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HP x2301 Micro Thin LED monitor review: HP x2301 Micro Thin LED monitor

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The x2301's blacks were deep, thanks to the glossy screen. Still, the PX2370 has a vibrancy and clarity to its screen that few monitors in its price range, including the x2301, can match.

Games: When evaluating the look of games on a monitor, the two most important features to consider are vibrancy and color. If the monitor can display games with a bright and vibrant cleanness, this goes a long way toward benefiting its looks. If colors can also pop with fullness and depth, games will usually look great.

For all the times the HP x2301 will blind you with its sunlight-reflecting powers, with games, the glossy screen earns its keep, providing a high contrast and vibrancy. Unfortunately, even after calibration, the green tint, though marginalized, is still noticeable.

To test refresh rate, we used DisplayMate's motion graphics tests and stared at a number of colored blocks as they moved around the screen at various speeds. The size of the streaks produced behind the blocks indicates how the monitor would deal with fast movement in games. While the PX2370 has minimal streaking, we saw noticeably more streaking with the x2301, but not a ridiculous amount. Still, this indicates the x2301 would display more streaking than the PX2370 during fast movement in games.

Photos: Even with green set fairly low, the faces, clothing, and environments still exhibited a faint green hue when directly compared with the Samsung PX2370. We make the direct comparison point because unless you're comparing the display directly with a higher-quality display, you likely won't notice the green tint.

Recommended settings: We used SpectraCal's CalPC to calibrate the HP x2301 for bright-room viewing. The following settings are what the monitor had been adjusted to after calibration.

Attribute Setting
Brightness 90
Contrast 85
Color temperature 6500K
Color settings R-255

Viewing angle: The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually from directly in front, about a quarter of the screen's distance down from the top. At this angle, you're viewing colors as the manufacturer intended. Most monitors aren't designed to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on the monitor's panel type, picture quality at nonoptimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when not viewed from optimal angles.

The HP x2301 uses a TN panel with no antiglare coating. At its worst, it doubles as a fine, if dark, mirror. Most times, the glossiness isn't much of a problem as long as the screen isn't receiving direct sunlight. When it does, details can be difficult to see, especially in dark scenes.

When that pesky old life-giving star isn't an issue, however, the x2301's viewing angles matches other TN monitors in that colors begin to shift when viewing from about 6 to 7 inches to the left or right. As always with TN panels, the above and below viewing angles are the worst offenders. From these angles, graphic or text detail are at their most difficult to see.

This is typical of the vast majority of TN panels, though, as it's one of the limitations of the technology. It's also the reason the x2301 can be found for as low as $200, so we can't knock it (or other TN-based monitors) too hard based on this. Just understand you likely won't be creating art for the next great Web site with this one. We'd suggest a more professional IPS-based monitor like the Asus PA246Q for that.

Power consumption: The HP X2301 achieved good power consumption, with a Default/On power draw of 28.2 watts, compared with the PX2370's 25.01 watts in the same test. Fairly close results, but these power consumption contests are usually decided during sleep time.

In our Sleep/Standby test, the x2301 cost 0.76 watt and the PX2370 pulled a lower 0.27 watt.

Based on our formula, the x2301 would cost $8.94 per year to run, compared with the PX2370's $7.65 per year.

Juice box
HP x2301 Average watts per hour
On (default luminance) 28.2
On (max luminance) 28.7
On (min luminance) 14.9
Sleep 0.76
Calibrated (200 cd/m2) 25.7
Annual power consumption cost $8.94
Score Fair

Brightness (in cd/m2)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Contrast ratio
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Samsung PX2370
Dell S2330MX
HP x2301

DisplayMate tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.

Service and support
HP backs the X2301 with a three-year limited parts and labor warranty that covers the backlight--the same great deal other vendors, such as Dell, provide. HP includes free shipping labels and in-home service, as well as support through its 24-7 toll-free number. Just be aware that the free service ends after one year and HP will charge you after that. HP's Web site offers Web chat and e-mail support that, according to the company, it replies to within an hour.

In the realm of sub-$300 TN monitors, the Samsung PX2370 will likely not be surpassed in screen quality anytime soon. Samsung put its top-of-the-line TN panel in that display, but the company has since realized that most customers didn't really notice the enhanced quality in the PX2370. With its recent S23A550, Samsung included a much cheaper TN panel and, as a result, its performance couldn't match its predecessor.

In other words, the best sub-$300 TN monitor is still the PX2370 and will likely be for some time. However, if you're willing to deal with a display that doesn't perform at the same level, but one that's available at a lower price, the HP x2301 will do nicely. It's a lot like the very good Dell S2330MX, but with a better-designed OSD and native HDMI support.

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