The Dell UltraSharp 2408WPF 24-inch monitor is an outstanding performer. It delivers fantastic DVD playback images, making it a great choice for an entertainment display. Whether you're looking at games, DVDs or HD movies, this monitor doesn't drop the ball
The Dell UltraSharp 2408WPF packs all of its stellar
performance inside a practical and aesthetically pleasing design while
delivering an embarrassment of connection riches. It also carries
a fair price of around £400; 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 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, colour 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 colour 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 it chooses to redesign this chassis.
The foot of the stand is the same Y-shaped design as found on last year's model. The width of the stand is about 497mm 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 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.
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.
The Dell has a dynamic contrast ratio of 3,000:1. According to Dell, this means 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 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 DisplayMate tests, excelling particularly in sharpness and colour. Most monitors have no problem displaying legible fonts at 6.8 point and above, but things usually deteriorate as the size gets smaller. The Dell is not immune to this issue completely, rendering fonts thinly.
The Dell did well in our colour tests, showing primary colours smoothly, uniformly and consistently. It should be able to accurately display different shades of the same colour 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 and should have been more subtle. This is a minor quibble, however, as there are six presets to choose from as well as a user customisable 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 very close to 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 colours, 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.
The Dell UltraSharp 2408WPF display performed outstandingly in our tests, delivering quite possibly the best image we've seen for DVD playback. This monitor is a great entertainment display, whether it is games, DVDs, or -- making use of its 1,920x1,200-pixel resolution -- HD movies. Rest assured, it does not drop the ball on the basics.
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday