Hanns.G HL229DBP : Pixels for peanuts

9/12/2012 9:03:44 AM

Not everyone’s pockets are deep enough for Apple’s Thunderbolt Display, so it’s great to see a company producing top-quality screens at everyday prices. Hanns.G’s new 22in HL229DPB costs under $140, yet its image quality is really very decent indeed. It’ll appeal to Mac mini users looking for an affordable widescreen display and MacBook users wanting more screen space when at their desk.

Description: Hanns.G HL229DBP
Hanns.G HL229DBP

The Hanns.G is a standard TN TFT panel with VGA and DVI inputs, which means you’ll need something like the Apple Mini Dis­playPort to DVI Adapter to connect it to a recent Mac. The 1920 * 1080 pixel display has Some budget a low-power LED displays are backlight and draws only 20 watts when active - another cost saving compared to more ambitious screens.

“Some budget display is uneven, but here the image was sharp, with deep blacks, decent contrast and vibrant colors”

Unlike those of some budget moni­tors we’ve seen, the HL229DPB’s backlight is bright and even, although it has a slightly cold cast, which makes reds seem duller. We also noticed a bit of bleed-through from the backlight when viewing a black screen, but generally black levels were good for a low-cost display.

Description: We were really very impressed by the HL229DPB’s image quality

We were really very impressed by the HL229DPB’s image quality

Although the glossy black plastic that makes up the stand and bezel feels a bit cheap, it looks smart and feels sturdy enough. The rear casing is made of an even cheaper-looking matt black plastic, but you won’t have to look at it very often. There are VESA mounting points, so you can attach it to a wall or an adjustable arm if you like.

We were really very impressed by the HL229DPB’s image quality. Some budget displays have uneven backlights, poor black levels and washed-out colors, but here the image was sharp, with decent contrast and vibrant colors - apart from those reds, which seemed a bit orange in side-by-side comparisons, but not so much as to spoil the picture. In our test photos, colors were vibrant and contrast deep. Skin tones were a bit warmer than usual, but this worked well in movies. The deep blacks and lush foliage greens added immediacy to games, making this a screen that encouraged ‘Come and look at this!’ moments.

There are only four preset display modes: PC, Movie, Game and Eco. Choosing any of the modes other than PC disables the manual brightness and contrast controls. The Movie and Game modes pumped colors and contrast up way too high, while the Eco mode simply dimmed the image. We found PC mode had the best balance of color, brightness and contrast.

For further adjustment, the simple menu system is easy enough to use. As well as Brightness and Contrast, you can choose dynamic contrast (labeled as Active Con­trast), which also disables the other controls. Dynamic contrast is meant to adjust contrast based on a scene’s overall brightness, but we found the changes in contrast could be distracting, so we preferred it disabled. You can also change color temperature between Warm, Nature, Cool and User; we chose Warm to counteract the natural coldness of the backlight, but you can opt to tweak the User controls if you need more accurate balance. Needless to say, you’d need to spend considerably more for critical color work.

You shouldn’t need to tweak too much, though, as the HL229DPB has the best natural everyday image quality we’ve seen on a monitor in this price bracket. It really is a bargain, and if you’re putting together a Mac mini system, it’s definitely a display to consider.







Great image quality, an absolute bargain


Not for graphics pros




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