An LCD’s spec sheet isn’t likely to mention the use of 6-bit color with frame-rate control; it’s up to you to deduce it. In some cases, you’ll find that the color spec isn’t even mentioned. This in itself can be a clue, but it’s not proof––dig further. If a spec is mentioned, bear in mind this distinction: An 8-bit panel is capable of producing 16.7 million colors; a 6-bit panel produces just 262,144 colors but uses FRC to create approximations of more, up to 16.2 million shades.
Hanns.G’s HW223DPB bears the telltale 16.2 million color spec. Granted, that’s a whole lot of colors, and we really can’t say this LCD is incapable of producing many, many distinct shades. In our high-res digital test photos, fine detail was accounted for, as were various subtle transitions in shades, and there were no signs of dithering—the obvious that often results from a limited color palette. But as we observed in our last batch of 22-inch screens, the overall picture was less rich and vibrant than what we’ve seen on high-end LCDs. Even more troublesome was the poor off-axis visibility. The picture is optimal at direct eye level, with some detail loss occurring at even the lower half of the screen. When we looked down on the screen from a standing position, the diminished picture quality was especially startling. When viewed from the side, there was a loss of contrast and lighter colors took on a yellowish cast.
The HW223DPB is labeled as “HD ready,” but the display was incapable of displaying a commercial high-definition disc from our Blu-ray drive. It turns out the tag refers to the screen’s ability to play 1080p content via an included component-to-DVI cable—in other words an analog stream from, say, a console or set-top disc player. HDCP is not supported. Frankly, we wouldn’t buy any device that requires us to trust that analog streams will remain unregulated by content providers. The HW223DPB’s cabinet is unremarkable in looks and adjustment options (it has only forward and back tilt), but it does come with
Inexpensive, good grayscale performance, OK for gaming.
Bare-bones build, poor vertical off-axis, no HDCP.