CNET First Look
HP x2301 Micro Thin LED monitorThe HP x2301's low price, good performance, and sound design make it a new high-water mark for budget monitors.
-Stop me if you heard this one before. A company that makes a monitor with a really thin panel and an LED back light. It includes the connections you'd expect. It has good to very good performance at a sub 250-dollar price. Ring any bells? Well, I think I've just described the last 4 to 5 monitors I've reviewed. Anyway, my point is, there are a lot of LED-based thin monitors out there that look a lot like the HPx2301 here. Like many of those monitors, the HP has a thin panel and a wide capable foot stand housing the connection options, which in this case includes the easy-to-access HDMI, DVI, and VGA. And at no extra charge, they have gone and thrown in a 10-degree back tilt just for you. Don't you feel lucky? Well, do you? Well, you should feel lucky 'coz the HP is no punk and will not budge on important issues. And by important issues, I mean like this. Now, if you've been watching this video closely, by now you would have noticed the HP's very glossy and reflective screen, which if you enjoy looking at your mug as much as I do isn't really a problem. It can, however, be a problem if caught in direct sunlight, which will obviously cause a lot of glare and unfortunately prevent you from admiring yourself or any movies for that matter. No real surprises on the on-screen display. It's a typical HP OSD with brightness, contrast, and color controls. What is surprising is how easy it is to navigate, thanks mostly to the OK button. The OK button does one and one thing only. It executes commands. Now, that's a small detail, sure, but it actually makes what can sometimes be a frustrating experiences 3 times less likely to cause an aneurysm, but how does it look when playing movies, you say. Well, I'm glad you asked. What glossy screens do for movies is increase the perceived contrast. This causes colors to pop more and blacks will look darker, which was the case with the HP. However, the screen pushes too much green and gives faces a greenish hue. Now, turning the green down minimizes this, but it's kinda like attempting to fend your neighborhood off hundreds of vicious alien monsters. Realistically, there's always so much you can do. Games had that equally bittersweet taste of popping contrast temperate with a side of not-so-delicious greenness. Bottom line: Is it worth the current 200-dollar asking price. Short answer: Yes. Really long drawn-out answer: Yes still, but while it's performance is good, a [unk] performance of a 300-dollar Samsung PX2370. However, if you're willing to deal with the display that doesn't perform at the same level with the PX2370, but one that's available at a lower price, the HPx2301 will do nicely. I'm Eric Franklin and this has been a First Look at the HPx2301.