There is a difference between calibration and profiling.
I'm aware of the differences. From a technical standpoint the only LCD displays that can be calibrated (although it's still not a full calibration because the changes to color temp are global from white to black) are ones that have red, green, and blue LED backlights. Everything else is just a form of profiling because you can't actually change the white point of the backlight itself. Your Dream Color of course is capable of this as it actually has RGB LED backlights. To expand upon that, (being technically nitpicky here) just because you have a high resolution monitor LUT doesn't mean that you are actually calibrating
a screen. The file loaded to the monitor LUT is the result of a profile (by loading it into a high resolution monitor LUT the end result is much less destructive than if the same corrections were loaded into the VIDEO lut).
Calibration changes the physical characteristics of the monitor's LUT while the profile created by the software dictates video card output. The HP DreamColor actually stores seven distinct calibrations, not profiles.
I'm aware of this as well however I've always heard the file uploaded to the Monitor's LUT referred to as the Monitor profile (which is accurate, it's a profile of the monitor's characteristics and the corrections for out of spec results) and the file uploaded to the video LUT. Even though the word "profile" is used in reference to the file that gets loaded into the Monitor LUT, I've always known the difference between profiling and calibrating.
I wasn't familiar with the 2690 so I looked at the product manual which verified my conclusion that the monitor has one calibration setting under "programmable".
From the manual:
"The other settings The sRGB and NATIVE, color presets are standard and cannot be changed.
The PROGRAMMABLE setting can only be adjusted using color calibration software such as NEC’s GammaComp or Spectraview II."
From this I concluded that the calibration for the Nec 2690 is only accurate for the color space profiled during the calibration process.
Breaking it down, the 2690 has only 1 monitor LUT (I suspect the Dream Color has only 1 Monitor LUT as well... wouldn't really make a difference if it had multiple LUTs because only one can be applied at any one given time).
If you manually "calibrate" the 2690 (more on the technical semantics of that later) then you can store your RGB values into setting 1, 2, 3, or 5 for instant recall to change your white balance. This however isn't a complete job as it does not encompass other settings like luminance, gamma curves, and settings unique to the NEC such as luminance uniformity. It would be nice if NEC had user presets for that BUT, if you have SpectraView it's pretty much a moot point because you have unlimited presets there and they store EVERYTHING about the monitor's configuration. Luminance, black level, color temperature, gamma curve, luminance uniformity, luminance tracking, and color temperature. Enter your settings and when you hit "Calibrate" it asks you to name your file and it's forever available for instant recall (well, it takes a few seconds to send it from your hard drive to the Monitor's LUT and to update the other settings as well but for all intents and purposes it's the same as having presets directly on the monitor).
Now, NECs are often referred to as screens that you can actually calibrate and technically this isn't really true. I touched on this before... because the CCFL puts out a specific color temperature you're pretty much stuck with that. The only way to modify that color temperature is by turning on pixels and subtractively filtering out light. This of course is not ideal on monitors that don't have high resolution monitor LUTs because the end result will degrade the resolution of the limited 8 bits that we have to work with. NEC gets around this by having a 12 bit monitor LUT and high resolution panel where by it has 16 times the resolution available to it to make such changes. By making these changes well above the resolution of the video card the NEC can take the 8 bits and remap those values to the higher resolution monitor LUT. The end result is that we don't have to sacrifice resolution coming out of the video card in order to achieve a different white balance or lower luminance or what have you, the lookup table in the video LUT remains 1:1.
So, not exactly the same as fully calibrating (you can only really calibrate the backlight on the NEC, that's it, the rest is technically profiling) but much better than the results you get with a monitor that has only an 8 bit LUT (in which case it makes no difference if you put the results in the video LUT or the monitor LUT).
Now... if we REALLY REALLY REALLY nitpick the Dream Color can't be fully calibrated either because the response curve of the individual pixels
can not be changed. While you can calibrate the color temp of the backlight that is a global change across the entire gradient from black to white. If there are any color shifts on the way from white to black, those shifts must be corrected with a profile (which would be stored in the Monitor LUT). Once OLED technology gets reasonable we will see monitors that you can genuinely calibrate because the pixels themselves emit light and you can calibrate the response curve from black to white (and the black levels will be phenomenal as you can actually turn the individual pixels off completely).