With one exception, I think just about every set of built-in monitor speakers we've listened to have been pretty mediocre. The NEC MultiSync 24WMGX3's speakers are better than most we've listened to recently, but they're definitely a far cry from outstanding.
The sound was still a little tinny, but it was nowhere near as shallow as the speakers inside the Asus VK222H for example. This is helped by the inclusion of controls for bass, treble, balance and surround but, even after tweaking these settings, the speakers still did lack a lot of penetration and depth even when turned right up to the maximum volume. They're passable, but not for anyone that wants even remotely good-sounding audio.
During our testing, we found that the audio signal automatically switches between 3.5mm stereo, phono and HDMI when selecting a different video input, providing you've got something plugged into the corresponding input of course.
And speaking of inputs, NEC has really given us a treat with the range of connectivity options offered by this display. The video connectivity options include a single DVI-D and two HDMI ports (all with HDCP), along with D-Sub, Component, Composite and S-video. That's not all there is though, because the display also carries audio – for this there is a 3.5mm audio input, a pair of phono (left and right) inputs that are assigned to Component and Composite/S-video respectively, two 3.5mm audio outputs (headphone and stereo, front and back) and an optical S/PDIF out connector.
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Now, the office was split down the middle when it came to the viability of all of these connectivity options – not everyone is going to have a use for them, that's for sure, but there will be those that find the connectivity options essential. The good thing is that you'll be able to connect not just your PC, but your Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii to the MultiSync 24WMGX3 and there are still inputs available for more devices.
The inclusion of a remote control suggests that NEC might be targeting those that want to connect their DVD or Blu-ray player to the monitor as well. It's very much an all-in-one screen for those wanting to connect everything to it in their bedroom/study – and if it wasn't over £600, including VAT, we'd be saying it's an ideal display for students to take to university with them.
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Upon connecting an Xbox 360 to the HDMI port, we found tested out the display's ability to support 1:1 pixel mapping. We're pleased to report that the 24WMGX3 not only supports 1:1 pixel mapping, but also the other standard aspect ratio modes that we expect from a monitor of this calibre – these include real (i.e. 1:1), full (stretched to fit the screen), aspect (scaled with aspect ratio intact) and 2xZoom, which is exactly what it sounds like. We also tested this over the component connection as well, and it worked in exactly the same way – although there are more options available to you in the expansion mode menu, including things like noise reduction and film mode (when the source is interlaced) because it's an analogue connection.