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Dell ST2310 review: Dell ST2310

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OVR
6.7

Dell ST2310

Pricing Not Available

The Good

The Dell ST2310 is a good-looking 23-inch monitor with HDMI and DVI support at a low price.

The Bad

The Dell ST2310's low brightness level keeps colors from really popping when watching movies and playing games. Also, the monitor lacks ergonomic options and extras.

The Bottom Line

The ST2310 has a low price and is good for everyday tasks, but it lacks some of the extra features included with similarly priced displays.

The Dell ST2310 has a MSRP of $229, but can be found on Dell's site for $179, making it one of the cheapest 23-inch displays we've seen. The monitor has both DVI and HDMI connections. Unfortunately, its relatively low brightness level hurts its performance in movies and games and its lack of ergonomic options and extras such as USB ports and built-in speakers relegates it to the "good for everyday tasks" category. If you're looking for a low-priced 23-inch display with extras, check out the Asus V236H that includes both a headphone jack and built-in speakers for $189.

Design and features
The Dell ST2310 looks a lot like Dell's own SX2210, with a glossy black bezel juxtaposed with its stark white backside. The ST2310's bezel measures 0.9 inch on both sides and 1.25 inches on the bottom where a silver Dell logo resides. Its depth is 2.9 inches and the panel is 22 inches wide. The circular footstand is 8.8 inches in diameter and, as expected with such a narrow footstand, the display wobbles and slides considerably when knocked around, but surprisingly it never felt too unstable.

The screen has a slightly frosty matte finish with an antiglare coating and the bottom of the bezel sits about 2.75 inches from the desktop. Unfortunately, the screen height isn't adjustable and there is no screen rotation or pivot option for portrait mode. Its capability to tilt the screen back 20 degrees is its only included ergonomic feature.

Connection options include HDMI, VGA, and DVI. Also, there's an audio in and audio out port. All of its connections sit on the back on the lower right-hand side of the panel and face downward. There is a small amount of chassis space between the connections and back of the panel that makes reaching the connections slightly more frustrating than what we'd like to see. As such, connecting the ports almost requires that you place the panel down on its screen to access the ports. Also on the back are Audio In and Out ports for directly connecting the monitor to an external audio device

The onscreen display button array is located on the lower right-hand edge of the panel and consists of four buttons aligned vertically. Pressing any of the buttons brings up the OSD, which pops up parallel to the button array, and each option corresponds to one of the four buttons. Once a new menu comes up, the function of the buttons changes dynamically, as the top two buttons become the up-and-down arrow buttons used to navigate through the newly seen menu. Since any button labels for the OSD are on the screen (other displays typically label them on the bezel), calibrating the display in a dark room proved painless.

OSD options include the standard brightness, contrast, and various color options. The presets are separated into two categories: Graphics and Video. There are six Graphics presets to choose from: Standard, Multimedia, Game, Warm, Cool, and, Custom. Its Video presets are: Movie, Game, Sports, and Nature. The presets do not change anything other than the red, green, and blue color balance; therefore, how well each setting works is subjective. There are options to adjust the hue, sharpness, and color saturation as well as additional options for setting the OSD to stay onscreen up to a minute (useful for anyone who will spend a good amount of time calibrating).

The Dell ST2310's 16:9 aspect ratio supports a "Full HD" 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution. This continues the trend of more and more monitor vendors moving toward 16:9 from 16:10 since high-definition content--in particular 1080p movies--can fit onto a 1,920x1,080-pixel screen in full-screen mode without stretching the image.

Manufacturer's specifications:
Resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel-response rate: 5ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Connectivity: HDMI, DVI-D, VGA
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? VGA
Brightness: 250 cd/m2
Backlight: CCFL
Panel type: TN

Performance
We tested the Dell ST2310 with its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 90 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, coming just less than the 23-inch Asus VH236H's 93 score. The Dell performed well on most of our color tests showing no signs of compression at the light end of the color scale tests, indicating that it can distinguish between different levels of near peak white shades; however, the Dell had problems with dark gray and was not able to distinguish between very dark gray and black. In the dark screen test, there was apparent backlight bleeding or clouding along the top and bottom edges of the screen.

The ST2310 earned a brightness score of 203 candelas per square meter (cd/m2)--lower than Dell's claimed 250 cd/m2 rating for the monitor and also lower than the Asus VH236H's 283 cd/m2.

We used the ST2310's movie preset to check out "Kill Bill Vol. 1" on DVD and a number of 1080p movie files from Microsoft's WMV HD Showcase. In both Kill Bill and the 1080p movies, we found that while the overall color of flesh tones was close to accurate, details like snow and white fabric were darker than we wanted and almost looked gray in comparison with the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370.

We looked at World of Warcraft and Unreal Tournament 3 and noticed no signs of input lag, streaking, or ghosting during fast movement; however, both games could have benefited from a brighter image, which the ST2310 couldn't deliver.

The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front of it, 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 ST2310 uses a TN panel, and when it's viewed from the sides or bottom, we perceived the screens to darken about 6 inches off from center. Of course, when viewed from the optimal angle, we had no problems.

Juice box
Dell ST2310 Average watts per hour
On (default luminance) 20.57
On (max luminance) 23.5
On (min luminance) 13.35
Sleep 0.52
Calibrated (200 cd/m2) 22.22
Annual energy cost $6.50
Score Good

In our power consumption tests, the Dell ST2310 had a wonderfully low On/Default power draw of 20.57 watts, compared with the Asus VH236H's 39.58 watts and the XL2370's 20.09 watts. The Dell's standby power is a low 0.52 watts. The Asus' was higher at 2.7 watts with the XL2370's at a lower 1.42 watts. Based on our formula, the ST2310 would cost a low $6.50 per year to run, compared with the Asus' $13.68 per year and the Samsung's $9.96.

Brightness (in cd/m2)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Dell SP2309W
297 
Asus V236H
283 
Dell ST2310
203 

Contrast ratios
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Dell ST2310
1,153:1 
Dell G2410
948:1 
Asus V236H
905:1 
Dell SP2309W
648:1 

DisplayMate test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.

Service and support
Dell backs the ST2310 with a solid warranty, including a three-year, parts-and-labor warranty covering the backlight. It also offers support through a 24-7 toll-free number, 24-7 Web chat, and Dell has a fast 24- to 48-hour e-mail turnaround time--a better package than most monitor vendors, which don't offer weekend support. Navigating Dell's Web site and finding the drivers, product manuals, and quick guides was simple and easy.

OVR
6.7

Dell ST2310

Pricing Not Available

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 6Performance 7Support 8Setup 0