Dell ST2220T review: Dell ST2220T

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good IPS screen brings great colour and viewing angles. Great warranty, although dead pixel policy isn't as good as other Dell monitors.

The Bad Speakers are horrible. Inset screen makes corners difficult to touch, meaning that important UI elements become annoying to use. No 1:1 scaling mode. Poor HDMI performance. Auto-switching inputs cause frustrations. First light bleed we've seen on an IPS monitor. High power consumption.

The Bottom Line The ST2220T is certainly passable as a touchscreen monitor, with the IPS screen going a long way to increasing its appeal. Some poor design choices hold it back from greatness, though, and unless you have a burning desire for a touchscreen, you should be investing your money in a normal monitor.

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Touchscreens for the PC haven't set the world on fire.

Part of this is the hardware. Many use infrared to detect touch (as does the ST2220T), meaning that it can get confused when it comes to multi-touch, and the deep bezel needed to accommodate this makes fitting your finger into touch corners difficult.

While the ST2220T pleasingly had no problem with our multi-touch commands, there's nothing to be done about the second issue. This means that important elements of your OS UI are a pain to interact with — namely, the start button, the show desktop button, an applications close button and any menu that happens to be in the top left.

Software plays its role in the touchscreen conundrum, too. Despite big improvements from Windows Vista to 7, Windows is still not designed specifically for this type of input. Case in point: resizing application windows is a pain. Still, if you're the type that thinks that this might not be bad from an entertainment perspective, the touch is not terrible. If you have a program that can take advantage of it, it'll likely do fine.

Dell's put an IPS panel behind the ST2220T, resulting in better colours and viewing angles. There's a set of speakers in there, too, but they're worth ignoring as they distort easily and have no bottom end. If you're to use the 3.5mm audio in jack, it's best employed as an audio pass-through for the headphone jack on the side.

Dell ST2220T front

Everything's shiny and will attract fingerprints.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Specs at a glance

Size 21.5-inches
Resolution 1920x1080
Aspect ratio 16:9
Pixel pitch 0.248
Panel technology IPS
Viewing angles
(10:1 contrast)
H: 178°
V: 178°
Response time 8ms G2G
Max vertical refresh 60Hz
Connections DVI,VGA, HDMI, 3.5mm line in and line out, 3x USB 2.0 downstream, 1xUSB 2.0 upstream
Accessories DVI, VGA, 3.5mm audio cables; cleaning cloth

Stand and ergonomics

The ST2220T has no neck or base — it's designed similarly to an all-in-one, with the bottom bezel touching whatever surface it's resting on. Adjustments are limited purely to tilt, with the stand allowing the monitor to recline into a lower position to make touch a little more friendly.

Cable management is simply a case of wiring your cables through the hole in the stand, although this may prove to be a tight fit for some cables.

Dell ST2220T stand

The stand is simple and only allows tilt; if you want to see things while standing up, you'll have to recline the screen backwards, as there's no height adjustment.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Connections

Dell ST2220T inputs

Power, DVI, HDMI, VGA, 3.5mm jack, USB upstream port.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Dell ST2220T inputs

Three USB 2.0 ports and a headphone pass-through jack.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)

Dell ST2220T buttons

The curse of the side buttons returns. At least this time there's a practical, rather than aesthetic, reason behind it — they're less awkward there than at the base.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Given that the bottom of the monitor touches the desk, buttons have unfortunately been relegated to the side. Dell does its best by allowing any button to bring up the menu, and by providing a context-sensitive OSD, but more than once, we hit the wrong button by mistake. More vexingly, this decision means that a quick input switch button has been omitted. You'll have to trail through a few menu options to get there.

Dell ST2220T OSD

The OSD is context-sensitive, and has been a staple of Dell's displays for years.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

The same old Dell OSD is on the ST2220T, but that isn't a bad thing; rather, it's a case of an interface that has been refined over the years. While standard contrast and brightness are here, Dell offers two modes for the monitor: Graphics and Video. The former allows presets of "Standard", "Multimedia", "Game", "Warm", "Cool" and "Custom RGB". Video enables "Movie", "Game", "Sports" and "Nature" modes, and enables hue and saturation controls, as well. Our advice? Stick to Standard or Custom RGB, and leave the presets by the wayside.

You can also turn the response time accelerator on or off, adjust the sharpness and change the scaling of the panel, although only "Fill" and 4:3 options exist for the latter, leaving out a proper 1:1 or aspect scaling mode.

Performance

Lagom.nl LCD tests
After calibrating to a target brightness of 140cd/m² with an X-Rite i1Display 2, Eye-One Match 3 and tweaking with HCFR, the ST2220T was run through the Lagom.nl LCD tests.

Flying through the tests, the only hiccups were 2a and 2b of the pixel tests, with the monitor passing the notorious test 4 without issues. This isn't too much of an issue; most monitors fail up to four of these tests, so the ST2220T is doing well here.

Image tests
Contrast Sharpness Gamma Black level White saturation Gradient
Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
Inversion pixel walk tests
Test 1 Test 2a Test 2b Test 3 Test 4a Test 4b Test 5 Test 6a Test 6b Test 7a Test 7b
Pass Slight flicker Slight strobe, left to right Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass

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Where to Buy

Dell ST2220T

Part Number: CNETDell ST2220T

Typical Price: $378.98

See manufacturer website for availability.

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