In general use the E-W22 is quite a pleasant monitor to work with. The glass panel certainly reduces eye strain over prolonged use, while text is sharp and easy to read. However, it was evident just from using the monitor that it struggled with challenging low saturated colours. Very light blues, for example, had a slightly grey tinge to them, belying the average colour accuracy of the panel. White reproduction was also rather dirty, with a slightly red/pinkish tinge.
To get a clearer picture of things we launched DisplayMate – our favourite set of highly challenging monitor tests. Immediately, the Dark-Grey Scale test showed some problems, with many shades demonstrating a distinctly dirty red/brown tinge to them while the more challenging shades were barely visible. This was a problem also evident on the White-Level Saturation test, though here performance was adequate.
Indeed, adequate is the overwhelming impression of the E-W22’s performance. Many of the tests in DisplayMate showed some kind of small problems, such as slightly uneven colour production in the Screen Uniformity tests or the general lack of vibrancy in the Colour Scales. Moreover, in our testing we did discover one solitary dead pixel. In truth it was barely noticeable, but it was there nonetheless.
For a more general impression we fired up Quake 4, with its combination of dimly lit corridors and bright colours making for a good test of any monitor. Black levels were impressive too, though detail in the darker areas did suffer somewhat. Switching to the Gaming profile showed just how awful it is, turning the darkened brooding of Quake 4 into something more akin to a Saturday evening variety show, full off garish colours and bright white lighting. As a whole though, the deficiencies shown in DisplayMate weren’t too evident. Moreover, motion was predominantly smooth and without fault.
High-definition video content was also handled well, with a good level of detail and neutral skin tones. It’ll never replace a TV, but for casual video viewing the E-W22 will suit most needs. All of which sounds reasonable enough, until you realise that you’re paying nearly £300 for a perfectly capable but hardly outstanding display. Of course, you’re paying a premium for the styling and construction, which is undeniably good. However, for the price one would to expect something truly special like an especially slim bezel or particularly ornate stand: something unique.
There’s no evidence of this here and when you consider that the equally stylish HP w2207 is available for around the £200 mark, the E-W22 looks like an expensive proposition. Indeed, when you further consider that the w2207 has more adjustment, better image quality and features two USB ports, it’s hard to recommend the E-W22 over something that’s signicantly cheaper, better featured and just generally better.
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There’s nothing inherently terrible about the E-W22, but it’s merely decent at a price that would suggest otherwise. Thus, unless you’re sold on the looks alone and have the money to spare, you’re far better off with HP’s equally stylish but generally more impressive w2207. Lord knows, it would save you a fair few pennies.
Score in detail
Image Quality 7