Spreadsheets aren't likely to be the first thing you think of when presented with a 24-inch widescreen display. As HP's largest office-LCD product, however, the HP LP2465 shuns multimedia features for business simplicity -- this monitor omits component and S-Video ports, a media card reader and picture-in-picture.
While the HP LP2465 provides a crisp and very bright picture, along with enough screen real estate for creative professionals and the busiest of multitaskers, the Dell UltraSharp 2407WFP remains the better deal. Dell's 24-inch widescreen LCD cost £699 when we reviewed it in June, but is now listed at £639, while HP lists the LP2465 for £655. You can find the HP monitor from other online vendors at prices as low as the Dell one, but the Dell display is more versatile.
The HP LP2465's design of a silver bezel framing the screen with a black base uses the opposite colour screen to the Dell UltraSharp 2407WFP, which has a black bezel and a silver stand. We prefer the black bezel because it offers the best contrast to whatever it is you're viewing on your screen -- an Excel sheet, an image in Photoshop or a DVD. The LP2465's overall design is pleasing, however. The narrow bezel measures 20mm thick on the top and the sides and 23mm along the bottom.
Four buttons for the on-screen menu (OSM) sit along the bottom front of the monitor's edge, and the menu is easy to navigate. The OSM gives you a fairly standard array of adjustment options plus some extras. You can control individual red, green and blue colour values, check the number of backlight and total usage hours and calibrate colours. You can adjust the brightness, the contrast, the resolution and the white point via a keyboard and mouse after installing HP's Display Assistant software (included on a CD-ROM, along with a thorough user guide).
For such a large display, the HP LP2465 is impressively stable and flexible. The 183mm by 297mm base makes the display much less prone to wobble than other LCDs we've seen, including the Dell UltraSharp 2407WFP and the HP LP2065. You can swivel the display 45 degrees in either direction, tilt it forward 5 degrees and back 25 degrees. When lowered all the way, the display rests about 80mm above your desk, and it can be raised up 130mm so that the bottom edge of the display is 210mm above your desk. The display pivots between landscape and portrait modes and it can also be hung on a VESA wall-mount.
The cable management is simple but not always effective. A groove alongside each edge of the stand is covered by a thick piece of rubber. You can tuck the power and the video cables into the top of the stand and run them inside the grooves and out the back of the bottom of the stand. No plastic pieces to remove, work out how to snap back into place or break. Still, we connected our test unit with one of Belkin's PureAV DVI cables, and it proved too thick to run inside the groove -- a minor inconvenience.
The screen itself is nearly identical to the Dell UltraSharp 2407WFP's. Both displays provide a 1,920x1,200-pixel native resolution, a 0.27mm dot pitch, a rated 6ms pixel-response rate, a rated 1,000:1 contrast ratio and a wide 178-degree viewing angle.
The differences occur with the features Dell and HP add to the panels. Dell gives you a media card reader, video (component, composite and S-Video) ports, and picture-in-picture plus picture-by-picture. The UltraSharp 2407WFP is also HDCP compliant, which means it'll display copy-protected HD content.
If you don't harbour plans to connect the LCD to any part of your home cinema, the HP LP2465 is well outfitted, with its two DVI connectors and four USB 2.0 ports, plus one upstream USB 2.0 port. HP also earns points by including the required cables -- two DVI cables, two DVI-to-VGA cables and a USB cable. Granted, it's not intended for multimedia use, but even if you or your office has no need for advanced video ports, we bet you would find a use for the media card.
The HP LP2465 shone in our DisplayMate-based tests, literally. It's one of the brightest displays we've tested -- its score of 397 lumens is a third higher than that of the Dell UltraSharp. Also impressive, its actual contrast ratio of 1,025:1 went above HP's spec for the display of 1,000:1. Text looked sharp down to the smallest legible fonts and colours were vivid with accurate skin tones. Games moved smoothly, but DVDs exhibited some jagged movements and blurriness.
This isn't the right monitor, however, if your primary interest is watching DVDs or using it for other forms of multimedia entertainment. What the monitor does is provide ample screen real estate for graphic artists and multitasking office workers. Full-screen images look positively gigantic, and you can comfortably work with two windows opened side by side. At its native resolution, the LP2465 can display 55 rows and 29 columns (at their default settings) in Excel.Additional editing by Elizabeth Griffin