The Dell S2409W 24-inch Widescreen Flat Panel LCD Monitor is a new model from Dell which has a 16:9 display ratio and runs about $350. Its native resolution is 1920×1080 pixels, which means it can display full quality HD content (1080p). It has three inputs: VGA, DVI and HDMI, which means you could connect it to your computer and to a DVD player or some other video device, and switch between the inputs as needed.
I purchased this monitor on 7/31, and it arrived on 8/21. My reason for buying it was the price. It is one of the lowest prices for a 24″ display from a reputable company, and I was also drawn to the 16:9 display ratio. I had a chance to work with it over these past four days.
I like the design of the monitor. It’s fairly thin in terms of depth, the rounded bezel is interesting, and the white power light is a very nice touch. It sits on a round base that has a sort of round indentation built-in, which I found to be a handy spot for post-it notes or a small remote control.
My computer setup is described in detail here. I have a MacBook Pro, and I do a lot of photography editing. As soon as I connected the S2409W to my MBP, I could see that fonts and curves weren’t displayed properly. There was some noticeable rasterization that took place at the edges of smaller objects on screen. I’m not sure of the word to describe it, but edges weren’t smooth, they were craggy.
I set up my MBP and the monitor in dual display mode, and I dragged windows back and forth between the two displays repeatedly, in order to compare the differences. As soon as a window made it onto the Dell monitor, things just didn’t look as good and as crisp as on my MBP’s display.
Also, no matter how much I calibrated it, I couldn’t get the contrast and brightness settings right. If the contrast was too low, then colors and shadows appeared washed out, and if the contrast was too high, the light-dark difference bothered my eyes. If I turned down the brightness, there was too little light on-screen, and if I turned it up, there was too much light, which made my eyes burn.
The next day, I brought my MBP into work and connected it to my Dell W2407WFPb monitor, another 24-inch flat panel display. This particular model belongs to the UltraSharp model line, which is higher quality. Here the colors showed up properly from the start, without calibration, and there was much less rasterization around the edges of letters and other small objects. I had to admit the S2409W display isn’t made as well as the W2407WFPb, which is understandable, since the latter model retails anywhere from $600-700.
I did one more thing: I started my XP VM on the Mac while connected to the S2409W, set it to full screen, and noticed that, at least when running Windows, the display quality was acceptable.
No matter how much I tried to adjust the display while I worked on my Mac, I couldn’t get it to work in a satisfactory manner for me. Since I do most of my work on a Mac and within OS X, the Dell S2409W won’t work for me, and I will have to return it.
Updated 8/28/08: You can read about my Dell return experience if interested. I find it very encouraging that Dell is now engaging with its customers the way they’ve done it after I wrote that post.
On a more general note, I haven’t been very successful with my monitor picks so far. I already tried using an HDTV as my computer monitor, but that didn’t work out. Now using a regular monitor hasn’t worked out either. It looks like I may need to spend upwards of $700 to get a good monitor that will work well for my needs.
Keep in mind that my needs are more demanding than those of the average user, and that I may be more critical of a monitor’s display quality than you may be. You may find the S2409W does just fine for you, particularly if you do most of your work on Windows, where it seems to work better. At $350 for a 24-inch display, it fits the bill as well.
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