I love working with three screens. Probably my passion for the panoramic format! It presents many assets among which one will appear while reading this article but it also has a drawback: it can be expensive! Here's why I made the choice of one top-range main screen and two lower-quality ones installed aside. Two years ago, I set my sight on the Hp 23 Xi with IPS panel because they were sold under 200 euros and it was a great surprise. Here's why:
It is obvious that when I bought these two HP 23Xi, it was only to use them as secondary screens in order to display my emails and internet on one side and my Photoshop tool palettes on the other one for instance. I didn't need them to be very good colorimetrically speaking. I just chose screens with IPS panel because it's a minimum! They turned out to be a very good surprise for the price...
Difference between the 23Xi and the 23Xw? The foot is slightly different as well as the wirings since you now find two HDMI plugs on the 23Xw.
Why buy a "low-range" screen?
To start with, I need to precise that I'm a color management enthusiast, but I also love a good work environment. It makes me more creative. I am thus always in the search of the balance between colorimetric "truth" AND this "ideal" environment. Here's why I don't blame those who choose an iMac (calibrated though!) for instance. True colors are important to a graphic designer or a photographer but the creative environment can be just as important. I don't want to choose between them and I'll leave you free to do it according to your values and criteria, personal of course...
Since I naturally like to have three screens in front of me for the efficiency it gives me but also for the panoramic vision it offers - you can never deny yourself! - I made the choice of an excellent screen of true colors (hence expensive!) and two lower-range (or even low-range) screens to second it. When looking into it, I quickly realized that it was possible to come to a good compromise and not sacrifice everything for the price. I was thus looking for screens with IPS panel and I randomly bought these two HP 23 Xi of excellent value for money since you can find them under $160 nowadays and rather pleasant looks in a Mac environment like mine.
I can leave 9 Photoshop tool palettes open all the time on my 23" (1,920 x 1,080).
What if this screen could be something else that a secondary screen?
Introduction to HPs 23Xi and 23Xw
To start with, here are a few illustrations of these two screens of slightly different looks but that share the same very good panel, surprising for the price:
Main technical characteristics of the HPs 23Xi and 23Xw...
Size : 23 inches - 1,920 x 1,080 - Very thin pitch, almost invisible.
Plate: E-IPS* LCD (LED), Matte panel, Color space: sRGB Brightness/contrast: 250 Cd/m2 / 1100:1 (measured) Wirings 23Xi: DVI + VGA + HDMI (Choose DVI or HDMI with a good wire). Wirings 23Cw: VGA + 2 HDMI.
Pleasant looks and not bulky - Thin edges (1 cm). VESA wall fastening: No.
Last important recommendation! Plug it in DVI or HDMI but only with the right wires because I was reported several times problems with first-price wires. If you're not satisfied of your screen's display, start by looking around the wire!
* E-IPS for economic-IPS. You'll have guessed that for this price you won't get carefully selected components!
It's a screen of 23 inches only, with ultra-thin edges moreover, 10 mm thin. It is thus a screen that doesn't take much space on a desk. The finishing, "Mac" style, is really a success and doesn't look to much like a "chinese" artefact. Honestly, perceived quality is truly here and given the price it's a good surprise.
The screen, its panel and edges
1 - Definition/resolution - Even if it is not uncommon anymore to find IPS panels for less than 200 euros nowadays, it was three years ago when I bought my two first HP 23 Xi. Three years later, I still love this value for money, unbelievable! It is a 23", but one displaying 1,920 x 1,080 pixels so the resolution reaches 96 ppi. It is thus not a "Retina" screen but honestly, its pitch is very discreet since, usually, this definition is found on 24".
2 - The panel and its anti-reflections treatment - It is, as was often the case a few years ago, slightly grainy but noticeably less than on Eizos and NECs from this time. So without being as discreet as on the BenQ PG2401PT I just reviewed on this site, it only becomes visible if you stick your nose to the screen. SO its panel, obviously matte for anyone who calls themselves a photographer, doesn't have the same smoothness as the BenQ but remains a pleasant panel to look at all day long, which I've been doing for three years now.
3 - Its edges - Super-thin - 10 mm - they enable to integrate these screens to multi-screens configuration easily.
You won't be able to do much more than tilting the screen forward or backward and that's it. It can't be put in portrait mode and doesn't have a VESA fastening to tie it to the wall on an articulated arm. Moreover, no wire grommet but they can be placed, on the 23 Xi, behind the large foot. In the end, I placed them on a support and everything's fine! Ergonomics are not their strong suit though.
What is it like after calibration?
I thus performed the calibration of my two screens because as I explain it in a previous post, you can't share a screen's ICC profile with another screen, even with an identical model. It doesn't work. Moreover, my graphic card manages several ICC profiles very well, which isn't always the case.
Important remark! I plugged my screens in DVI and if you choose an HDMI wiring, I was reported at least three times problems only due to the bad quality of the wire. So in HDMI, be sure to buy a good wire!
My recommendation! I calibrated these screens with all the sensors on the market - the three Spyder5 and the two X-Rite - and I can assure you that the differences are very small, even with a comparison element under your nose. So you can choose from the five colorimeters of the moment to calibrate your screen.
This review was done using the i1Display Pro - current reference - and here are the target values I chose:
Color temperature: 6000/6250K
Brightness: 100 Cd/m2
ICC norm: V2
ADC functionality enabled - Essential!
Automatic control of the brightness of the room disabled. (I don't like it!)
First subjective impressions after this calibration...
Well it's a good surprise! Even a striking price considering the price. I waited for six months before starting talking about it around me in order to be sure of what I was seeing but I immediately thought: "this seems to be a very fair screen for any photographer on a tight budget".
What does the final report after calibration say:
The average delta e norm 2000 is 0.64! You'll notice like I did that except for the patch 23 (circled in red above) which delta-E is just under 4 hence bad since visible to the naked eye, all the others are always under 2 where only expert eyes can see a difference.
Not bad for a screen under 200 euros, even more considering that the color of patch 23 isn't a skin tone or a sky blue!
Now the test of harmonization in brightness report:
And another good surprise for a screen under 200 euros, measured for this article while I bought it two years ago!
And to finish with, homogeneity in color temperature:
Here again, all good except in the right bottom corner, the average difference is only 50K.
Conclusion and my rating!
I've been owning these two screens for almost three years and they are side to side with an excellent but old Quato Intelliproof 21, bought more than $2,000 back then. And apart from figures, rather surprising for a screen this price, I can assure you, unexpectedly, against all odds, that these screens are more than correct and I know that shouldn't be at this price but IT IS!
For three years, I've seen pass by my sensors many low-range screens (under $300) and I think these are the best "low-range" I ever reviewed. They clearly stand out and please, forget about their price.
So yes, I recommend them for tiny budgets and even a bit more because I can assure you by having them below my eyes all day long that there's not a world of difference with my Eizo CS240 and that they are super pleasant secondary screens, and that an amateur photographer could edit his photos with them before getting better and above all, more expensive ones later! The colors are fair and very close to my Eizo CS240 when I switch from one screen to another, the grey gradients are very clean and... grey! OK, they just display sRGB but is it really a problem?
As you'll have understood, it is absolutely essential to calibrate them though, with a very good current sensor that unfortunately doubles the price. But this result for $450, frankly, it's a bargain.
Here, I said it! Go on, you can set the stake on fire but as Frédéric Leboyer said: "And yet it is..."
HP 23Xi or 23Xw
Average Delta E: 0.64!
Value for money
A screen full of qualities and without striking defects under 200 euros!
Matte IPS panel,
Thinness of the pixels because full HD in 23",
Very easy to calibrate with all the sensors on the market,
Thin edges for multi-screens configurations.
The quality is striking for the price but it is not a $860 EIZO either! With that said, I assure you that well calibrated, it doesn't look bad side by side with higher-range screens.
Ergonomics are minimal: it is only possible to tilt the screen.
Economic equipment hence limited life expectancy. I've been owning one for more than three years and the other had broken after two years and a half.
"Only" sRGB but is it really a problem?
23'' only because the 27" version is also Full HD and not 2,560 x 1,440.
Not so much in the end regarding the price!
8.0 / 10
My opinion: What can I say? A panel under 200 euros shouldn't end up on my desk or any photo editor's. Well against all odds, I own two and recommend them shamelessly because it shouldn't be but it is though: these screens are surprising and of excellent value for money! If you're looking for a correct screen and don't have a lot of budget or you're looking for a reasonably good secondary screen, you can stop looking!
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