It won't turn heads, but the NEC MultiSync LCD1560NX gives casual users 15 inches of decent image quality and a variety of connectivity options for less than $350. Spreadsheet jockeys and more-demanding users will want a larger screen with wider viewing angles, but the LCD1560NX will work for users seeking basic features and adequate performance.
The LCD1560NX's design is painfully ordinary; it's almost as if NEC simply squashed flat one of its older CRT models. The neck, the base, and the edges of the panel are the standard PC putty color, the bezel a slightly darker beige. The display rests on a small, square base attached to a short, angled neck with a cable-feed slot on its back. The LCD1560NX is compatible with PCs and Macs (the Mac adapter is not included), and--unusual for its low price--it accepts both digital and analog inputs, though NEC includes only an analog cable.
The LCD1560NX has minimal features. There's no pivoting, no swiveling, no height adjustability, and no USB ports. The display tilts 30 degrees backward and 5 degrees forward--not much, but it does help offset the panel's narrow, 90-degree vertical viewing angle (the 120-degree horizontal viewing angle is more acceptable).
The control panel could be less complicated. Eight tiny buttons line the bottom-right edge of the bezel; seven are for adjusting the image, and the other is for power. You're forced to push a lot of them to select a setting. A few hot keys let you adjust the brightness and contrast settings more quickly. The LCD1560's NaviSet software, downloadable from NEC's Web site, conveniently lets you tweak image settings with your mouse and keyboard.
The LCD1560NX delivered good picture quality in CNET Labs' tests. Its vibrant colors and sharpness trumped those of the comparably priced BenQ FP591. Next to pricier 15-inch models, such as Sony's SDM-HS53 and Philips's 150P4, however, the LCD1560NX came up short. Text looked jagged at point sizes smaller than 6.9, and the panel missed subtle differences between shades of white in our grayscale tests. Overall, the LCD1560NX is better suited for use viewing images and Web pages rather than for eye-frying tasks such as word processing and spreadsheet number-crunching.
NEC backs the LCD1560NX and its backlight with a three-year warranty on parts and service. Toll-free tech support is available 24/7. NEC includes a user manual with setup instructions and an overview of features, technical specs, and troubleshooting tips.
CNET Labs DisplayMate tests (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Brightness in nits (Longer bars indicate better performance)