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Reader Comment: NEC PA302W Wide Gamut Professional Display

See also Reasons To Like the NEC PA302W Wide Gamut Professional Display.

Get NEC PA302W at B&H Photo, be sure to get the BK-SV model which includes calibration software and hardware.

Get OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock at MacSales.com.

The NEC PA302W is my workhorse display on which I do all my photography work. It is a 30-inch 2560 X 1600 wide-gamut display with true hardware calibration (not faux calibration). The PA302W calibrates to within 1 delta-A accuracy (that’s for nerds, it means “amazingly accurate and your eyes are probably not that good”).

See my color management wishlist and get NEC PA302W at B&H Photo. Unless you already have the NEC calibrator and software, be sure to get the NEC PA302W BK-SV.

NEC PA302W 30-inch wide-gamut display 2560 X 1600

Susan E writes:

I am writing to share my first impression of the PA302W monitor and compare it with another 30'' wide-gamut monitor (HP Z30i) I've been using for a year.

I finally went ahead and bought the NEC PA302W monitor after seeing all your praises, and received it last night. My initial impression after using it for several hours was, WOW!

I was initially debating whether to get the 27'' or 30'' version as the price difference is huge. However, from my experience of using a 30'' wide-gamut monitor at work (HP Z30i) I find that the 30'' 16:10 monitor is superior in providing more workspace, and offers a more immersive experience. Since a great monitor is long-term investment, I eventually decided to get the 30'' version and I am now so satisfied.

The uniformity (after turning on uniformity compensation) of the PA302W is simply unmatched by the HP Z30i (still a $1k+ monitor) I use in my office -- being very sensitive to screen uniformity myself, I cannot see any uniformity issues on the PA302W while I can spot multiple white point and luminance uniformity issues on the Z30i. Besides, although both being wide-gamut monitors, I find the PA302W more accurate after calibration. The colors are just so dead-on and neutral, it even changed my sentiments and gave me stronger emotions when viewing the same pictures/videos, which really demonstrates the power of accurate colors. I'd use "luxurious" to describe the experience of using the PA302W.

Thank you for recommending this monitor and I look forward to many years of happy use of it!

DIGLLOYD: still my workhorse, I wrote this blog entry using the NEC PA302W in my Mercedes Sprinter photography adventure van—it’s worth the trouble of taking it for its size and resolution and pixel density, uniformity and color accuracy, etc.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock port layout,
includes Mini DisplayPort for displays

David R writes:

I wanted to pass along the following about the use of my NEC PA-302 monitor. I originally purchased it about 2 1/2 years ago based on your review and attached it to my 2012 MacBook Pro. It did everything I wanted, had great resolution and because of the internal profiling with Spectraview I found the consistency between prints and the image on the monitor was amazingly good after discounting for the transmissive display versus the reflective print.

Looking, recently, to upgrade my MacBook Pro, I purchased a 2017 27” iMac pretty much maxed out, other than the RAM, and I upgraded that through OWC. All-in-all, not an inexpensive purchase. Unfortunately, I have found that with Apple’s implementation of the USB-C/Thunderbolt3 ports I can no longer display the NEC monitor at its full, native resolution.

I appear to be limited to using it through an Apple dongle that allows me to connect the NEC through an HDMI cable (and this is original HDMI, not HDMI2), thereby degrading the resolution on the NEC monitor. I spent an hour on the phone with Apple support and the person who I spoke with, although very pleasant, ultimately confirmed that there was no way for me to output the iMac to get full resolution since the NEC doesn’t, of course, support USB-C inputs.

This has been a big disappointment since, as good as the iMac display may be, it is not capable of being profiled internally as the NEC can, and can’t support the consistency of color accuracy that I prefer for my printing. Of course, I can still make a final evaluation on my lower res NEC, but this is, IMO, far from ideal. Now it appears my only option is to upgrade to either Eizo or the newer 4K resolution NEC at a cost of at least an additional $2,800. That’s a big hidden cost and thought your readers might want to know about this “gotcha" before “upgrading.” I understand that technology moves on, but it would have been nice if Apple would have protected legacy peripherals by provided a DisplayPort output from the new iMac. Apple seems to think that because they offer an LG display that can be mated to the new iMac, that’s good enough. Sadly, it’s not.

DIGLLOYD: Apple support has given David false information. It’s too bad that Apple support is so insular and ignorant to be unaware of 3rd party products. But I think this is the RULE not the exception: Apple attitude is that the only products that exist are their own. Apple support is NOT in the business of having a clue about non-Apple potentials.

The NEC PA302W works great and correctly via the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock—I personally used it this way on the 2017 iMac 5K, as shown in the picture in My Sprinter Photography Adventure Van Project: Which Mac? Experience Report / Proving it Out, shown here below also:

Apple 2017 iMac 5K + OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock driving NEC PA302W @ its native 2560 X 1600 resolution
Lloyd Chambers' simulated photography working table for Sprinter photographic adventure van

See also the following:

Color gamut of NEC PA302W wide gamut display, full range calibration
Color gamut of NEC PA302W wide gamut display, full range calibration
SSD upgrade that takes full advantage of APFS
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