HP has had its fingers in the display pie for a long time now, not that many of you will have noticed. It's difficult to remember any of its displays really setting the world alight. Things might, however, start to change with the w2408h. It's designed for the growing 24-inch market and has a couple of important aces up its proverbial sleeve. It's gorgeous to look at, the picture quality is impressive and with a £300 price tag, it's not particularly expensive given what it's capable of.
The w2408h is an imposing sight. If you're upgrading from anything smaller -- even a 22-inch model -- you'll be mightily impressed with the difference size can make. Most users will also be very fond of the design. We love the glossy black inner bezel and the matte silver outer bezel that's just about visible at the top and bottom. The power button is inventively positioned between the inner and outer bezels and radiates an attractive aquamarine aura that makes a nice change from traditional blue or red LEDs.
The base of the monitor is cleverly designed. Firstly, there's a handy section that can be used to house a keyboard when not in use, which lets you reclaim some of your desktop space. HP has also put a lot of thought into the hinge of the monitor. It's a sideways-oriented V-shape that allows users to adjust the height and vertical tilt of the display with ease.
It's also possible to rotate the monitor on its axis into a portrait orientation, which can make it easier to work on text documents or surf the Internet. While we're on the subject, some users might want to know that it's possible to pivot and tilt the screen until it's facing directly upwards at the ceiling. We've yet to find a use for this orientation, but it's very reminiscent of a Microsoft Surface computer -- minus the touch sensitivity.
The w2408h's on-screen display is exceptionally easy to use. In fact, it might just be the most logically designed OSD we've seen on a monitor. Just hit the menu button to bring it up, then cycle up or down between menu items with the minus and plus buttons, then select an option by hitting the select key. Exiting the menu can be done by hitting the menu button again. This may not sound particularly groundbreaking, but you'll be surprised at just how many monitor manufacturers get it wrong.
Last but certainly not least is the display itself. We found the image quality on the w2408h to be of a very high standard -- despite the fact it uses a relatively cheap TN panel -- and not one of more expensive S-PVA variety. It flew through our DisplayMate test, ably showing that it can cope with all manner of hues -- hardly a surprise given the fact it has a 92 per cent NTSC colour gamut. Contrast was also good, and we couldn't see any sign of light bleed from the top and bottom edges of the display.
The whole thing runs at a resolution of 1,920x1,200 pixels so it's very good for watching 1080p HD movies. The 1:1 pixel mapping mode means Blu-ray movies show up at their native resolution, instead of being stretched to fit the monitor's larger display, although you do get some borders at the top and bottom of the screen.
Other interesting features include an ambient light sensor nestled at the right side of the screen. This senses the light levels in the room and either dims or brightens the display accordingly. It comes in handy when you're using the monitor at night and don't want the entire neighbourhood to see the eerie blue glow of whatever movie you're enjoying. It also means you don't get blinded by an overly bright backlight the first time you switch the screen on in the dark.
Inputs on the w2408h include HDMI and D-Sub, which is fine for most purposes. The HDMI port is capable of routing sound through the monitor's integrated speakers, but we personally wouldn't bother with these since they sound absolutely atrocious.