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Dell's new monitors don't want you wasting energy

Honestly, there's nothing particularly special about the G2410 and G2210 at first glance. That is unless you play around with their respective on-screen displays.

Last week I received two new Dell monitors for review, the G2210 and the G2410. Nothing strange about that. I get a Dell monitor in like every other week around here.

Did I mention, however, that these were two LED-backlit LCD monitors? Again, not that big of a deal. We've reviewed LED-backlit monitors from Apple, Lenovo, and ViewSonic in the last few months.

Pay no attention to the Street Fighter wallpaper in the background. CNET

Honestly, there's nothing particularly special about the G2410 and G2210 at first glance. They're actually pretty plain-looking with nothing aesthetically special about them. That is, unless you play around with their respective onscreen displays (OSDs).

The OSDs are designed with an "Energy Gauge" feature that allows you to see, in real time, just how much power your monitor is pulling. For example, with the display's brightness set to half, the energy gauge--represented by green bars-- adjusts to nearly two-thirds full. Turn the brightness to max and the gauge shoots to full and is now represented by red bars.

There are three power presets available: Standard, Energy Smart, and Energy Smart Plus. Check out the slideshow to get details on the differences between each preset (come on, how else would I get you to click over there?).

The displays each feature an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the display's brightness depending on the amount of ambient light in the room.

Usually, monitors include presets for watching different content (movies, games, etc.), but this is the first time I've seen a vendor take power conservation so seriously as to include a gauge in the interface. Ultimately, this is not all that useful, but it is an encouraging first step.

Here's hoping other vendors pick up on this and start implementing easy ways for users to determine exactly how much power they're using. Maybe a crude "estimated watts" meter, or even more useful would be a real-time "cost per year" gauge since we're all becoming penny pinchers.