Looking at some of the seemingly ridiculous sub-£200 price tags attached to 22in monitors, it’s obvious that larger screens are quickly becoming available for lower price tags. But unless you want to dip into the bargain bin, you’re unlikely to find too many screens from good manufacturers costing less than £150 and, as the larger sizes become mainstream, the smallest screens simply disappear from the market. While 19in may not yet qualify as small, with a lip-smacking price tag this 19in HP L1908w looks to be a genuine bargain. Expect it to be widely available for around £130 by the time you read this.
The HP L1908w isn’t the prettiest flat-panel we’ve seen, and its chunky styling and rather dull casing give the lie to the idea that all LCDs are sleek and stylish. But the construction seems rugged and, while many a cheap flat-panel appears to be one good door-slam away from crashing to the floor, we can see the HP L1908w putting up with plenty.
The HP L1908w’s image is quite bright – providing you’re sitting directly in front of it. Twitch slightly and the colours will quickly fade. Most modern flat-panels have wide enough viewing angles that you have to move a considerable distance from the monitor before the picture deteriorates. The HP L1908w, however, is very much in the opposite camp. You also have to make do without a digital DVI connector – only RGB is included.
Provided you can get past the functional looks and poor viewing angles, the HP L1908w is a proficient screen. Text isn’t the cleanest we’ve seen, but neither is it excessively fuzzy. And the colour palette is serviceable.
You aren’t going to get the same depth of hues you might expect from a screen costing £50 more. But if you’re not finicky about image quality, the HP L1908w is quite satisfactory.