So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Hewlett-Packard Australia w2448hc
24in monitor with HDMI
- Sharp image, good contrast, HDMI connectivity, built-in webcam
- Colours inaccurate on some presets, glossy finish is distracting, doesn't handle motion as well as a 3ms panel should
HP's w2448hc is a fairly good but not outstanding 24in panel. While its HDMI connectivity and built-in webcam are both boons, the glossy finish is extremely distracting and there are some colour issues that may annoy image quality purists.
With an HDMI input and a built-in webcam, the HP w2448hc is clearly targeted at users after an all-purpose multimedia display. It is a 24in panel so it offers a sizeable amount of desktop space, and its design is pretty funky. We did find a few issues with the image quality, but they weren't too significant; this unit is still a fairly solid display.
Like most 24in screens, the w2448hc has a native resolution of 1920x1080. It offers a number of image mode presets; it defaults to text, which is designed for desktop use and general Web browsing. It offered a crisp, sharp image with minimal noise and no aberrations around the edges of text. However, while using this setting colours looked extremely bright and inaccurate. They were all noticeably paler than normal (particularly reds, which looked almost orange).
You can, of course, change the preset to something else. There is a custom mode that allows the tweaking of brightness, contrast and saturation; this produced a better picture, although colours were still strongly saturated. This isn't necessarily a problem and will probably be appreciated by movie-lovers, but designers and other users who need pure, accurate hues will be disappointed.
Another option is the movie mode, which does a good job of making things darker and richer but it also activates the dynamic contrast mode, which we found to be pretty irritating. Dynamic contrast adjusts contrast on the fly, depending on what is on screen. While it does a good job sometimes, it can be flaky and the constant shifting got on our nerves quite a bit.
It was also pretty unnecessary, as the default contrast setting produced good results in our Displaymate Video Edition tests. There was good definition between blocks in both the large and small colour intensity ramps and fairly good detail in dark areas in our film tests. Blacks were decent but not outstanding and they weren't helped by the screen's glossy plastic cover, which is extremely reflective. We found it very distracting: whenever the screen went dark we could see ourselves. In well-lit conditions there was more than a little glare.
There was a little backlight bleeding noticeable on dark screens although it was fairly subtle and not problematic in our real world testing. Viewing angles were also excellent. The panel has a 3ms response time, which is impressive, but it did exhibit some ghosting in our motion tests.
The w2448hc's HDMI port makes it suitable to use with high-definition games consoles and other media devices. It also has a 1.3-megapixel webcam, which is handy for basic Web conferencing. There are several USB ports on the left side, and graphics connectivity is rounded out with both D-Sub and DVI ports.
Aesthetically, the unit is stylish although it is quite big. It has a glossy black bezel that looks nice but it is about an inch thick and adds to the display's overall dimensions. The screen is mounted on a fully moveable stand that can be adjusted up and down as well as rotated to a portrait view.
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