HP tries to pull a quick one on the consumer with their w22 22-inch LCD monitor. Featuring an attractive 5ms response rate and a 1680×1050 resolution, the positive energy stops there. Sure the $400 U.S. price tag is attractive, but as the old saying goes “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is” and the w22 is certainly a testament to that. Find out why you need to forget this monitor ever existed.
Editors Note – 3/9/07 – While it’s true that vertical scan frequency is not supposed to be an issue with LCD monitors because they simply lack the phosphors of a CRT monitor, the vertical scan frequency does have a maximum refresh rate (in the case of the w22, 75Hz) to support motion, although it will not refresh static images.
Features and Design
Straight out of the box, the w22 looks pleasing to the eye. With its silver finish and round edges, the w22 wants’ to scream modern design and it almost passes the part until you use it. The monitor bezel “snaps” into the base and feels very flimsy when moving or adjusting the monitor. Adjustability on the w22 is very limited, you can tilt the screen, but adjusting the height and swivel angle is out of the question as it just cannot be done. The monitor does have built-in speakers which is a nice touch, but it’s odd that you have to use the same buttons you would use for adjusting the screen settings, as the volume controls. Oddly, despite having built-in speakers, there is no built-in microphone. The w22 is also missing any USB ports which are pretty standard features by now. When reviewing their commercial monitors we were told they did not include USB ports as a security precaution for businesses. We sort of bought that, but for USB ports to be missing from a consumer monitor of this size are pretty silly.
The w22 features a 5ms response rate and 1680×1050 resolution which is great, but HP neglects to mention the 700:1 contract ratio anywhere in their manual, you have to download the specifications in PDF form from their website to get actual numbers. HP recommends that you use this monitor at the 1680×1050 resolution at 60hz, which is a very low refresh rate using the analog cable. You would have to lower the resolution even lower, at 1440×900 to get a faster 75Hz refresh rate.
Included with the w22 monitor is the warranty manual, audio cable and an analog VGA cable. A DVI cable is not included and will run you $20-$50 dollars (depending on quality and length) adding to your overall investment. HP backs the w22 with a 1-year warranty that includes a 15-day replacement plan if they find your monitor to be defective; the warranty they provide is better than most companies, but not as good as the 3-year warranty provided on HP’s commercial monitors.
Image Courtesy of HP
Testing and Use
Getting the w22 up and running was pretty simple, as it should be with analog VGA the only option out of the box. Plug the monitor in, hit the auto button and you are good to go. At first run, the w22’s colors were really washed out. We had to tweak the color and brightness settings using both the on-screen display (OSD) and our video card software settings. The onscreen menu is easy to navigate and looks for the most part like the same menu seen on other HP monitors.
During our video game tests, the w22 showed limited ghosting and trailing thanks to its 5ms response rate, but colors just did not look as deep and rich as they should have. Black levels during movie playback looked washed out at times, and if you tweaked the settings to get the black levels to reasonable levels, colors started to look too dark; it was difficult to find common ground. In comparison to HP’s f2105 monitor whom we reviewed a while back, the w22 really has trouble standing on its own two feet. The f2105 is a better looking monitor, has a higher contrast ratio (900:1), albeit a slower response rate, attached speakers including a headphone jack, and can even double as an HDTV monitor capable of 1080i and 720p resolutions. And although the f2105 has been out for a while, its price has dropped to within the same range as the w22 and would make a better monitor.
Unless you get the w22 as part of a complete computer package, this is one monitor you are going to want to avoid spending money on. The quality of the bezel and stand feel cheap and flimsy, and the picture quality is mediocre at best. We do like that the monitor comes with integrated speakers, but the lack of any USB ports is not forgivable, it should have been a given in any consumer monitor nowadays. It’s also inexcusable that HP left out a DVI cable – what were they thinking? If you are stuck on getting an HP monitor, we would recommend the aging f2105 which you can find for under $400 U.S. or wait a month or two for HP to release their new consumer monitor line-up. Otherwise, we would recommend the award winning Gateway FPD2275W 22” widescreen monitor – arguably the best monitor of this size out there.
• Built-in speakers
• Aesthetically pleasing
• Cannot swivel or adjust height
• The volume controls double as menu controls
• Base is wobbly
• Only one DVI input