Dell's G2210 22-inch LCD monitor has a rather pedestrian design, and to such an extent that were it not for the shiny Dell logo that adorns the base of the monitor bezel, you wouldn't particularly identify it as being any particular brand. The bezel, which measures in at around 15mm from each side gives the monitor a rather solid look and feel, and this is accentuated by the thick chunky base that it rests on. It's tilt-capable up to 20 degrees backward and four degrees forward, and Dell rates visibility at 170 degrees horizontal and 160 degrees vertical. It's not a glossy panel, which means on the minus side it looks less snazzy when people just stare at it, but on the plus side means you don't go blind actually working with it.
Many monitors with black bezels have a common problem, in that controls can become indistinct, especially if printed in silver or dark grey tones. The G2210 side-steps this neatly with a row of four selection buttons on the lower left-hand side, just above the power button. Pressing any of these will bring up the small on-screen menu, controlled logically by all four buttons. It's a big usability plus, as you're never left wondering which control it is you're meant to use to achieve a desired result.
Behind the G2210's plastic facade is a cheaper TN type panel with a top resolution of 1680x1050, which means it's not quite the panel you want if full HD is on your radar, but should be plenty for most elementary PC uses. Dell rates it with a response time of 5ms, which is pretty typical for a TN panel, as is the stated 1000:1 contrast ratio. In keeping with industry standard hyperbole, dynamic contrast ratio is stated at the almost essentially useless "up to 1,000,000:1". Brightness is noted at 250cd/m2 and colour gamut coverage at a relatively low 80 per cent of the CIE1976 standard. Connectivity is via DVI or D-Sub and the G2210 can handle both inputs in use, although obviously not both at once.
Being a cheaper panel, Dell can't flog the G2210 on pure performance grounds — we'll leave that to the much spiffier 2209WA — so it indulges in a little greenwashing, talking up the G2210's environmental credentials instead. In sleep mode, the G2210 uses a minuscule 0.15W of power, while an ambient light sensor dynamically adjusts the LED backlight relative to the surrounding light, which should (in theory) reduce overall power draw. Three in-built power modes — Energy Smart Plus, Energy Smart and Standard — let you pick and choose between power functions, as well as giving an on-screen indicator of the relative power usage of each mode.
As with many monitors that boast of a wide viewing angle, the G2210 struggles a little with side-on views, and it becomes very clear where the LED backlighting spills when viewing at any kind of side angle. We're still not sure that this is a big concern for a desktop monitor, however — how often do you spend long swathes of working time staring at your monitor side-on anyway?
Predictably with a TN panel that even the vendor admits struggles with colour reproduction, it was in this area that we saw the worst performance from the G2210 within DisplayMate, especially if we did have the Energy Smart Plus or Energy Smart modes activated. Darker colours had a tendency to display in a somewhat uneven fashion particularly, and this was confirmed within the colour tracking module where lower intensity blocks simply vanished into black. The practical effect of this was most evident in our DVD playback tests, where video that should have been dark was murky and tones tended to appear just a little off optimal.
With an asking price of AU$389 at the time of writing, the G2210 is a fair buy, but it's by no means exceptional, and we'd certainly suggest that if your budget can stretch that bit further, the 2209WA is an all-round more capable model.