Computer Monitors

HP Pavilion 23xi Computer Monitor Review

A low-price monitor that delivers high-price performance.

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Introduction

Hewlett-Packard introduced their Pavilion line of products in 1995. Conceptually, the Pavilion line is meant to present consumers with an affordable, general use product that neither specializes nor falls short in any area. The Pavilion 23xi 23-inch IPS LED computer monitor is a testament to that concept, retailing at a low MSRP of $229 while delivering a decent amount of flexibility to users.

We feel that the 23xi sticks to the “Pavilion tradition,” delivering exemplary performance at a surprisingly low price. We tested excellent contrast and screen uniformity; further, the 23xi’s color adherence is top tier. Factoring price, flexibility, and overall performance leaves us with the impression that the 23xi is a very good deal: Monitor shoppers should keep an eye on HP’s 2013 Pavilion displays.

Overview

The HP Pavilion 23xi is a handsome monitor, especially for its price point. It looks a little like one of Apple’s displays: The monitor’s stand and lower bezel consist of a brushed aluminum, while the screen itself is a deep, almost impenetrable black with a very minimalist bezel, maximizing the screen.

We feel that the 23xi is very well-designed for its price point. This monitor straddles a line between the bare minimum, $200 variety and something much more expensive. Typically, a budget monitor will come equipped with cheap plastic trimmings and inputs only for DVI and VGA. The 32xi ups the ante a bit: Its brushed aluminum, HDMI port, and tilt-ready stand approach the mid-range barrier—the price does not.

Front

Back

Side

Stand

In the Box

In the box, you’ll find the panel and stand, a VGA cable, a DVI cable, a quick start guide, and a software CD-ROM.

Contrast

We were very impressed with both the HP 23xi’s contrast ratio (brightest white divided by deepest black), as well as the individual levels of its max white and minimum black. Out of the three monitors we pulled for comparison, the 23xi’s black level of 0.21 cd/m2 was the deepest by a good amount—and some of the other monitors were much more expensive by list price. Coupled with a peak brightness of 262.30 cd/m2 , this HP offers ample contrast: Human eyes will be highly pleased by whatever they view on it. More on how we test contrast.

Uniformity

The HP Pavilion 23xi tested with excellent uniformity. We test screen uniformity subjectively, checking the integrity of a 100% white and a 100% black screen: If there are issues with the display’s backlight, they are usually easy to spot with no special equipment or filtered glasses. Fortunately, the 23xi has no issues whatsoever. Its full white screen is evenly illuminated from center to corners. More impressively, its full black screen causes the monitor to appear to be off—this is a testament to its black levels and LED array efficacy. More on how we test uniformity.

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Color Temperature

The HP Pavilion 23xi tested impressively yet again in our color temperature test. The test revealed that this HP has very little visible color temperature error—blue- or orange-tinting of the white in shades of grey or color. This can be visually distracting and mar the integrity of the picture quality, but it is far from a problem for this monitor. This is a good result. More on how we test color temperature.

Color Curves

The HP 23xi’s color curves were very good. Color and greyscale curves reveal how well a display transitions between neighboring hues: the more gradual the slope, the less of a jump in luminance from one color or shade to the next. This smaller jump in brightness makes for more realistic edge detail and helps viewers forget they’re watching digital programming.

The 23xi did very well here: its curves are very smooth, and adhere to almost the exact same levels of luminance from 0-255 along the intensity scale. This is a very solid result. More on how we test color curves.

Color Gamut

The HP Pavilion 23xi tested excellently against the sRGB color gamut. A color gamut is a illustrative chart, representing all of the millions of colors a monitor can display. We want to see the monitor’s color gamut lining up to meet the points of the sRGB gamut: This means that peak red, green, blue, and white should be fitted to the same u’ and v’ coordinates as the international standard.

The 23xi has excellent color accuracy: Its red, green, blue, and white points are just about perfectly aligned to the international standard. This means that the content it shows you will look almost perfect as far as color accuracy is concerned, rendering artwork, games, or movies as they were meant to be seen. This is an excellent result. More on how we test color gamut.

Viewing Angle

The HP 23xi’s horizontal viewing angle is not great: Its contrast drops considerably at 45° off-center. At a head-on viewing angle, this HP offers a solid contrast ratio of 1232:1, which is plenty of contrast. However, that contrast ratio drops to 158:1 at 45° off angle, meaning moving much more than about 30° to either side of center is going to result in contrast loss, grayed blacks, and dimmer whites. This is a bad result: Don’t plan on using this monitor for group viewing.

Connectivity

The 32xi has a fairly basic connectivity set, covering a narrow span of common input methods per source. Each of the 32xi’s ports (including the node for its power adapter) are lined up horizontally along the back side of the display, above its stand. While they’re not notably easy to access, the light weight of the display itself makes this less of an issue. The 32xi offers inputs for one VGA, one DVI, and one HDMI cable. There is also a Kensington lock slot to the right of the port area.

Controls & Menus

The HP Pavilion 23xi features a very basic menu. This is the kind that you’ll see on most entry-level monitors, offering users the ability to adjust settings such as Contrast, Brightness, color space, aspect ratio, etc. The menus and sub-menus correspond sensibly to the 23xi’s control buttons, which reveal their functions via etched symbols along the bottom, right edge of the bezel.

Conclusion

The Pavilion 23xi (MSRP $229) is an IPS LED-paneled, aesthetically beautiful display from HP. For the price, this monitor looks great, and it’s just as efficacious on the inside as it is attractive on the outside.
From a user standpoint, there’s plenty to like here. A handsome, tilt-ready stand and the semi-rare addition of an HDMI input mean that the 23xi offers mid-range garb and source options at lower-end prices. This is a good thing. We’ve discovered, too, that its performance in the area of contrast ratio is very good—which is odd, as many IPS-paneled displays struggle with deep black production. The 23xi’s color adherence is terrific, better than many pricier monitors we’ve tested in the past.

For the price, no one is really barred from using this display, and its performance makes it highly flexible. While gamers will want likely TN-paneled monitors, graphic artists could potentially rely on the 23xi’s accurate color gamut and smooth curves. The 23xi offers a plus in its styling and port options to most users, breaking out of the black-plastic-rectangle prison that so many entry-level monitors find themselves wallowing within. With an eye-catching design and great color and contrast scores, the HP Pavilion 23xi delivers high quality at a low price.

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