Huge Screen Supertest (Part 7) - Dell Ultrasharp U2412M & LG DM2350D

5/10/2012 9:14:52 AM

Dell Ultrasharp U2412M

An affordable alternative to the daily drudgery of TN technology. Please tell us it’s not too much to ask for, surely. Finally, mercifully it’s becoming a reality. For proof, look no further than Dell’s new UltraSharp U2412M.

Description: DELL ULTRASHARP U2412M

At $440, it would be awfully pricey for a TN 24-inch, but it’s still a lot cheaper than your typical premium IPS and PVA panel, which tend to slot [n at around $640 to $960. And yet what we have here is a bona fide, card-carrying IPS panel. Okay, it’s e-IPS, the prefix indicating a new generation of lower-cost IPS screens, but it’s IPS all the same. Cue much rejoicing.

Glance at the spec sheet and you’ll discover that Dell has addressed another of our panel pecadillos. The U2412M sports a 1,920 x 1,200 pixel grid, and, therefore, a 16:10 aspect ratio. That might not sound like a big difference from the 1,920 x 1,080 native resolution that’s become dominant in recent years — as after all, how much difference can those extra 120 vertical pixels really make? As it happens, plenty. The wider 16:9 aspect is all very well for HD video, but even then it only suits HDTV. Feature films are almost always wider still, thereby nullifying the one advantage of 16:9 panels — the absence of letterboxing, or black bars above and below video content.

Description: Not the crushing victory, we expected. Even with e-IPS, the U2412M lacks punch

Not the crushing victory, we expected. Even with e-IPS, the U2412M lacks punch

Dull From Dell

For everything else, we’re not convinced 16.9 is an advantage. In games, it’s probably zero sum. The increased pixel count does put a marginally greater load on your GPU. But you also get a bit more space for menus and status bars.

If all that wasn’t enough, Dell has also panted up a proper stand with full height, tilt, swivel and rotate adjustability. Do the maths and the conclusion appears to be that Dell has delivered us everything we’ve been asking from them. It’s game over for all its competition, then?

Not so fast. The U2412M doesn’t quite pull off the crushing victory we were expecting. For starters, the chassis isn’t just plain, it looks and feels plain cheap. We’d happily overlook that in return for immaculate image quality. But that’s not exactly what you get. The first problem is the anti-glare coating. Like a lot of IPS panels, it’s a little too sparkly. Overall, the panel also lacks punch and vibrancy. It’s better than a typical TN screen, but thanks to the progress made with TN tech in recent years, save for viewing angles, the gap is marginal. Compared to the majesty of Samsungs new PLS panel (reviewed p20), it’s all a bit underwhelming. Not that the Samsung is even close on price. But what has been seen cannot be unseen.

Vital Statistics

Price $440


Size 24-inch

Panel type IPS

Native resolution 1,920 x 1,200

Pixel response 8ms

Viewing angle 178/178° H/V

Inputs DV, DisplayPort, VGA


LG DM2350D

ATV screen that does the lot— that’s the plan for the new LG DM23500 Cinema 3D Monitor TV. It’s a full HD PC monitor, it’s also a digital TV with an integrated DVB tuner and IR remote, but the LG’s real party piece is that it throws stereoscopic 3D into the mix. What’s more, it all comes in a compact package that does a half decent impression of a miniature high-end HDTV. If you’re short on space and want style, you could do an awful lot worse.

Description: LG DM2350D

As a monitor for a desktop or portable PC, the LG is pretty much par for the course. It’s a 23-inch panel with a full-HD 1,920 x 1.080 pixel grid. At this price point — and bearing in mind the built-in tuner and 3D support — it’s no surprise to find that the underlying technology is TN. That said, LG’s latest effort is one of the better TN panels that we’ve seen.

Part of the explanation is the use of an LED backlight. The result is richer, more saturated colours than you get with a TN panel powered by an old school CCFL lamp. Like most TN screens, pixel response is excellent, too, making this screen a great choice for keen garners.

Description: A full HD PC monitor, digital TV and 3D monitor — all rolled into one

A full HD PC monitor, digital TV and 3D monitor — all rolled into one

Squeeze box

Still, there’s no escaping the LG’s fundamental TN qualities. If you want broad viewing angles and accurate colours for video editing, you’d better look elsewhere. The final PC-specific and 2D image associated issue involves video inputs. For the most part, these are well catered for with a pair of HDMI ports, VGA, SCART and component. However, DVI and DisplayPort are preferable for PCs.

But what about the TV functions? LG has squeezed a digital TV tuner into the slim and slinky chassis, and also bundled an IR remote. The result is mostly indistinguishable from a small flat-panel TV — with one exception. Only standard definition DVBC and DVBT broadcasts are supported. You can watch Freeview HD in its full lO8Op glory, but only with an external box connected by HDMI. But what about the 3D? The tech in question is passive, polarised and orthogonal. That means polarised glasses (two pairs provided) rather than active shutter glasses. The orthogonal bit matters because it makes the screen more sensitive to viewing angles. LG has gone with the TriDef platform for gaming. This is the solution AMD uses for its graphics cards, but it also works with Nvidia cards too, so game compatibility is broad.

However, it’s hard to find the viewing sweet spot, in terms of distance and elevation. The overall sense of depth and, well, 3Driess isn’t as dramatic as we’ve seen courtesy of the best active-shutter screens. Both observed resolution and brightness also take a hit in 3D mode. There’s a price to be paid for flicking the 3D switch.

Vital Statistics


Price $377.6


Size 23-inch

Panel type PS

Native resolution 1,920 x1,080

Pixel response 5ms

Viewing angle 170 /160° H/V

Inputs  2x HDMI, VGA

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