There are only a few things we haven’t reviewed here at XSR, one of those is a TFT monitor; today that’s going to change. This particular model is the HC174DP from Hanns G. This 17″ monitor with built in speakers is a fantastic budget choice for gamers and casual PC users alike, read on to find out why.
The box that we received with this product was OEM style blank cardboard, so we can breeze past the packaging section nice and quickly.
Inside the box the monitor is wrapped neatly in plastic and is housed snuggly between two pieces of polystyrene. Also, along with the normal kettle lead and VGA cable you get an audio cable to hook up the built in speakers to your sound card.
The monitor itself is a bit bland and uninteresting to look at. It could definitely do with some style and flair that other makes of monitors seem to carry off nicely. Don’t get me wrong, the monitor is not ugly in any way, but it isn’t something that will turn heads.
The monitor is silver with a black base. The control buttons on it feature an auto adjust button, volume up and down (For the built in speakers), a menu button and the standby button.
The HC174DP features a DVI and a VGA input socket so old and new GPUs are supported; there is also the input line for the audio cable.
The built-in speakers are housed on either side of the input buttons and are covered in plastic grills to protect them.
The base of the monitor needs to be attached to the screen section but this is done with the ease of a simple clip system. Once attached we can see that the base has several rubber feet to give it traction and prevent it moving around much if knocked.
To test this monitor I ran several image quality tests on it along with some FPS action to test for any ghosting. I also took some pictures of the HC174DP at different angles to test the extent of the viewing angles.
Firstly I watched a few short clips of several movies to see the quality of the pictures during playback. The HC174DP performed very well here, displaying nice rich colours and no banding whatsoever throughout the clips.
I then ran several 3d benchmark programs including 3dMark 05 and 03 to test the image quality and the monitor’s contrast. The monitor performed adequately here, but its low relatively low contrast ratio lets it down a little as it struggled to show the extreme dark and light areas very well. The HC174DP could also benefit with having a slightly higher brightness as the lighter areas seemed dimmer than on more expensive models.
The FPS game I chose to test the monitor with was BF2142 as this game involves some very fast gameplay on foot and it is enhanced even more when flying the gunships. The monitor showed no signs of ghosting throughout this test, but that can be expected of its perfectly acceptable 12ms refresh rate.
The viewing angles on the HC174DP are not the best, however they are not so horrendous as to make it hard for the one person using it to get annoyed. The problems with the viewing angle only become apparent when looking at extreme angles horizontally. Looking from the top down it is not too bad and it is easily possible to stand up and work, though everything darkens quite a bit. However, the main issue with the viewing angles of this monitor comes from underneath. Normally this would not be a problem as not many people view monitors from underneath, however this monitor is designed to be wall mountable, and if you put this monitor much higher than desk height you are going to find the quality of picture extremely reduced.
The speakers are quite poor quality, but that is something that is quite universal about built in speakers. The bass is tinny and very very quiet and the high frequencies are a bit strained. For just basic window sounds they do the job ok but for anything else (music or immersive games), you will need some better speakers or headphones.
For what this monitor can do the cost of this monitor is relatively low. The best we could find was for around the £125 mark which is a perfectly acceptable price for a monitor with these features and specifications.
Although this monitor is far from the best around, it has adequate features and abilities that match its low price tag. Its contrast and brightness are not going to wow you, but it plays games with no ghosting, provides excellent DVD playback and its built in speakers can substitute a generic set of speakers or headphones for non immersive tasks.
|Low price||Poor vertical viewing angle|
|Built in speakers||Poor sound quality|
|No ghosting||Contrast and brightness could be better|
I’d like to thank our sponsors XSRComputers for providing us with the monitor.