HP 23inch Flat Panel (f2304) 

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Without - hopefully - giving to much away, this to me is an "object of desire" I first saw a pre production unit last summer and I am told I have looked at the first one in the UK. You can see it for yourself during the next three weeks or so on the Abrocour stand at the Ideal Home Show.

It has both Analog and DVI connections and I used both. The picture quality was superb but if you can, use it in DVI mode. The blurb says it is ready for HDTV - whenever that may come to the UK - but the clarity and sharpness of the images I got certainly says it should be fine.


I reviewed this over a week or so just before the Ideal Home Show and a lot of the time it was connected to a Media Centre PC - review to come shortly -, and this had dual Black Cat digital TV cards, I made great use of these and watched many hours of PVR recordings slouched on a sofa as I would TV, even though the screen is 23inch as opposed to the 28inch of my TV, I watched from the same distance.


The dimensions of the screen are 64x37cm with the actual viewing area 50x31cm giving the diagonal measurement of 23inches. The only figure I have not given is the thickness of the unit and that is only 10cm. The semi circular metal stand is a maximum of 43x20cm.


The left side of the unit has inputs for speakers S-Video and others a total of seven sockets, the left and right sides have excellent spatial separation speakers and under the screen and above the stand are the DVI and Analog sockets along with the mains input, all are normally invisible when fitted.


Along the bottom right edge of the screen surround are eight buttons for display adjustment and at the left edge an on/off switch. The on/off switch was the only one I needed to use, the others I used just to see what they did.


The maximum resolution is 1920x1200 and as with all panels it works best at that resolution, however unlike a lot of other panels it still worked well at lower rates. The contrast ratio is 500:1. The 16:9 resolution means most live TV and recordings are shown with a very small (just over 1cm) border top and bottom and when used in PC mode the full screen area is utilised.


The graphics card in the MCE unit could support up to 2048x1536 and if you are intending to get one of these excellent panels make sure your graphics card is up to the task of driving it.


It is stated to have 230% more pixels than a 23inch TV and the base is said to be removable to facilitate wall mounting. The total weight of the panel is 10 kilos. 


The price for what is described as a Home product is a not insubstantial £1199, it may be sold by some for a little less but I doubt it will be less than four figures. However this is a top notch product and the price point is probably a lot lower than it would have been without the presence of unbranded items. As yet the price does not even show on the HP web site and it was only given to me as I was compiling this article, up till then I was guessing and I was pleasantly surprised is was not £200 more.

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