With the £204 HP 2311gt, you can join the 3D revolution without draining your bank account. This 23in display uses FPR (Film-type Patterned Retarder) technology and comfortable passive 3D glasses to deliver 3D imagery to your desktop. For just over £200 you get two pairs of lightweight glasses and software that can convert your 2D photos and movies to 3D. Granted, the converted 3D can't touch the quality and depth of real 3D content, but it's neat to convert old photos just for the fun of it. Bright, bold colours and good 3D depth make this a good choice for a desktop movie display but if you wander too far from dead centre, colours become faded and skewed. The panel struggles at the high end of the greyscale as well.
The 2311gt's 1,920 x 1,080 Twisted Nematic+ (TN+) panel is housed in a matt black cabinet sporting a shiny black bezel with slightly rounded corners. The stylishly curved 1in thick cabinet is supported by a rectangular base that lets you tilt the panel forward and backward but lacks height, swivel, and pivot adjustments. There's a black HP logo embedded in the rear cabinet panel and a smallish silver one is affixed to the lower bezel. DVI, VGA, and HDMI ports are flush-mounted on the rear of the cabinet along with a power jack. This model eschews speakers and as such lacks an audio jack.
Beneath the lower bezel on the right side are four function buttons (menu, picture mode, input select, enter key) and a power switch. White labelling makes them easy to identify. The on-screen display (OSD) offers brightness, contrast and colour temperature settings as well as sharpness, dynamic contrast, and custom scaling options. Preset picture modes include Movie, Photo, Gaming, and Text, and there's a User mode where you can save your own custom preset. A sleep timer lets you select a time when the monitor goes into sleep mode and a time for it to wake up. Missing is a 3D button for toggling between 2D and 3D modes.
The 2311gt uses FPR (passive) 3D technology rather than the active shutter technology that drives Nvidia's 3D Vision products. In addition to being cheaper to manufacture, FPR 3D displays do not require a 120Hz scan rate and use very lightweight, flicker-free glasses that can be worn for hours without any discomfort. And unlike active shutter glasses, passive glasses do not require batteries. The 2311gt comes with two pairs of glasses, TriDef's 3D Ignition software, which lets you play your favourite 2D games in 3D (over 600 games are currently supported), and Cyberlink's PowerDVD 10, which lets you watch 2D movies and view 2D photos in 3D.
The 2311gt performed admirably on the DisplayMate Colour Scales and Scaled Fonts tests. Colours swatches appeared uniform with good gradation and no sign of tinting. Skin tones were natural looking and small text was well defined and easy to read. The panel did a decent job of displaying shades of dark grey from the 64-Step Greyscale test but was unable to correctly display the three lightest shades of grey, resulting in clipping at the high end of the scale. This caused highlight detail in my test photos to appear washed out. Viewing angle performance was par for a TN+ panel colours changed when viewed from a side angle and the screen darkened considerably when viewed from the top.
The 2311gt's 3D performance was a mixed bag; real 3D content (content made to be watched in 3D) looked quite good. While displaying scenes from Disney's 3D Showcase on Blu-ray, the 3D effect was deep and realistic with sharp foreground and background detail. The picture was bright and crosstalk was minimal. However, results were much different when using PowerDVD 10 to convert 2D to 3D; crosstalk was significantly more noticeable, especially against a black background, and depth was lacking. And the faux-3D just isn't very convincing.
3D game play was enjoyable but not flawless; if I shifted to the side or stood up while playing, the panel's narrow off-angle viewing range produced noticeable artefacts, including crosstalk and colour shifting. That said, the TriDef software did a good job with Far Cry 2 and the panel delivered quality 3D as long as I didn't wander too far from the centre of the screen. Converting photos to 3D is loads of fun but the pictures tend to be a bit out of whack if the software brings the wrong objects to the foreground for depth. They lose a little clarity as well.
The HP 2311gt offers an affordable way to bring 3D to your desktop. Good colour and "true" 3D quality are this 23in monitor's high points, but its narrow viewing angles and inability to display light greys hold it back.
Pros: Reasonably priced. Good colour and 3D performance. Two sets of 3D glasses included.
Cons: Narrow viewing angles. 2D-3D conversion not very convincing. Weak light greyscale performance.
Model No: HP 2311gt (QJ684AA)
Screen Size: 23in (58.4cm)
Landscape/Portrait Pivot: No
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Video Inputs: DVI, HDMI
PC Interfaces: Analogue VGA, Digital (DVI-D), HDMI
Pixel Response Time (Black to White): 5ms
Rated Contrast Ratio: 1,000:1
Speakers Included: No
Pixel Refresh Rate Speed: 60Hz
Pixel Pitch: 0.265mm
Stand Supplied?: Yes
Stand Tilt: Yes
Stand Swivel: No
Stand Height adjustment: No
Dimensions (W x D X H): 55.8 x 15.9 x 41.6cm