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Dell UltraSharp U2410 24” IPS Monitor Review

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AkG

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<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/U2410/dell.jpg" border="0" alt="" />


Dell UltraSharp U2410, 24” IPS Monitor Review


Product Name:
UltraSharp U2410
Part Number: U2410
Warranty: 3 year


Recently, we reviewed the all new Asus PA246Q and walked away very impressed with its IPS panel and lower than expected price point. Unbeknownst to us, that review stoked some fires on our forums because there is another very similarly priced monitor which also boasts a 16:10 IPS panel: the popular Dell Ultrasharp U2410.

Due in part to past transgressions –namely some QA issues on certain value oriented lines and the infamous panel lottery on nearly all models- Dell has received bit of a bad rap in some circles. However, the U2410 has become the darling of the 24” market. As with any model in their UltraSharp line, it caters to the professional market and more discerning home users while being priced accordingly high. Yet the high price brings with it a wealth of connectivity options, a claimed colour gamut of 110%, preset Adobe RGB and sRGB settings factory calibrated defaults and much more.

This monitor’s warranty is also top of the line with a zero dead / bright pixel guarantee, advanced RMA service and a full three years of coverage. Dell’s much maligned customer support also takes a back seat since the UltraSharps have their own dedicated support line.

Earlier we hinted at a high price for the U2410 and at $599, it is certainly not the cheapest 24” IPS monitor on the market. However, we have to remember that due to Dell’s on again, off again sales we’ve seen the U2410 fluctuate from $599 down to slightly under $470. A cost delta of $130 from may be hard to stomach at first glance but it shows that if patience is one of your virtues, the U2410 can become one of the least expensive 24” IPS monitors on the market.

This Dell monitor certainly one of the more popular 24” monitors currently available but does it have what it takes to compete against the likes of ASUS’ PA246Q? Let’s hope so since when sales are taken out of the equation, the U2410 is actually more expensive than the competing ASUS product.

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/U2410/Dell_U2410_mfg.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
 
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AkG

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Specifications

Specifications





 
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AkG

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A Closer Look at the Dell UltraSharp U2410

A Closer Look at the Dell UltraSharp U2410



As with most of Dell’s UltraSharp line, the U2410’s appearance is utilitarian yet surprisingly elegant in some areas. However, one of the main areas of contention is its base; gone is the space saving v-shaped design from past generations. It has been replaced by a monolithic and frankly quite ugly rectangular slab that does a great job of providing a solid foundation but not much else.

Many current generation TN-based monitors have gone with decidedly thin profiles due to their move to cool-running LED lighting. The U2410 uses the tried, tested and true fluorescent method which necessitates a slightly thicker profile but in all reality, we’ll take performance over sexy looks any day.


Even without the razor-thin looks of the competition, the U2410 still cuts an impressive figure with a black and gray color scheme that should fit into anyone’s décor. Its straightforward thin bezel is also a welcome change from the oddball designs we’ve seen in the past.

Dell is able to accomplish this by opting to move the buttons from their typical bottom edge “row” orientation to a stacked layout along the bottom right hand corner of the bezel.



Another thing which makes the U2410 stand out from the competition is the fact that it uses capacitive touch buttons. These provide next to no feedback but Dell has tried to overcome some of this limitation by making each button with a square hole through which an LED can shine. This means when a button is touched, the blue light gives some visual reinforcement and the raised edges of the hole give some tactile feedback.

Unfortunately, even with near instantaneous button response and Dell’s subtle design touches, navigating through the menu layouts with the capacitive, vertically positioned buttons can quickly become a lesson in frustration.


In what is increasing become the de-facto standard for “professional” grade monitors, Dell has included a USB multi-format flash card reader built right into the side of the monitor. We still find it unforgivable that Compact Flash is not one of the supported formats but we have yet to see one with this included on any monitor in the sub-$600 price range. It should also be mentioned that the flash card reader is still only USB 2.0 rather than the newer USB 3.0 standard.


The selection of inputs is on the U2410 is very good and certainly above average even for this highly demanding niche. There is a VGA, two DVI ports, DisplayPort, HMDI, component and composite ports plus a USB hub.



While the slab-style base may be a step back design-wise from past generations of Dell monitors, it still retains the excellent range of motion its predecessors were known for. As with many professional grade monitors it can easily be changed from landscape to portrait and back again. This coupled with 45° off center axis swing and 24° degrees of tilt (from +3 to – 21) and 100mm of height adjustment, makes it the U2410 one of the more versatile monitors on the market.
 
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AkG

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Menu Layout & Observations

Menu Layout & Observations




The U2410’s menu layout along with its built in fine tune controls is truly fitting of a professional grade monitor. Hitting the menu button brings up four options (five if you include exit) which act as a quick access menu list. For most users, this layout can be considered perfect since the most used options are available within a few simple clicks instead of being buried under countless submenus. Every basic command from input source selection options to preset modes and brightness/contrast controls can be accessed here.

If some more tweaking is needed, the fourth (aptly labeled “menu”) brings you to the main menu which is once again loaded with useful sections.



The layout of the main menu is for the most part easy to use and fairly intuitive. Sadly, some of the more fine grain abilities of this monitor are buried awfully damn deep in sub menus. The worst offender of this is trying to find – let alone access – the excellent 6 axis colour correction abilities of the U2410 which is actually found three floors down in the “Custom Color” mode. In all the other modes it is missing.


Sadly, while there are 8 custom modes to choose from, not a single one offers Gamma correction. It is indeed possible to chose between “PC” and “Mac” gamma correction (i.e. 2.2 and 1.8) but fine tuning the gamma just can’t be done.

The missing gamma option is perfectly acceptable when the U2410 is brand new and properly configured at the factory, but as the panel ages colors and the like do have a tendency to “drift” and corrections will need to be made. Thus, this lack of fine grain control over one of the most basic necessities of a professional monitor is simply unacceptable.

On the positive side, Dell has added both Adobe RGB and sRGB preset modes in amongst the 8 preset options. The other six are Standard, Multimedia, Game, Warm Cool and Custom Color. It was also great to see the brightness and contrast settings stay the same regardless of which mode the monitor is in. This means once the U2410 is calibrated to 120 cd/m2, the other presets can be used without having the hassle of going through and readjusting the light output. RGB or YPbPr color formats can also be selected in case the U2410 is hooked up to a gaming console.

Overall, while it is not perfect Dell has instituted a menu layout which is just as good as the one found on ASUS’ ProArt’s series. As we mentioned on the last page, if Dell had ditched the completely unintuitive capacitive “touch” buttons, they may have actually held a slight edge over its competitors in the ease of use category.
 
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AkG

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Image Quality (Uniformity / Gamma)

Calibrated Settings


Please remember that the settings below have been calibrated for our specific environment and your viewing conditions may differ from ours.

Mode: Standard
Brightness: 19%
Red: 49
Green: 51
Blue: 48

All other settings left at standard defaults.

Notes:
- All tests done at default settings at 120 nits
- Unless otherwise noted, the tests were carried out via HDMI


Image Quality (Uniformity / Gamma)


As befitting an IPS panel, the overall picture quality of the Dell U2410 is simply outstanding. To be honest, we have yet to find a TN-based monitor that can come anywhere close to matching what this thing can do.

With a maximum output of 386.55 cd/m2, the U2410 is certainly bright but was easily adjustable down to a more precise 120 cd/m2. However, a value of 386.55 is a bit less than the 400 cd/m2 it is rated for. To be honest, this small hiccup isn’t all that important as anything over 120 – 140 is wasted on most computer monitors, especially those geared towards the professional market.


Panel Uniformity




With the center set to 120 nits, the Dell U2410 displays a panel variance of 22%, which is less than optimal for a monitor of this caliber. On paper this is only 2% “worse” than the Asus ProArt but the reality is much quite different. With the ASUS, the 20% variance was spread relatively evenly across the panel so it can’t readily be seen but the Dell displays sudden shifts within a few inches of center.

While the ultra crisp and high fidelity colour reproduction granted by the U2410’s high quality IPS panel can hide most of its shortcomings, the bottom left hand corner is noticeably darker than the rest of the screen.


Gamma Performance




With a gamma that is slightly above 2.20, the Dell U2410 is certainly accurate enough for most people’s needs and even the needs of most professionals. Unfortunately, additional fine tuning isn’t possible due to this monitor’s menu limitations so any additional calibration will need to be done within the Operating System.
 
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Colour Saturation Levels / Default RGB Levels

Colour Saturation Levels




While the Dell U2410 certainly has an extremely wide color gamut, it can’t seem to hit two of the three corners of the full “normal” colour spectrum. There is some noteworthy deviation from the in the green spectrum and a slight shift away from red. Unfortunately, this results really does put the U2410 at a distinct disadvantage compared to the ASUS PA246Q when it comes to default accuracy.


Default RGB Levels




Measuring the R/G/B levels using our SpyderPro and HC-FR program, we found the colors to be extremely close to what this market niche demands: perfection. In a perfect world, all three of the RGB values would have 100 rating. Nonetheless, the U2410 only requires only a minor amount of tweaking to be flawless.

This is not a monitor meant for the gamers or for movie watching but it will still do each of these with well-honed precision. The Dell U2410’s main market niche is professionals who need high fidelity colour reproduction and it tends to do extremely well in that respect.
 
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Gaming & Movie Performance

Gaming Performance


Before we being let’s preface the results by saying this the U2410 is not meant for gaming. It is meant for highly accurate colour reproduction. With a 6ms response time, the Dell can certainly be used for games it is just that it may exhibit may an occasional dropped frame or “hiccup”. This is the nature of the IPS beast but it will rarely –if ever- be noticed by the end user.

To our eyes there is very little difference between an ultras fast 2ms (GtG) TN panel and a fast 6ms (GtG) IPS or MVA panel. You may feel differently, and we strongly recommend trying one before buying as some people are more sensitive to this kind of issue than others.



In terms of absolute gaming performance we felt that no real tweaking was needed to get true to life colours. Some shadows may have been a bit darker than they should have been and some highlights were a tad muted, but this really did not take away from the overall gaming experience. Likewise, some colors were slightly “off” to our trained eyes but the reproduction was still light-years ahead of any TN-based panel.



With that being said once we did slightly tweak the gamma and RGB levels, this monitor truly was a joy to use for games. To be honest, the games really do “pop” when used on good IPS monitors and while we are harsh in our critiques of it, the Dell U2410 is absolutely excellent and a joy to use.


Movie Performance




As with our gaming impressions, the U2410 can become a thing of beauty when watching movies. The colours are more than accurate, ghosting is non-existent and picture quality is almost unmatched. It goes without saying that as long as the movie’s colour pallet is accurate, the U2410 will reflect this but it also has the capability to display any errors as well.

Even with the slight tweaking required we consider the Dell U2410 to be a better movie platform than the ProArt. While our preferred neutral colour pallet results in a tossup between the two, if you are like many movie buffs which prefer a cool – or conversely a warm – color pallet, getting it is as easy as changing to cool or warm preset color modes. This is something that can only be partially done with the ProArt.
 
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Viewing Angles / Contrast / Power Consumption

Viewing Angles



Much like the Asus ProArt PA246Q we recently reviewed, the Dell U2410’s viewing angles are impressive to say the least. If you have never seen an IPS panel in real life, even pictures don’t do it justice. If you want your monitor to have truly wide viewing angle abilities, then a high end IPS panel is a must. Much like gaming and movies before it, the results are every bit as good as the ASUS and maybe even a touch better.


Maximum Contrast Ratio




Now this is certainly interesting. While the colour gamut and default RGB levels were just shy of great, the maximum contrast ratio we obtained is better than anything we have reviewed before.


Power Consumption




The U2410 does use more power than the ASUS at default levels and even when calibrated but not at a level that will put a noticeable dent in your electricity bill, This is of course mainly due to fact that this is a simple CCFL-based LCD panel rather than one of the newer, more efficient LED models.
 
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Conclusion

Conclusion


For many users - self styled professionals and home users alike - the current crop of TN panels have shown one thing: manufacturers are cutting corners in order to save money. As a result, picture quality has suffered and continues to decline from one generation to the next. In order to get anything resembling accurate colour reproduction and acceptable viewing angles, the only real options are more expensive alternatives like MVA and IPS-based monitors. So where does this leave the $599 U2410? Believe it or not, a perfect position to take advantage of a burgeoning niche.

If we were looking for a home environment monitor which could handle photography, movies and gaming without missing a beat, the Dell U2410 would be near the top of our list. It provided great viewing angles, a good colour range and a decent on screen display that backed up with enough presets to cover most situations. When you combine all these features with enough input options to satisfy anyone, the result is a truly impressive showing by Dell.

Most of the this monitor’s appeal comes from frequent price drops to below the $470 price point which is good since we feel that anything above $499 is way too much. At $499 the U2410 tends to run straight into the formidable PA246Q which has a slight edge over the UltraSharp in some key areas. ASUS wins out with superior colour gamut, default saturation and gamma while featuring slightly better image adjustability. Both monitors are great for home and even gaming environments any yet we believe the PA246Q is currently the better choice based on price alone. However when the U2410 hits its stride at $470 or less, this becomes a whole different ball game.

Literally everyone other than the most demanding professionals should be able to easily overlook the very few issues which this Dell product exhibits. In our opinion it may not be perfect, but the U2410 is awfully darn close and is simply one of the best 24” monitors currently available.


Pros:

- Great input options
- 8 preset modes
- 6 axis color correction
- Incredible viewing angles
- Subtle yet refined colour scheme
- Height adjustable and pivoting stand


Cons

- Gamma settings need more adjustment options
- Slight colour gamut shift
- Capacitive touch buttons & their positioning can be very frustrating
- Serious price fluctuations


<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/U2410/dam_good.jpg." border="0" alt="" />


http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...410-24-ips-monitor-review-comment-thread.html
 
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