At a Glance
The HP w2207 delivers one of the better-designed 22-inch wide-screen LCD monitors we've seen, earning extra points for its easily adjustable double-hinged base and for its strikingly good looks. It does lag behind other 22-inch LCDs in overall performance, particularly on graphics tests. At $360 (as of October 9, 2007), it's pricier than better-performing displays, but it offers the best combination of features and quality.
The display's glossy screen (which HP calls BrightView) may not be for you, particularly if you find background reflections distracting, but it produced natural color and uniformly sharp text. Word and Excel documents looked consistently bright across the screen, even at the corners. Text edges were sharp, resulting in easy-to-read documents on Web pages and other text-heavy documents. The LCD rendered skin tones on a diverse group portrait with few traces of purple on darker skin or of overly pink tones on lighter skin, though jury members did note a lack of richness. The display was weakest on our grayscale and color-scale tests, where judges penalized it for dark shades and hard-to-discern colors. Graphics work that requires precise, deep contrast may suffer on this monitor.
In a screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the monitor rendered realistic skin tones, especially those of the pirate Jack Sparrow, contrasting nicely against the lighter tones of the rest of the cast. Reds, particularly in uniforms, were balanced and saturated, while blues were pleasing, though darker uniforms tended to lose some detail. Panning motion was excellent, with only the barest hints of shadowing. The monitor comes with speakers built into the back, which keeps the monitor's appearance clean and consistent. But partly because they're in the back and partly because they're rather weak, the speakers produced muffled and at times almost unintelligible dialog; they're inadequate for any real multimedia applications that require sound.
The display moves up and down easily, thanks to a height-adjustable double-hinged base that seems to float when you push it up, but becomes quite stable when positioned. Slivers of silver accent the top and bottom of the black glossy bezel. The stand reminded me of a rectangular paddle. The main drawback of the double hinge is that it makes the w2207's footprint large for an LCD of its class--so it may not be suitable for tiny, crammed desks.
The on-screen display (OSD) menu is easy to access, thanks to clearly labeled buttons at the bottom of the display. It includes presets for four common viewing tasks: 'movie', 'photo', 'gaming', and 'text'. The monitor can pivot from its default landscape position to a vertical portrait mode; and HP includes My Display software for automatically adjusting the orientation of the display 90 degrees clockwise. In my test, the software worked well--but after activating the automatic function. I couldn't access the regular OSD menu until I exited the My Display software. After PC World concluded its tests, an HP representative told me that the company had solved the incompatibility. In any case, My Display replaces many OSD functions with an easier-to-use monitor calibration tool. It offers brightness, contrast, and white-point (or white-balance) control via a software interface.
HP separately sells various Easy Clip accessories that you can attach to the sides of your monitor. Among your options are a Webcam, a clip to hold photos, and a bud vase to add whimsy to a frequently ignored peripheral. We didn't receive any accessories with our test machine, but they're available from HP's Web site.
The HP w2207 has a lot to offer, including sharp text and good design. And if you want to personalize your monitor with lots of adjustments, it deserves a serious look.