Advantages Small size, easy to use, good features
Disadvantages Widescreen not good for gaming, some build issues
|Image Size in relation to tube size|
|Ease of use|
|Ease of Installation|
|Speed when refreshing at a chosen screen resolutio|
I had been using CRTs from my first PC in 1995 through til Christmas last year, purely because they were so much cheaper and I preferred to invest my money in components rather than monitors. As I heard about the damaging effects of low refresh rates (my old CRT was on 60hz) and moved my PC to a different room with less desk space, I started to wonder if maybe it was time to make the shift.The space saving aspect is absolutely fantastic - I now have room behind my monitor to put the phone, my headphones, mouse charging dock and remote control for the speakers. See attached picture for an idea of the depth. They used to take up my keyboard and mouse space, and are much better in their new position. Furthermore, although I never noticed previously, I fully believe that this monitor does wonders for my eyes. While it also has a refresh rate of 60hz, flatscreen monitors produce images in a different way to CRTs, and as such the low refresh rate is not an issue. I still have my old CRT, which I'd happily used for around 2 years, on someone else's pc. If I try to use it now, I have to look away every couple of minutes as my eyes hurt to a painful extent - I can only assume it's due to me becoming accustomed to the less dangerous flatscreen.
Specifications======As I stated earlier, I started using this monitor last Christmas. AKA I was lucky enough to get someone else to pay for it :D I went into my local PC World hunting for something, but nothing really caught my eye. I already have a surround sound speaker system, so didn't want any speakers on the monitor, and wanted to avoid having large edges around it - the closer the size of the monitor was to the size of the screen, the better. My only other requirement was that it was silver, to fit the rest of my PC setup. PC World was pretty fruitless, with the old 'the only one you want is the display model' chestnut, so to speak. Their site however was more successful, and I found the HP w19.
In all honesty, most of the specifications for monitors were so close there was nothing to choose between. Contrast ratios, refresh rates, etc, all were more or less the same. Size was the only major issue, and connected to it resolutions (the number of dots that fit on the screen to make up the picture). Ideally, I would have wanted a 1600x1200 resolution, but the increased size took it out of my price range. So in the end, I settled for the 19" widescreen with a resolution of 1440x900. Sadly, I didn't really think that one through. More on that later.Advantages======
As I explained previously, the space saving aspects are truly excellent. The monitor does have a few special tricks up its sleeve though. It will work without drivers perfectly happily, which means for the less technically interested, it's a very easy installation. Plug it in using DVI or VGA (both leads were included in my box) dependent on your graphics setup, and it works. Magic. Alternatively, you can download drivers from HP which provide you with a more tailored colour profile, though I haven't noticed any other benefits of them.Similarly, when you first get it plugged in and PC turned on, you can hit the 'Auto' button, and within a matter of seconds, your monitor will be ready to be used, all sorted and ready. Alternatively, you can tweak it yourself as I have done, to get the colour, brightness and contrast exactly how you like it be, using a very simple configuration screen, unlike some of my previous monitors who appeared to be challenging the user to a game of cryptic code breaking.
Disadvantages======Firstly, on a manufacturing basis, I do have a slight issue with the buttons on the front. They are made from what appears to be clear flexible plastic, to be pushed in, and then painted in silver. I have already started to wear through the on/off button, probably because I sometimes lean over to push it and can only reach it at an angle, pushing it with my nail. It began to come off extremely quickly, which I do not think shows a great deal of thought put into long term usage of the product. There is a photo showing this below. On the same front, a somewhat disturbing burning smell tends to dissipate from the air vents at the top. I realise it isn't a unique problem to this monitor, but I still find it a bit irritating. Thankfully it tends to stay confined to a small space above the screen.
Now if you're still reading, you've come to probably the most important bit of the review. That'll teach people to skim ;). I regret buying this monitor. This could sound a tad strange, because I've just sung its praises, and the drawbacks are somewhat limited. It's simply the resolution of 1440x900. If you just surf the net and so on, you'll never have a problem. In fact, reading forums and the like is much easier, as the width prevents things from going on so long in hundreds of lines. I primarily use my PC for gaming however, and it is a nightmare. I didn't know the extent of the problem until I visited a site dedicated to telling people how to make their games work in widescreen - file editing, command line changing, all was the norm when trying to make things work properly. It's nothing short of a nightmare, and gets pretty frustrating after a while.Conclusions======
It is an excellent improvement over a CRT monitor, and definitely well worth trying. For general usage, it has been excellent and I would have to recommend it. If you play games on the PC however, I would strongly advise that you stick with a 17" normal 4:3 monitor, i.e. not widescreen. It honestly is not worth the hassle, and is much easier to stick with the normal dimensions. You can get it from Amazon to the UK for just under £160, which is a very reasonable price.In reference to a comment left, on reflection I believe I would have been better off with the HP vs19B, which is a 19" x 19" monitor for only £130 from eBuyer (plus p&p) with the standard 1280x1024 resolution for square monitors of that size. At that price, it's an excellent alternative to the w19.
I'm afraid I didn't have a camera handy, due to the wonders of flat batteries and so on, so pictures were taken with W800i and M600 mobiles, hence the somewhat grainy quality.
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