HP EliteDisplay E243d 23.8in Docking Monitor review: Perfect for agile working
A neat solution for hotdesking environments, but you may find the panel size frustratingly small
When HP describes a monitor as a docking monitor, it isn't joking. It has packed this display with everything you would normally associate with a docking station, with the idea being that all you need to do is plug in your laptop using the supplied USB-C cable and start working. Perfect for hotdesking environments and incredibly convenient for users.
HP EliteDisplay E243d 23.8in Docking Monitor review: Design
It works, too. While HP has its own EliteBook range in mind to partner its EliteDisplay monitors - there's even a power adapter in the box that lets you directly power older HP laptops that can't charge via USB-C - we chose to hook up our Surface Book 2 and use it as our day-to-day setup. So we plugged our wired mouse and wired keyboard into the two USB 2 ports at the rear of this display, right next to the wired Ethernet port, and then connected the display and laptop using the supplied (and super-long) USB-C cable.
The end result was a fully networked system with no need for us to plug in a power cord to keep our laptop going. HP supplies a meaty external power brick, which means the display can deliver up to 65W of power. That's enough for most laptops that use USB-C power inputs, although HDMI support is also offered.
One thing quickly became apparent from our desk setup, though: wires ran everywhere. We could cut out two by switching to a wireless mouse and keyboard, and a third if we relied on Wi-Fi, but even if you use the monitor stand's built-in cable tidy, the USB-C and power cable remain visible. If you're the kind of person who uses cable tidies, you can employ them to minimise the clutter, but it requires effort.
HP EliteDisplay E243d 23.8in Docking Monitor review: Image quality
It didn't help matters when we connected a plain HP EliteDisplay E243 monitor (132 exc VAT) via the E243d's DisplayPort output. The annoyance of this extra cable is more than compensated for by the extra screen space, though, because a 23.8in screen feels small by today's standards. As is a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, which never feels quite enough for working on documents side by side.
Both screens use the same IPS panel, and it's well suited to office environments. HP doesn't make any promises about colour accuracy, but the E243d returned an average Delta E of 1.54 while the E243 scored 0.87; both highly credible results. They're not tuned for DCI-P3 or Adobe RGB colour spaces, only covering around 70% of both, but with 90% of the sRGB gamut in play you can be confident in the colours you see on-screen.
They're also bright enough for office use, hitting a peak of 264cd/m2 in our tests (HP states a maximum brightness of 250cd/m2). Naturally, there's an anti-glare filter so you won't be troubled by reflections from overhead lighting. While the stand has plenty of tilt options, and the ability to swivel 45 in either direction, one feature notably lacking is height adjustment.
You could theoretically place these screens side by side in portrait mode, though, as they rotate in either direction and have a slim 3mm bezel. We don't recommend this - Windows gets very confused - but used side by side to create a 3,840 x 1,080 display, they create an effective workspace. All of that said, we would still always opt for a single, larger screen.
HP EliteDisplay E243d 23.8in Docking Monitor review: Features
Another advantage of the E243d over the E243 is its built-in webcam, which pops up when you need it. This isn't automatic - you need to press down to activate the pop-up mechanism - but has obvious privacy benefits. Image quality is good enough for video calls to colleagues, but with a 720p resolution and tendency to oversaturate colours, it's hardly a replacement for a dedicated webcam. At least audio quality is good, with a dual-array microphone helping to cancel background sounds. Don't waste time hunting for a built-in speaker because there isn't one, but you can connect headphones via the 3.5mm jack on the left-hand side, which keeps two more USB-A ports company.
HP EliteDisplay E243d 23.8in Docking Monitor review: Verdict
It goes without saying that HP is targeting businesses with this docking monitor, so a price of 259 exc VAT - considering that HP's own docking stations tend to cost over 100 - is surprisingly reasonable. Buy them in bigger batches and that price should become more reasonable still. However, it does have competition from the likes of Philips. Its 24in Brilliance USB-docking LCD monitor costs 200 exc VAT, with its obvious drawback being that it can't also power your laptop.
HP has one extra string in its bow, though, and that's a three-year exchange warranty. With its numerous other office-friendly features - heck, there's even a VGA input if it's still needed - this makes it a reassuringly safe buy.
A reassuringly safe buy for businesses, the HP EliteDisplay E243d is ideally suited to companies who want to enable agile working, as the all-in-one connection capabilities of USB-C make it a natural fit for hot-desking
24in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS panel 60Hz refresh rate 7ms response time HDMI (HDCP 1.4) VGA USB-C 3.1 DisplayPort 1.2 out 4-port USB hub RJ-45 3.5mm audio out -45° to 45° swivel -5° to 23° tilt Pivot No height adjustment 539 x 205 x 463mm (WDH) 6.2kg 5yr exchange warranty
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