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Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP review: Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP

Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP

Eric Franklin Former Editorial Director
Eric Franklin led the CNET Tech team as Editorial Director. A 20-plus-year industry veteran, Eric began his tech journey testing computers in the CNET Labs. When not at work he can usually be found at the gym, chauffeuring his kids around town, or absorbing every motivational book he can get his hands on.
Expertise Graphics and display technology. Credentials
  • Once wrote 50 articles in one month.
Eric Franklin
6 min read

The Gateway FHD2400 may be cheaper, but the Dell UltraSharp 2408WPF display is the better value of the two 24-inch LCD monitors. It performed outstandingly in our labs-based DisplayMate tests, delivering quite possibly the best image we've seen for DVD playback. The 2408WPF packs all of its stellar performance inside a practical and aesthetically pleasing design while delivering an embarrassment of connection riches. Moreover, it carries a fair price of $599; we'd wager any 24-inch display you find for less will come with trade-offs in terms of features or performance or both. The UltraSharp 2408WFP is a great entertainment display, whether it is games, DVDs, or--making use of its 1,920x1,200 resolution--HD movies. Rest assured, it does not drop the ball on the basics; we give it a strong recommendation should you seek a large productivity monitor.


Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP

The Good

Strong overall performance; its tried-and-true design is both aesthetically pleasing and practical; video connections galore.

The Bad

Cool preset mode is too blue; no digital audio connection.

The Bottom Line

The 24-inch Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP display delivers across the board in performance, design, and features. It excelled with movies and games, making it not only an excellent choice as an entertainment display, but also great for everyday Windows tasks.

The Dell 2408WFP shares the same basic design as its predecessor, the UltraSharp 2407WFP. This includes the relatively thin bezel around the edge of the screen with the Dell logo along the bottom.

The onscreen display is easy to navigate and includes the usual options of brightness, contrast, color, and so on. We also liked that the OSD stays on the screen long enough to evaluate any changes you make while calibrating the display. There are also six included preset modes for activities such as playing games, watching movies, and graphics work that affect color temperature, contrast, and brightness.

From the back, you're looking at a mostly silver enclosure, which runs along the foot and neck of the stand with a large silver Dell logo at the top. The screen rotates 45 degrees to the left and right, and about 30 degrees back. The screen also pivots 90 degrees to the left into portrait mode, but you'll have to rotate the screen back first before you can actually pivot it as the stand is in the way normally. This is a minor gripe, but it's something we hope Dell will consider when they choose to redesign this chassis.

The foot of the stand is the same Y-shaped, or "bird-foot" as it is sometimes called, design as found on last year's model. The width of the stand is about 15.5 inches at its widest and really helps to make the display feel very sturdy, even when placed on a narrow stand and the screen is raised to the top of its 4.5-inch range. This display has many connection options, and Dell continues to make it easy to find them all. Each connection has a very clear illustration beneath it that makes it a cinch to find and connect.

Manufacturer's specs:
Resolution: 1,920x1,200
Pixel-response rate: 6ms
Contrast ratio: 3000:1 (Dynamic)
Connectivity: DVI, VGA, HDMI, component, composite
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? VGA, DVI, HDMI

The Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP includes an abundance of connection options. For video connections, you'll find a VGA, two DVI, an HDMI, a DisplayPort, component, and composite ports. There's also a speaker port, four USB ports (plus one upstream USB port), and a media card reader for Compact Flash and SD formats. That's certainly a long list of connections, but if we're being greedy, we would have liked to have seen an optical audio out connection. Compared with the lower priced Gateway FHD2400 we reviewed recently and praised for its connection options, the Dell surpasses it in the variety and volume of connection options. In particular, the extra DVI port and the DisplayPort are valuable extras if you want to connect the display to a media center or high-end PC.

The Dell has a Dynamic Contrast of 3000:1. This means--according to Dell--that the blacks the display outputs are three times darker than the whites are when viewing dark scenes. To get that kind of contrast ratio the display powers down its backlight in dark scenes, so that the blacks are very dark. This also means that if the dark scene in question contains areas of bright light, the light may be sacrificed as the backlight does not have the power to represent it accurately. Basically, Dynamic Contrast is just a marketing term and, for now, there is no independent standard for measuring it, so it should not be considered when making a buying decision. We felt the display was capable of dark blacks, but they could have been a bit darker. The whites were as bright as any we've seen in a recent display.

We tested the Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP through the DVI connection and it delivered high scores across the board in our labs-based DisplayMate tests, excelling particularly in sharpness and color. Most monitors have no problem displaying legible fonts at 6.8 point and above, but things usually deteriorate as the size gets smaller. At 6 point, most displays have a hard time with sans serif fonts such as Helvetica, because of the somewhat curvy nature of the font. The Dell is not immune to this issue completely, but it performed better here than the Gateway FHD2400. The Dell rendered the fonts thinly, unlike the Gateway where the fonts seemed fat, oversaturated, and less distinct in comparison. Its composite score of 90 on our DisplayMate suite of tests has been matched only by another Dell display, the 22-inch SP2208.

Juice box
Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP Average watts per hour
On (Default Luminance) 69.3
On (Max Luminance) 107.33
On (Min Luminance) 49.7
Sleep 1.56
Calibrated (200 cd/m2) 62.1
Score Poor
Annual energy cost (@$0.1135/kWh) $21.75

DisplayMate tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP

Brightness (in cd/m2)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP

Contrast ratio
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP

The Dell had no problem on our Intensity Color Ramp test, which measures a display's capability to render gradations of primary colors smoothly, uniformly, and consistently. The fact that the display did well in this test indicates that it will be able to display accurately different shades of the same color in a given scene.

One problem we did see was when viewing the display on the Preset Mode Cool was that the screen looked too blue and unnatural. For example, when we typed in Word or viewed a Web site with a white background, the page was not white, but very light blue. The effect was just too extreme should have been more subtle. This is a minor quibble, however, as there are six presets to choose from as well as a user customizable mode.

DVD playback on the display was as good as we've ever seen on a monitor. Even when viewing medium shots with our eyes inches from the screen in Kill Bill Vol.1, we found the image retained its detail. We had a little PVP action while testing the display with World of Warcraft. It's hard to make this game look bad, and the 2408WFP continues the tradition of displaying WoW excellently. The colors, detail, and image integrity were as good as it gets.

We noticed a little backlight bleedthrough on the top corners in a pitch-black testing room, but saw absolutely none in normal room lighting.

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Service and support
The $599 price includes a three-year limited warranty that covers defects in the display and its peripherals. This also includes a 24-7 toll-free phone technical support as well as technical support through live Web chat. We could not find the drivers for this display on Dell's site. Under the support/drivers area on their Web site, this display was not listed at the time this review was written.


Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 9Performance 9Support 8Setup 0