The HannsG HG281DJB has a viewable 27.5" true color TFT screen with anti-glare coating, two small speakers that are good enough for some video-watching, 1920x1200 resolution, 800:1 contrast ratio, 500 cd/m2 brightness, 3 ms response time, VESA wall mount and height adjustable stand. It has two stereo 3.5mm audio ports, HDMI w/HDCP digital input and a standard 15-pin VGA port.
In the box we found the monitor, a VGA cable, an audio cable, the power cord, HDMI to DVI-D cable, 15-pin VGA to Y/Pb/Pr cable, 3.5 mm Mini jack to R/L cable, the installation guide on CD and a printed quick start guide. The monitor was well-packed and arrived safely, despite being a refurbished model.
This monitor replaced my 1200x1600 vertical 21" Samsung monitor that I was using for the last three years as a document/web reader. I was sad to part ways with it, especially because it made my web experience so good. However, since I had upgraded my graphics card from a latest ATi to a latest GeForce model, I found that nVidia does not accelerate well 2D graphics when a monitor is rotated (this is a known limitation, I found out after the fact). Coupling that with my new videography hobby, it was obvious that I needed to upgrade my monitor. And this HannsG model proved to be an excellent reader (I usually have my Firefox window at 1200x1200 now), and at the same time I am able to watch my HD videos in full 1080p. Not only it's cool to be able to watch your captured videos exactly at the right resolution as recorded, but it also helps heaps with editing. Now I can even see and correct noise, pixelation, or HDV artifacts that I could not see before during editing as my preview window was set to just 1/4 the original size.
The HannsG HG281DJB has a very nice matte black finish and it looks pretty serious sitting in one's desk. One interesting thing is that while I was removing my Samsung monitor to get replaced, I was thinking how heavy it is. Surprisingly, the much larger HannsG monitor was way lighter! That's racing technology for you!
The monitor does not have any buttons on the front, but its 4 buttons can be found on its side. The first button brings up the main menu. From there, you can use the "arrow" buttons to move left or right, and by clicking the menu button again you can enable a feature or not. The fourth button is the ON/OFF button.
Here are some of the things you can change using the monitor's menus: brightness, contrast, color settings (3 presets, plus a custom one) OSD position/time-out/transparency/color/language (English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch), volume, sharpness and analog/digital input setting. I personally don't like "cool" colors, so I changed the color setting to "warm".
The color precision is good on this monitor, and brightness/contrast levels are good too. However, I was not happy at all about the vertical viewing angle. On my 22" Viewsonic monitor I can pretty much check specific test pictures from any angle while sitting on my desk and still make up most of the attributes shown in the picture. With the HannsG HG281DJB I have to sit up to view the details correctly. For example (and this is just one of the numerous examples I can give), my South Park picture's hair on my blog is all blacked out when viewed on this monitor, while it's fair and details easily identifiable on any other monitor or laptop in my lab. I tried playing with the various picture options on both the monitor's and nVidia panel's side, I tried adjusting the stand, I even adjusted my chair, to no avail. The monitor just doesn't have a good enough vertical viewing angle as far as I am concerned.
Nevertheless, this is a good budget monitor for those who are after either large resolutions, or HD video watching. I was actually thinking that this monitor is also ideal for college students who share a crammed room. You see, this product can function both as a TV and as a PC monitor and that's pretty convenient -- not counting the fact that it's full 1080p. Geeks.com sells the product for $480 (currently out of stock, the model still left in their store is the version that doesn't have HDCP support).