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Dell ST2220T review: Dell ST2220T

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.

Craig Simms Special to CNET News
Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.
Craig Simms
7 min read

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


Dell ST2220T

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.

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)


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.


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

Input lag
Measured against a Samsung SyncMaster 975p CRT, and using a Canon 40D set to a shutter speed of 1/320, an average of over 60 photographs was taken using Virtual Stopwatch Pro. The ST2220T showed no measurable input lag over DVI, meaning that it should be fine for PC gamers.

Colour accuracy
ΔE is the measurement of how far a measured colour deviates from its expected value, allowing us to determine the colour accuracy of a monitor. While a ΔE value of one is considered perceivable, as long as it's less than three, the shift shouldn't be too obvious. HCFR was used to determine ΔE for the monitor, in tandem with an X-Rite i1Display 2.

Measured levels
Contrast ratio 1288:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.16
White level (cd/m²) 206.08
Gamma 2.10
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
91.4 21.6 16.6 16.3 16.2 17.1 19.2 19.8 22.4 23.1 23.1
Colour ΔE (compared to sRGB)
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
14.0 4.8 14.4 4.0 23.4 27.1

Dell ST2220T CIE chart

Primaries and secondaries are out, greyscale is all over the place.
(Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

Not great, but certainly not unsaveable. Keep in mind that this is a budget monitor, so our abilities are limited — but we should be able to correct our greys, at the very least, through the included RGB controls, which will in turn affect the primaries and secondaries. Let's see what a little tweaking can do.

Measured levels (Standard mode)
Contrast ratio 738:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.19
White level (cd/m²) 140.30
Gamma 2.18
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
90.8 19.0 4.9 2.7 1.2 1.5 1.1 0.5 0.6 1.0 0.6
Colour ΔE (compared to sRGB)
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
8.3 5.3 13.4 9.3 4.2 15.3

Dell ST2220T CIE chart

We've certainly seen better, especially considering the dark end of the scale. Still, it's well within acceptable for the cost of the monitor.
(Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

HDMI performance
While a monitor might have an HDMI port, there's no guarantee that it'll display images as expected. We hooked up a PlayStation 3 and checked for 24p capability as well as judder, and ran the HQV Blu-ray test to see how well it coped with an interlaced source and noise.

24p capable Understands YUV Mission Impossible III
Scene 11 judder test
Mission Impossible III
Scene 14 judder test
No Yes Slight judder Heavy judder
HQV noise
HQV video
resolution loss
HQV jaggies
HQV film
resolution loss
HQV film
resolution loss - stadium
Total score
out of 100
0 0 0 0 0 0

Unlike its UltraSharp monitors, HDMI performance doesn't appear to be filtered in any way, creating undesirable results. The monitor is likely fine for console gaming, but movie watching could be impacted.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles were taken with a Canon 40D in spot metering mode, with only shutter time adjusted to obtain a good exposure.

Dell ST2220T viewing angles

As an IPS panel, the ST2220T's off-axis viewing is excellent, with colours remaining vibrant.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Backlight uniformity
Backlight uniformity was measured by placing HCFR into free measure mode, displaying a completely white image and recording the brightness along a 5x3 grid on the screen. This should be considered as being a guide only, as backlight uniformity is likely to change from unit to unit.

Dell ST2220T backlight uniformity

A slight variance, but nothing out of the ordinary.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Light bleed
Our review sample suffered from noticeable bleed from a patch on the left-hand side, along with two subtle encroachments from the top left and right. The side patch bleed is concerning, whereas the other two are unlikely to be visible unless the screen is completely black.

It's important to note that the effects of light bleed will likely change from monitor to monitor, regardless of make.

Power consumption
We measured power consumption using a Jaycar mains digital power meter. It's important to note here that, due to limitations of the meter, measurements are limited to values of 1W and greater, and are reported in 1W increments.

All measurements, screen brightness and contrast were set to 100 per cent, and a test image displayed.

Juice Box
Maximum power draw 32W
Power-saving mode 9W
Off 7W

The ST2220T's power consumption isn't great as a result of its touchscreen, which stays active when it goes into hibernation. A good power saving monitor will hit <1W when="" turned="" off;="" here,="" the="" ST2220T="" does="" not="" comply.<="" p="">

Another power gotcha: the ST2220T scans for live ports after one goes to sleep. This is a terrible thing if you have multiple devices that stay on, and that are hooked up to your screen. In our instance, we had a PC and a PS3 hooked up, and whenever the PC set the monitor to sleep, it'd switch to the PS3, meaning that when we came back to the PC we'd have to go through the rigmarole of switching inputs back. As a result, the screen is active far longer than it needs to be.


Dell supports the ST2220T with a three-year, next-day replacement warranty that can be expanded to four or five years for AU$27.50 or AU$46.20, respectively.

Dell's dead pixel policy alters depending on which monitor you have bought. The ST2220T isn't considered to be a premium screen, so you'll need six or more defective dots, whether bright or dark, to qualify for a replacement. All monitors, though, are covered by Dell's 14 day total satisfaction guarantee, meaning that you can return the monitor without question 14 days from the date of receipt.


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.