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About a year ago, I recommended the Dell UltraSharp U2412M desktop monitor based on a review by the Wirecutter. Well, I just bought one for myself, and so I can give you my own impressions.
In short, this is an awesome monitor, and if you get one, you will be very happy.
Price and features
I have bought cheap monitors for years, but there was always something wrong. The first 22″ Sceptre I bought has a weird halo around the edges. The second had a noticeable pinkish cast. This year, I bought a 24″ ASUS VE-248h based on some very positive reviews on Amazon. It was horrible. When working on white pages, whether Word, Facebook, or WordPress things like grey borders and selection highlighting were invisible. Editing a brief or a promissory note is painful if you cannot tell what words you have highlighted. No amount of adjustment or calibration seemed adequate to fix these monitors’ problems. I am still using the first Sceptre I bought, but I sent the second away with Randall, and I’m going to find a new home for the ASUS, preferably with someone who only plays games.
And really, the Dell is not much more expensive. I paid just under $300 from Amazon, or about $100 more than I paid for the ASUS. So what do you get for that extra $100?
A whole lot, as it turns out.
What I like about the Dell UltraSharp U2412M
I hate flashy, glossy monitors, and the Dell comes with a nice, matte black bezel and stand. It won’t pick up fingerprints and it won’t stand out on your desk. It just fades into the background, as it should. That stand, by the way, is easily adjustable to heights that will be actually useful for you. No more propping your monitor up on your old law books. It is even spring-loaded, so you don’t have to yank it around or mess with screws. Move it up, down, tilt, and rotate it without leaving your seat. The monitor also doubles as a USB port, with two ports on the back, and two on the side that you can easily reach without getting up. This makes it easier (and cleaner) to plug in webcams or wireless dongles.
While it feels a little odd to be writing so much about this monitor’s stand and ports, most monitors have little more than a plastic slab on the back. They aren’t tall enough, and the only adjustment they included is tilting forward and backwards. That’s even true for Apple, where you might expect to see more attention paid to ergonomics.
Now for the whole point of a monitor: the display. Compared to what I have been using, the U2412M is amazing. It comes calibrated from the factory, so all you have to do is plug it in. You can play with the settings from there, if you like, but I found it was right on by default. I ran through Apple’s color calibration tool, anyway, but decided I liked it better as-is.
Resolution is a big deal right now. Apple may be pushing the limits with its Retina displays, but the Dell U2412M is no slouch. Its 1920×1200, 24″ display is just under 100ppi, similar to the high-end iMac displays. The The 16:10 aspect ratio is just a little taller than it is wide, which makes it better for editing documents than the more-typical 16:9 aspect ratio you will find on most widescreen monitors (including the iMac). It doesn’t seem like much, but you will notice the difference. It works out to about an extra inch, vertically, or a few lines of a page. And you still have plenty of room to view two pages side-by-side, with bit of extra space, just in case.
The monitor has an anti-glare coating, which is nice. Some have called it over-done, saying they can see the coating in some lighting situations. I haven’t noticed it, and in my basement with point light sources, I’m happy to have it.
What I don’t like about the Dell UltraSharp U2412M
Just one thing. There is no HDMI port. The U2412M has DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA, but no HDMI. That’s not a big deal, since I am plugging it into a Mac Mini’s Mini DisplayPort socket, but for PC users, it’s kind of a bummer, since HDMI seems to be slowly taking over DVI as the port of choice for high-definition monitors. If you really need HDMI, though, an HDMI-to-DVI cable is under $10 from Amazon.
Who should buy this?
If you want a monitor that’s great for editing documents, playing games, blogging, and everything else, this is a big upgrade over the monitors you usually find at the bottom of the price range. And it doesn’t cost a lot more. The only people who might not be completely satisfied are “prosumer” photographers. For the rest of us, this monitor is awesome.
Reviewed by Sam Glover on .
Summary: The Dell UltraSharp U2412M is ideal for lawyers — and anyone else who spends most of their time working on documents, blogging, and networking.
Score: 5 (out of 5)