- Review Date: 05/01/12
- Bottom line: The Dell UltraSharp U2412M is a feature-rich 24-inch monitor offering beautiful color reproduction and great off-angle viewing but its dark grayscale performance falls a bit short.
- Pros: Very good color quality. Loaded with features. Affordably priced. Energy Efficient.
- Cons: No HDMI port. Lacks auto-pivot support. Small text could be cleaner.
Dell UltraSharp monitors have a reputation for offering solid color performance with a generous, business friendly feature set, and the UltraSharp U2412M ($369 direct) lives up to that reputation. Based on In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology, this reasonably priced 24-inch display delivers rich, wide-gamut colors and a spacious viewing range, and it boasts an impressive feature list, including a multi-adjustable stand and a four port USB hub. It does suffer from a few minor performance flaws, however; grayscale performance, while good, could have been stronger at the low end of the scale, and some small fonts were a bit muddled.
Design and Features
As with the NEC EA232WMi, the UltraSharp U2412M uses the latest e-IPS technology, which is cheaper to manufacture than previous IPS technologies but still offers good color quality and wide viewing angles. The 24-inch panel has a matte coating and is framed by thin 0.60-inch matte black bezels. A small polished Dell logo is fastened to the lower bezel and five small buttons are mounted on the right hand bezel.
A black and silver Dell badge is affixed to the rear of the cabinet, and below that are the I/O ports, including DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA video inputs, an upstream USB ports for connecting to a PC, two downstream USB ports, the main power jack, and a power jack for an optional Dell AY511 SoundBar ($54.99 direct). The matte black and brushed aluminum stand is highly adjustable; it provides 4.5-inches of height adjustability, enables swivel and tilt, and lets you rotate the panel 90-degrees so you can alternate between portrait and landscape mode. The U2412M doesn't support auto-rotation so you'll have to change the screen orientation in your graphics card's control panel.
The function buttons aren't marked but they don't need to be; pressing any button launches an on-screen label that corresponds to each button, showing what the button does. I'm a big fan of this approach as it takes the guesswork out of navigating the OSD (on-screen display). Picture setting are plentiful. There are five picture presets (Standard, Movie, Multimedia, Game, Text) and a Color Temperature slider with adjustments from 5000k to 10,000k so you can make the picture cooler or warmer. In addition to Brightness and Contrast you can select an input source, toggle between RGB (computer) and YPbPr (component) color spaces, set gamma for use with a PC or a Mac, and adjust sharpness, clock and phase settings. Hue and saturation adjustments are available when operating in Movie or Game modes, and there's a dynamic dimming feature that when enabled will automatically reduce the brightness level according to white content on the screen.
Dell backs the U2412M with a three year parts, labor, and backlighting warranty which includes an Advanced Exchange policy that guarantees that a replacement will be shipped out the next business day (after a phone consultation). You can upgrade to 4 year plan for an additional $39 or move to a 5 year plan for $59 more.
The U2412M has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1200 and a 16:10 aspect ratio. The IPS panel delivered rich colors with very good gradation on the DisplayMate Color Scales test and showed no evidence of tinting in the grayscale. Light grays were well defined all the way up to the very brightest shade, but the two darkest shades of gray were indistinguishable. That said, dark grayscale performance was still significantly better than what you get from a Twisted Nematic+ (TN+) panel.
The panel had no trouble displaying fonts set to 6 points on the Scaled Fonts test but when I lowered the font size to 5.3 points some of the fonts lost definition. For example, the top of the lower case e was filled in. The text was still quite legible but not as crisp what I saw with the HP ZR2440w ($425 list, 4 stars).
The U2412M used 16-watts of power while running in Standard mode, which has a preset brightness of 20-percent. I found this setting to be a tad too dim and bumped the brightness up to 40-percent, which in turn bumped power usage up to 20-watts. This kind of energy efficient is right up there with the 16-watt Lenovo LS2421P Wide ($219.99 direct, 4 stars) and 19-watt Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H ($259.99 list, 3.5 stars) and earns the U2412M our Greentech stamp of approval.
The Dell UltraSharp U2412M is a well-appointed 24-inch display that offers the benefits of IPS technology at a reasonable price. Robust colors, wide viewing angles, and low power usage make this a fine choice for businesses looking to trim budgets while maintaining a green office environment. A good selection of ports and an ergonomic stand with pivot adjustability are icing on the cake. If you can live with a slightly smaller screen, our Editors' Choice for mid-sized business monitors, the NEC MultiSync EA232WMi ($499 list, 4 stars), will save you a few bucks and delivers better small text and grayscale performance.
This review is in partnership with Ziff Davis Media.