Hanns-G / Hannspree HL225DBB review

Hanns-G expands its HL series with a slim line 21.5 display
Photo of Hanns-G / Hannspree HL225DBB
£119

Hanns-G has recently expanded its HL series of LED monitors with three new models, at the top of which sits the HL225DBB. This 22-inch screen, as it’s called on the press release and heavily implied on the packaging, is actually a 21.5in display with 1,920×1,080 native resolution at a 16:9 aspect ratio, 1000:1 contrast ratio and 5ms response time.

Design and build
The HL225DBB is a minimalist but nice-looking screen. At 45mm deep, it’s fairly slim – but it soon becomes clear that this is a budget entry into an ever-advancing market.

Nothing makes this more apparent than the stand, which is very light and feels quite cheaply made from thin plastic. It offers a relatively meagre -5 to +15 degree tilt, and doesn’t even offer much support – something that’s particularly noticeable when attempting to adjust the viewing angle or access the tactile controls mounted under the right-hand side of the bezel.

With no built-in speakers, the only connectivity available is DVI-D and VGA ports, and though the lack of HDMI might be frustrating for some, as a relatively cheap model we can’t be too critical.

Controls and adjustments
There’s a fair range of adjustment available through the on-screen menus, but you won’t want to be doing this too often: as well as having to operate them blind because of the lack of clear indication as to what each button does, it’s a frustrating task when the monitor is wobbling about on the desktop.

Those familiar with Hanns-G’s range will instantly recognise its proprietary X-contrast mode, offering dynamic contrast adjustment to offer a frankly ridiculous 15,000,000:1. There are also three colour settings as well as preset modes for PC, Movie, Game and Eco, which brings us to how it performs in a real world environment.

Performance
Though some elements of the physical design leave something to be desired, thankfully Hanns-G has done a nice job with the display itself. The default PC mode is extremely clear and offers bright, vibrant images with accurate colour reproduction and sharp lines. Fast-moving action in games and movies is handled well and we only saw noticeable banding between shades during very dark scenes.

Adjusting the preset modes doesn’t appear to have a big impact on the vibrancy of colours – but it does quite noticeably change the backlight and contrast to optimum levels for these environments. We found this to be quite a subjective call however, and instead resorted to simply switching between high (PC) and low (Movie or Eco) modes, depending on the amount of ambient light in the room.

Though hardly class-leading, we were very happy with the performance of the display itself, which proved versatile enough to cope with the majority of modern uses. Being an LED-backlit model the HL225DBB is already pretty energy efficient, and while the Eco mode is only really usable at night, this can help increase savings further. While it’s by no means perfect, this is a reasonably priced screen that would suit those looking for a capable general-use display – and provided you don’t fiddle with the controls or tilt mechanism too much, goes about its job admirably.

Company: Hanns-G / Hannspree

Contact: N/A

Positives
  • Decent performance at a very reasonable price.
Negative
  • Awkward controls; relatively flimsy stand with little adjustment.

Verdict

The issues with the HL225's design are disappointing, but it makes up for this with a low price and impressive performance as a monitor. Though it's effectively a 'set and forget' solution, due to the lack of flexibility and awkward controls, those who aren't concerned about these drawbacks will be pleased with this reasonably priced display.