The 25.5-inch Hewlett-Packard w2558hc is packed with features and at an average price of $460, it's well worth the investment. A quick list of its features include: two HDMI ports, a Webcam, a microphone, five USB ports, compact flash and SD card reader, a night light, and a built-in digital photo frame tool. It can't quite compare with the $800 Planar PX2611w's higher quality In Plane Switching panel and more accurate color reproduction; however, what the HP w2558hc lacks in viewing angles, it makes up for in sheer bang for the buck. Unless owning an IPS-based monitor is of the utmost importance, we recommend the HP w2558hc, thanks to its comparatively low price and abundance of features.
Design and features
The HP w2558hc looks like a larger version of the HP 2009m and even more so, the HP w2408h. The monitor's black bezel and 25.5-inch screen are strikingly glossy and, not surprisingly, fingerprint magnets.
The bezel measures 1.5 inches on all sides while a 1-inch long, gray overlay surrounds the entire bezel. Along the top, right side of the overlay is a cool-looking 1.5-inch long translucent power button that emits a slight turquoise glow. The gray footstand is about 11.6 inches wide and 11.4 inches deep. Knocking the display from the sides only made the screen wobble, while the footstand and the rest of the display stayed put. The screen height is adjustable by nearly 3 inches, and sits about 3.5 inches from the desktop at its highest point. The display's full width is 24.5 inches; slightly longer than Planar PX2611w's length of 23.5 inches. The HP's panel is 3.25 inches deep from bezel to back.
The neck of the display is designed with a hinge at its base and the top. This lets the screen tilt all the way back so that it's facing directly up. If the display were a touch screen, this would be useful; but since it isn't, we don't see anyone using this feature. We did appreciate the cable router on the neck that keeps loose cables nice and tidy. Although the panel doesn't swivel independently of the stand, the stand rests on a small "button" on the bottom of the footstand, which protrudes slightly. This small button, which allows the whole display to rotate 360 degrees is a useful, low-cost way of implementing swiveling.
Video Connection options include one DVI and two HDMI ports, with two USB downstream and one upstream to the right of the DVI. On the left side of the panel are a number of connection options, including two USB ports, a CompactFlash port, and a SD/Memory Stick Card reader. Also, sticking out on the side is a removable miniremote control, used for navigating through photos and editing slideshows, with the w2558hc's built-in digital photo frame tool. The HP w2558hc also includes built-in speakers on the back of the display.
There's a built-in Webcam on the top part of the bezel and to the right of that is a small hole for the built-in microphone. Facing downward, in the bottom middle of the bezel, is a "task light." The task light includes three brightness settings and can be helpful if there isn't enough ambient light in the room to calibrate the monitor in the dark.
Located in the upper left-hand corner of the HP's bezel is a useful ambient light sensor. The light sensor automatically increases or decreases the brightness of the display, which grows darker with little ambient light and brighter with more--useful in a room that gets a lot of sunlight. (You can disable the sensor via the onscreen display.)
The onscreen display is located on the lower right-hand corner of the bezel and includes four buttons. Each button feels distinct and gives a satisfying snap when pressed. The OSD includes controls for many options including brightness, contrast, aspect ratio, and color temperature. In addition, there are four video presets: Movie, Photo, Gaming, and Text. Each preset changes the brightness, contrast, and--in some cases--color temperature. While the settings for Movie, Photo, and Text met their intended goals, the Gaming preset made our test game look too drab.
The digital picture frame editor can be accessed by pressing the picture button next to the OSD array and either the miniremote or the OSD can be used to navigate through the media viewer. The viewer is responsive and the user interface is simple, with a short learning curve. In the picture frame interface, you have the option to create a slideshow and add music to give it a personal touch. The settings let you change the slideshow transition type, speed, as well as adjust settings like contrast, color, and brightness.
The HP w2558hc's 16:10 aspect ratio has a 1,920x1,200-pixel native resolution. The 16:9 monitor trend currently sweeping the market has given many smaller monitors higher resolutions than they were capable of at 16:10. A 22-incher (or 21.5) with a 16:9 aspect ratio now has a potential high-definition, native resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels as opposed to 1,680x1,050 pixels. Still, we understand why HP chose 16:10 for the w2558hc, since with such a large screen, you'd want to make sure that users have the highest resolution possible to take advantage of its size.
Resolution: 1,920x1,200 pixels
Pixel-response rate: 3ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Connectivity: DVI, HDMIx2
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? DVI, HDMI
Backlight type: CCFL
Panel type: TN
Aspect ratio: 16:10
We tested the HP w2558hc with its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 87 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests. We compared it with the 25.5-inch Planar PX2611w, which scored an 88. The w2558hc scored well in most of our color tests, but faltered in color tracking, which looks for unwanted color in the grayscale, as it yielded more of a green tint than we wanted. On the black screen test, we saw clouding at the top and bottom edges of the screen.