Are you old enough to remember “big-butt” monitors, or CRT displays, by which they are more professional referred? I’ve spoken to some teens who don’t. To them I say, “It sucks to be you!” For you know not, the appreciation for which we old fogies place on the simple things–things like 1080p resolutions, slim and sexy form factors, a million-to-one contrast ratios, numerous connectivity options and more. Surely these are high grade features that demand a high grade cost of entry. Ahh! To be young and unknowing again..! To that, HP says, “Wake up, old man! These features are commonplace, even for a sub $200 monitor.”
True enough! HP is peddling just such a monitor for $163. Enter the HP 2311x–a 23-inch LCD display that kicks a lot of butt for relatively little money. The HP 2311x sports all the features listed above and then some. Too boot, this device utilizes WLED display technology. White light-emitting cathode technology (WLED) is generally more energy efficient with better brightness, increased contrast ratios and better color vibrancy. Displays using such tech, have been known to leave your wallet considerably lighter than your garden variety LCD display. But HP seems to have broke away from that last bit, making the HP 2311x a must see for our inquiring minds and readers–albeit despite a few niggling flaws. But I’ll get to that soonly!
Once plucked from its packaging , the 2311x is a visually stunning piece of equipment. It comes with a power cord, VGA and DVI-D cables–HDMI sold separately. The sleek and more rounded corners, add style and sophistication. The deep black silky finish is smooth to the touch and a real eye-turner upon first sighting. So it is a bit unfortunate the whole thing feels significantly weightless and top-heavy due to the all-plastic housing. I have a frisky cat, who loves to sit on my desk, look out the window and hopelessly plot the gruesome demise of a family of squirrels that move through the trees outside my window. An immovable object, the HP 2311x is NOT. Ruby the ragdoll cat could easily tip this thing over. This is notable, even if it doesn’t sway your decision. Users should prepare to secure this puppy down or wall mount the sucker. On the flipside, moving the monitor from room to room is a one-handed affair. That’s helpful!
A decidedly more useful nuance is that each of the connectivity options are placed on the back of the monitor and face outward horizontally. These options include VGA, an HDCP supported DVI-D input and a single HDMI input. Many displays have these connections facing downward, which can make setup a bit of a pain. It’s quite the opposite with 2311x. Connecting to a set top cable box, laptop or desktop computer consumes less time than brewing a pot of coffee.
The monitor may be an breeze to get up and running. But you’re not done–not if you want to hear anything. Nope, the HP 2311x does not house speakers of any sort. A secondary set of speakers must be plugged into your laptop, desktop or cable box. This too, is not the end of the world. I have yet to test a monitor that “wowed” me with its internal sound quality. A true speaker solution is always needed for immersive, high quality audio.
To further help with the immersion, HP has included an on-screen display accessible via the three small button at the bottom right. I know it sounds novel. But HP has an on-again/off-again relationship with OSDs. Their massive 30-inch LP3065 monitor comes bereft of any way to calibrate your contrast, sharpness, color etc. You get +/- buttons to adjust the brightness and that is it! So the intuitive and fairly comprehensive OSD was extremely welcome. Within, you will find a few default settings for gaming, movies, text and a selection for customizing your settings. Yet the movie setting was too dark and the gaming option yields lackluster sharpness and contrast. So I tweaked these settings, made a few adjustments to the color and calibrated this puppy as close to 6500 K as possible. This is the more standard and oft-used white point for games, digital cameras, videos and other media. I don’t like switching between modes each time I go from movies to games and such. So I found a happy medium between the three. Again, the option to do so was incredibly welcomed.
I can report, the picture quality on the 2311x is very strong in games, movies, photos and general use. Its max resolution is 1900 x 1080 (1080p). While this is the modern sweet spot for most contemporary displays, I was surprised that the 2311x couldn’t go just a bit higher to 1200p (1900 x 1200). Nonetheless, this display is a media maven’s friend. Blu-rays for Avatar, Hellboy, Batman Returns, Kung Fu Hustle and Tangled (my daughter insisted) were very sharp and popped with color and vibrancy. I witnessed no ghosting effects in these movies or games such as Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, The Witcher 2 or Batman Arkham Asylum. The brightness could be a bit more luminescent in the middle of the screen. But it is more than sufficient, if not stellar, once tweaked via the OSD. The contrast is where the 2311x does considerably well. Blacks are very deep, which adds greatly to the color and image quality. With that said, games like The Witcher 2 and Batman Arkham Asylum with their numerous dark and gloomy locals, benefit more from those deep blacks than many of the more colorful maps in Battlefield 3 and MW3. So the boon depends on your game and movie of choice. Still at this price point, the luxury of splitting hairs is not an option.
So for less than a night at a swanky cabin getaway, the HP 2311x is a quality display solution with a lot to enthuse a coin-conscious customer. Most of our grievances are tepid and manageable. Plus the cost of entry for this level of picture quality is a no-brainer for those looking for a strong performing 23inch HD display.
Bottom Line: You will be hard-pressed to find a better performing monitor at this price point. Three of these little ditties could be had for panoramic viewing for under $500. It looks awesome and performs great.
- WLED technology offers
- Great dynamic contrast ratio
- Impressive image quality
- Affordable at $163
- Attractive and stylish
- Weightless and top heavy
- No speakers
- Brightness at center of screen is not impressive
- Limited to 1080p resolution
You can buy the HP 2311 WLED monitor at Amazon for $163.00.
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