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HANNspree Xm-S Verona W22 monitor
When looking for a quality monitor, Hannspree is probably not a name that would immediately spring to mind, especially if you live in the UK. Like Iiyama these days - how far the mighty have fallen - it's a company whose products seem to be often relegated to the more budget-oriented end of the market. If you want a monitor shaped like a basketball or football, then Hannspree is pretty much the only choice (I hope), but what about a more generic display suitable for work and play aimed at those over 12?
Part of the company's new XM Style series, the Verona pretty much fits that bill. Unlike the 19in models in the same range, the Verona doesn't feature fake wood (Boston), fake metal (New York), or hideous fake… goo (Glaze) finishes. As the only model above that size at 22in, the Verona is thankfully executed in the always-attractive piano black - which is a good thing considering its apparent lack of stand-out features.
Though I can't quite see the reference to the Italian city, overall the XM-S Verona W22 is not a bad-looking monitor. The oval base, which is of the click-in variety like most budget screens that have passed through TR recently, consists of two tones; the outer ring is shiny like the bezel, while the inner bit around the stand is matte to match the screen's back. This is probably the W22's only unique design feature, and does work quite well. The bezel, meanwhile, is remarkably similar to the 22in Asus VW223B or even Samsung's SyncMaster 226cw, except it lacks the silver offset that those two use to make the lower parts of their bezels look thinner. Instead, Hannspree tries to suggest this by having a thin indent line "separating" the two sections. Obviously, this cheaper solution doesn't work quite as well, but it does mean that if you hate those silver embellishments, this is the monitor for you.
It's good that the small green LED is quite unobtrusive, since it's not exactly a design masterstroke - being square where the monitor's corners are rounded, too far towards the bezel's outer edge to seem part of the whole, and green. Things aren't helped by the visible buttons, which have their functions labelled on the display's front, though to be fair the icons are small and inconspicuous while remaining legible. Oddly enough, the monitor's name or model number aren't present to spoil the bezel or any other part of it, though the brand, Xm-S tag and inevitable HDMI logo are all accounted for. Refreshingly, there is only one sticker to peel off, the one claiming that the monitor has been certified for Vista (as if non-'certified' monitors aren't just as suitable).