It's not often that a 22-inch TN+Film monitor comes along and piques my interest because they're generally incredibly samey and uninspired. It was to such an extent that the sigh I'd let off every time I read through the spec sheets for the latest 22-inch monitor to hit the market was getting longer.
And it was starting to become a distraction in the office – so much so that I started reading spec sheets when I was at home.
Things were a little different when HannsG announced the HG221AP in October though, and for the first time in I-don't-know-how-long there was a 22-inch monitor that actually caught my eye. Shock, horror, call the Internet police, etc.
Now, before we go any further, let's be clear – the HG221AP's specifications aren't anything special; instead, what makes this monitor special is the price point it hits. At just under £110 including VAT it's one of, if not the cheapest branded 22-inch monitor available for purchase. With that in mind, we had to get the display in for a test drive to find out if its price point was just too good to be true.
We say this because we've looked at a few fairly run-of-the-mill 22-inch monitors in recent months and their mediocrity left me thinking – when will TN+Film technology be good enough for photo editing work? It's definitely not there yet, even despite many monitor manufacturers' push towards the technology because it's incredibly cost effective (depending on who you talk to) – for anyone serious about the quality of the pixels they spend countless hours inspecting, the natural choice is to look at more expensive displays based on IPS, MVA or PVA panel technology.
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But not everyone cares about super-accurate pixels and just wants a screen that has ample desktop real estate and respectable image quality at a price point that doesn't mean you'll need to start selling organs. In the business we're in, it's often very easy to become jaded when most manufacturers want to push their latest and greatest products our way first. Positive coverage generated on these products can often lead to the halo effect working its magic, where prospective buyers are enticed into buying products that haven't been tested quite as thoroughly as something three or four times the price.
With that in mind, this is exactly where HannsG hopes its HG221AP will fit into the market – but is it cheap and cheerful or cheap and nasty? Let's find out...