Unremarkable LCD monitor

Oct 16, 2010
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Relatively inexpensive, supports VGA and DVI with HDCP. Sharp text, decent color.

Cons:Poor viewing angles.

The Bottom Line: A good office display with sharp text and passable color. The biggest negative is the viewing angle.


I was looking for a cheap LCD to complement a computer with a CRT monitor -- after using LCD monitors so long, it was hard to go back to fuzzy CRT text. How does the HP S2031 fulfill that need? Let's see...

Features
The HP S2031 is a 20" LCD monitor with 1600x900 native resolution (16:9). It has VGA and DVI inputs and supports HDCP over DVI. It comes on a stand that is only capable of tilt adjustments. On my desk, the monitor is too low to be comfortable; I had to put it on a book to raise it closer to eye level.

I'm not a fan of the 16:9 ratio on this monitor. It's not wide enough to have two pages open side-by-side which is possible on a monitor with 1920x1080 resolution, but it is wide enough that one page is generally too wide.

It has a relatively full-featured OSD, with controls for color (presets for 9300K, 6500K, sRGB, and custom controls for red, green, and blue). There's no backlight control, but you can do things like disable the power LED, turn dynamic contrast on, or adjust sharpness.

Image Quality
Probably the most important consideration with any monitor is the image quality. Text is very sharp on this display, even sharper than the 24" LCD I used to have. There is sufficient contrast to clearly read most text, and the monitor isn't so bright that it stresses out your eyes.

As for color... this LCD monitor uses a TN panel, which isn't known for it's color reproduction ability. Still, it's passable. Compared to the CRT monitor on the same computer, colors aren't as vibrant, there's less sublety, the black level isn't as good, but after calibrating with an i1 Display/LT, it's good enough for non-demanding color work.

One weakness of TN panels are the viewing angles, and this monitor is no exception. The vertical viewing angles are the worst; if you slouch a bit, there is a reddish color shift. The horizontal viewing angles aren't as much of a concern, though if you shift your position more than a foot off-center, there's a noticable shift in colors. The viewing angles are the worst aspect of this monitor, though I don't think you can do much better for the price.

The response time is supposed to be 5ms, which is fairly fast. However, I see some ghosting which I didn't see on my previous LCD monitor with a 6ms reponse time or my CRT.

Overall
I would say this is a good monitor for office use -- text is sharp and colors are good enough for viewing images on the web and even movies. The biggest weakness of the monitor are its relatively narrow viewing angles, but this is a common problem for most monitors in this price range.

If you need to spend around $100, or you're buying for somebody who's not very picky, this is a good choice. Personally, I'd rather spend more for a higher quality display. I only tolerate it because I just need it for text; I'll use my CRT for everything else.


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