First Impressions and Features
The lw2207's arge, brown box arrived via Fed Ex on a Monday, stating "the computer is personal again" and adorned with various pictures and features of the display. As such, there's really no disguising what's on the inside: a large and possibly expensive monitor. Indeed, the Fed Ex deliveryman was relieved that we were around to accept the package as he was "wary" about leaving such a package by the door and walking away.
Inside the box, the monitor was held down tightly by a combination of plastic straps and stryofoam. Included were a warranty and support guide (covering the monitor for 1 year), a software and documentation CD-ROM, a note with instructions on how to upgrade the MyDisplay 1.2 software, a power cable, a USB cable, an audio cable with green-colored audio jacks, and a analog video cable (although our box did not include one, a DVI-D cable should also be included). The straps are quickly removed by folding back the flaps without requiring the use of any sharp instruments. Popping the last strap caused the w2207 to pop up, accordion-like, unfolding into the approximate shape and form of a tray. Partially used for protecting the screen and partially just good placement, a quick setup guide came taped to the front of the monitor. Installation, as the guide's map clearly shows, is decidedly simple: unfold the monitor, attach the green-ended cable from the audio out of your PC (typically also color-coordinated green) to the jack underneath, connect the VGA or DVI video cable, and plug it in.
The styling matches HP's current line of systems, comprised of silvery-blue and black plastic. Adjustments in height are accomplished by pushing down or straightening out the stand. There are no adjustments to point the screen to the right or left other than simply turning the stand itself. Unlike the 30" model from HP that we reviewed in the past, the w2207 does rotate from landscape to portrait mode. In order to do so, however, the monitor needs to be closed down, nearly back into its original position, rotated, and then straightened out again. If attempted while upright, the corner of the faceplate will not clear the base or the desk it sits upon. Alongside the stand are two curved plastic shapes, used to corral cables and reduce desk clutter. The base itself is wide and slightly indented, providing room for a keyboard, especially the slimmer versions typically included with a system directly ordered from HP. Should you prefer, you can even mount the W2207 on a wall like a LCD television, creating even more room on your desktop.
A row of buttons adorns the lower right edge of the w2207 and other than HP's logo, there's nothing else that breaks the glossy front surface. While the BriteView glossiness definitely adds to the overall look of the w2207, and seemingly makes photos and movies even more vibrant, it does also tend to increase glare from light sources behind the user. Recessed in the upper plastic casing, the power button glows blue while active, and a dull orange while in sleep mode, gently alerting the user that the monitor is still turned on. The button seemed a tad unresponsive, as we needed to give it a centered push in order to make sure it was actually on or off. The monitor quickly enters "sleep mode" when not picking up a signal, which we actually found to be a nuisance when working on a system that we were troubleshooting.
Connectivity is direct and simple: choose from either a 15-pin VGA connector or DVI. Based on its size and price, we might have hoped for S-Video, or even a second DVI port at the least. Directly to the right and left of the video inputs are a USB connector and audio jack. The w2207 satisifies more than one need in this regard, as it can be used as a two device USB hub, allowing the user to plug in two USB 1.1/2.0 devices into ports placed along the left side. The audio input also allows music or other sounds to play through the tiny speakers built into the w2207.
Management has, by far, the most options of any monitor we can think of. Volume Control is used to raise or lower the volume on the built-in speakers, but these are way too weak for anything other than system sounds, and one would be better off buying standalone speakers rather than settling for the ones in the w2207. Not to mention that it seems that a more direct control of the volume, even by a simple dial, would be much more intuitive and a quicker solution than pulling up the OSD, going to management, selecting volume, and hitting the plus or minus buttons. Other, more useful choices, include OSD positioning and transparency, allowing the menu to be moved out of the way or made see-through, and toggles for enabling power-saving mode and/or the power status LED.