The VGA-only HP L1906 is as functionally simple as LCDs get these days, and while there's nothing wrong with simplicity, other 19-inch LCDs, such as the Westinghouse LCM-19v5, have more features and cost less.
The HP L1906's built-in handle, simple setup, and asset-monitoring function aim to please corporate IS departments and facility managers. But this 19-inch LCD may also appeal to home-office users looking for a frills-free display with acceptable image quality. If you'd like some additional features, such as digital input and built-in speakers, the Westinghouse LCM-19v5 has both, provides similar performance, and costs $20 less than the $349 L1906. But the HP, with its three-year warranty, may be a better option for a straightforward business environment.
The HP L1906's design is clean, comfortable, and decidedly basic. The silver, 0.75-inch-thick bezel frames the black cabinet and stand. The three buttons that grace the bottom bezel let you navigate the onscreen menu. The L1906's panel is a bit shorter than average, sitting just 2.5 inches above the desktop. Because the height is not adjustable, most people will need a riser. Adjustability options are few: you can tilt the screen forward 5 degrees or back 30 degrees, but you cannot swivel it.
The HP L1906 has a built-in handle--a great asset for facilities managers who often move equipment. It has only two ports: one for the power cord and one for the analog cable--both come included with the monitor. Setting up the HP L1906 is about as simple as it gets. Connect the power and VGA cords to the LCD, thread them through the slot in the base, and connect the analog cord to your PC and the power cord to an outlet.
With one touch of the middle button on the bottom bezel, you can instantly autoadjust your image--a convenient feature for most users. However, be careful to not hit that button if you've manually adjusted your settings, because it will reset everything to the factory defaults. One button opens the easily navigable onscreen menu, which offers basic and advanced settings. The basic menu lets you adjust brightness and contrast levels or autoadjust the image. The advanced menu lets you fine-tune colors, tweak the screen geometry, and see how many hours the backlight has logged.
The L1906's performance on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based tests was good overall, though we noticed that subtle changes in the viewing angle had a dramatic effect on quality, particularly in the grayscale and color tests. On the other hand, text looked black and completely legible from any viewing angle. When viewed straight on, grayscales progressed gradually but showed slight compression at the lower end of the spectrum. Some pink and blue tints became evident with a change in viewing angle. The L1906 displayed colors accurately, but again, viewing the display from an angle produced different tints; for example, reds took on an orange or yellowish cast.
On our DVD-playback tests, the screen showed a small amount of noise and some ghosting. Games also showed noticeable background noise, but colors and details looked good.
The HP L1906 has an industry-standard three-year limited warranty that covers parts, the backlight, labor, and onsite service. HP's toll-free telephone support is available 24/7 for the life of the warranty. Tech support via e-mail is also available from HP's Web site, and you can chat with a customer-service rep via an instant-messaging chat session. HP's site serves up FAQs, troubleshooting tips, product information, support forums, and manuals.