Pressing the other middle button on the OSD brings up Quick View settings, which are Movie, Photo, Gaming, Text, and Custom, the qualities of which I’ll go into later. If you want to access Brightness and Contrast then you have to press the Menu on the left. The option Custom Scaling presents you with the option for One to One pixel mapping, so you can get the correct aspect ratio from games and movies when you plug in something such as a PS3 or Xbox 360.
Generally the OSD is fine to use and navigate but you don’t actually have to use it. HP provides software on a CD, imaginatively called HP My Display, that gives you control of your screen. It provides a test pattern which you can use to optimise your picture and there’s one for colour too. You can also use it to mute the speakers, switch between inputs and there’s an Auto-Pivot option that will turn windows automatically when you rotate the display, without you having to go into the drivers. You need to take care here though as during testing this crashed on one occasion, leaving me with a black screen forcing me to reset the computer.
In terms of raw specs the HP offers a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, which it claims is boosted to 3,000:1 with a dynamic contrast ratio setting. Personally I don’t hold much stock in this and the sudden change in brightness levels as this kicks in and out I found distracting. Response time is given as only 5ms on/off, which is fast and viewing angles are given as 160 degrees both horizontally and vertically.
This is pretty good considering the HP is using a TN based panel as opposed to the much more expensive S-PVA and IPS technology. Indeed, this is the primary reason that the monitor is as affordable as it is.
So how does it perform? Generally this is a pleasing monitor to use for everyday use. The reflection from the glossy screen will bother some, so it’s not best suited to brightly lit office environments. The viewing angles from the sides and above are excellent, with very little colour cast shift – it’s only the viewing angles from below that suffer, with significant colour loss. The monitor is quite bright and needs to be calibrated to get a good balance between brightness and contrast.
Colours are pleasing though this is definitely a slightly artificial effect of the glossy coating – looking closely they are not as vibrant as the best IPS displays. A bigger issue is the evenness of the backlighting – while it’s fine most of the time, you will have to adjust the screen angle sometimes as you’ll find a dark patch or dull patch interfering. The full screen red colour test in DisplayMate really highlighted this unevenness with darker patches around the screen and especially at the edges.
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