Dell SP2309W review: Dell SP2309W

The Dell SP2309W posted a brightness score of 297 candelas per square meters (cd/m2) according to our test--right near the 300 cd/m2 maximum claimed by Dell. This beats the Dell S2409W's 243cd/m2 brightness score, but the Dell Ultrasharp 2408WFP crushes that number with a 452 cd/m2 brightness rating. Our tested contrast ratio was lower than we expected coming in at 648:1, compared with the 2409WFP's 891:1 and the S2409W's 1,001:1. While its tested brightness and contrast ratio are relatively low, this did not translate into bad picture quality.

"World of Warcraft" on the Dell SP2309W looked crisp, colorful, and as darn near perfect as we've ever seen running at a 2,048x1,152-pixel resolution. "WoW" looks great on pretty much every monitor we test. Unfortunately, viewing the game from a lower-than-optimal viewing angle made the screen darken to the point that we couldn't see graphic details of the game--typical of most TN panels and has nothing to do with the game's performance.

The performance in the "Kill Bill Vol. 1" DVD on the Dell SP2309W came very close to the quality of the stellar Apple LED Cinema Display we tested in December. The colors were vibrant and the blacks dark; however, the colors and black level on the Apple are fuller and deeper, respectively. We didn't notice any streaking or ghosting and the screen remained sharp for a DVD.

The 1080p Blu-ray version of "House of Flying Daggers" looked great for the same reasons; however, we did not notice any quality advantage to the screen's 16:9 aspect ratio.

We did determine, however, that the best setting for watching games and movies on the Dell SP2308W is the Standard preset mode with a contrast of 59, and the brightness set to whichever high setting your eyes can take. We settled on a 94.

The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the screen's distance down from the top. At this angle, you're viewing the colors and gamma correction as they were intended. Most monitors are not made to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on its panel type, picture quality at nonoptimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when viewed from nonoptimal angles. The Dell SP2309W uses a TN panel, and when they are viewed from the side angles, the screen appeared to only darken slightly. When viewed from the bottom the screen darkened immediately. Of course, when viewed from the optimal angle, we had no problems.

Juice box
Dell SP2309W Average watts per hour
On (Default Luminance) 40.38
On (Max Luminance) 48.27
On (Min Luminance) 19.24
Sleep 1.35
Calibrated (200 cd/m2) 41.83
Score Poor
Annual energy cost (@$0.1135/kWh) $12.98

Brightness (in cd/m2)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Contrast ratio
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Dell S2409W
1,001:1 
BenQ E2400HD
892:1 
Dell SP2309W
648:1 

DisplayMate
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.

Service and support
Dell backs the SP2309W with a solid warranty including a three-year parts-and-labor warranty that covers the backlight. It also offers support through a 24-7 toll-free number, 24-7 Web-chat, and fast 24- to 48-hour turnaround e-mail--a better package than most monitor vendors, whose support doesn't carry into the weekends. Navigating Dell's site and finding the drivers, product manual, and quick guide was simple and easy.

What you'll pay

    Pricing is currently unavailable.

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    Where to Buy

    Dell SP2309W

    Part Number: 320-7641

    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Quick Specifications See All

    • Display Type LCD monitor / TFT active matrix
    • Interface DVI
    • Diagonal Size 23 in
    • Pixel Pitch 0.249 mm
    • Image Contrast Ratio 80000:1
    • Image Aspect Ratio 16:9
    About The Author

    Eric Franklin is a section editor covering how to and tablets. He's also co-host of CNET's do-it-yourself and how-to show, The Fix and is a 20-year tech industry veteran.