Review: 6 HD displays, from midsize to massive

We look at 6 HD displays, from 21.5 inches to 46 inches, to see whether size matters when looking for a great monitor.

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HP w2338h

(23 inches)

Computers and printers certainly, but monitors from Hewlett-Packard? Yes, and it has quite a few. The w2338h is a wide-screen (1920 x 1080-pixel) HD display that seems to make moderation its forte.

Highlights: The HP offers only VGA and HDMI connectors, which is a bit better than the DVI-I connectivity available from Samsung's P2370, but I would have been happier if HP had replaced the VGA port with a DVI port. That would have given it maximum digital connectivity (an adapter cable could handle analog sources) for both a PC and a Blu-ray drive.

HP has incorporated a small "floating" disk underneath the bottom of the w2338h's stand. The design is like a lazy Susan in that it allows the display to swivel easily -- at the expense of adding some wobble to the monitor if you push at it.

HD displays
HP w2338h

The w2338h is a little short for an average computer desk/chair but it has a good range of tilt. The display comes with integrated speakers. There are no USB ports.

Test results: Out of the box, the brightness and contrast on the w2338h were cranked up way too high. While that didn't seem to affect the grayscale detail, DisplayMate's bright white testing totally obliterated areas that were normally visible on other monitors. Darkening things up had no effect on grayscale definition.

There was a brief blur during the first of DisplayMate's motion/blur tests, but nothing else appeared through the remainder of that testing. Blur is generally unusual on a 5ms display, so just to make sure, I ran Company of Heroes' built-in performance test and played the game for a short time. The problem did not carry over into game play and seemed to be reserved for that one particular static test.

The w2338h offers a 3000:1 contrast ratio and reasonable 300 cd/m² brightness rating.

Extreme angle viewing was as good as head-on and produced no color shift. Text was fine throughout, readable down to 6.8 points, and there was no noticeable blooming once the brightness and contrast were adjusted.

Picture quality: The w2338h gets an unqualified thumbs-up for video. Both the captured HDTV video and the two Blu-ray titles played very well on the monitor. There was no blurring and no lost definition in either the dark or overly light scenes. All details were sharp and the colors as vibrant as they should be in HD.

As with almost all of the monitors I've reviewed that have integrated speakers, the fidelity of those in the w2338h left me wanting something better, especially considering the overall visual quality of the display itself. Speakers aside, it would only have taken a DVI connector to push the monitor from the good to the near perfect.

Conclusion: The only thing missing from HP's w2338h is a DVI port -- adding just that much additional connectivity would make it a value and feature leader. Lacking one, an HDMI switcher is the order of the day for connecting your PC and a standalone Blu-ray player to the monitor's single HDMI port.

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