LCD monitors have topped out in the 27-30" range for several years, forcing manufacturers to differentiate high-end offerings with extra features and better picture quality rather than larger panels. Last week, NEC released the MultiSync PA301W, a 30" display aimed at graphics professionals and power users who value faithful color reproduction.
The PA301W's specifications are similar to other 30" displays; it boasts an IPS panel covering over 98% of the Adobe RGB color space with a wide gamut of 1.07 billion colors. According to NEC, the display has 178º viewing angles, a 7-ms response time, a 350cd/m² luminosity rating, and a 1000:1 contrast ratio.
Dell's 30" U3011 offers similar specs alongside a plethora of connectivity options. With Apple's LED Cinema Display, you get a slightly smaller panel and a nifty 3-in-1 cable tailored specifically for Macs. To differentiate the PA301W, NEC has built in KVM functionality via a pair of upstream USB ports and dual DisplayPort and DVI video inputs. NEC also throws in its MultiProfiler software, which allows users to customize the monitor controls and create specialized profiles.
High-end monitors typically run $1,000 and up. The 27" Apple Cinema Display costs $999, HP's 30" ZR30w sells for $1,299, and its Dell U3011 competition is listed at $1,499. The PA301W is considerably more expensive at $2,299, so it's not for the faint of heart. In fact, you can spend even more on a second model, which includes a colorimeter and color calibration software for $2,549.