The design is the now-traditional, shiny HP bezel surrounded by a set-back silver frame - it's quite stylish, in a slightly heavy way. Physically, height adjustment is possible using an aggressively sprung stand and there's a limited tilt range, but no swivel. The HP w2558hc's bezel is quite wide, making it feel like one of the bulkier monitors in this collection.
Removing the packaging reveals a blizzard of labels around the bezel that highlight the HP w2558hc's extras. There's a ‘task light' - an extra light source that illuminates the area under the base of the monitor with not just one or two but three different selectable brightness levels. There's an integrated USB hub. There's a webcam. There are speakers.
There's even an option to turn the HP w2558hc into a very large picture frame using the built-in card reader; selecting one of the buttons that run along the base of the monitor turns off all the usual display functions and replaces them with a slideshow pulled from the 15:1 card reader. It's an interesting and unusual collection of extras, but it gives the impression that HP has kept adding features in the hope that at least one of them will persuade buyers that the HP w2558hc is a must-have product.
Visual performance is middle of the range. The HP w2558hc is a glossy panel, and it has a wider viewing angle than average. Despite this, both colour linearity and absolute saturation are good, if unexceptional.
Video performance is snappier than average, making the HP w2558hc a possible choice for semi-pro video editing. But if your main interest is photography and photo editing, colour accuracy is close but not quite spot-on and the card reader is minimal compensation for that.
This HP w2558hc falls between two stools – it’s packed with extras, but they push the price into territory where this 25.5in panel is competing with 27in 1,920 x 1,200 models. If you don’t need or want the extra features, basic performance is only a notch or two above what’s available for less money elsewhere.