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

HP 2311 gt: An Appropriately-Priced Entry-Level 3D Display

I was at a trade show a while back, and Battlefield 3 playing a big-screen television using passive stereoscopic 3D. Attendees were kept behind a line several feet back from the display. It looked great, and I asked the presenter if he was achieving full 1920x1080 to each eye, or if each eye was only getting half-resolution. He replied “does it look like full HD?” Touche! From that distance, looking at that specific content, I couldn’t tell the difference.

You don't use a 3D-capable monitor from 10 feet away, though. It's viewed from much closer distances. And that's where an FPR-based polarized screen is going to have the hardest time excelling, almost entirely because each eye only gets half-resolution. But HP's 2311 gt has to do its job under those tough conditions. Fortunately, 3D movies look pretty good from the proper distance and orientation. Games are usually tolerable, though they're made more annoying when small environmental details and text play an important role.

To be fair, HP's pricing reflects the 2311 gt's market position. Available for $250, the 2311 gt costs about $100 less than a similarly-sized 120 Hz display, which is fairly appropriate for an entry-level FPR-based 3D-capable monitor. It even offers a handful of strengths compared to shutter-based systems, such as much more affordable replacement glasses, significantly brighter output, and no 24 Hz frame rate cap in games over HDMI at 1920x1080. It’s a good choice for folks who want to dabble in stereoscopic 3D without spending a lot of money. The brightness issue alone makes it a viable choice in environments awash with ambient light that can't be controlled. It also performs moderately on the Windows desktop.

For discerning gamers hankering to sample a stereoscopic experience, a 120 Hz screen with active shutter glasses is most definitely the way to go on the PC, assuming that's in your budget. Passive, polarized screens make the most sense in a living room setting, where the distance between you and the display is greater. Playing back movies, predominantly, you're less likely to have to suffer through distorted text. Moreover, families with rambunctious kids will appreciate the low cost of replacement glasses.