Unfortunately the NEC SpectraView 2690 doesn't quite deliver on its promises.
The SpectraView range offers very sophisticated colour control, and in the US the NEC SpectraView 2690 is sold as part of a calibration system that adjusts the OSD settings automatically using a hardware calibration device - a rebadged EyeOne - and a software application.
This is an excellent way to get top-quality colour, but, unfortunately, in the EU the calibrator isn't included. So the NEC SpectraView 2690 is three-quarters of a product - without the extras it's difficult for it to live up to its full potential.
Visually the NEC SpectraView 2690 has NEC's default functional styling - which can best be described as ‘neutral' - and a very hefty stand, which offers height adjustment and tilt.
There's a slightly baffling OSD (onscreen display) that uses buttons in the corner of the bezel to work its way through the NEC SpectraView 2690's comprehensive selection of menus. These set up various professional options, including power scheduling and exotic features like video wall support, which will be useful for anyone who wants to buy a few hundred panels, rather than just the one.
There's also automated brightness sensing and video switching enhancement, which makes the NEC SpectraView 2690 a possible choice for professional video work.
After powering up the NEC SpectraView 2690 for a first look, the most obvious impression is of sharpness and evenness. A wide viewing angle and factory calibration mean that colour and brightness are stable and even across the entire surface.
But the NEC SpectraView 2690's colour gamut is slightly limited - officially the spec is 93 percent of Adobe RGB and 88 percent NTSC - so super-saturated colours aren't possible. This isn't a huge drawback for design applications, but it is a slight limitation.
We’d like to be more positive about the NEC SpectraView 2690. While it’s certainly not a bad monitor, the lack of integrated calibration takes away some of the appeal of the Spectraview system. It scores heavily on features, but not quite heavily enough to match the nearest competition, which squeezes past with better visual performance.