At a Glance
This sleek model show its age; other excellent products have proven its image quality merely average.
The saga of the HP F2304 illustrates how much large LCD monitors have improved. When we took a first look at this wide-screen monitor for our June 2004 issue, we awarded it 4.5 stars and raved about its then-novel 23-inch screen size and 1920-by-1200-pixel native resolution. Just over a year later, when we pitted it against the most recent crop of large wide-screen LCDs for our July chart, we found its performance merely adequate.
With the F2304 operating at its default settings, several judges noted a distracting pink tinge on our test screens. Overall, the monitor's test scores fell below the average of all tested units. The F2304 earned a rating of Good in both text and graphics.
In addition to having standard analog and digital PC inputs, the F2304 includes component and S-Video inputs. These ports, located on the back of the monitor, sit next to blue lights that may help guide you if you're connecting the monitor to a DVD player or other external device. We tested video playback with a DVD movie played through a PC's DVI connection, and found the results less impressive than they were last year. In dark areas, such as the highlights on a black velvet cloak, the low contrast was particularly disappointing. The F2304's two integrated speakers, capable of handling an impressive 5 watts per channel, sound pretty good--but they're a far cry from a surround-sound setup.
The F2304 remains the same attractive, slender model with the same screen and same silvery (and frustratingly nonadjustable) stand. But these days neither its features nor its image quality permit it to stand out from the pack. Priced at $1900, the F2304 is the most expensive of the large wide-screen LCDs we recently examined; other monitors offer USB hubs or better image quality at a lower price.
For a premium price, the HP F2304 delivers average image quality and features.
23-inch screen; 1920-by-1200 native resolution; 22.1 pounds; one analog, one digital, one component, and one S-Video input; tilt adjustment; TCO'03-compliant. Three-year warranty (including backlight); 24-hour daily toll-free tech support.