HP w2007 Review

Highs

  • Beautful picture; attractive design; 5ms response rate; attractive price

Rating

Our Score 8
User Score 8

Lows

  • Lacks USB inputs; DVI cable is not included
For a $279 USD LCD display, the HP w2007 is an attractive offering.

Summary

In recent months, HP has been releasing a number of high-quality widescreen LCD monitors for business, home, and home office use. Most recently, HP announced the w2007 20.1″ widescreen LCD with HP’s “BrightView” glossy screen. While the w2007 may not have certain luxuries like a built-in USB hub or iPod dock, its technical specs are quite impressive, especially for the average retail price of $279 USD. Find out more about the HP w2007 and why it might be right for you.

*Update 5/4/07 – HP will be including a DVI cable in all w2007 monitors. If you purchased a w2007 monitor and did not receive the DVI cable, please call HP support to have one sent to you.

Features & Design

The HP w2007 20.1″ widescreen LCD monitor is a pretty sight to see. HP’s design team has been making some very nice enhancements to their line of Home & Home Office monitors. The w2007 has a silver body and a glossy black face. One of the most aesthetic aspects of the w2007 is the glossy screen (a.k.a. BrightView), similar to modern laptops, including many HP models and Apple’s MacBook Pro. It’s the w2007’s glossy screen that helps make photos and movies burst with lively color. Having a desktop monitor with a glossy screen makes for a more enjoyable experience, especially when working in Photoshop, Picasa, iPhoto, or similar apps.

Vital Stats
HP’s w2007 LCD screen has some impressive stats for a $279 USD widescreen LCD. The 20.1″ size is perfect for most corporate and home office uses. The 1680 x 1050 native screen resolution is excellent for Photoshop, CAD/CAM, video editing, and other applications where screen real estate is critical.

The w2007 also has very impressive contrast ratio — 1000:1, to be exact. Other similarly-priced LCD screens often have between 600:1 and 800:1 listed contrast ratios. Blacks will be darker, whites will be brighter, and colors will be rendered with lifelike splendor on the w2007. Of course, the 300 nits of brightness also help render an excellent image on screen.

Pre-programmed Modes
HP set the w2007 up with several pre-programmed video modes to help users select Movie, Photo, Gaming, Text, and Custom settings. Each mode uses a different color temperature, brightness, and contrast best suited for different styles of use.

Sleep Timer
Perfect for office use, the w2007 has a sleep timer that can be accessed via the on-screen menu. Users can set the w2007 to enter and return from low-power sleep mode at specific times each day and night, thereby saving money on monthly electric bills. It also helps eliminate the nagging concern of whether or not you turned off your monitor when you left the office in a rush.

Glossy vs. Matte
Ever since laptops and LCD monitors became available with glossy screens, there’s been a running controversy about glare, reflections, and the effects on color purity. Great numbers of imaging professionals absolutely swear by matte screens, and an equal number of pros and prosumers love the glossy screens. (I’m personally fond of the glossy option.) With my MacBook Pro, I never had a single problem with screen glare, so I could never understand why there was so much fuss. With the HP w2007 and its “BrightView” glossy screen, however, I noticed a very distinct level of reflection when there were dark images on the screen. The darker the screen, the more of the room was reflected. When I displayed a night sky photo, I could clearly see myself and the entire back half of my office behind me. It was like a dark mirror. When I displayed images with bright colors, the reflections nearly disappeared. Of course, room lighting will have major effects on any glare or reflections.

Swivel & Tilt
The w2007 has a small circular disc on the bottom of the base. It acts like a lazy Susan, allowing the base to swivel 360 degrees. Of course, the fact that the w2007 is connected by a power cord and video cable means that the base can only pivot as far as the cords will allow. The screen can tilt forward 5 degrees and backward 25 degrees. The w2007 cannot be raised or lowered like many other LCD monitors can.

HP w2007
Image Courtesy of HP

Setup & Use

Setting up the w2007 is very easy. After removing the LCD screen and base from the box, attach the base and set the monitor upright on a desk or table. Plug the power cord (no power brick, thank goodness) into the w2007, but don’t plug it into the wall yet. Connect the included 1/8″ audio cable into the green audio-in port if you’ll be using the w2007’s internal speakers for sound. Connect your VGA or DVI cable, depending on which connection you will be using. Of course, HP failed (again) to provide a DVI cable, so you’ll have to provide your own. A VGA cable is included with the w2007.

Once the w2007 has all cables connected to its ports, connect the corresponding ends to your computer system. Then plug the monitor into the wall outlet. Power the w2007 up by pressing the power button on top of the LCD bezel.

If you use any version of Windows, you may need to configure the monitor’s proper resolution of 1680 x 1050. Mac users won’t have to do any configuration — the w2007 is automatically recognized and compensated for.

Test your audio on the w2007 by playing an MP3 or any other audio file. Make volume adjustments on the w2007 by using the control buttons located on the lower right corner of the bezel. You may need to adjust the volume on your computer to help regulate the proper volume levels on the w2007.

Integrated Speakers
It’s not really fair to expect truly impressive sound from integrated speakers in an LCD screen. At best, these 2-watt speakers (2-watt x2) will give laptop-like sound — and that’s just what the w2007 provides. Bass is weak, but mids and highs are fine. While the w2007 is not going to replace a high quality external speaker system for your computer or iPod, it performs perfectly well for playing general audio files like podcasts, talk radio, audio notes for transcription, etc. and it handles TV and DVD audio well (though not really well).

Photo & DVD Results
The w2007 is quite impressive for viewing high resolution photos. The glossy screen really brings images to life. When viewing some of my favorite photographs, I found myself continually impressed with the image. Colors are unbelievably vivid, and skin tones so realistic it almost seemed like my photo subjects were sitting in front of me again.

DVDs look gorgeous too, especially because of the glossy screen of the w2007. I tested Amelie, Underworld, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. All three films have different lighting, visual effects, and tonal qualities that render differently on varying qualities of LCD screens. Each of these movies looked fantastic on the w2007. Colors were lifelike, blacks were darker than pitch, and whites were pure. Thanks to the impressive 5ms response time and the 1000:1 contrast ratio, there was no ghosting or evidence of artifacts.

HP w2007
The HP w2007 connected to an Apple MacBook Pro

Conclusion

The glossy screen makes images look amazingly vivid. Even though it has a tendency to reflect light, its negative effects are limited if your work environment is properly lit. The w2007 has an excellent 5ms response time and 1000:1 contrast ratio, making DVDs and video games look great. It takes VGA and DVI inputs, and the 2-watt integrated speakers are acceptable. For a $279 USD LCD display, the HP w2007 is an attractive offering.

Pros:

• 5ms response time
• 1000:1 contrast ratio
• Affordable
• VGA & DVI inputs

Cons:

• Unimpressive speakers
• No USB 2.0 hub built in
• DVI cable not included

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