Review: NEC V652 65-inch Commercial Display

Professional Appearance

NEC Display Solutions of America continues to expand its high-end V-Series line of commercial-grade, digital-signage displays with the release this year of 55-, 65- and 80-inch models. For testing, the company sent the CRN Test Center MultiSync V652, its midsize LED-lit unit that carries a recently reduced list price of $4,299. The performance of this full-featured monitor is impressive, and its bevy of capabilities make it suitable for nearly any commercial application. Here's an end-of-year performance review of one of NEC's latest recruits, along with some highlights and test results.

Works Well With Others

The V652 has a larger number of inputs than many other devices of this type. There's one each (from left to right) for component, DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI-D (in and out), VGA and composite. The DVI in and out permits daisy-chaining of units when displays are configured in an array. NEC's V-Series and S-Series displays can operate as tiles in a matrix of as many as 100 (10-x-10) units. A single unit can be designated as the master, from which commands are propagated to others and in the array. Arrays and so-called video walls also can be controlled via included RS-232 or Ethernet ports.

Adapts To Change

Built-in sound also is new to V-Series monitors. The V552, V652 and V801 now come with integrated low-profile,10-watt speakers that are adequate for deployment in public spaces. For high-quality audio settings, V-Series units also provide connections for external speakers or sound systems. Also shown here is the lower portion of the V652's OPS slot, which adheres to Intel's Open Pluggable Spec for digital signage and other applications running from a built-in Windows PC. Not shown are rear-mounted handles on each corner, for maneuvering the 114-pound display (126 pounds with stand). Multiple picture-in-picture and side-by-side modes are adjustable in size, location and scaling to adapt to just about any need. A ticker feature sets aside a portion of the screen for a news feed. Brightness settings can be assigned to specific inputs and will automatically adjust when different sources are selected. The V652 also is touch-ready and can accept NEC's 10-point touch overlay accessory.

Performance On The Job

A hallmark of every NEC display we've tested has been great video performance, and the V652 was no exception. To test the ability of NEC's panel to render accurate color and uniform luminance, we attached a PC and pointed its browser to the CRN Test Center's standard LCD test images. After a few adjustments to the unit's brightness and contrast, we found that color and black-and-white gradients exhibited no banding; black level and white saturation were visible throughout the spectrum and sharpness tests were well within acceptable limits. We did notice some uneven lighting at corners, but this was only when displaying test images that blackened the entire screen, a rarity in actual use. All tests were performed at the unit's native resolution of 1,920-x-1,080 and a refresh rate of 60Hz. Maximum brightness is 450 nits and displayable colors exceeds 16 million.

Goes Above And Beyond

Among the add-ons available from NEC is the single-board computer, an AMD-based PC with a 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 2 GB of RAM and a 32-GB solid-state drive, or 160- or 250-GB spinning drive loaded with Windows 7 embedded. The exposed side of the card contains four USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port and DisplayPort video output. For Wi-Fi, NEC offers a third-party product. The host monitor can be controlled through an internal connection with the card via RS-232. Among the other option cards are an ATSC digital high-definition tuner card and an audio module.

Working Remotely

With any electronic device, the look and feel of the remote control is key, and NEC's hits the spot, and it offers direct control of the most oft-used functions. Two rows of smallish buttons along the top are dedicated to one-touch input selection with slightly larger numerical keys below. After that is a large round arrow wheel straddled in four corners by menu controls. These are for access to deeper, lesser used functions through the on-screen display. The OSD is organized logically by tabs, making features extremely easy to find. Sections include those for picture, audio, picture-in-picture, tile mode and health. Just about every aspect of the display can be controlled or customized, including fan speed, border color, screen saver, input labels, and the size and location of the picture-in-picture. Even the OSD itself is editable, including its location, transparency and the number of seconds it stays on the screen. All of these settings are accessible via remote, RS-232 or Ethernet.

The Bottom Line

For larger installations, NEC provides NaviSet Administrator, a free monitor management utility that resellers and service providers can use to control multiple clients and sites. The software supports the creation of groups, batch configuration, health and change alerts, asset tagging and data export; it's a time-saver for MSPs and could help to close many a deal. And with the recent release of touch overlays, the V652 also becomes suitable for kiosk and other self-service applications. Like its V-series brethren, the V652 is a versatile display that can adapt to just about any commercial display situation, and this product is definitely recommended.