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Dell SX2210t review: Dell SX2210T

We're still not convinced touchscreen monitors plugged into desktops without dedicated software is a good idea, and the SX2210t does nothing to change this. Combined with the heaviness of the stand and the cost, unless you absolutely have a hankering for touch, we'd suggest a normal monitor instead.

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

Windows 7 was meant to bring with it a touch revolution — we're still as of yet unconvinced.


Dell SX2210t

The Good

Passes judder tests over HDMI. Comparatively low power consumption. Attractive design. Elegant workaround to the side button issue.

The Bad

Touchscreen still active when you switch inputs. Heavy. Power brick contributes to clutter.

The Bottom Line

We're still not convinced touchscreen monitors plugged into desktops without dedicated software is a good idea, and the SX2210t does nothing to change this. Combined with the heaviness of the stand and the cost, unless you absolutely have a hankering for touch, we'd suggest a normal monitor instead.

While things improved from Windows XP and Vista in terms of accessibility and usability for touch users, at this point in time we'd hazard a guess that touch is useful in some specialised cases where a single application is run, but for the rest of us it's a novelty.

Which brings us to the SX2210t. This 21.5-inch, 1920x1080 monitor is equipped with a good quality webcam, has more gloss than a lip balm factory and funnily enough, supports multi-touch input. Dell doesn't offer much to extend the Windows 7 experience, which is already token at best, short of "TouchCam", a re-brand of CyberLink's YouCam; and a calibration/diagnostic program. It doesn't include Dell's TouchZone program, nor did it work when downloaded from Dell's site and installed on our test system. The fundamental issue of having an operating system with touch grafted on, rather than being built around it, still exists.

Should you choose to use the touch functionality, you'll soon notice the steady accretion of fingerprints all over the glossy screen, and interestingly, the touchscreen is still active when the input is switched to HDMI — so don't go pointing at anything while watching a movie or playing a game.

Like the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370, the SX2210t tries to keep things light and thin by taking the power unit out of the monitor, and distilling it in the form of a brick. This doesn't seem to have made the monitor any thinner though, and any weight relief is offset by the heavy metal base.

Dell SX2210t power brick

Dell's power brick is about the same size as one you'd find on a laptop. (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 TN
Viewing angles
(10:1 contrast)
H: 160°
V: 160°
Response time 2ms G2G
Max vertical refresh 60Hz
Connections DVI, HDMI, VGA, 3.5mm line in and out, 3x USB
Accessories DVI, VGA, USB upstream, power cables; power brick; cleaning cloth

Stand and ergonomics

The SX2210t has a metal stand, with a hole in the middle for cable management. You'll want to actually use this hole for the HDMI and DVI ports, as navigating the cables in otherwise can be a torturous affair.

Despite adding significant weight to the monitor, the stand only offers one form of adjustment: tilt. Even this manages to be a bit difficult, as it's quite resistant to movement.

Dell SX2210t stand

Stylish, but heavy and limited.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)


Dell SX2210t inputs

Power, 3.5mm audio in, 3.5mm audio out, HDMI, DVI, VGA, USB upstream and two USB ports. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Dell SX2210t USB ports

Two more USB ports are higher up on the back of the monitor. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)

There are four buttons on the right-hand side; usually we find side buttons a pain, but Dell has gotten around the usual identification issues by making any button the menu button. Once you hit one, the menu appears and all the buttons become context sensitive, with an overlay on the screen indicating what button does what.

Dell SX2210t buttons

Side buttons — almost as evil as mullets (the hair, not the fish). (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

The OSD is straightforward, and is a cut down version of the one found on Dell's UltraSharp models. Standout features include the ability to set sharpness on the digital inputs, and the ability to dial down the response-time accelerator should you run into issues.

Dell SX2210t OSD

Dell's OSD is a cut-down version of the one found on its UltraSharp range. (Screenshot by Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

As usual there's a mess of preset profiles included, although Dell breaks them into two categories, "Graphics" and "Video". The former contains the "Standard", "Cool", "Warm", "Game", "Multimedia" and "Custom RGB" profiles, the latter "Movie", "Game", "Sports" and "Nature". In Movie mode, you also gain access to hue and saturation controls. While each profile applies either brightness, contrast, sharpness or different colour casts, we recommend turning off dynamic contrast ratio, sticking to Custom RGB and creating your own set up.

Sadly there are no scaling modes at all; you get full screen stretch, and that's it.


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 SX2210t was run through the Lagom.nl LCD tests.

We witnessed the most impressive greyscale gradients we've seen for a TN screen, with no visible banding or purple/green discolorations. Most monitors usually fail from one- to four-pixel walk tests, and the SX2210t is no different, clocking up four flickering tests.

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 Flicker Flicker Pass Flicker Flicker 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 over 60 photographs were taken using Virtual Stopwatch Pro. The average result over DVI came in as 7.84ms, an excellent time. Two photos of the 60 turned up showing a maximum of 40ms difference, meaning just over 2 frames delay — while this definitely wasn't a common occurrence, no doubt the more ardent gamers would like to know.

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 1 is considered perceivable, as long as it's less than 3 the shift shouldn't be too obvious. HCFR was used to determine ΔE for the monitor.

In uncalibrated format, the Dell wasn't the worst we'd seen, but it wasn't great either. Note that we turned dynamic contrast ratio off for these tests.

Measured levels
Contrast ratio 923:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.21
White level (cd/m²) 193.78
Gamma 2.2
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
63.3 10.7 3.7 7.1 8.8 8.5 8.4 8.2 7.2 7.5 11.5
Colour ΔE
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
9.7 1.5 9.3 5.0 9.1 16.1

Dell SX2210t CIE chart

The uncalibrated CIE chart. The white triangle is the colour space of the monitor, the dark is the sRGB gamut it's trying to match. (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

Let's break out the i1Display 2 and work a little on that greyscale, shall we?

Measured levels
Contrast ratio 712:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.20
White level (cd/m², target 140cd/m²) 142.45
Gamma (target 2.2) 2.23
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
55.7 12 2.4 2.8 1.2 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.9 0.4
Colour ΔE
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
5.8 3 6.7 3.9 4.9 8.3

Dell SX2210t CIE chart

The calibrated CIE chart (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

Not bad. The blacks are still way off as is the case consistently with TN (too much blue push), but we've otherwise managed to pull most things a little closer across the board.

HDMI performance
While a monitor might have an HDMI port that's no guarantee 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 Pass Pass

HQV noise
HQV video
resolution loss
HQV jaggies
HQV film
resolution loss
HQV film
resolution loss – stadium
Total score (out of 100)
10 0 0 0 0 10

1080p content is fine, with no visible judder in our test playback. 24p is not supported though, and 1080i content fails hard.

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 SX2210t viewing angles

The SX2210t seems to start inverting at a smaller angle than usual from below the viewing plane. Otherwise, it's TN behaviour as normal. (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 a guide only, as backlight uniformity is likely to change from unit to unit.

Dell SX2210t backlight uniformity

Some interesting values here. In subjective tests we didn't notice too much of a difference. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Light bleed
With all the lights turned off and a black image shown, there was white glow coming from the top and the bottom of the monitor, a common effect among cheaper screens.

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

Other issues
The panel itself is quite deeply inset, and the bezel is piano black, meaning that during bright scenes you may notice the screen's reflection on the bezel, which will be distracting for some.

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 24W
Power-saving mode 7W
Off <1W< td="">

For a touchscreen monitor, this is quite respectable.


Dell offers a three-year warranty that can be upgraded to a four-year warranty for AU$26.40, or five years for AU$46.20. This includes a next-business-day exchange.

Dell's dead pixel policy alters depending on what monitor you have bought. For the SX2210t, six dead sub-pixels regardless of type will make you eligible for a swap over. You are able to return any monitor within 15 days of the invoice date to Dell; however, the user pays shipping in this instance.


We're still not convinced touchscreen monitors plugged into desktops without dedicated software is a good idea, and the SX2210t does nothing to change this. Combined with the heaviness of the stand and the cost, unless you absolutely have a hankering for touch, we'd suggest a normal monitor instead.