Most 23-inch, LED-based monitors are very basic, general-purpose devices that likely won't impress you with their viewing angles. That's because most monitors feature Twisted Nematic (TN) panels, which are cheap (hence their ubiquity), but usually suffer in terms of viewing angle.
Simply put, when viewed from any angle other than directly in front, images on TN panels become more difficult to see.
The HP 2311xi, however houses an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel. IPS panels enjoy much wider viewing angles than TN panels, but are usually more expensive.
The catch here is that the 2311xi isn't expensive. In fact, even with its impressive panel technology, it's cheaper than most TN-based monitors.
Design and features
Smooth and clean are fair ways to describe the HP 2311xi's overall aesthetic. Running my fingers along the back of the monitor yielded a feeling akin to lying between soft, high-thread-count sheets. Well, maybe it's not that smooth, but it does feel nice. Still, the build quality felt hollow, plasticky, and, well, kind of cheap. But hey, smooth.
Also, why every monitor isn't designed with back-facing connections laid out in an easily accessible manner baffles me to no end, but I'm incredibly thankful this one is. The 2311xi's support of HDMI, DVI, and VGA connections are welcome, but DisplayPort would have been an exciting bonus.
Though the 2311xi isn't skimpy on connections, ergonomic support is another story. Ergo options are limited to a 25-degree back tilt, with no swivel, pivot, or height adjustment, but the monitor does slide around normal surfaces quite easily.
The right and left sides of the bezel measure 0.9 inch and the full panel is 21.9 inches wide, with the bottom of the panel hovering 2.7 inches from the desktop. The foot stand measures 10.6 inches wide by 6.2 inches deep and provides great stability for the monitor, as knocking it from the sides yielded nary a wobble.
Anyone familiar with HP's OSD (onscreen display) design, won't find any surprises here. Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpness are present. Also included are five presets: Movie, Gaming, Text, Photo, and Custom.
Three color temperature options are included: Warm, Cool, and Standard (somewhere in between warm and cool). RGB color controls are also included, allowing for the fine-tuning of red, green, and blue.
The OSD array is located in the lower right corner, along the bottom edge and consists of four horizontally aligned buttons, with small white icons along the bezel denoting each button's function. The far left button activates the menu, followed to the right by the Up, Down, and Enter buttons. Navigating the menu proved a straightforward endeavor, easy to get the hang of. The power button sits directly to the right, and when powered on a turquoise power light glows in the lower right bezel.
|Design and feature highlights|
|Connectivity:||HDMI, DVI, VGA|
|Ergonomic options:||25-degree back tilt|
|VESA wall-mount support:||No|
|Included video cables:||DVI, VGA|
|Number of presets:||5|
|Picture options:||Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness|
|Color controls:||RGB and 3 color temperature options|
I tested the HP 2311xi through its DVI input, connected to a Windows Vista PC with my own DVI cable. The display posted a composite score of 94 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests.
The merits of antiglare (AG) screen coating are much debated these days. Some viewers prefer the coating not be applied at all, while others favor only a limited amount. And others are completely indifferent. AG coating doesn't adversely affect a monitor's quality, and its benefits or lack thereof are strictly a question of preference.
That said, there is a heavy AG coating on the HP 2311xi's screen, reducing potential reflections while keeping very little of the contrast "pop" that glossy screens enjoy. A fully glossy display can increase the perceived contrast of a monitor screen -- which some people prefer -- but can also make it difficult to see what's on the screen in direct sunlight.
DisplayMate: The 2311xi displayed light gray up to level 254. Level 255 is considered white, and every level between it and 1 is a variation of gray. This beats the white-level saturation performance of the Samsung PX2370, which also topped out at 253. The 2311xi's performance here indicates the display will likely not be prone to washing out light colors. As for dark gray, the 2311xi displayed down to level 2 while still maintaining a very deep black, indicating the display is capable of a very low black level.
The monitor excelled in many of our color-scaling tests, which evaluate how smoothly it displays different shades of various colors. The 2311xi yielded very few color abnormalities in these tests, aside from green tinting in the Color Tracking test, indicating that the display will likely have some color accuracy problems.
In our Dark Screen test, the monitor showed obvious but not egregious clouding on the right side of the screen.