HANNspree XM-S New York review
Flat panel maker HANNspree has decided monitors are too boring.
Its latest range is called XM, standing for 'Exquisite Measures', and includes the Boston, which comes in a woodgrain finish 'inspired by one of America's oldest cities'. We suspect the involvement of the Ferrero Rocher people. Anyway, the one we tested was the New York, inspired by another of America's oldest cities, somehow or other.
The plain black bezel is ostentatiously clamped at either side by six bolts, giving it a ruggedly industrial mien. Below, the display is connected to its matching stand by a silver cylinder not entirely unreminiscent of a lap-dancing pole. You can move the screen up and down on it, but only a couple of inches. The display can also turn from side to side and pivot (easy tiger). Overall, this is more of a style statement than a genuine ruggedised device, rather like one of those posh trucks that middle-class American men buy to play Bruce Springsteen in the cabs of. But the build quality is solid enough.
With a native resolution of 1,440 x 900 pixels, the 19-inch XM is suitable for 720 pixel HD video as well as general PC use, and comes with both DVI and VGA connections to suit computers old and new. The New York's built-in speakers, like most speakers built into anything except a large wooden cabinet, lack any real panache when it comes to rendering audio more demanding than Windows alert sounds, but at least you won't have to find desk space for separate speakers if you don't need hi-fi quality.
We were pleased to find that the screen itself was really good, with strong colour and plenty of detail. Watching movies was great, with both fast action and more sedate sequences displayed very accurately. The HANNspree was pretty flawless for everyday tasks like word processing and web browsing, too, despite a very slight pinkish colour cast on solid whites. The on-screen menus are easy to follow and provide a decent level of flexibility, so you can tinker a little bit with colour and other parameters if you find you need to.