The new ‘squared' version has the same 26in screen and 1920x1200 resolution, but boasts better uniformity of colour across the screen and a wider colour gamut - so with the NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi2 you'll see smoother gradation of shades, especially in blues and colours with blue in them.
We profiled the NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi2 using DataColor's Spyder3Elite calibrator and graphed the resulting profile using Chromix ColourThink Pro. This showed us that the LCD2690WUXi2's colour gamut does indeed output many more shades of blue than the original model - and more than other models at this price point.
NEC's revised display has a 12-bit LUT (look-up table) with a level of gradation into blues and reds that we'd expect from a higher-end display - though its ability to show subtle shades of green is much lower than you'd get from a true high-end monitor. The NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi2's gamut is also larger than entry-level displays such as the Eizo FlexScan S2242W.
NEC doesn't include with the NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi2 the excellent calibration software that's provided with the company's high-end SpectraView line. You do get the NaviSet software, which allows you to adjust the monitor's hardware settings from within Windows only.
The NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi2's OSD (on-screen display) is easy to use, and includes controls from the basic (brightness, contrast) to more advanced (black level, gain), along with colour temperature modes stretching from 3000K to 9600K, so you can match the output to your ambient lighting.
A light sensor can be set to raise and lower the brightness of your screen - though this may affect the accuracy of your colour management. The NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi2 uses an excellent H-IPS panel with a low level of colour shift. With wide viewing angles available, anyone next to you will see a more accurate representation of colours than with other displays.
The NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi2 has two DVI inputs but doesn't include DisplayPort for potential 10-bit input. There are also no USB ports or media card slots, but the monitor is also SWOP certified for soft proofing.
The NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi2 offers fantastic colour reproduction for the price, with detailed fine-tuning controls. It would be a perfect fit for a graphic designer with very high-grade – if not extreme – colour reproduction requirements.