HP W2408h review: HP W2408h

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The Good Stylish design; great movies and games performance; includes useful ambient light sensor.

The Bad No DVI port; no DVI-to-HDMI cable; color not as accurate as some competitors; poor speaker placement and quality; no screen rotation

The Bottom Line The HP w2408h True Color Widescreen is a well-priced 24-inch monitor that looks stylish and performs well. Its lack of a DVI port is its only major stumbling block.

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7.5 Overall

The $460 HP w2408h True Color Widescreen is a moderately priced 24-inch monitor with performance nearly comparable to our top-tier 24-inch model, the $689 Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP. Still, this monitor lacks a few of the features that would let it compete mano a mano with its top-end counterparts. Although we saw good performance while testing the HP w2408h in movies and games, we did notice some color and grayscale problems. The display has a stylish design, a pivoting feature, and an innovative and useful ambient light sensor, but the screen itself does not rotate. And although this monitor includes HDMI, it lacks a DVI port and does not include a DVI-to-HDMI cable. Comparatively, the $499 Samsung SyncMaster 240HD includes many more features, connection options, and better movie performance, albeit with inferior games performance. If you can live with purchasing a DVI-to-HDMI cable on your own and don't mind spending some time calibrating the color, the HP w2408h is a good choice.

Take one glance at the HP w2408h True Color Widescreen, and you'll appreciate its high style. The monitor's black, glossy bezel measures 1.5-inches thick on the right and left sides, which is about average for a 24-incher. A thin, gray overlay surrounds the entire bezel. Along the top, right side of the overlay is a cool-looking 1.5-inch long translucent power button that emits a slight turquoise glow. The gray footstand is about 11.5 inches wide and 11 inches deep, which is adequate for a display of this size. The screen height is adjustable by nearly 4 inches, but unfortunately it does not rotate in any way. The screen does pivot 90 degrees and if you install the included pivoting software, any office or Web applications you have open will adjust to fit the vertical aspect ratio. The pivoting nature of the screen also acts as a counterbalance and keeps the display from losing its footing when shoved from any side.

The neck of the display is designed with a hinge at its base and the top. This allows the screen to tilt all the way back so that it is facing directly up. If the display were a touch screen, this would be useful, but since it isn't, we don't see anyone using this feature. We did appreciate the cable router on the neck that keeps loose cables nice and tidy.

On the back, the VGA connection sits to the right and is easily accessible. The HDMI connection, however, is tucked behind the neck alongside an audio port and takes more effort to plug into. The built-in speakers are located on the back of the screen and like most displays with this feature, you'll have to connect the audio cable in order to hear them. You'll find two conveniently placed USB downstream ports on the left of the display and two more, plus an upstream port, on the back next to the VGA port.

The onscreen display is located on the lower right-hand corner of the bezel and includes four buttons. Each button feels distinct and gives a satisfying snap when pressed. Unfortunately, there is no LED near the OSD to illuminate it when calibrating in a dark room; even so, there's enough space between each button to easily know which you're pressing as long as you've memorized the layout.

The OSD includes controls for many options including brightness, contrast, aspect ratio, and color temperature, plus four video presets: Movie, Photo, Gaming, and Text. Each preset changes the brightness, contrast, and--in some cases--color temperature. While the settings for Movie, Photo, and Text met their intended goals, the Gaming preset made our test game look too drab.

Manufacturer's specifications:
Resolution: 1,920x1,200
Pixel-response rate: 5ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1, 3,000:1 (Dynamic)
Brightness: 400cd/m2
Connectivity: HDMI, VGA
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? HDMI, VGA

The 24-inch HP w2408h True Color Widescreen has a 1,920x1,200-pixel native resolution. Its video connection options are sparse, including only VGA and HDMI. There is no DVI connection--not a deal breaker but annoying, especially since HP does not include a HDMI-to-DVI cable, only a HDMI and VGA cable. Most graphics cards include only a DVI input these days; if that is the case with your system, you would not be able to connect this monitor unless you invested in a DVI-to-HDMI cable or adapter, which generally cost only a few bucks. These connection options pale in comparison to the Samsung SyncMaster 240HD's full list. The Samsung not only includes a DVI port, but also two HDMI connections, component, VGA, optical audio, and a coaxial connection for an antenna.

Located in the upper-right-hand corner of the HP's bezel is a useful ambient light sensor. The light sensor increases or decreases the brightness of the display, which grows darker with little ambient light and lighter with more--useful in a room that gets lots of sunlight. (You can disable the sensor via the OSD.)

The HP w2408h scored an 85 in CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based tests--lower than our top 24-inch performer, the Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP, which scored a 90, but still fairly close. The Samsung SyncMaster 240HD scored an 87 in the same tests.

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