Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Eizo ColorEdge CG301W
- Huge resolution, supports hardware calibration, excellent colour reproduction and uniformity, picture-by-picture
- High asking price, doesn't ship with a hardware calibration tool
While it's expensive, it's also the perfect monitor for colour-critical applications. Not only that, but it scales lower-than-native resolutions beautifully on its vast 30in of space, and it also has a nifty picture-by-picture feature, which basically makes it two monitors in one.
Price$ 5,720.00 (AUD)
If graphics or video are serious business to you, then you'll need a monitor that's faultless in its execution. You'll also need a fat wallet with a lot of green notes in it, as it costs a lot to look good, and in that respect, Eizo's latest ColorEdge screen is one of the best for colour reproduction. It's strictly for colour-critical work, so only professional photographers, layout artists and graphic designers, as well as video producers, need apply.
At 30in, the Eizo ColorEdge CG301W has vast real estate, as well as a focus on getting colours right the first time. It's colour-calibrated from the factory to ensure that every colour tone can produce a gamma curve of 2.2, so that even the most subtle of shades of colour can be reproduced without problems. Furthermore, it ships with ColorNavigator calibration software, which can be used in conjunction with a hardware calibration device (which isn't supplied) to ensure that printed output matches what you see on the screen.
Its 30in screen size paves the way for a native resolution of 2560x1600 while using a dual-link DVI cable, with a 16:10 aspect ratio that's perfect for working in editing suites while all tools and palettes remain visible to you. Meanwhile, the pivot stand means you can rotate the screen 90 degrees to the right, which can be convenient when working on page layouts.
In colour tests using DisplayMate, the screen was faultless. We didn't have to touch any of its settings for it to perfectly display all levels of dark- and light-grey blocks in the luminance tests, nor did we have to adjust its brightness in the black level test. Shades of grey were displayed accurately, without any colour tinge. Its black level was deep, and an entirely black screen showed no ill effects from the back lights around the edges of the screen. Its white level was also perfect; it wasn't blown out, nor did it look blue or yellow.
As for colour, Eizo boasts of the monitor's 12-bit look-up table, which has 68.1 billion colours available from which to select the 16.7 million colours that will be shown on the screen. This look-up table is also used when hardware calibration is undertaken in conjunction with the supplied ColorNavigator software, although a hardware calibration device must be purchased separately. In our colour tests, primary and secondary colours were produced exquisitely; they weren't overbearingly rich; they looked natural, yet not understated. Following on from this, the colour ramp showed clear distinctions between colour intensities. In saying that, all but the most discerning eye would have problems picking differences between this screen and more attractively-priced big-screen models.
When viewed from the sides, only slight colour-shift and reduced contrast were noticeable and mid-range grey colours did take on a slightly pink hue, but overall the image was easy to view and a group of co-workers standing around the screen, for example, won't have any problems viewing its contents. Either way, the stand's ability to swivel and rise makes it easy to adjust the monitor's position for optimal viewing when showing others your work, while a hood is supplied to keep light reflections from hitting the screen. Also, for such a big screen, its uniformity was excellent. Luminance levels in the middle of the screen didn't appear different than the extremities of the screen.
People who work with video will also find this monitor hard to beat. Apart from offering plenty of viewable area for tools and timelines, its excellent contrast allowed details to stand out even in the darkest movies. Furthermore, its ability to scale small resolution videos to fill the big screen was superb. Watching a DVD of 8 Mile showed the tiniest of details with ease, such as spittle from the rappers' mouths, and images were rendered very smoothly. Its 6ms grey-to-grey response time isn't going to pose any blurry problems for fast-paced video productions.
For connectivity, the monitor has an HDCP-capable single-link DVI port, which can be used to play high-definition content. High-definition content at 1920x1080 was displayed beautifully. This port, along with the dual-link DVI port can also be used to display the output from two computers side-by-side, each at a resolution of 1200x1600. (Of course, you'll still need two sets of input peripherals in order to work on both computers simultaneously.)
Two USB ports on the right-hand side of the screen round out the niceties that this screen has to offer, and these ports have to be connected to the PC in order for hardware calibration to take place. Eizo claims that this is the first 30in monitor on the market to support hardware calibration, so despite its high asking price, if you're a professional who's looking for a professional monitor, the ColorEdge CG301W has to be considered.
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