NEC MultiSync 20WMGX2
At a Glance
This handsome unit straddles the monitor/TV line with fine still-image quality and several TV functions; includes a remote.
NEC's MultiSync 20WMGX2 follows on the success of its smaller siblings, the 70GX2 and 90GX2. Like its smaller siblings, this 20-inch wide-screen LCD employs a glossy screen that shows rich colors and sharp detail. However, the 20MGX2 also includes entertainment extras such as a TV tuner and remote.
Our jury gave the 20WMGX2 high marks on PC World's text test screens. It didn't lead the pack on any one test, but its consistently high performance on each screen combined to give it a fine text score. In graphics tests, the 20WMGX2's performance really took off. It wowed our jurors with rich and accurate colors, especially on our important (and difficult) photo tests. It brought out both the vibrant colors in our fruit tart photo and the natural skin tones in our group portrait. We even saw the freckles on our fairest portrait subject; many monitors render the freckles invisible.
Like NEC's other GX2 models, this 20-inch wide-screen has a round stand with a lazy-Susan swivel mechanism. The screen controls, including the intuitive eraserhead-like NaviKey, sit between the bottom of the silver bezel and the large black speaker bar beneath it. The 20WMGX2 sports not one, but two back panels to shelter inputs. One panel covers the DVI and VGA inputs and two of the four USB ports (the other two live on the left side of the bezel). The other panel conceals the S-Video, composite, and component inputs as well as a TV antenna. An NTSC TV tuner allows the 20MGX2 to show over-the-air TV content.
The silvery remote feels slightly flimsy, but it works. Its easy-to-find DV mode button makes it easy to flip between the different presets: standard, text, movie, gaming, and photo. When I watched HDTV, standard-def TV, and DVD content on the movie mode, I found its picture generally pleasing, but slightly soft and pale. I found the photo mode easier to watch. All in all, though, this is far better moving-image quality than I usually see from a desktop monitor--TV tuner or no.
Its $699 price (as of 5/18/06) would be steep for an ordinary 20-inch desktop monitor. For an excellent desktop monitor that's also a decent TV, though, it's a good deal.