The nicest monitor I can't recommend...
Written: Aug 9, 2012 (Updated Aug 11, 2012)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
- User Rating: Very Good
Ease of Use:
Pros:Cheap (for the size), good picture quality, DVI connection with HDCP
Cons:Inaccurate color, no brightness control?!?, LED backlight kind of dim (oddly), bright blue power light
The Bottom Line: This is a good monitor. But any current model Viewsonic monitor will have better picture quality, for around the same price.
I've been watching a lot of movies lately on a notebook computer. I eventually added external speakers for better sound quality (and more volume). That was a tremendous improvement. But I got tired of watching movies on the small screen. For a while, I was thinking of buying a larger notebook computer. But the largest ones (reasonably priced) maxed out about 17". I wanted something just a bit larger. I'd been using a 22" Viewsonic monitor at work and loved it. I wondered if maybe I should buy one of those to use at home, or maybe one just slightly larger. I was thinking about getting the Viewsonic VA-2448M-LED to use at home. But I really didn't want to spend that much, was hoping to find something a bit less expensive.
Then one day I spotted the HP LV2311 on sale for what looked like a really good price. I decided to buy it. The specs. looked similar to the Viewsonic, and the price was right. Sold!
Pulling the monitor out of the box, I was surprised to find that it was in 3 pieces. Some assembly required, ha ha. No problem. Luckily, it all snaps together with no tools needed. And it was intuitive enough that I didn't have to read the instructions. Hooked it up to my notebook computer. Windows 7 recognized it right away. I had to adjust the output of the notebook computer to 1920 X 1080 resolution manually, though...the notebook I was using has a different resolution for the built in monitor (and was trying to match resolution to both monitors)
Got that sorted out. Successful install. Done!
Next to get it adjusted for optimal movie viewing. Having an extensive background in IT and CCTV fields, I know how to properly adjust a monitor. For test patterns, I downloaded a program called Eizo Monitor Test. I used to use a program called Nokia Monitor Test, but this doesn't seem to be supported by windows 7.
The only test pattern I really use is one near the end of the run of test patterns, that shows a full-screen gray scale pattern marked off with percentage numbers. The percentage numbers are percentage ABOVE video black. If you think of zero percent as displaying nothing at all, then 1% is a really black "black" color, and 99% would be close to white.
After getting that test pattern up, I proceeded to try to adjust the brightness and contrast of this monitor.
I LOVE the way the controls of this monitor are laid out. All the buttons are under the bottom edge of the monitor, on the right side. Consequently, if you turn your right hand palm upward, your fingers just kind of naturally fold into the control buttons on the underside of the monitor. Your little finger is on the menu, your index finger is on select...the other two fingers are on +/- (or up/down) keys. So I found the controls extremely easy to manipulate, in spite of the fact that I couldn't see them! I wish all monitors had such easy to adjust controls...
Annoying Blue Light:
There is a power on light that is bright blue and very bright facing directly forward near the bottom right corner of this monitor. For work, this is distracting. For watching movies, it is unacceptable to have such a bright light facing you from the "screen" area. It's easily covered with black vinyl (electrical) tape. But it really shouldn't be there in the first place. It's annoying.
First thing I would do to ANY new monitor is adjust brightness and contrast. Brightness can also be called "black level". It controls how "black" is the color black. If this is misadjusted, black will look GRAY...or some detail of the picture will be cut off. Contrast is the color white *in relation to the color black*. On most monitors, the brightness and contrast controls will interact with each other. In other words, if you adjust brightness, you need to adjust contrast. And then, you might need to go back to adjust brightness again. And then contrast again. It might take several tries to get both contrast and brightness where you want them.
Anyway, in attempting to adjust brightness and contrast, I found a major weakness of the HP LV2311 monitor. Simply stated, the brightness control doesn't seem to adjust brightness at all. This is very obvious if you have a marked gray scale pattern with percentages of gray marked, ranging from close to zero up to close to 100. On a typical monitor, if you turn brightness DOWN...you will see gray scale near zero will disappear. For example, if you have a 2% block (which is very black in color), you can make that 2% block disappear/fade into the background if you turn brightness down enough. On the HP LV2311, I can turn brightness all the way down and still see gray scale blocks below 5%*. On the other hand, turning brightness all the way up doesn't seem to emphasize these lower numbered gray scale blocks at all. But turning brightness up definitely has a dramatic effect on the HIGH percentage gray scale blocks (the ones close to white).
In short, the brightness control of this monitor acts just like I'd expect a CONTRAST control to work.
In contrast (pardon the pun) the contrast control seems to work exactly as it should. If I adjust contrast or brightness (either one) this has a dramatic effect on WHITE in relation to BLACK. But oddly, neither control seems to effect black level.
Luckily, the default black level seems to be pretty close to where it should be. If I could turn it up or down, I don't think I'd have to adjust it very much.
Backlight and Color Accuracy:
But there is another, possibly related, quirk to this monitor. The LED backlight of the LV2311 is not very bright. To get a white-ish "white" color, you need to crank up the settings for both brightness and contrast pretty high. Even then, the "white" level seems a little washed out. I'm comparing it to my notebook computer most obviously. But I also set it up by my relatively new Viewsonic monitor for comparison. The Viewsonic monitor is much brighter, at much lower brightness/contrast settings.
Side by side, the two monitors both have pretty good picture quality. But the HP LV2311 display is *quite noticeably* darker. There may be some personal preference involved in deciding which is better. If you like white whites, the Viewsonic wins easily. If you like rich colors, the HP has a slight edge. But this is an illusion caused by the inability to *properly* adjust the HP monitor. Blues and purples in particular look pretty good on this HP monitor. But if I was able to adjust brightness, these colors (blue, purple) would be just a tad muted, compared to how they appear now.
General Usage Comments:
OK, so I'm sure some people reading this probably don't care to know such intimate details of trying (and failing) to professionaly calibrate the HP LV2311 monitor. So let me just say this:
- This is a great monitor for utilitarian workstation use. If you need a new monitor for work, buy the HP LV2311.
- I'm not sure why someone would consider this panel for photo editing. But if photo editing is your thing, you have found the WRONG monitor. Color accuracy is terrible.
- Most people would probably love this monitor for gaming use. It has fast response causing high-speed video to display smoothly.
- For watching movies, this monitor is OK.
Overall, the picture quality of this monitor is pretty nice. It has one dead pixel, but expecting a monitor of this size to be perfect is unrealistic. I can live with one dead pixel. And I do enjoy watching movies on this monitor, which is specifically what I bought it for. I actually LIKE this monitor, and I'm glad I bought it.
Better Monitors Available:
But I can not recommend it. There are monitors with much better picture quality available around the same price. Take the Viewsonic VA2248M-LED, for example. Right now, the delivered price (on average) is identical. But the VA2248M-LED has much better picture quality and *very* accurate colors, for the same price. OK, so the Viewsonic is 22" and this HP is 23". Side by side, there is very little difference, in terms of size. But the picture quality of the Viewsonic is clearly superior. If you think 22" will be too small, I still can't recommend the HP LV 2311.
Right now, the Viewsonic VA2448M-LED 24" is averaging about 30 bucks more than the HP LV2311. And the picture quality upgrade (compared to the HP LV2311) is more than worth the extra 30 bucks spent, if you think the 22" Viewsonic will be too small.
Good Value, just not (quite) good enough:
It's great to be purchasing new monitors at a time where a really GOOD monitor can fail to impress me simply by being far inferior to other good monitors on the market.
I don't want to leave anybody with the wrong impression. The HP LV2311 is a really GOOD monitor, and overall a good value. The fact that I would recommend certain Viewsonic models *instead* of the HP LV2311 says more about Viewsonic than it does about HP.
HP packed a lot of good value into the HP LV2311. It wouldn't shock me to see later reviews recommending this monitor. But it wasn't good enough for me to mark the box when epinions asks me if I'd recommend it to a friend. I'd tell my friends to buy the Viewsonic instead.
* The more I think about it, the more I wonder if my particular monitor might just have a factory defect. It works well, other than the brightness control...which seems to adjust contrast instead of brightness. A monitor without brightness control is a bit like a car without an accelerator. Still, the picture quality is good, so I'm not sending it back...
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Amount Paid (US$): 145
Operating System: Windows