HP 2311x review: HP 2311x

Games: When evaluating the look of games on a monitor, the two most important features to consider are vibrancy and color. If the monitor can display games with a bright and vibrant cleanness, this goes a long way. If colors also pop with fullness and depth, games can usually look great.

Star Wars: The Old Republic on the HP 2311x in the Gaming preset had high vibrancy with colors that popped suitably. However, like the Movie preset, Gaming turns on Dynamic Contrast, and again dark detail is lost.

To get a more balanced presentation, try the following settings:

Attribute Setting
Preset Text (or Custom)
Brightness 100
Contrast 70
Color temperature Warm
Color settings R-255

To test refresh rate, I used DisplayMate's motion graphics tests and stared at a number of colored blocks as they moved around the screen at various speeds. The 2311x displayed noticeably less streaking than the Samsung SyncMaster PX2370 during the test.

Photos: For faces and light-colored hair, the 2311x's colors sometimes dip ever so slightly into a greenish hue compared with the PX2370, but the bright colors of clothing and environments pop vibrantly. Luckily, the colors can be adjusted, and I found the following settings best for viewing photos.

Attribute Setting
Preset Text (or Custom)
Brightness 100
Contrast 85
Color temperature Normal
Color settings R-255

Recommended settings: I used SpectraCal's CalPC to calibrate the HP 2311x for bright-room viewing. The following settings are what the monitor was adjusted to after calibration.

Attribute Setting
Preset Text
Brightness 100
Contrast 48
Color temperature Normal
Color settings R-255

For general use, these are the best settings; however, for more specific tasks like movies and gaming, check out those respective sections for my recommended settings.

Viewing angle: The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually from directly in front, about a quarter of the screen's distance down from the top. At this angle, you're viewing colors as the manufacturer intended. Most monitors aren't designed to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on the monitor's panel type, picture quality at suboptimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when not viewed from optimal angles.

The 2311x uses a TN panel and its viewing angles match other TN monitors in that colors begin to shift when viewing from about 6 to 7 inches to the left or right. As always with TN panels, the above and below viewing angles are the worst offenders. From these angles, graphic or text detail is at its most difficult to see.

This is typical of the vast majority of TN panels, though, as it's one of the limitations of the technology. It's also the reason the HP 2311x can be found for as low as $180, so I can't knock it (or other TN-based monitors) too hard based on this. Just understand you likely won't be creating art for the next great Web site with this one. I'd suggest a more professional IPS-based monitor like the Asus PA246Q for that.

Power consumption: The HP 2311x achieved good power consumption, with a Default/On power draw of 24.9 watts. The Samsung SyncMaster PX2370 drew a similar 25.01 watts in the same test.

In our Sleep/Standby test, the HP 2311x drew 0.59 watt and the PX2370 pulled a lower 0.29 watt. Based on our formula, the 2311x would incur virtually the same cost as the PX2370, with a per-year pull of $7.84 per year, compared with the PX2370's $7.65 per year.

Juice box
HP 2311x Average watts per hour
On (default luminance) 24.9
On (max luminance) 26.4
On (min luminance) 11.8
Sleep 0.59
Calibrated (200 cd/m2) 15.6
Annual power consumption cost $7.84
Score Good

Brightness in cd/m2
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Contrast ratio
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
HP 2311x
Dell S2330MX
HP x2301

DisplayMate performance test (score)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.

Service and support
Hewlett-Packard backs the 2311x with a three-year limited parts and labor warranty that covers the backlight--the same great deal other vendors, such as Dell, provide. HP includes free shipping labels and in-home service, as well as support through its 24-7 toll-free number. Just be aware that the free service ends after one year and HP will charge you after that. HP's Web site offers Web chat and e-mail support that the company says it replies to within an hour.

The HP 2311x offers a good package for its price. With three popular and useful connection options, good overall performance, and plenty of color customization, it's a pretty good deal at $230. The fact that it can currently be found for $180 makes it even more appealing and worthier of your dollar. Just be sure you don't need something more than a basic monitor.

What you'll pay

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