HP sent us its newest stereoscopic 3D-capable monitor, the 2311 gt. Aimed at budget-conscious customers, we take our first look at a passive, polarized monitor based on FPR technology and put it up against a more expensive, active, shutter-based system.
We've been talking about stereoscopic 3D for a while now. We have it in our living rooms and on multi-display stands in our lab. In fact, based on the Tom's Hardware offices around the world, you might even guess that this technology is gaining a foothold. But away from our test benches, we can count on one hand the number of friends and family who considered 3D a compelling-enough experience to buy.
Although stereoscopic 3D hasn't caught on the way many vendors hoped it would, we're not entirely surprised. The premium on screens, powerful-enough graphics cards, and active shutter glasses remains significant. And when folks aren't bowled over by what they see, it's hard to charge more for it.
Nevertheless, we make an effort to keep up with the technology. We published the world’s first introduction to Blu-ray 3D on the PC, and more recently dug into a thorough comparison of Nvidia’s 3D Vision and AMD’s HD3D initiatives. There is a topic we haven't weighed in on yet, though: the two most prolific 3D viewer technologies for achieving stereoscopy, active shutter and polarized passive systems.
When Hewlett-Packard let us know that it wanted to send over its new 2311 gt 3D monitor, sprung at the chance to evaluate HP's hardware and compare a passive solution to the 120 Hz active options we've used in the past.
HP 2311 gt 3D Monitor
More than a year ago, we reviewed HP's 2311x in Three-Way 23" LED LCD Roundup: Dell, HP, And Samsung. The budget-oriented 23" TN-based LCD sported a 1920x1080 native resolution, plastic construction, and easy display input accessibility thanks connectors that stuck straight out the back of the monitor.
The 2311 gt is modeled after the 2311x, a fairly strong hint that the 2311 gt targets an entry-level customer interested in stereoscopic 3D. A quick look at its price is all of the confirmation we need: at the time of writing, this screen costs $250 on HP's website after a rebate (its list is $300). That's one of the lowest prices for a 3D-capable screen we've seen.
For the price, you get the same monitor chassis as HP's 2311x. It's both plastic and light, with a solid base that doesn’t allow for height, swivel, or pivot adjustments. Tilt can be set from 90 to about 65 degrees from the desktop (tilt is a critical adjustment for Film-type Patterned Retarder 3D technology, and this is something we’ll talk about later). Despite its limited available adjustments, the monitor feels sturdy-enough.
As a reviewer, I can appreciate that the 2311 gt's display inputs are easily accessible, presenting HDMI, DVI, and VGA connectors straight out the back. This makes it easier to attach cables without getting up under screen. And while those straight-out-the-back inputs would likely interfere with a wall-mount configuration, this display isn't designed to support such a set-up, so that's a non-issue.
The on-screen display is controlled by four buttons on the bottom-right corner of the LCD. The menu includes basic output adjustments like contrast and brightness, but goes a step further when it comes to color management by facilitating custom red, green, and blue levels set by the viewer. This is a good thing, too; the sample HP submitted had high blue and green levels according to our Spyder 2 Pro calibration equipment, which suggested we set the monitor to 255 R, 195 G, and 160 B.
Bundled with the screen you'll find a power adapter and cord, a six-foot HDMI cable, and a CD loaded up with documentation and software. The disc includes CyberLink’s PowerDVD for Blu-ray 3D playback and 2D-to-3D DVD/video conversion, along with TriDef 3D software for rendering PC games in stereoscopic 3D. That's all you need for playback and gaming in stereo, aside from the actual content. Of course, you get other extras, such as monitor drivers, the HP adjustment pattern utility, and twenty-five demonstrative 3D photos.
Lastly, the box comes with two pairs of passive FPR glasses with protective pouches and a cleaning cloth. It’s important to note that these light, simple, and low-cost polarized glasses represent one of the primary strengths of passive 3D displays. The 2311 gt even works with the RealD 3D glasses you may have been handed at a movie theater and LG's branded FPR 3D glasses.
|HP 2311 gt Specifications|
|Viewable Image Area||20.047" x 11.276"|
|Viewing Angle||Horizontal 170o, Vertical 160o|
|Response Rate||5 ms|
|Native Resolution||1920x1080 @ 60 Hz|
|Pixel Pitch||0.265 x 0.265 mm|
|Pixels Per Inch (PPI)||96|
|3D||Film-type Patterned Retarder (FPR)|
|Power Consumption||45 W|
|Warranty||Limited One-Year warranty|