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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HannsG HG281DPB

(27.5 inches)

The HannsG HG281DPB LCD is the epitome of a big-screen bargain. Its 27.5 inches of LCD real estate can currently be found at various retail outlets for $360- $380. A year ago it had a $500 price tag.

Highlights: The monitor's 1920 x 1200-pixel native resolution is the definition of high definition according to HD purists. The only corner HannsG seems to have cut is component video and/or DVI ports. However, you'll find adapters in the box to convert component video to D-sub and DVI to HDMI -- which means you'll get connectivity no matter what your input device of choice, just not necessarily at the same time or to the same degree. (VGA is VGA even if you feed it into an HDMI port.)

HD displays
HannsG HG281DPB

The HG281DPB's 500 cd/m² brightness level is better than most displays on the market, as is its claimed 3 ms response time. It supports a 2400:1 dynamic contrast ratio, which boils down to an 800:1 direct contrast ratio.

Test results: Testing with DisplayMate showed no major flaws. The display exhibited some loss at the very low end of the test's grayscale and at the top end of its white-level trials, but no more so than most consumer-level monitors I've tested. Text is best viewed at 6.8 points or larger.

There was no blooming or blurring during gaming, and the monitor's color rendition was quite good (although I did fiddle a bit with the color controls to get it where I wanted it). If you have external speakers, keep them. The 2.5-watt integrated speakers will not impress you.

Picture quality: HD video is enjoyable on the HG281DPB -- provided you sit back a bit. Up close, a big display will reveal some of the pixels needed to create that picture. Back away a bit (at least three feet) and you can still see the beard stubble but not the elements used to create it. It has a height-adjustable stand, but you'll have to physically move it if you want to swivel it to a new position.

The HG281DPB performed the same with the Blu-ray video as it did with the captured HDTV video: Colors were bright, images sharp, and there was no blur or loss of definition in dark or very bright segments. Color was rock-solid even when viewed at severe angles.

Conclusion: For the price, the HannsG HG281DPB needs to make no apologies -- except to users who need multiple video connections.

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