It seems the current trend of monitors is to offer an all-in-one solution to allow users to connect not only a PC but a Blu-ray player or other HDMI enabled device. The 2309m has a native resolution of 1920×1080 making it perfect for watching Blu-ray films. However, while it can achieve impeccable image quality, it isn’t without a fight to get it.
We tested the monitor by connecting it to an Acer Aspire 4810T notebook at the native resolution of 1920×1080. Our first tests were over an analogue DSub connection which we expected to have issues due the conversion taking place to digital. We were surprised to find that the image quality was mostly excellent. There were a few minor issues which needed to be corrected. The clock phasing was slightly out and the colours needed to be adjusted to achieve optimal grey. The automatic adjustment feature, while good, wasn’t perfect.
When running to the monitor in HDMI, we ran into problems. While we were able to set the desktop to 1920×1080, the monitor refused to correctly show the entire thing, believing itself to be a 1680×1050 monitor. Therefore we were unable to see the far left, right and top of the screen. Also, the sharpness of the image dropped to poor levels making the image look dirty and unusable. We tested with a different notebook and found that the problem disappeared. It appears the issue lies directly with the graphics driver in the Acer. The Medion notebook we used has a Geforce 9300MG card and worked perfectly but the Acer is running an Intel Mobile 4 Express Graphics chipset and failed to properly display the desktop. This isn’t a detractor to the quality of the monitor at all. The only reason we mention it is to warn people running the Intel standard graphics drivers that this monitor may not work for you. We even upgraded to the latest Intel drivers but the issue still persisted.
Viewing 1080p video, we found the image quality to be quite good but there was a little image noise at times, particularly in darker areas. We ran the contrast tests in DisplayMate video edition and didn’t find any glaring stepping issues but with multiple videos, the noise was still there. That being said, it wasn’t terribly overt but it was still noticeable nonetheless.
We liked the design of the unit very much. The bezel has rounded edges and a silver trim. The stand comes preassembled and is very easy to adjust. However, due to the design of the stand, you can only tilt the screen and there is no swivel without the entire base moving. We disliked the function buttons on the button right edge of the screen. While they were easy enough to use after smoe trial and error, making calibration and volume adjustments was a little annoying.
The connections at the rear include HDMI, DVI and Dsub as well as a 3.5mm jack from PC audio. However, the monitor can detect audio incoming from a HDMI source as well. You can set it to auto detect the audio or manually choose your source.
The speakers are quite exceptional for a monitor. Normally the speakers are the first thing to let a panel down but in this case the audio was clear and the volume, while not capable of being truly loud, was acceptable for desktop monitor use.
While we wouldn’t recommend buying this unit as a second small sized TV, it is capable of receiving video from any HDMI device and could easily double for watching Blu-ray or playing Xbox360 or Ps3.
The only major thing that lets down the HP 2309m is the price. Considering the 21.5 inch LG W2261V is priced at $399 and has pretty much all the same features, a 23inch model for $649 seems a little pricey.