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HP 2311xi review: HP 2311xi

HP 2311xi

Eric Franklin Former Editorial Director
Eric Franklin led the CNET Tech team as Editorial Director. A 20-plus-year industry veteran, Eric began his tech journey testing computers in the CNET Labs. When not at work he can usually be found at the gym, chauffeuring his kids around town, or absorbing every motivational book he can get his hands on.
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Eric Franklin
7 min read

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.

7.8

HP 2311xi

The Good

The <b>HP 2311xi</b> sports a wide viewing angle, useful connections, and good overall performance at a low price.

The Bad

The monitor pushes a bit too much green in images and has little ergonomic support.

The Bottom Line

HP 2311xi's impressively wide viewing angle, useful connections, and low price make it an easy monitor to recommend.

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
Resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Audio: n/a
VESA wall-mount support: No
Included video cables: DVI, VGA
Backlight: LED
Panel type: e-IPS
Screen film: Matte
Number of presets: 5
Overdrive: No
Picture options: Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness
Color controls: RGB and 3 color temperature options
Gamma control: No
Additional features: None

Performance

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.

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 a slight green tint; however, through some deep OSD customization I was able to minimize the green look. It didn't abolish it completely, but definitely reduced its effect. While each preset is tailored well to its intended function, here are my recommended settings if the green is too oppressive.

Movies: I tested the HP 2311xi 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 seeing a healthy dose of red, the faces have a slightly greenish 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 2311xi 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.

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 2311xi displayed slightly more streaking than the Samsung SyncMaster PX2370 during the test.

Photos: For faces and light-colored hair, the 2311xi'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.

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 2311xi uses an e-IPS panel and sports viewing angles; much wider than what TN panels usually display, especially when viewed from the bottom. Also images on the 2311xi retained their integrity from the sides better than the TN-based PX2370.

Power consumption
The HP 2311xi achieved good power consumption, with a Default/On power draw of 24.8 watts. The Samsung SyncMaster PX2370 drew a similar 25.01 watts in the same test.

In our Sleep/Standby test, the HP 2311xi drew 0.48 watt and the PX2370 pulled a lower 0.29 watt. Based on our formula, the 2311xi would incur the same cost as the PX2370, with a per-year pull of $7.73 per year, compared with the PX2370's $7.65 per year.

Juice box
HP 2311xi Average watts per hour
On (default luminance) 24.8
On (max luminance) 26.6
On (min luminance) 12.1
Sleep 0.48
Calibrated (200 cd/m2) 21.8
Annual power consumption cost $7.73
Score Good

Brightness (in cd/m2)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
HP 2311gt
248 
HP 2311xi
244 
HP 2311x
202 

Contrast
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
HP 2311gt
1,195:1 
HP 2311x
1,145:1 
Dell S2330MX
899:1 
HP 2311xi
829:1 

Performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Conclusion

Sure, the HP 2311xi's In-Plane Switching panel affords it wider viewing angles than what most 23 inchers enjoy, but that's not what makes it a compelling potential purchase. It's the fact that it has this powerful IPS panel with a price starting at a low $240. That's cheaper than even some Twisted Nematic (TN) monitors, which usually sport pretty low prices.

With great performance in movies and games and a good number of connection options, the 2311xi is a great general-purpose monitor with enough extras and price that makes it stand above most 23-inch monitors.

7.8

HP 2311xi

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 8Support 8