HP 2009m review: HP 2009m

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MSRP: $149.99

The Good The HP 2009m includes screen tilt and swivel, built in speakers, and decent movie and game performance.

The Bad The HP 2009m's low brightness keeps colors in games and movies from standing out and the ultraglossy screen is ultrareflective and sometimes prevents dark details from being seen.

The Bottom Line The HP 2009m is a good-looking 20-inch display with enough features to make it well worth its low price.

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7.3 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Support 5

The HP 2009m has a street price of $180, but online costs as little as $140. The monitor includes a couple of useful ergonomic options, built in speakers, and a pleasing aesthetic. While its color reproduction leaves something to be desired and its ultrareflective screen sometimes prevents dark details from being seen, movies, and games look good. Compared with the similarly priced LG Flatron W2053TQ, the HP is slightly less expensive and has a more intuitive OSD; however, the two are virtually evenly matched in performance. We'd recommend the HP to those that want to save a bit more money and would like a more intuitive OSD. The useful eco options in the LG make it the best choice if energy consumption is a concern.

Design and features
The HP 2009m's black bezel and 20-inch screen are strikingly glossy and, not surprisingly, fingerprint magnets. The bezel measures less than an inch on all sides while the uniquely designed panel that sits behind it protrudes a quarter of an inch from the right, left and top. The display's full width is 19.75 inches; slightly longer than the LG Flatron 2053's 19-inch length. The HP's panel is 2.75 inches deep from bezel to back and the bottom of the panel sits two inches above the desktop. The back of the monitor is smooth and curves toward the front.

The rectangular, metallic-silver footstand is smooth to the touch, measuring 7.75 inches by 7 inches. It wobbles quite a bit when knocked form the sides. Although the panel doesn't swivel independently of the stand, the stand rests on a small "button" on the bottom of the footstand, which protrudes slightly. This small button, which allows the whole display to rotate 360 degrees, is a useful, low-cost way of implementing swiveling. Also, the stand is removable and the display wall-mountable. Connection options--limited to DVI and VGA--are fairly easy to access, though the stand blocks the DVI and the speaker cable ports just a bit.

The panel extends another 0.8 inch from the bottom of the bezel and houses the onscreen display controls. The transparent power button on the far right glows turquoise when powered on and there are four OSD buttons aligned from left to right: Menu, Audio/Volume down, Source/Volume up, and OK/Auto. Unfortunately, the interface is not as intuitive as we'd like. The Source button also doubles as volume up, but to increase the volume, you must press the audio button before you adjust the volume. The execution is clunky and we'd prefer a simpler method. The OSD buttons, while clearly labeled, are located on the bottom of the panel out of view. Yet, the buttons are tactile and they give a satisfying "click" when pushed.

The OSD menu includes controls for brightness, contrast, and color temperature--including sRGB--and you can adjust the custom color by changing the red, green, and blue values individually. There is a Quick View menu that includes four presets--Movie, Photo, Gaming and Text, in addition to custom. The Quick View menu, however, lacks a shortcut so you're forced to dig two levels deep within the OSD. Also included is a sharpness control that lets you select from five different levels. Adjusting it below the third level caused Web sites to look rather blurry, but the fourth or fifth levels produced a crisp, clear look. We didn't notice a difference in quality when we adjusted sharpness during movies, but we recommend a setting of at least 3 for games.

The HP 2009m includes built-in speakers on the bottom rear corners of the display. The speakers produce a decent volume; however, the sound lacks bass and, unfortunately, there is no way to adjust the bass.

Manufacturer's specifications:
Resolution: 1,600x900 pixels
Pixel-response rate: 5ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Brightness: 300cd/m2
Connectivity: DVI, VGA
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? DVI
Backlight type: CCFL
Panel type: TN
Aspect Ratio: 16:9

We tested the HP 2009m with its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 87 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, matching the 20-inch LG Flatron W2053TQ's 87. Both monitors handled text well; however, we found that the HP performed better in the 9,500K color temperature than the 6,500k temp. White text on black that looked fine at 9,500k temperature has a distracting yellowish hue in the 6,500K temperature. Conversely, text on the LG looked better at 6500k, while in 9500k the screen was too bluish.

In our color ramping tests, which checks for color banding, the HP performed slightly better than the LG, but neither monitor had a stellar showing, suggesting that both monitors could have color banding issues in certain apps.

The 2009m achieved a brightness score of 255 candelas per square meter (cd/m2)--lower than HP's claimed 300 cd/m2 max. The W2053TQ fared better with a brightness of 270 cd/m2. On our black screen test, both monitors exhibited heavy backlight bleedthrough on the top and bottom edges of the displays.