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HP 2311 gt 23" Monitor Review: Passive, Polarized 3D On A Budget

HP 2311 gt 23" Monitor Review: Passive, Polarized 3D On A Budget
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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
Part Number
QJ684AA
Panel Type
TN
Viewable Image Area
20.047" x 11.276"
Dimensions (HxWxD)
21.97"x6.26"x16.4"
Weight
3.7 kg
Viewing Angle
Horizontal 170o, Vertical 160o
Brightness
200-250 nits
Contrast Ratio
1000:1
Response Rate
5 ms
Color Gamut
72%
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
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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    PreferLinux , July 13, 2012 7:38 AM
    f-141950's cheap gimmick idea of what 3-D is.complete false advertising since it's on a 1D screen.save your money.

    You mean 2D.
  • 11 Hide
    army_ant7 , July 13, 2012 10:55 AM
    f-141950's cheap gimmick idea of what 3-D is.complete false advertising since it's on a 1D screen.save your money.

    One thing you have to understand that the fact that even 3D models in a game for example get rasterized to a 2D screen. Are they a gimmick then since 3D or 2D graphics, they still end up being 2D anyway? 3D games give us the perception of a 3D world.
    If these technologies can make us have the illusion of having a 3D view, like in real life, then I wouldn't say it's a gimmick. Are (better) in-game graphics a gimmick? A game world is also an illusion of something that isn't there, just like how it seems that you're saying 3D isn't there because it's a 2D screen.
    BTW, it's 2 different frames from different perspectives shown at the same time, just like how your two eyes work. I assume you have two, if not, I apologize.

    If you don't like stereoscopic 3D, then fine, voice out your opinions, but claiming those opinions of yours as facts is just not right. I don't mean to sound angry, but I felt obliged to "voice" this out. I'm open to debate and I don't mean to piss anyone off.
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    army_ant7 , July 13, 2012 5:42 AM
    I forgot if I read this before, but your GPU would have to pump out twice the number of frames for games. As it obviously seems, this is true for active shutter 3D displays. I assume that even if polarized 3D displays "interlace" 2 half resolution frames for 1 3D frame, the processing needed is still for 2 full resolution frames.

    If anyone has better knowledge on this, please correct me. :-)
  • 17 Hide
    PreferLinux , July 13, 2012 7:38 AM
    f-141950's cheap gimmick idea of what 3-D is.complete false advertising since it's on a 1D screen.save your money.

    You mean 2D.
  • -1 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , July 13, 2012 8:13 AM
    Quote:
    Radeon: Catalyst 12.6 Beta


    dont you mean 12.7 beta?
  • 0 Hide
    vdr369 , July 13, 2012 8:22 AM
    Its not worth the price, and if you compare the quality warranty with AOC 23 inch polarized monitor AOC (which has superior color accuracy and 3 years onsite warranty)knock outs this dummy.

    and I liked the acer's 27inch polarized one because it doesn't need a software to convert 2d to 3d.
  • 11 Hide
    army_ant7 , July 13, 2012 10:55 AM
    f-141950's cheap gimmick idea of what 3-D is.complete false advertising since it's on a 1D screen.save your money.

    One thing you have to understand that the fact that even 3D models in a game for example get rasterized to a 2D screen. Are they a gimmick then since 3D or 2D graphics, they still end up being 2D anyway? 3D games give us the perception of a 3D world.
    If these technologies can make us have the illusion of having a 3D view, like in real life, then I wouldn't say it's a gimmick. Are (better) in-game graphics a gimmick? A game world is also an illusion of something that isn't there, just like how it seems that you're saying 3D isn't there because it's a 2D screen.
    BTW, it's 2 different frames from different perspectives shown at the same time, just like how your two eyes work. I assume you have two, if not, I apologize.

    If you don't like stereoscopic 3D, then fine, voice out your opinions, but claiming those opinions of yours as facts is just not right. I don't mean to sound angry, but I felt obliged to "voice" this out. I'm open to debate and I don't mean to piss anyone off.
  • 0 Hide
    hyteck9 , July 13, 2012 12:19 PM
    what about dual 3D monitors? Do any video cards even support the setup? Would it even be playable?
  • 0 Hide
    army_ant7 , July 13, 2012 12:42 PM
    I think there's a 3 3D monitor setup possible with Nvidia cards. I'm not sure, but if what I've shared in the first ever comment on this thread is true, driving 1 3D monitor is already like driving 2 standard ones. 3 3D's would be like 6 standards.
    AMD cards can drive an Eyefinity of 6 (standard) monitors, so maybe 3 3D's doesn't sound to bad.
    Again, I'm not sure. Just sharing my observations and deductions on this, and I could be very wrong. :-)
  • -1 Hide
    SnickerSnack , July 13, 2012 12:47 PM
    Dual 3D monitors would be unplayable - The inside screen edges would split your character in half 99% of the time.
    Nvidia supports 3D Surround, which is three identical monitors. I haven't seen it in action, but hear it's fabulous. Pretty sure it requires at least a couple of beefy GPUs running in SLI.
  • -6 Hide
    hyteck9 , July 13, 2012 12:50 PM
    I have quad SLi (2x GTX590's) just never tried 3D with em..
  • -3 Hide
    panzerknacker , July 13, 2012 12:55 PM
    I can't see why any serious gamer would use a inferior budget screen like this. I mean common, image quality from those $300 or less screens is just complete trash compared to say a good CRT monitor or plasma tv, so why bother? It's nice when your on a budget but if you spend say $1200 on a serious gaming machine then your not gonna couple it with a $300 monitor. It would be very nice if Tomshardware would review some more serious computer screens sometimes in a higher price range of about $800 or something.
  • 2 Hide
    army_ant7 , July 13, 2012 1:17 PM
    @panzerknacker: Maybe this article isn't just for you. For some people, I bet it is. Some people might not be as picky with image quality (colors, brightness, contrast, etc.) but may still appreciate stereoscopic 3D. It also doesn't have to be gaming, but I'm not saying it can't be. It could be for watching 3D Blu-rays as well. :-)
  • 0 Hide
    MauveCloud , July 13, 2012 1:28 PM
    "we have to consider HP’s 2311 gt an AMD HD3D-only solution"

    You're forgetting to consider third-party 3d drivers, like iZ3D and Tri-Def

    "BTW, it's 2 different frames from different perspectives shown at the same time, just like how your two eyes work. I assume you have two, if not, I apologize."

    One important difference to consider here: human eyes also focus the lenses based on distance, but with a 3d screen (whether active, passive, or even autostereoscopic like the Nintendo 3DS), one's eye lenses have to focus to the screen distance even when the 3d effect is simulating a different distance.
  • -1 Hide
    panzerknacker , July 13, 2012 2:09 PM
    @army_ant7

    Yeah you're right, but what I also try to say is that the last years they almost only review screens like this, cheap ones, and considering this is a website mainly for enthusiasts it would be nice to read about some nicer ones as well!
  • 0 Hide
    army_ant7 , July 13, 2012 2:37 PM
    If that's the case, I'd agree with you there. Maybe they haven't been receiving test samples? Hehe...
  • -1 Hide
    jaquith , July 13, 2012 3:19 PM
    No thanks to passive 3D. In contrast the similar ASUS VG23AH at least offers an IPS panel vs the HP 2311 gt's TN.

    For a few bucks more look at the still not stellar but better ASUS VG236H (~$330).

    Bottom-line, if I have a monitor for years that I'm going to be staring at -- you're Damned Right it's worth spending the extra cash and getting something easy on the eyes. Otherwise it's like getting cheap shoes that are your only pair and suffering.
  • -2 Hide
    cleeve , July 13, 2012 3:59 PM
    panzerknacker@army_ant7Yeah you're right, but what I also try to say is that the last years they almost only review screens like this, cheap ones, and considering this is a website mainly for enthusiasts it would be nice to read about some nicer ones as well!


    Our previous 3D Vision 2 vs HD3D review compared the newest 3D Vision monitor tech with the newest Samsung tech,. There hasn't been any notable changes to the 120 Hz 3d monitor market since.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-3d-vision-hd3d-steroscopic,3050-2.html
  • 0 Hide
    Marcus52 , July 13, 2012 4:09 PM
    I must admit to being a bit prejudiced against FPR technology, for the simple reason I want higher refresh rates more than I want 3D, and FPR does nothing to support 120Hz refresh rates.

    Of course for 3D shutter technology, I really want 240Hz (minimum) :)  .
  • -1 Hide
    MauveCloud , July 13, 2012 4:28 PM
    soldier37Tired of seeing these cheap 1080p displays being churned out week to week. Where are the LED 30 inch 2560 x 1600 models at to replace my current LCD model? Get with the program guys. Once you go that size you wont ever want to do 1080p again.


    I mostly agree. I went back to 1080p because my XHD3000 was outputting too much heat into my room, but an LED monitor with that resolution probably wouldn't be so bad. I'm somewhat regretting the 32 inch TV with passive 3d I recently bought (I had underestimated the issues with text based on TFT Central's article that discussed 3d display types :(  ), but I seriously doubt the warranty would let me return it just because I want a higher-resolution monitor. Setting aside obscure South Korean brands like Yamakasi and Achieva, I think the newest super-high-resolution monitor is the Apple Thunderbolt display, but that was released on July 20, 2011, making it almost a year old. Some of the other models are harder to find release dates for, but I think they were 2010 or older.
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