One of HP’s most recent display offerings, the 2310e, takes a number of current trends—super-slim size, LED backlighting, environmentally conscious materials—and wraps them up into one impressive package.
Physically, the 2310e is sleek, sophisticated, and incredibly shiny. Between the piano-black finish on the frame and the glossy TN active-matrix panel, this 23-inch, 1080p display can pick up a ton of smudges and fingerprints, so get those soft cloths ready. The rear of the display has standard DVI and HDMI inputs as well as a bonus input—DisplayPort. Ironically enough, the 2310e lacks a VESA mount on the rear, instead opting for a CD-size HP logo that lights up enough to illuminate your surroundings in low light. If this annoys you, you can turn it off.
3D is everywhere these days. From new TVs to Hollywood blockbusters to gaming consoles, the technology, which has been around for ages, is now poised to give consumers a more immersive, in-your-face form of entertainment in the home. And the PC is no exception. In fact, it’s a natural fit. The PC games we’ve been playing for years are already rendered with a 3D engine—stereoscopic technology and a suitable set of glasses just bring them to life. Newer games will only optimize that potential. Add to this a spate of Blu-ray 3D movies coming down the pike and you can see why the PC is well within the clutches of this latest trend.
Sure enough, a cadre of new 3D laptops and monitors make it possible for you to enjoy stereoscopic content both on your desktop and on the go. The vast majority of these offerings rely on Nvidia’s 3D Vision kit—a set of powered shutter glasses, a USB-connected IR emitter, and the appropriate drivers—which, when paired with the right GPU (a GeForce 8 series or newer) and a 120Hz screen, provide an “active” 3D experience. In other words, as a rapid succession of alternating screens presents slightly different views to each eye, the shutter glasses ensure that the correct view is seen by the correct eye by shuttering the opposite lens accordingly.
You might recall seeing three of HP’s ZR30w 30-inch displays gracing the cover of our September “Dream Machine” issue. Considering our theme for that build was raw, wanton power, picking the ZR30w was an easy decision.
We haven’t been this wowed by a display since we laid eyes on NEC’s LCD3090 WQXi, which we reviewed in our March 2010 issue. But that 30-incher costs nearly twice as much as this one. Both monitors are based on S-IPS panels, as all the best LCD monitors are, and both deliver native resolution of 2560x1600 (a 16:10 aspect ratio). But the ZR30w’s real claim to fame is color resolution of 10 bits per color per pixel (HP defines this as 30 bits per pixel), which enables it to produce 1.07 billion displayable colors. That’s 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut and 99 percent of the Adobe RGB color gamut.
ViewSonic is a big name in display manufacturing, and has announced that they plan to transition their entire line of monitors to LED backlighting by early 2011. The move is being made with an eye towards energy efficiency, as well as consumer demand. "ViewSonic is leading the way towards a greener, more cost efficient future by delivering an array of green LED products for our customers to choose from,” said ViewSonic's Jeff Volpe.
Traditional LCD panels use a CCFL bulb to light the display. Displays that use LED backlights are usually more power efficient and have much better black levels. ViewSonic released their first notable LED monitor, VX2250wm-LED, just a few months ago. Early reactions from customers are good, so we can expect more quality products like this in 2011.
ViewSonic is being careful to appease their partners that are still using CCFL technology. We take this to mean that they will still manufacture panels with CCFL bulbs, but all ViewSonic's branded products will make the change to LED. Do you use an LED backlit monitor? Have you noticed any difference from the more common CCFL variety?
Before you scream, “Who in their right mind would pay $500 for a 23-inch twisted-nematic panel?!” know that this is a 120Hz monitor, and that Asus is putting Nvidia’s 3D Vision kit—a $200 product—inside the box. If you’re excited about 3D gaming and Blu-ray 3D movies (and have the appropriate videocard, playback software, and games), $500 is a compelling value. Oh, and the monitor’s pretty good, too.
Let’s discuss the aspects that temper our enthusiasm first, because this monitor isn’t for folks with critical applications such as photo and video editing. In fact, some of you probably stopped reading at “twisted-nematic.” Asus hasn’t magically avoided all the problems we associate with TN panels—e.g., limited color gamut, backlight leakage, inability to distinguish between the lightest shades of gray and full-on white—but it has done a great job mitigating those problems.
We had high hopes for Samsung’s P2770HD. After all, its 23-inch little brother rose to the top of a sea of crappy TN displays in our December 2009 roundup. With its street price of $400, the P2770HD looked like a strong value for folks with non-critical applications.
We stand by our opinion that twisted-nematic (TN) technology is inferior to in-plane switching (IPS), as well as our recommendation that you shouldn’t rely on a TN-panel monitor for critical applications such as photo and video editing (especially if your livelihood depends on it). On the other hand, TN panels like this one do deliver unarguably faster pixel response rates, which is great for gaming, and lately, they’ve become insanely cheap.
Thanks to Maximum PC’s past advice, I have a new rig with an ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card. It has dual DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort connections. I use my rig for photography and video editing. I have a 24-inch Dell monitor with all of the above ports. Which is the best one to use and why?
Read the Doctor's answer for Preetham after the jump.
We can count on one hand the number of people we know who have bought into Nvidia’s 3D Vision gaming system—those shutter goggles haven’t exactly been selling like hotcakes.
The lackluster response to this 3D-gaming renaissance is no doubt due in part to the 3D Vision kit’s $200 admission price. On top of that, early adopters were also likely put off by the technological limitations of the requisite 120Hz monitors—another $400 wallet-draining investment—which maxed out at just 22 inches and a paltry 1650x1080 resolution.
Acer’s GD235HZ is a second-generation 120Hz panel that sheds those constraints, measuring 23.6 inches and running natively at 1920x1080 pixels.
In a pleasant surprise, the GD235HZ doesn’t cost any more than last year’s 22-inch $400 asking price. To keep the price in check, Acer omitted extras like USB ports and component inputs from this model. And aside from the 120Hz refresh rate, this is a pretty standard TN panel. Color fidelity fared respectably in our tests and contrast (rated at 1000:1) looked better in the darks than the lights. We didn’t notice any color banding defects at various settings, either. But like most LCDs, we could spot a bit of backlight bleed along the edges of the screen, though this was only noticeable with the lights off and a very dark image on the screen. We also thought that text looked a little off, with very light shadowing between characters. Tweaking Windows 7’s ClearType settings helped alleviate this issue.
We saw how splendid an IPS monitor can be when we reviewed Dell’s 24-inch UltraSharp U2410 in January. “Sometimes you have to pay to play,” we concluded. Moments after reaching that summit, we observed NEC’s 30-inch LCD3090 WQXi IPS panel looming before us. Fully aware that we could buy three U2410s and a Radeon HD 5870 to drive them for about the same amount of cash ($2,200, to be exact), we began our ascent.
The LCD3090 has a native resolution of 2560x1600 (a 16:10 aspect ratio), which is typical of 30-inch displays. This one is an eight-bit panel with programmable 12-bit lookup tables. It delivers 102 percent of the NTSC color space and 97.8 percent of the Adobe RGB color space. Inputs are limited to dual-link DVI-D with an odd HDCP on/off feature, and DVI-I. Why would you need to turn off HDCP? We’re not really sure.
There’s no media card reader or integrated USB hub; more importantly, there’s no DisplayPort support, either. But the stand tilts, swivels, and pivots; and if you still can’t find a comfortable position, you can mount it on an optional articulated arm using its standard VESA mount.