRGB mode dE94 = 4.3
It’s still not perfect for photographic work but for any other application including internet, games, movies it’s very comfortable.

Depending on what parameters you set for SpectraView calibration, the NEC 3090WQXi produces smooth gradients and makes visible every little bit of detail from 1 to 255 grey tone.

Her Majesty H-IPS

Amazingly, since the first announcement of NEC 3090WQXi there is no detailed information of the panel it uses. There were no doubts it would be IPS. Also there were speculations about “same” panel as the Dell or not, some translated hints saying of H-IPS – does not matter. This is the question: does its panel match 2490/2690 quality or not?
Unfortunately the answer is still kept secret. Look at this WEB site.
What is written about the NEC 2690? The first line: H-IPS A-TW.
What is written about the NEC 3090WQXi? Nothing.
Did they forget? Selective forgetfulness?
No problem. We are getting the answer today.
Close photo revealed pixel layout typical for H-IPS. So H-IPS is confirmed now. That’s good news. The reference monitor 2490 has H-IPS too.
Below you see the difference between regular IPS and H-IPS pixel layout. The left hand side of the picture represents 30” Apple Cinema.
Unlike regular LCD, the reference monitor NEC 2490WUXi has especially solid black color – it does not produce glow if you see from an angle in darkness. Letters A-TW usually attributed to this excellent performance of H-IPS. Although we have never had any official explanation from the manufacturer, it’s said that the presence of a polarizer makes black ever-black.
In the extremely worst case (diagonal view) black color on the NEC 3090 has some colored tint similar to a regular LCD panel (in the picture it’s 27” PVA):
To see more about this and some other details watch our traditional complementary video. Added note: As pointed out in the video, bottom corners of the screen are viewed from sharper diagonal angle, therefore typical LCD "glow" is more visible there (of course, only if your watch dark images in dark environment, sitting close enough to the monitor). No need to mention that there is nothing about the corners for video play back.

Compared side by side with the NEC 2490 which has almost zero crystalline effect, the NEC 3090 shows this effect to moderately higher degree but less than 30” Apple Cinema.
Every LCD monitor with AG coating has a sort of this effect. Some users find it irritating, the vast majority doesn’t even know about its existence.


Subjectively the NEC 3090 has very good interpolation quality.


In this area 90 series monitors are outstanding and have no match in the market. What is called “scaling” for a regular monitor, is nothing in comparison with the NEC. It has unlimited scaling – the image is never distorted, any size and proportion are possible. Another video to see how real scaling works.
Internet and office use.

In my opinion the microscopic dot pitch on the huge 30” screen is unacceptable for text rendering. So with no doubt I set dpi to 150% that made the screen looks just fantastic!
30" with 2560x1600 is a real asset for the office work.
Originally I planned to use lower resolution (1920x1200) to make fonts readable but… no, it’s not as good as higher dpi at native resolution. The crystalline effect melts when fonts are made larger. The next photo shows font #10 at standard 96dpi in comparison with 150% increase. You can see that the text is not only larger, it’s now perfectly written using more material (dots) for more accurate shape. The new H-IPS pixel layout makes texts more clear. Pixels are lit completely (evenly) that makes letters more clear (on PVA panels pixel may lit partially that makes text slightly fuzzy).
Monitor and Eyes

Despite relatively lower measured contrast ratio at lower brightness, the screen looks soft and eye-friendly. I decided to use a photo camera to detect usual for LCD monitor backlight flickering at lower brightness. No success.
No success means that the photo camera was NOT able to detect any flickering at any brightness from 100% to 0% ! So if you eyes are sensitive to this typical effect of LCD monitors the NEC 3090WQXi is probably a solution for you.
What do we have so far? Text is large and well readable, crystalline effect stepped back, mild backlight without flickering, CR ~440:1 at moderate brightness of 140 cd/m2.
The NEC 3090WQXi has autobrightness feature that works in two modes. The first mode adjusts brightness according to ambient light. The second mode works as dynamic brightness – when a bright scene in the screen replaces a dark one the monitor instantly drops brightness so the bright scene doesn’t blind you.
Now we need to place the monitor perfectly.
The screen should be at a reasonable distance and its top should not be higher than your eye level. The NEC 3090 does its best in this regard – the screen goes down almost as low as the monitor base permits. But nevertheless 30” monitor is still too big to be simply put on the table. This $2000 toy deserves some more attention. This is how I would place this monitor:
Responsiveness, Input Lag and Ghosting

Subjectively responsiveness is good. Nothing major. I cannot see anything that lets me talk about ghosting.
Some people say that monitors with scaling have input lag and vice versa.
This monitor has super scaling. Let’s see how it affects input lag. Monitor is tested with CRT monitor in clone mode. Scaling: Custom, scaling ratio applied.
The NEC 3090WQXI surpassed expectations: 28.2 ms
Games – see complementary video.Input lag test report below:
DVD and HD Video

Unlimited scaling lets you set any resolution for a DVD movie from its native to up to the full screen. Or even more – so that bars under and over the movie frame disappear (with sides trimmed)- it's unbelievable but possible. feature.
Good Superbit DVD subjectively looks excellent even on the full screen.
The optimal viewing distance is 1.5-2 meters (4-6 feet). This distance helps fully accommodate the screen size and makes possible “noise” of video invisible.
The NEC 3090WQXi supports 480р, 576р, 720р video, and Full HD 1080p 24-60Hz.
The monitor has excessive for 1080p resolution. It means that true Full HD movie will occupy just the center part of the screen. Full HD on the NEC 3090WQXi is superb.
Although the full screen playback technically is not Full HD (it’s interpolated to the full screen) it’s still hard to tell the difference.
Pictures below: sizes in comparison
90-series NECs allow you to be the boss of imaging on your screen.
Set of photos below:
Color of so-called "black bars" above and below video image can be turned into any tone of grey from black to white.
Bars above and below can be trimmed partially or completely.
Old format video game is converted into wide-screen with no harm to the game content and proportions intact.
The rest of 30” world. Any universal machines there?

Most of 30” monitors are still at lower level. Same bare panels with nothing but brightness regulator and a single input (with a rare exception). A strange addition to this group came up recently – Samsung XL30. Same bare panel is now complemented with several color gamut modes, calibratable LUT with bundled software and LED backlight. So regular PVA image problems are combined with LED backlight prematurity problems. This river barge with a nuclear power engine is sold at a price of two ocean liners. What is the main purpose of this strange product? The main purpose is to test and promote the manufacturer marketing policy. And you are invited to pay for that.

The middle level is occupied by the Dell 3008. This overpriced (hopefully for a limited period of time) monitor does have practical value and seems to be the closest (still far though) competitor for the upper level.

There are two 30” Eizos in upper level group but both suffer from PVA technology issues, have astronomical price and thus zero practical value on the background of other 30”.

So the position #1 in 30” sector is vacant. Does the NEC 3090WQXi deserve it? We’ll see in a minute.

Below: express comparison with the Dell 3008. Pivot looks not serious for small monitors. But when you go for high resolution – it works and impresses. It may be a good advantage over a monitor without Pivot. To continue famous Gateway’s joke about “1600p”, this is how “2560p” looks like.
Closing thoughts

Four MUSTs for a reference universal monitor:
#1. Photographic quality picture with no issues (color shifting, washout, etc.).
#2. At least two digital inputs with 1080p support (to provide a quality connection with PC and an external device simultaneously).
#3. Capability to reduce eye strain (autobrightness and range of brightness controls, legible dot pitch, ergonomics).
#4. Responsiveness is suitable for multimedia use.
Those are comprehensive assessment criteria to see how close to perfection is a monitor.

The NEC 3090WQXi meets all those requirements with no problem.
This is definitely world’s #1 universal monitor in 30” sector.
Unfortunately 3090 hasn’t reached 2490/2690 outstanding panel qualities. It presumably lacks just one thing – 2490 polarizer. Also considering the size of this monitor, a hood as an accessory item would be helpful. Attention should be paid to backlight uniformity - it may differ from unit to unit.


Although in general 3090 still yields a little to its mighty 2490/2690 brothers, it beats everything else in 30” area.
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