The HP 2311gt is one of the cheapest ways to experience 3D this side of a $16 movie ticket. That said, if 3D isn't important to you, at $260 at the time of this review, the monitor could be considered overpriced. So, looking past its 3D capability, is there anything here that's worthwhile?
Design and features
Smooth and clean are fair ways to describe the HP 2311gt'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 2311gt's support of HDMI, DVI, and VGA connections are welcome, but DisplayPort would have been an exciting bonus.
While the 2311gt isn't gimped on connections, ergonomic support is another story. Ergo options are limited to a 25-degree back tilt, with no swivel, pivot, or height adjustment.
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 one wobble.
For anyone familiar with HP's OSD (onscreen display) design, you 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 Normal (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 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 passive 3D polarized glasses fit over my normal eyeglasses easily, but were a bit tight around the temples, whether my eyeglasses were on or not. Not as uncomfortably tight as Nvidia's first-generation glasses, but not as form-fitting as Samsung's either.
|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|
|Additional features:||Passive 3D|
I tested the HP 2311gt through its DVI input, connected to a Windows Vista PC with my own DVI cable. The display posted a composite score of 89 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 light AG coating on the HP 2311gt's screen, reducing potential reflections while keeping some of the pop that glossy screens enjoy. A full 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.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
DisplayMate: The 2311gt displayed light gray up to level 253. Level 255 is considered white and every level between it and 1 is a variation of gray. Once calibrated, the monitor could not distinguish between level 255 and 254, matching the white-level saturation performance of the Samsung PX2370, which also topped out at 253. The 2311gt's performance here indicates the display will likely not be prone to washing out light colors. As for dark gray, the 2311gt 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 struggled in many of our color-scaling tests, which evaluate how smoothly it displays different shades of various colors. The 2311gt yielded plenty of color abnormalities in these tests, exemplified by unwanted jumps and inconsistencies in the scales, instead of displaying them in a smooth and linear fashion. This indicates 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 middle bottom and top edges.
Text: Black text on white looked clear, without any obvious color tint problems. Fonts were clearly visible down to a 6.8 size.
The monitor displayed each preset with an annoying green tint; however, through some deep OSD customization I was able to minimize the green look. Not abolish it completely, but definitely reduce its effect. While each preset is tailored well to its intended function, here are my recommended settings if the green is too oppressive.
|Color temperature||Custom (RGB)|
Movies: I tested the HP 2311gt using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." The Movie preset provides a good experience, displaying high contrast and a vibrant look; however, there was a definite green-tint push. This is especially apparent in faces with light complexions. Instead of having a healthy dose of red, the faces have a sickly green look to them.
Turning on Dynamic Contrast deepens black levels even more, but unfortunately simultaneously crushes dark gray, so I don't recommend doing so.
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.
Dragon Age II on the HP 2311gt in the Gaming preset had high vibrancy with colors that popped suitably. However, like the Movie preset, the dreaded sickly greenish tint reared its ugly head, but can be alleviated with the settings I recommend above.
3D Games: I used Dragon Age II as a test game for 3D. Once the game was launched, it took me a few seconds to realize just how specifically the 3D effect requires you to sit. You'll need to be about 2.5 to 3 feet away from the screen in order for the effect to work properly. Any closer and you're seeing double (my arms wouldn't allow me to sit much farther away).
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 2311gt displayed noticeably more streaking than the Samsung SyncMaster PX2370 during the test.
Photos: For faces and light-colored hair, the 2311gt'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.
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 2311gt 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. At $260, the HP 2311gt is still relatively cheap for a 3D monitor. 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.
The HP 2311gt achieved fair power consumption, with a Default/On power draw of 33.4 watts. The Samsung SyncMaster PX2370 drew a similar 25.01 watts in the same test.
In our Sleep/Standby test, the HP 2311gt drew 0.41 watt and the PX2370 pulled a lower 0.29 watt. Based on our formula, the 2311gt would be slightly more expensive to run than the PX2370, with a per-year pull of $10.25 per year, compared with the PX2370's $7.65 per year.
|HP 2311gt||Average watts per hour|
|On (default luminance)||33.4|
|On (max luminance)||34.9|
|On (min luminance)||12.3|
|Calibrated (200 cd/m2)||34.9|
|Annual power consumption cost||$10.25|
Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.
Service and support
Hewlett-Packard backs the 2311gt 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 2311GT is one of the cheapest ways to get 3D on a monitor. It's not the best-implemented 3D (and maybe not even second-best), but it does give you what it says it's going to. The $170 HP 2311x is pretty much the exact same monitor, however without 3D features. So, in effect, with the 2311gt you're paying an extra $100 or so for passive 3D. Now, if 3D is something you're looking for, this is currently one of the cheapest ways to get it. However, if you're just looking for a capable monitor, the 2311x should be much better-suited to your needs.