HannsG HL231 monitor
HannsG has been setting its stall out in the LCD display market in recent times, and has recently made the transition to LED-based displays with the slimline HL231.
Impressively slight at around 18mm thick, this is a 23-inch model at 16:9 aspect and a 1920 x 1080 maximum resolution. It’s stylish enough in a traditional piano black and is predictably lightweight at 3.3kg, but this carries the disadvantage of making it a little unstable. The small tilt-enabled stand, while tidy enough, is very light and makes adjustments awkward with one hand, also causing the monitor to wobble about a bit when adjusting settings.
Putting this minor grievance aside you’ll find a fairly standard set of specifications that includes 1000:1 (8,000,000:1 dynamic) contrast ratio, a 5ms response time and VGA and DVI-D inputs. It’s fairly flexible when it comes to tweaking the default settings as well, and the well-conceived on-screen display offers all of the usual adjustments along with four presets (PC, eco, movie and game) for quickly switching modes for different environments. There are also a range of colour schemes and the X-contrast mode, which automatically adjusts contrast depending on the displayed image, is an effective way to avoid having to make manual adjustments yourself.
We found the suggested presets to be fairly effective for video and gaming, though if you have a sharp eye for detail some manual tuning may be necessary to establish an optimum image. The eco mode is also clear enough for use in all but the brightest environments and an effective standby mode drops power to just 1W, and is very quick to respond and restore power when user input is detected.
Performance is pretty good across all environments even though it doesn’t really excel in any one area. We noticed fairly minor colour banding at times and images weren’t quite as vibrant as we’d have liked but the fast response time eliminates motion-blur well, whilst bright and dark scenes were distinguished nicely during video playback.
A pair of built-in speakers rounds off the main features on offer with the HL231, but are predictably tinny and rather quiet, so will be of limited use to most.
Overall the performance of HannsG’s first LED screen would be best described as "pretty good", but it scores an extra mark here for also being good value for money. £159 for a slimline display of this type and size undercuts the majority of the competition and in most areas HannsG is at least on-par. For this reason we think it’d be a great general use display for the home and is definitely worthy of consideration.
Despite a few minor foibles the HL231 performs admirably for the price, and with a range of effective presets and image modes it’s also capable of handling gaming and video playback with a minimum of fuss. If you’re on a budget and aren’t too fussy about flawless image quality then this stylish, slimline display would be a great choice.