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Given the budget focus of this monitor it would be too much to expect a lot of the image quality, but regardless it's still important to see exactly how it stacks up against potential competitors. And, though it's no high definition wonder, the Hanns.G is at least competent enough provided you have humble needs.
Starting with DisplayMate testing, the Dark-Grey Scale showed some compression of the darker end of the scale, with the darker greys fading into the black background. However, those that were shown were adequately produced, with little in the way of the nasty brown/yellow shading you sometimes see on even more expensive monitors. Much the same could be said of the White-Level Saturation test, with compression at the brighter end of the scale but neutral tones elsewhere.
However, where the difference comes is in both the vibrancy and gradation of colours. Throughout use and testing it was plain to see that colours were predominantly dull and uninteresting, even the brightest shades. This also bore itself out in the lack of definition between different gradations colours, which reproduces itself as a lack of detail in images and video. As with the previous tests this was most extreme at the dark and light end of the scale, with low saturation colours and dark shades regularly indefinable.
Continuing through the testing also showed that text sharpness was an issue as well, with the 6.8 point Arial font merging into itself making it difficult to read. Above this it is fine, but it's not a problem you often see in modern LCDs. Another notable quality issue is the dirtiness of the whites, which makes the display often look darker than it really is when reading documents and web pages. Unsurprisingly, black levels were also distinctly average, with a consistently washed out look during dark scenes.
Ultimately, this combination of lack of detail, dirty whites and poor back levels means that whether you're playing a game or watching a film, the HG216D will never bring these scenes to life in a way that's truly immersive.
Despite this, it must be said that for the price this is a perfectly decent monitor. It may lack in aesthetic appeal but image quality is solid enough for most needs and compares favourably to more expensive examples available for around the £170-180 mark. Thus, if you're on a strict budget this represents very good value for money.
What it lacks in style the HG216D makes up for in value and solid, if unspectacular, performance and features.
Trusted Reviews is part of the Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Technology Network