HP L2335 Review

DT Editor's Choice

Highs

  • Perfect for graphic designers and gamers. Easy to setup
  • fantastic image quality

Rating

Our Score 9
User Score 8

Lows

  • Missing cable management system
With a 16ms response rate, the LP2335 plays games just as good if not better than traditional CRT monitors.

Summary

HP may have intended the L2335 for the graphic design market, but what they may not have realized is that hardcore gamers will be drooling over this monitor for their ultimate gaming setup. With a 16ms response rate, the LP2335 plays games just as good, if not better, than traditional CRT monitors. Add to that the 16:9 widescreen format, component video input and a 1920×1200 native resolution and the L2335 will also make a fantastic HDTV display.

Graphic designers that want more versatility than the Apple Cinema display will find the L2335 a better solution. With its pivot capabilities and very adjustable neck this monitor should please even the most demanding. The LCD display is sharp, colorful and very bright thanks to the LG Electronics LCD panel it uses.

Those looking for an LCD monitor with more television like features will want to pay the extra few hundred dollars and go for the HP f2304 which uses the same LCD display as the L2335 but also adds integrated speakers and a more stylish consumer friendly aesthetic design. So if you are looking for an LCD display that you plan on having a long-term relationship with, the L2335 just might be the one for you.

* We would like to thank the readers in the HardOCP and Designtechnica forums for their input and user experience with this product.

Introduction

It has been drilled in your head for years: you can’t game on an LCD monitor. Until recently, LCD monitors didn’t have a fast enough response time to keep up with the fast-paced graphics of today’s games and action-packed movies. Hewlett-Packard aims to crush that notion with the release of their L2335, a 23-inch widescreen monitor targeted toward graphic designers, hardcore gamers and those simply wanting a high-end display.

With its pivot capabilities and its numerous adjustability options, the L2335 turns out to be a very versatile monitor capable of playing a number of roles. Gamers may find it to be the ultimate solution due to its clean look, extra real-estate, and super smooth 16ms response rate. With a retail price of around $1799 it won’t be on everyone’s shopping list, but those that can (or choose to) afford it should be quite happy.

The HP L2335 23-inch LCD flat-panel display

The HP L2335 features a minimalistic design

Features and Design

We were told by HP that the L2335 uses an LCD panel manufactured as a joint venture between LG Electronics and Philips. That would make the L2335 one of the first LCDs on the market to use one of these new panels. HP actually has two models based on this same LG-Philips model, the L2335 and the f2304, which is geared more towards the consumer market and features more HDTV functionality such as integrated speakers and readily available input connections. The L2335 is actually found in the business section of HP’s Website, instead of the consumer department.

With an extremely fast 16ms response time, the L2335 also features a 500:1 contrast ratio, and a 16:9 widescreen display. It runs at UXGA (1920×1200) resolution at 60Hz and features a typical brightness of 250 nits. Add to that standard 15-pin D-sub VGA, DVI, component video, composite and S-video inputs, and you have a very versatile display. (Please note, as of the posting date of this review, HP’s Website incorrectly lists the response time at 25ms) The L2335 also has a picture-in-picture feature and is fully adjustable with screen height, tilt, swivel, and 90-degree pivot options.

The physical design of the L2335 gives the illusion that the monitor is larger than the 23 inches it actually is. This can be attributed to the neck of the monitor being long and bare and the four bezels being very slim. Couple that with the widescreen display, and the L2335 will dwarf the 17-inch and 19-inch monitors most of us have become accustomed to.

The overall physical design has a more traditional HP look to it instead of the sleek design that the sibling f2304 features. This however, should be fine with most users, because what the L2335 lacks in physical design, it more than makes up for in performance. In the retail package HP includes all of the cables necessary to hook up the L2335 including a DVI cable and a VGA to DVI adapter cable. HP also backs the L2335 with a three-year warranty including tech support.

HP L2335 compared to the f2304

The HP L2335 (left) is more industrial looking than the f2304 (right)

Setup and Use

Setting up the L2335 is relatively easy and does not require anything more than the typical monitor setup steps. The integrated power supply is a nice touch to the system and while it not only looks clean, it will not overcrowd the space on your power strip. This is a departure from other LCD monitors on the market that are powered by an external brick.

Once the monitor is positioned on your desk, you will need to install the Pivot Pro software and the monitor drivers. Because the L2335 is a much larger LCD than we typically use, and supports a much higher native resolution, it took a while to get used to. Coming from a 19-inch LCD at 1280×1024, the native 1920×1200 (UXGA) resolution of the L2335 was quite a difference. The overall size of the display made the icons appear to be very close in size to what they were on our previous monitor. But keep in mind, LCD displays work best at their native resolution, and anyone coming from a 17-inch or 19-inch CRT display might be in for a bit of a shock.

At first we thought it was kind of odd that the neck of this monitor was so narrow and tall, but we soon found out this is for a good reason. The LCD display has the ability to ‘pivot’ or rotate 90-degrees from a landscape viewing angle to a portrait position. Graphic designers and illustrators often prefer the portrait position while working on creative material such as advertisements, newsletters or flyers. There are two ways to set up the L2335 to switch between portrait and landscape modes: you can either setup the monitor to automatically switch modes once the display is rotated 90-degree or you can manually tell the software to do this by right-clicking on the desktop of your operating system and using the menu provided by the included Pivot Pro software. If you will be rotating the display frequently, you will want to make sure that the neck is extended all of the way to allow for enough clearance. Since you are rotating a 16:9 rectangular display instead of a traditional square, it will need more room as it pivots. The pivot software worked as designed and we did not have any problems during the installation or testing period. The L2335 is also capable of moving horizontally, vertically and has a 170-degree viewing angle, perfect for watching movies with a few onlookers. If you decide that you do not need the pivot function, or that you do not even like the look of the base, you can detach the display from it and mount it on the wall.

Because the L2335 has so many inputs and connections built-in, you can plug in to this monitor whatever devices you choose. Simply press the “input” button located on the front of the disiplay and you can switch between video sources. One thing that surprised us in our testing was that the video source coming in from the analog VGA input was just as good looking as the source coming in from the DVI input. But how can this be you say? Simple; because the analog VGA source was running at such a high resolution (1920×1200), the text and graphics look just as sharp as the DVI video source. Of course if you were to lower the resolution, you would notice a big difference, with the DVI source looking much cleaner and brighter. The television inputs are hidden behind a door located on the back left hand side of the monitor. You need to remove the door to get access to these inputs.

Speaking of inputs, because the L2335 supports the component video connection, and the PIP function, you can use this display as a limited HDTV television. We say ‘limited’ because there are no television controls on the front of the monitor, there are no integrated speakers, and it does not come with a remote control. But if you were adding the L2335 to an existing home theater set-up, it gets the job done. We used a progressive scan Pioneer DVD player for our DVD tests using the component video input, and were thoroughly impressed with the picture quality. Despite having a 500:1 contrast ratio, the picture quality is what we would classify well above average. The black levels are very tolerable and for some reason looked better than on most LCD flat-panel monitors we have seen. You can choose to use the PIP function and watch a movie or another video source while browsing the web. One issue that we found bothersome is that you can only move the PIP screen location by going into the on-screen menu and using the PIP controls from there. It would have been nice to have the controls on the front of the monitor or in software. Chances are that HP decided to leave the PIP functionality in the L2335 while manufacturing it as a way of saving costs. If HDTV features are what you want, we recommend you shell out the extra cash and get the HP f2304 which has more of a TV feel to it than a monitor.

Gamers will be happy to know that the L2335 handles anything you can throw at it when playing some of the most graphic-intensive and fast-paced games out there. We were able to play Unreal Tournament 2004 and Far Cry at a whopping 1600×1200 resolution using our Crucial Radeon 9800PRO video card. We tried playing games at the 1920×1200 resolution, but our video card simply could not handle it. But when you do decide to upgrade your video card, the L2335 should be ready for you. We did not experience any ghosting effects at all, which are typically associated with LCD monitors and gaming. Everything played super smooth just like you would expect from a traditional CRT monitor. This is no doubt due to the 16ms response rate which everyone has been waiting for in the LCD market. There have been some spec sheets of the L2335 floating around the Net that list this monitor with a 25ms response rate. We contacted our HP representative and he assured us that those specifications are old and that 16ms is correct. We have seen companies in the past introduce to the market an LCD display with two different specifications even though they share the same model number. We hope this is not the case and have confidence in HP. If you have experience with the L2335 and yours has a different specification, we’d like to hear about it.

Conclusion

HP may have intended the L2335 for the graphic design market, but what they may not have realized is that hardcore gamers will be drooling over this monitor for their ultimate gaming setup. With a 16ms response rate, the L2335 plays games just as good, if not better, than traditional CRT monitors. Add to that the 16:9 widescreen format, component video input and a 1920×1200 native resolution and the L2335 will also make a fantastic HDTV display.

Graphic designers that want more versatility than the Apple Cinema display will find the L2335 a better solution. With its pivot capabilities and very adjustable neck this monitor should please even the most demanding. The LCD display is sharp, colorful and very bright thanks to the LG Electronics LCD panel it uses.

Those looking for an LCD monitor with more television like features will want to pay the extra few hundred dollars and go for the HP f2304 which uses the same LCD display as the L2335 but also adds integrated speakers and a more stylish consumer friendly aesthetic design. So if you are looking for an LCD display that you plan on having a long-term relationship with, the L2335 just might be the one for you.

*Note: If you want to run this monitor in a true 16:9 aspect ratio, then you will need to change the screen resolution to 1920×1080 instead of the native 1920×1200.