The display did stumble on our screen uniformity test. A display that struggles here will show dim patches across the screen. At the darker colour levels, the Crystal showed some dim areas, which means either its backlight does not achieve uniform lighting or there are irregularities such as reflections inside the panel, or both.
The Dell Crystal also excelled on our contrast ration benchmark, producing dark blacks and bright whites, but it turned in a disappointing result on our brightness test. It wasn't nearly as bright as other 22-inch LCDs we tested recently, which might hurt its appeal for use in a brightly lit conference room or atrium.
DVD playback was clear and colourful. We watched Kill Bill Vol. 1 and were impressed by the display's capability to reproduce vibrant colour without oversaturating it. The Bride's yellow jumpsuit, in particular, looked great and popped off the screen. The Blu-ray version of Swordfish also impressed, but honestly, Swordfish looks great on most displays we've tested.
The same goes for World of Warcraft. It looked smooth and colourful; however, its smoothness can be attributed to the display's glass screen, which can sometimes smooth out images that would otherwise show edges like polygonal characters. The glass also produced some glare, but no more so than a typical LCD with a glossy screen coating. We had no problems watching light or dark scenes in normal room lighting.
Unless you connect a separate subwoofer, you'll find that the included speakers have trouble reproducing heavy bass without sounding tinny. Their output is still impressively loud. We found them more than suitable for movie watching and casual music listening.
From the left and right sides, the viewing angle is good, with only a small shift in the perceived colour. If viewing from above, text is mostly unreadable past 45 degrees, which isn't a real problem since the screen rotates back 30 degrees.
The tempered glass design on the Crystal is striking and has a strong image quality, but its audience is a small one that is likely purchasing it to fill a public space and charging it to an expense account. We would have liked to see more video connection options, along with better brightness and the capability to display 1080p video without scaling. Plus, for this amount of money, you could pick up four of Dell's excellent SP2208WFP.
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday