Thanks in part to its accurate color reproduction, the 22-inch HP LP2275w achieved the highest marks in our performance tests we've seen yet, beating out the $799 Dell Crystal and trouncing the $239 Gateway HD2201. The monitor includes a full host of ergonomic features, including screen rotation, pivoting, and height adjustment, plus a wide viewing angle that makes it excellent for games and movies. The HP LP2275w's lack of an HDMI port--it includes DVI and DisplayPort connections instead--is its only major drawback. Because HP is selling the LP2275w for $379 through the end of January 2009, the monitor is a certifiably great deal. After that, the regular price will be $399, but still a far superior product than its cheaper Gateway competitor.
Design and features
The HP LP2275w's panel is a thick 2 inches deep and nearly 20 inches wide--slightly thinner than the Gateway HD2201, which measures just over 20 inches and much smaller than the more-than-26-inch Dell Crystal. The footstand measures about 14 inches wide by 9 inches deep--wide for a 22-incher. As such, wobbling was minimal when we knocked the monitor from the sides, even when the monitor's height raised its full 4 inches. The screen has a smooth matte finish and is made of a S-PVA panel (known to have the best viewing angles in consumer level monitors). The screen rotates 30 degrees to the left and right, tilts back about 20 degrees, and pivots 90 degrees for portrait mode.
There is a groove in the back of the panel for carrying the monitor, but it feels too shallow and I couldn't fit my hands comfortably inside. (Given the LP2275w's hefty, 19-pound weight, you probably won't be moving it around much anyway.) The monitor's connection options include DVI, but unfortunately HP forgoes HDMI in favor of DisplayPort. While DisplayPort is purported to be the next standard among display connections, it isn't yet and HDMI would see more use today. The video connections sit to the right of the neck of the stand and are fairly easy to get to; the left of the connections, you'll find two additional USB downstream ports and one upstream port. Two more USB downstream ports line the panel's right side, recessed a couple of inches from the front of the screen..
The display has a 1,680x1,050-pixel native resolution, which mean that while it will display HD content, it will have to scale 1080p content to fit the screen.
The onscreen display array, which lets you customize brightness, contrast, color temperature, and individual RGB controls, sits on the lower right-hand side of the bezel and includes four, 1-inch-long buttons. To the right of the buttons, a green LED light sits next to the power button, providing just enough light to calibrate the display in a dark room.
Pixel-response rate: 6ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Connectivity: DVI, DisplayPort
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? DVI, DisplayPort
We tested the HP LP2275w with its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 91 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests--the highest score we've seen yet, easily beating the Gateway HD2201 with its 84 and edging out the Dell Crystal, which scored 90. These three displays exhibited similar performance in most of the DisplayMate test screens, but the HP broke from the pack by achieving perfect scores in our color tests for the first time in our testing history. According to HP, the LP2275 has a color gamut of 118 percent, meaning that it can access 18 percent more variations of color than a typical monitor. For example, a character in a movie might be wearing a blue suit that ranges from light blue to slightly lighter blue depending on where the light falls. The HP would conceivably be able to display that slightly lighter blue where a typical monitor would not. We saw clear evidence of this in our DisplayMate tests, but not as clearly in our real-world movie and game test.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 looked sharp (for a DVD) with accurate and full color. When we looked at the HP side-by-side with the Dell and Gateway HD2201, we noticed that both the HP and Dell each had deep and full color levels, while the Gateway HD2201 looked a bit drab by comparison. In particular, the Bride's jumpsuit was a very bright yellow on the HP and Dell, but had less pop to it on the Gateway. World of Warcraft also showed vibrant colors on the HP LP2275w and a deep black level made the polygonal characters look full and three-dimensional.
The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the screen distance down from the top. At this angle, the colors and gamma correction are being viewed as they were intended to. Most monitors are not made to be viewed at any angle other than the optimal one. Depending on their panel type, their picture quality at nonoptimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when viewed from nonoptimal angles. The HP was made with an S-PVA panel, which usually shows only a slight change in the gamma correction at the most with angle changes. Indeed, we noticed that the HP's screen only brightens slightly when viewed from the sides, top, or bottom.
With the HP's purported 118 percent color gamut, we noticed a definite red push. (Maybe its colors were too saturated at the factory settings.) Our recommended settings for the LP2275w for movies and games are Brightness set to 70 (or as high as your eyes can handle), Contrast at 58, and Color Temperature set to Custom, then taking Red down from 255 to 245. That should give the picture on the LP2275w a much more balanced color reproduction.