The monitor market is becoming an increasingly crowded place, and the 3D revolution at the high end is making the lower end increasingly fraught.
Companies like Iiyama are now moving into the £200 category, with exciting technology like VA panels, which offer vastly better colour representation than the bogstandard TN. 2011 is shaping up to be an extremely competitive time for monitor manufacturers.
HannsG has made a shrewd move with its new 22-inch HL225 LED panel, and chosen to fight its battle on price. You can pick the monitor up for around £109, which is astonishing value, and HannsG boasts that it's packed with technology for better performance.
This takes the form of X-Contrast, which is a bespoke software system that aims to offer deeper blacks and crisper whites in a bid to boost the clarity of the screen. This is aimed at gamers and movie watchers primarily, and offers a 1,000:1 image contrast ratio.
X-Contrast is accessed via the monitor's menu, and alters the contrast ratio and brightness depending what you're doing.
The results are a mixed bag. Blacks were spot-on in our tests, and there was superb representation of gradients. The problem arose when it came to representation of whites, which were over-saturated.
Further tests showed that gamma representation was accurate, so the problem should have been fixed with the X-Contrast turned on, but it made no difference.
There's also no HDMI port, which is practically unheard of on current monitors, and there's no adaptor in the box.
When the shortcomings are taken away, we're left with the question of price. £109 for a 22-inch LED monitor is a fantastic proposition, and on that basis, we'd be happy to recommend the HL225 to anyone looking for a super thin PC monitor.
It won't make your movies look the best, or help you to edit amazing photos, but it's a strong performer and a true bargain.
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