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Dell Ultrasharp u2311h Rev. A01 - thoughts, opinions...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I have been researching 24" gaming monitors for the past couple of weeks. I have always wanted to own an IPS but have largely been discouraged by price. Today I came across a new u2311h for $274 shipped. This is within my budget and requirements. I am going to make a purchase today baring some last minute discussion here. cool.gif

My requirements are 24", 1920x1080, web design / gaming, and VESA mounting compliance. Monitor manufacturers apparently have come to the genius conclusion that nobody wants to mount their LCD monitors. A lot of my favorite brands feature plastic heavy rounded backs and desktop real-estate wasting unergonomic monitor stands. doh.gif

This limited me to a lot of business class brands such as Dell and more VESA compliant manufactures such as ASUS. My intentions with the panel are 50/50, work and play, web development and gaming.

I have done a lot of research on the Ultrasharp line and it seems this IPS is a real steal in both categories. It appears to me that Dell has some quality control issues with blue tints, bright pixels, and in rare cases severe back light bleeding with the u2311h.

The wholesaler I will be purchasing from claims the monitor is protected under Dell's full 3 year monitor warranty. I have no experience dealing with Dell and I am curious as to how pain free their RMA process is should I encounter a QC issue?

Finally, it would be nice to hear some opinions and personal experiences from satisfied (or unsatisfied) owners of the u2311h. You are welcome to suggest any other panel at this time as well.
post #2 of 19
I have also been considering this monitor, and I would like to hear the thoughts on it. What has me particularly worried, though, is the color shift that some people experience, as was stated.
post #3 of 19
It's one of the better, if not best, (current) IPS monitors you can get if you look solely at the measurements (see the TFTCentral Review). By which I mean it has the lowest blacks, highest contrast ratio and very good colours out of the box. Coupled with decent overdrive and low input lag, it's a good gaming monitor too.

From my own tests and eyes, ghosting/trailing is there on the U2311H, but only in tests like PixPerAn.

In actual games (I've tried Left 4 Dead 2, Flatout 2, Mass Effect 2, Just Cause 2, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat, Civlization V, Saints Row 2, Fallout 3, Minecraft amongst others), I've not seen any haloing or ghost trails.

The only game I've come across where I've noticed a major difference from a CRT is Titan Quest - the screen moves at such a speed (i.e. constant slow-medium scrolling) where blurring is very noticeable. I doubt any TN, even 120Hz ones, will be any better in this scenario due to the scrolling speed.

Also my own input lag tests were very similar to what TFTCentral got, i.e. ranging from 0-30ms with an average of about 10ms - in actual games, I didn't notice any difference from a CRT. Low input lag is more important than response rate for gaming.

The viewing angles on it aren't quite up to par with more expensive IPS monitors as it uses an e-IPS panel, an "economy" version of sorts, however the vast majority of people will be sitting directly in front of the screen anyway so this really is a non-issue. You will see a slight dark bar (contrast shift) go across the screen at acute angles (i.e. if you look at the screen whilst standing up or to the side). This is still far better than the colour shifting seen in TN panels or the gamma shift in VA.

The main quality control issue is really just poor backlight uniformity, this can give the impression the screen has a cool blue "tint" on the left (where it is darker) and warm yellow on the right (where it is brighter).

You can see it in TFTCentral review as well as the one from Czech site ExtraHardware:

paneluniformity1.jpg

podsviceni150.jpg

What this translates to in real world terms is this:

bluetint.th.jpg

Whether you can see it or not is somewhat subjective, some owners never even spot the blue "tint" until they read about it and test it on their unit. It is also only really visible on completely white or light coloured backgrounds.

There are also some claims of actual screen tinting, usually green on the left and pink on the right, but this is much rarer on this model. Any LCD monitor you buy can have dead or stuck pixels as well as backlight bleed, so these issues aren't restricted to the U2311H alone. From what I've read, this monitor definitely doesn't have more dead/stuck pixels or bleed than your average monitor, the main fault people have is the uniformity issue.

Dell's return policy is one of the best, given that the U2311H is in the UltraSharp range, it means it's covered by Dell's Premium Panel Guarantee. What this means is, if you have any stuck/bright pixels (even just 1), they'll send out a replacement for you within a few days. They'll even let you keep your current monitor to use whilst the replacement gets delivered and from I've read, they pick up your old one off you at the same time - free of charge.

Have a look through the very long thread over at HardForum on the U2311H, there are people there who have sent the monitor back for replacements many times over (for free I believe) until they're satisfied with their unit.

I should probably also explain IPS glow, given that you've never owned a IPS monitor before. IPS glow is an inherent "flaw" of IPS panels. Black or dark colours, when looked at an angle will "glow" a certain colour, sometimes silvery white, sometimes gold/orange or purple depending on the monitor. The U2311H has gold/orange and purple glow, as seen in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPlx42Gj1Nw

I should stress the glow is only really visible when the majority of the screen is showing black or very dark colours and you're in a dark room as well as looking at the screen at an angle (as in the video above). Sitting face on, the glow is very mild as seen here:

glow2o.th.jpg
There's some slight glow in the corners in the photo above. The glow in the corners will become more pronounced if you sit very close (i.e. <1.5 feet) to the screen.

I only bring this up as someone over at HardForum was disappointed with the glow as he did not expect it. You'll get IPS glow from any current IPS monitor, not just the U2311H. Do note, in a brightly lit room, the glow is practically imperceivable.

This post might come off as me being fairly negative towards the U2311H, but I'm not, I'm just pointing out all information I know about the monitor. I actually think it's one of the best monitors you can currently buy, especially if you can grab it at a cheap price, which is fairly frequent with Dell's own sales - this is what I did. Just don't expect this monitor to be absolutely perfect in every way, although it is miles better than the vast majority of sub $300 monitors.

My own personal gripe with the monitor (ignoring the blue tint as I don't really notice it unless I'm looking for it) is that the black levels aren't quite deep enough for me. I went from a CRT to the U2311H a month or so ago, and therefore the change was very noticeable. However with a black level of 0.14cd/m2 (as per TFTCentral's measurement), it's actually very good for a IPS panel and TN panels aren't much better either. The only way to get deeper blacks is if you buy a monitor with a VA panel, but then you sacrifice response rate, so it's not great for gaming.

Considering you're doing web development, you may want to look into the HP ZR24w, if you can afford it. It's not quite as good as the U2311H, particularly blacks and contrast, but it is 24" and more importantly 16:10 (1920x1200). The greater vertical space is nice for any sort of productivity.

The only real problems are that it's slightly slower than the Dell (although a lot of people play games on it fine), there may be some tinting issues (all current IPS monitors can have this problem) and it doesn't have 1:1 pixel mapping - this isn't an issue if you're going to only use the monitor on a PC as your graphics card can override the scaling, but the image will stretch to fullscreen if you plug it into an external device (DVD/Blu-ray player or console).

I think that covers everything, apologies for the long post smile.gif
post #4 of 19
@cracker - Well said! Rep for u!
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post #5 of 19
I have the smaller brother the U2211H, same thing, just 1 inch smaller, and a lot cheaper. I love it, great colors (once calibrated), and not that expensive. Mine was $225 new I think.

So if you want to save a few bucks, the U2211H is a good choice.
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post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cracker;11821802 
It's one of the better, if not best, (current) IPS monitors you can get if you look solely at the measurements (see the TFTCentral Review). By which I mean it has the lowest blacks, highest contrast ratio and very good colours out of the box. Coupled with decent overdrive and low input lag, it's a good gaming monitor too.

........... ........... ........... ...........

The only real problems are that it's slightly slower than the Dell (although a lot of people play games on it fine), there may be some tinting issues (all current IPS monitors can have this problem) and it doesn't have 1:1 pixel mapping - this isn't an issue if you're going to only use the monitor on a PC as your graphics card can override the scaling, but the image will stretch to fullscreen if you plug it into an external device (DVD/Blu-ray player or console).

I think that covers everything, apologies for the long post smile.gif

Cracker, my hat off to you sir, thanks for spending some time on a very thorough response. This is exactly why I call Overclock.net my favorite forum on the internets for all computer related subjects! Now with electrolytes! +REP

I have researched the HP ZR24w namely because of 16:10 resolution. I find the u2311h gives you more for your dollar and the HP ZR24w to be overpriced.

If I plug my PS3 into the u2311h using an HDMI to DVI adapter, it would fit the native 16:9 aspect ratio, correct? I am a little disappointed the u2311h does not have HDMI connectivity. It is unlikely I would ever interface with an HDMI device but it would be nice to have. redface.gif

It sounds like if I use a quality calibration tool I can eliminate most traces of this blue tint. I am going to go place my order now, thanks again. wave2.gif
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Internets;11822257 
I have researched the HP ZR24w namely because of 16:10 resolution. I find the u2311h gives you more for your dollar and the HP ZR24w to be overpriced.
Yeah, the U2311H is an overall better monitor, but a lot of people are still happy with the ZR24w. As mentioned in my previous post, the larger screen size is just better for working on. Of course, this comes at a price as the 16:10 aspect ratio is premium "feature" these days.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Internets;11822257 
If I plug my PS3 into the u2311h using an HDMI to DVI adapter, it would fit the native 16:9 aspect ratio, correct? I am a little disappointed the u2311h does not have HDMI connectivity. It is unlikely I would ever interface with an HDMI device but it would be nice to have. redface.gif
There are no problems at all with consoles and the U2311H, it will fill the screen fully as seen in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4Q78-G1xHA#t=3m56

The only thing to remember is that there are no speakers on the monitor (unless you buy the additional Dell SoundBar - which are likely to be pretty poor quality anyway) so you can't really utilise the HDMI audio. You can use something like a cheap RCA to 3.5mm cable to connect your PS3 to some speakers (like your PC's for example) in order to get audio.

If you ever do need (extra) HDMI connectivity, you can get a cheap HDMI switch, some HDMI cables and a HDMI to DVI cable. This is cheaper than getting an active HDMI to DisplayPort adapter. The DVI port is HDCP compliant so you won't have any problems with Blu-ray content.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Internets;11822257 
It sounds like if I use a quality calibration tool I can eliminate most traces of this blue tint.
Unfortunately that's not going to happen, the common blue "tinting" is really just poor backlight uniformity so there's no real amount of calibrating that will fix it. You can ramp up the brightness to max, which might reduce it a tiny bit, but then your picture is way way too bright for comfortable use.

I'd try either not to look out for the tinting or just hope you don't get one that has it smile.gif
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cracker;11822641 
Yeah, the U2311H is an overall better monitor, but a lot of people are still happy with the ZR24w. As mentioned in my previous post, the larger screen size is just better for working on. Of course, this comes at a price as the 16:10 aspect ratio is premium "feature" these days.


There are no problems at all with consoles and the U2311H, it will fill the screen fully as seen in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4Q78-G1xHA#t=3m56

The only thing to remember is that there are no speakers on the monitor (unless you buy the additional Dell SoundBar - which are likely to be pretty poor quality anyway) so you can't really utilise the HDMI audio. You can use something like a cheap RCA to 3.5mm cable to connect your PS3 to some speakers (like your PC's for example) in order to get audio.

If you ever do need (extra) HDMI connectivity, you can get a cheap HDMI switch, some HDMI cables and a HDMI to DVI cable. This is cheaper than getting an active HDMI to DisplayPort adapter. The DVI port is HDCP compliant so you won't have any problems with Blu-ray content.


Unfortunately that's not going to happen, the common blue "tinting" is really just poor backlight uniformity so there's no real amount of calibrating that will fix it. You can ramp up the brightness to max, which might reduce it a tiny bit, but then your picture is way way too bright for comfortable use.

I'd try either not to look out for the tinting or just hope you don't get one that has it smile.gif

I suspect I will keep sending them back if I cannot find one with acceptable tinting. I will not strain my eyes to find it. If the tinting is immediately noticeable on one monitor might it not be so bad on another?

Doesn't it just seem easier to correct this issue with backlight being nonuniform than to keep taking monitors back in from customers?
post #9 of 19
I have 3 of the u2311h's in eyefinity and have been very happy with my purchase, welcome change from TN panels. No issues with any of the three of them either
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post #10 of 19
i had two u2311h in the past and now i have a zr24w

the zr24w is without a doubt the superior monitor, not only because it's 16:10, but also because it doesn't have the tint issue my u2311h suffered.. honestly, the actual image quality on both is pretty similar, blacks/whites are a little deeper on the zr24w but both are night and day difference from a TN panel that's for sure. also, both have typical IPS backlight bleed (youtube it), but that's not a big issue imo.. in the end, the u2311h is great for the price , i cant stress how big of an upgrade it's going to be from your 19" TN

ive read tint issue is not as bad on the REV A01 (i had A00) but it's still noticeable, especially on a white background like google or something , but again, excellent value, pros easily outweigh the con(s)
Edited by koven - 12/29/10 at 6:15pm
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