In recent years it seems monitor product announcements and reviews have grown increasingly rare. Occasionally at events like CES we’ll see a company or two bring an interesting display with them, but these are typically ultra-widescreen or ultra-HD affairs that don’t make it to market—at least, not in a timely fashion or at a consumer price level. In the meantime more and more devices are coming with integrated screens, meaning you settle for whatever you get and don’t really consider the display separately from the rest of the product. But on the desktop PC side of technology, monitors remain a very important investment for everyone to make, whether you’re into creative productivity or gaming or really anything else. While the monitor we’re here to take a look at today is by no means the best and fanciest out on the market (and it doesn’t claim to be), all things considered HP has struck a pretty great balance with the Pavilion 22bw/25bw, addressing a wide variety of needs in a single, affordable package.
The HP 22bw and 25bw are 21.5″ and 25″ IPS, LED-lit displays. Connectivity is somewhat limited at just one VGA, one DVI, and one HDMI port, but considering at this point DisplayPort and alternatives like Thunderbolt are hardly commonplace most will not have any problem finding a workable connection. Both monitors operate at a native resolution of 1920×1080 and 60hz (though that can be bumped up to 75hz or 2k at 60hz, neither of which are recommended) and have a response time of 7ms. While that last figure might make the gamer crowd cringe, this is still a worthy purchase no matter your use-case, especially considering you can currently find the 21″ variant retailing for just $150-180 depending on where you look, or tack on another $100 for the 25″ model. In general it’s not worth purchasing a monitor based on its response time alone, as different manufacturers measure response time differently and really anything below 8ms is completely acceptable. This is the kind of number that is easy to ‘cheat’ on or misrepresent to look better than it is (seriously, see how your monitor stacks up in reality with this test). No matter how you slice it the Pavilion 22/25bw falls on the wrong side of the standard 5ms, but we’re talking 2ms difference. I played 10+ hours of high-speed FPS games and scored first place plenty of times, so I think it’s fair to say that lag is not a problem, here.
The monitors won’t slow you down in real life, either. HP has gone with an external power supply on this one, saving a lot of weight and bulk on the monitors themselves and making them a couple of the lightest of their size I’ve ever picked up. While the non-standard mounting system is regrettable for anyone wanting to put these on VESA-compliant wall or multi-monitor stands, the smaller mount design on the Pavilion shaves off even more flab for the ultimate slim form factor, and the included stand actually looks pretty decent and feels very sturdy despite being two plastic pieces. Bezel on the monitor itself is also nice, with only a slim edge on the top and sides that sits flush with the screen. The bottom bears much more substance to contain an HP logo and OSD controls and whatever else is going on internally, but even so the display’s presence feels slighter than most. Sure, these days everyone seems to be pushing for ‘edgeless’, but if you can live with a little plastic showing, you’ll have no problems, here.