You can find the 24-inch Dell G2410 for about £250 online -- a satisfying price -- and it may well prove your best option for a 24-inch display with stellar performance and low power consumption. The G2410 won't win any beauty contests with its plain design, and it lacks both ergonomic features and an HDMI connection, but it makes up for these shortcomings with great movie performance and by offering energy options that let you track and control your energy footprint.
Dell sells the similar 24-inch Dell S2409W for about £50 less, but, although the cheaper monitor looks sleeker and includes an HDMI connection, it can't match the G2410's performance and low power consumption. We also recommend the £210 23-inch Dell SP2309W with its high 2,048x1,152-pixel resolution. The SP2309W also has better performance than the S2409W.
The G2410 has a plain design, with angular features and a matte black finish. The bezel measures a short 19mm on all sides. The middle of the bottom bezel has a slightly raised silver Dell logo on it. The panel is nearly 25mm deep (most 24-inch models we've tested have a greater panel depth than that). The back of the display -- which houses the backlight, connection options and ventilation system -- extends another 38mm, bringing the full monitor depth to about 63mm. The panel measures 569mm wide -- average for a monitor of this screen size.
The rectangular footstand measures 273 by 13 by 155mm. We saw only minimal wobbling when we knocked the display from the sides. With such a long and flat footstand, you'd really have to knock the monitor hard before it toppled. The bottom of the bezel sits about 70mm from the desktop. Unfortunately, the screen height isn't adjustable, nor is there a screen rotation or pivot option -- useful if you prefer portrait mode. The capability to tilt the screen back 25° is the only ergonomic feature included.
To keep the price and energy footprint down, Dell only includes DVI and VGA as connection options. You're out of luck if you want to connect an external Blu-ray player, since there's no HDMI -- something that's a mainstay on most monitors of this size.
The G2410's on-screen display follows Dell's recent labelless design, last seen on the SP2309W and S2409W. This OSD, however, is even simpler and easier to use, with more features.
Four buttons line the lower right-hand corner of the bezel. Pressing any of the buttons brings up the OSD, which pops up parallel to the button array, each option corresponding to one of the four buttons. Once a new menu comes up, the function of the buttons changes dynamically, as two buttons become the up and down buttons used to navigate though the new menu. Since any button labels for the OSD are actually on the screen, calibrating the display in a dark room is painless.
Pressing the button next to 'energy modes' on the OSD brings up a menu for choosing three different modes that determine your monitor's energy footprint. Choosing 'standard' lets the user manually set the display's brightness. 'Energy smart' activates the ambient light sensor and caps the screen brightness at 66 per cent. The ambient light sensor will automatically adjust the brightness based on the level of light in the room. 'Energy smart plus' is identical to 'energy smart', but adds dynamic dimming, which automatically dims the backlight when the screen shows an image that is overly bright or all white.
As you change options that affect your energy footprint, you'll see an energy gauge in the OSD. The gauge dynamically changes based on how much power your monitor is consuming. Take your brightness to full and the gauge goes into the red. Bring the brightness back down and your gauge responds by turning green. Ultimately, the gauge isn't that useful, as it depends primarily on your monitor's current brightness level, but it's a welcome feature nonetheless, and we'd like to see Dell continue to develop it.
Aside from the energy modes, OSD options include the mainstays: brightness, contrast and various colour options. The presets are separated into two categories: graphics and video. There are six graphics presets to choose from: 'standard', 'multimedia', 'game', 'warm', 'cool' and 'custom'. The movie presets are: 'movie', 'game', 'sports' and 'nature'. The presets don't change anything other than the red, green and blue colour balance. Therefore, how well each setting works will be subjective. There are also options to adjust the hue and colour saturation, and you can set the OSD to stay on-screen for up to a minute too -- useful for anyone who will spend a good amount of time calibrating.
The G2410's 16:9 aspect ratio supports a 'Full HD' 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution. This continues the trend of more and more monitor vendors moving towards the 16:9 from 16:10 aspect ratio, because high-definition content -- in particular 1080p movies -- can fit onto a 1,920x1,080-pixel screen without distorting the image.
We tested the G2410 with its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 97 in our DisplayMate-based performance tests, which is the highest we've seen yet. We compared it with the 24-inch Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP, which scored a 90, and the S2409W, which scored an 87. The G2410's accurate reproduction of colour and its screen uniformity impressed us the most. In the dark screen test, the display yielded the least backlight bleeding we've seen in a monitor, suggesting that movie watching on the G2410 will not be plagued by backlight glare during dark scenes as some monitors are. The G2410 easily passed all of our colour tests, getting perfect scores in all six tests.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Great DisplayMate scores don't always translate into similar results in our real-world test, but the G2410 has some of the deepest blacks we've seen on a monitor -- a critical attribute for good movie playback. We used the movie preset to check out War of the Worlds on DVD and House of Flying Daggers on Blu-ray. War of the Worlds looked great for a DVD, with a deep black level and accurate colours. House of Flying Daggers also had deep blacks, accurate colours and solid picture fidelity, without any ghosting or streaking. The Samsung SyncMaster T240HD was previously our favourite display for watching movies on, but that distinction now belongs to the G2410.
Most of this incredible performance can be attributed to the monitor's LED backlight. Most monitors use cold cathode fluorescent lamp-based backlights -- several fluorescent tubes stretched horizontally across the screen. The G2410 relies on individual LEDs all over the back of the screen that turn off or on independently, giving the display more precise control over the amount of light coming through. The purported advantages of an LED backlight are better energy efficiency, more accurate colour reproduction, a conceivably thinner panel design, and a higher potential brightness level.
A high black level on a display will distort the greyscale and adversely affect colour reproduction. Thanks to its precise control of the backlight, however, the G2410 is capable of a low black level, which translates into fantastic colour reproduction. While its maximum brightness is lower than that of the 2408WFP, this was never a problem and, at times, we had to turn down the G2410's brightness to decrease the strain on our eyes. Its tested contrast ratio was less than the 1,000:1 claimed by Dell and came in at a fairly close 948:1.
We looked at the game Crysis on the G2410 under the game preset and saw a clean picture with no signs of ghosting during fast movement.
The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the screen's height from the top. At this angle, you're viewing the colours and gamma correction as they were intended. Most monitors are not made to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on the type of panel used, picture quality at non-optimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when viewed from non-optimal angles.
The G2410 uses a TN panel, and, when viewed from the sides or bottom, we perceived the screen to darken about six inches off from the centre. When viewed from the optimal angle, we had no problems. Performance-wise, this is the only area in which the 2408WFP, made with an S-PVA panel, fairs better. S-PVA panels are known for having wide viewing angles.
The Dell G2410 isn't the most beautiful monitor we've ever seen, and the lack of ergonomic options and an HDMI connection is disappointing. But it's still a great monitor, thanks to its fantastic performance, energy-conscious interface and relatively low price tag.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet