NEC PX-42XR3W

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NEC PX-42XR3W

Pros

  • Great image quality, light, minimalist

Cons

  • Lacks detail in some areas, doesn't include speakers, no HDMI connection

Bottom Line

The PX-42XR3W may offer too few amenities to satisfy many consumers. But its great image quality and low price make it a fine choice for people who want to hook up their set to an external HDTV tuner.

Would you buy this?

This is the panel for image geeks. It has very good image quality, and outstanding HDTV display.

Its detail and colour quality are near the top of the range for plasma TVs. On an HDTV clip from a classic car show, for instance, it captured the rich, deep red of a sports car and crisply displayed the glossy chrome bars of the auto's front grille without any shimmering effect. The NEC experienced no problems with any HDTV formats sent through its digital video input.

But the NEC is just a monitor. It lacks speakers and TV-tuning capabilities; you need to team it with an over-the-air receiver or a cable or satellite box to enjoy its fine HDTV performance.

You don't get the best set of connection options, either. The PX-42XR3W lacks a connector for HDMI cables, having instead a single bulky DVI port for digital hookups. The next-best option is its two sets of component inputs.

The monitor's design is quite plain, as well. The screen has just a simple thin frame (available in silver or charcoal grey). A relative featherweight at only 29.5kg, it should provide less of a mounting challenge than most of its competitors.

The bare-bones design and quirky connectors hint at NEC's traditional role as a maker of displays for commercial and corporate use. That's also evident in the included documentation--a thin booklet that might suffice for IT professionals or video types--and in the on-screen display. The interface is a simple, text-based affair without snazzy icons or other fancy features, but the layout is clear and easy to navigate.

The menus offer a high level of control. For instance, the PX-42XR3W includes gamma control, which lets users adjust the rate at which brightness ramps up from dark to light and is helpful for refining shadow detail at medium brightness levels. This set is also one of few to permit fine-tuning of colour levels, in this case allowing users to balance the levels of primary (red, green, blue) and secondary (cyan, magenta, yellow) colours.

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