HP Passport 1912nm Internet Monitor review

The HP Passport 1912nm Internet Monitor is designed for businesses seeking an affordable, easy-to-use Web console for their customer base.
Photo of HP Passport 1912nm Internet Monitor

For businesses that want to offer their customers a fast, uncomplicated way to access the Internet and cloud services, the HP Passport 1912nm Internet Monitor provides a reasonably priced, albeit limited, solution. This unique 18.5-inch display is equipped with an ARM-based processor and uses a Linux OS to access web apps and play multimedia files. It’s not a great performer by any means, and it’s short on features, but it’s cheap and easy to use.

Design and Features
The 1912nm uses an 18.5-inch TN (Twisted Nematic) panel with CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp) backlighting as opposed to LED backlighting. As such, the matte black cabinet is thicker (2.6-inches) than what you’ll find on most LED monitors such as the 1.3-inch thick HP 2011x . The 1,366-by-768 panel is framed by glossy black bezels measuring 0.6 inches on the top and sides and 1.2 inches on the bottom. The bottom bezel is slightly curved and holds five buttons (Menu, -, +, Mode, Power).

The 7.5-pound cabinet has four VESA wall mounting holes and comes with an oval stand that allows you to tilt the panel but offers no other adjustments. At the rear of the cabinet are an Ethernet jack, an upstream USB 2.0 port, four downstream USB 2.0 ports, and two audio ports (in, out). There’s also a VGA input for connecting the 1912nm to a host PC, but digital inputs such as HDMI and DVI are missing. A fifth USB 2.0 port is conveniently mounted on the left side of the cabinet right above a card reader slot that accepts SD, MS, MMC, and xD media. The 2-watt speakers are loud and don’t distort when the volume is maxed out but they are a bit too trebly.

The 1912nm is powered by a Texas Instruments dual core OMAP 4430 processor running at 1.0GHZ and is outfitted with 2GB of flash memory and 1GB of DDR2 RAM. It runs an HP customized version of Linux and uses Mozilla Firefox as its browser. Video, audio, and photo viewing apps are built in, as is an Adobe Flash player. This is a bare bones Internet device; you don’t get any internal storage, it lacks Wi-Fi networking capabilities, and there are no touch screen capabilities. To get started all you have to do is plug it in, connect the keyboard, mouse, and LAN cables, turn it on and you’re ready to go.

The main desktop screen contains five massive icons for the embedded apps including Music, Video, Photo, Web, and Settings. You can access files stored on media cards and USB storage devices (ie: thumb drives and portable hard drives) as well as files stored in the cloud. The settings menu is where you go to select photos for a slideshow, set the date and time, configure network settings, and enable the password option.

The monitor ships with an HP USB keyboard and an HP USB scroll mouse, but you’ll have to supply your own upstream USB cable and Ethernet cable. HP covers the 1921nm with a three year parts and labor warranty that includes on-site service.

Performance
The 1912nm did a fairly good job of displaying individual swatches from the DisplayMate Color Scales test but its grayscale performance was abysmal. The five lightest shades of gray on the 64-Step Grayscale test were washed out, while over on the dark end the three darkest shades appeared black. This doesn’t present much of an issue while viewing most web pages or text files,but photographs and video will suffer a loss of highlight and shadow detail. On the plus side, the screen uses a matte coating that is non-reflective and keeps glare to a minimum.

Viewing angle performance was less than optimal; there was a significant loss of luminance and lots of color shifting at around 50-degrees from dead center. However, small text from the DisplayMate Scaled Fonts test appeared well formed and crisp.

The OMAP processor performed as expected although there was an occasional 3-4 second lag between the time I clicked on a file and the time it took to open it. Web pages were a tad slow to load as well, but other than that there were no major issues.

The 1912nm averaged 22 watts of power during my testing, which isn’t all that bad for a monitor that uses CCFL backlighting but still more than the Lenovo D186 (16 watts), an 18-inch display that also uses CCFL backlighting. Neither can match the energy efficiency of LED backlit displays such as the Lenovo LS2421P Wide , which has much larger 24-inch panel but averaged only 16 watts of power.

The HP Passport 1912nm is a good fit for libraries, hotel lobbies, hospitality centers, and any other business that needs to supply affordable web access to its customers. It’s easy to set up and easy to use, and it performs as advertised. That said, HP should consider replacing the under-achieving TN panel with a low-cost e-IPS panel that would provide much better color, grayscale, and viewing angle performance. A more powerful processor and wireless networking would be welcome too.

COMPARISON TABLE
Compare the HP Passport 1912nm Internet Monitor with several other monitors side by side.

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Specifications
Native Resolution 1366 x 768
Supported Video Formats 720p
PC Interfaces Analog VGA
Diagonal Screen Size 18.5 inches
Widescreen Yes
Aspect Ratio 16

Verdict
The HP Passport 1912nm Internet Monitor is designed for businesses seeking an affordable, easy-to-use Web console for their customer base. The 18.5-inch panel and OMAP CPU don?t offer much in the way of performance however, and features are limited.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc