Design and features
The new Dell 24-inch makes a few design diversions from the older 2408WFP, while inheriting traits from both the 2209WA and 2709W — gone is the flying V base on the neck, replaced with a black rectangular block. Height, tilt, pivot and rotate functions are offered through the stand, as they have been since the 2405WFP, with height adjustment being done through a rack and pinion mechanism.
Cable management is done through a small hole in the back of the silver neck. The order of the day is matte — no shiny surfaces here. Even the screen is matte, cutting down on reflections, the silver and black scheme giving it a professional feel.
While by and large this monitor looks like a larger cousin of the 2209WA, it inherits the context-sensitive touch buttons from the 2709W — that is, five label-less buttons. When you move your hand near them, the bottom lights up with a bright blue LED in the middle. Touch this, the menu appears and the other four buttons light up, offering different options depending on where you are in the menu. It's an intuitive, quick and easy-to-use system that works just as well in the dark as it does in a bright office. The buttons do make an annoying beep every time you touch them, but this can be turned off through the menu for glorious silence.
Flip the device around to the left, and you have two USB ports, and an xD/SD/MS/MMC card reader. The CF card reader from past models is gone, an indication that the format is dying. Another two USB ports can be found underneath the panel on the rear, along with the bevy of video inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, two DVI ports, VGA, component and composite. There's even a 3.5mm audio out jack here, for pushing out audio you've got feeding in through HDMI, either to a speaker system or to Dell's optional soundbar which can be mounted under and powered by the monitor.
In the menu itself almost anything can be adjusted, from the base contrast and brightness, to RGB or YPbPr colour, PC or Mac gamma, graphics or video mode. There's also a number of preset modes, including Standard (wide gamut tends to blow out greens and reds in non-colour-managed applications), Multimedia (a bit warmer), Game (which very definitely had Dynamic Contrast Ratio turned on), Warm, Cool, Adobe RGB, sRGB and Custom Color, which you can get a live preview of before you commit.
You can also set the stretching to either Fill, Aspect or 1:1, Sharpness and Zoom, and on analog connections you can adjust horizontal and vertical positions, noise reduction, pixel clock and phase. Depending on the preset you select, you can choose to turn Dynamic Contrast Ratio (DCR) on or off.
Picture in picture and picture by picture is available, although if you've plugged in through DVI or HDMI you will only be able to choose VGA, DisplayPort, component or composite as the alternative source, you cannot pair a DVI with a DVI picture, or an HDMI with a DVI picture. All other combinations should work fine.
Specs-wise, the monitor hits the usual 1920x1200 native resolution, sports a 1000:1 typical contrast ratio (and a rather ridiculous 80,000:1 dynamic), 400cd/m² brightness, 12-bit internal processing, 178° viewing angles and 6ms G2G response time. It claims 1.07 billion colours, and 110 per cent CIE1976 gamut, along with 96 per cent Adobe RGB coverage and 100 per cent sRGB. Each monitor ships with a colour calibration factory report, which claims pre-tuned AdobeRGB and sRGB with an average Delta E of less than 5, attempting to lower the chance of colour inconsistency on screen.
The whites of the monitor have that typical Dell sear-out-your-retina brightness, but images and text are vibrant and text is easy to read. While wide gamut monitors tend to blow out red and greens in non-colour managed applications, setting the preset to sRGB produced natural colours, and so it was here we performed our tests.
DisplayMate as usual was blitzed, capable of displaying all shades from 0 (black) to 255 (white). Gradients in both colour and greyscale were represented perfectly fine, from the horizontal to the vertical. Plugging in our Xbox 360 component at 1080p, we noticed some ghosting from the text in the NXE interface — although this is clearly a limitation of the component inputs on the screen, as HDMI looked crisp and fine.
The PlayStation 3 looked great, and film fans will be happy to know the screen supports 1920x1080 @ 24Hz through over the PS3's HDMI connection when playing Blu-ray. An Oppo BDP-83 also managed direct mode at 23.967 fps, so 24p is definitely a go, while for gaming, Half-Life 2: Episode 2 looked gorgeous. Viewing angles are quite good as is to be expected with IPS-based screens.
Input lag tests
Due to request, we ran some input lag tests on the U2410, as well as bringing in the 2209WA and 3008WFP we had in the office. These were measured against a Samsung SyncMaster 957p CRT monitor, with the resolution being set to the native resolution of the TFT monitor being tested each time, both monitors cloned from a GeForce 8800GTX. A series of photos were taken with Virtual Stopwatch Pro running on screen, in order to determine the delay between image transmit and image display. We took ten samples from each monitor, then isolated the maximum, minimum and average lag recorded in both sRGB/standard modes and game modes.
Input lag was measured with Virtual Stopwatch Pro 3, a Samsung SyncMaster 957p CRT monitor and a Canon EOS 30D. (Credit: CBS Interactive)
|Dell UltraSharp U2410 (sRGB)||Dell UltraSharp U2410 (Game)||Dell UltraSharp 2209WA (Standard)||Dell UltraSharp 2209WA (Game)||Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP (sRGB)||Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP (Game)|
|Input lag max (ms)||34||29||32||35||48||40|
|Input lag avg (ms)||31||14||20||13||33||24|
|Input lag min (ms)||21||0||0||0||21||3|
Kicking in game mode has a noticeable effect, reducing input lag considerably from the sRGB mode. The side effect though is oversaturated, wide-gamut colours, with greens and reds once again ramping up.
Our only negative point on the screen is that once again Dell has inset the panel itself, so the image partly reflects on the bezel. You soon get used to it though, and with this screen sitting on your desk the vast array of positives soon outweigh the single negative. The only way to get better quality than the Dell UltraSharp U2410 is to spend a lot more money — if you need 24-inch, are on a budget but still need great quality images, we can wholeheartedly recommend this screen.