Having owned the Hazro HZ24Wi (h-IPS) since before launch I've been fully covered as far as photo editing goes but recently I've been feeling an itch, an itch for a 2nd monitor that wasn't the 19" TN panel Samsung I was using to plonk workflow palettes and sidebar gadgets, a screen that could do all those and more...and so the research began!
I've owned various VA/IPS and even TN panel monitors whilst owning the Hazro and none of them really wowed me except maybe the HP 24W which had excellent performance and quality but at the time it had a pink tinge problem that was documented quite well (now long resolved though) so I returned it. I've also owned the Dell 2405 series and was not happy with any of them due to input lag for gaming which was easily noticeable and also a slight mouse lag delay in Windows itself.
So after lots of reading reviews and seeing what's offering the best bang for buck I bought the U2410 for £250.Initial thoughts
The plastic casing and stand build quality seem OK but I do note that they're not as solid feeling as the monitors Dell used to sell such as the 2405/2000WFP etc. Saying that though, the thing is put together solidly and the front bezel and buttons have a professional look and feel to them. I like the backlit power button which is the LED indicator, it's little things like that that impress me most and it's a faint blue glow as opposed to a mini torch.
The stand offers all adjustments needed from height to tilt/rotate and pivot, standard stuff for a Dell display of this class so nothing new there.Image quality
Powering it up and connecting to my PC via the supplied DVI cable I noticed the colours at default appeared visually acceptable but brightness was quite high. Side by side next to the Hazro though you could tell there was quite a difference. Dell opt for a 50/75 Brightness and Contrast setting and the colour temp is set to "Standard" which is the same as the custom preset of 6500k within the menu.(The menu offers a raft of options to customise the display and the UI itself is very easy to navigate and actually one of the more pleasing to look at I have seen on a Display. Dell has always excelled here I feel.)
I saw no obvious backlight bleeding either but since this is an IPS display you do get the IPS tinge effect when moving around the screen from various angles. this isn't a problem as you soon get used to it and it's automatically ignored by your brain. The tinge is minimised on more professional end IPS displays by use of a front polariser but they also cost a lot more too **
I connected up the EyeOneDisplay 2 colorometer and fired up Lacie's BlueEye software to begin calibration. Here is where I saw the actual results of the factory defaults, colour temp was actually closer to 5700 than 6500 and the luminance value was not far from 120cd/m2. 120 is accepted as the norm for average room lighting and monitor usage, Some people prefer a lower luminance value while others prefer a brighter (higher) output. This aspect doesn't really affect the end result much so it's more of a preference thing than not. I like a low luminance value as it's more pleasing when reading text on a white background so have my monitors around 90cd/m2 and this has yet to compromise shadow detail.
Once calibrated the results were:
That's better than my Hazro and that has a h-IPS display compared to the cheaper e-IPS on the Dell. Rather happy with that
I then checked that black and white shades were visible:
All were fine, the white shade test on panel 254 was faint but still visible. Out of the box, before calibration
, the black panels 1 and 2 were not that visible really and the last 2 on the white test were the same.
Now that it was calibrated I fired up Lightroom and checked through previous edits and was rather pleased at my new found advantage of having a monitor dedicated to portrait orientation Gaming
I played some Battlefield 3 and saw no problems with input lag or ghosting. I left Overdrive enabled as this can be turned off from the service menu. I didn't expect to see any lag or ghosting either having read the TFT Central review and saw their results and it wasn't far from the Hazro which also had no problems gaming.Closing
For £250 the U2412M has excellent performance, features and image quality (though only truly usable after calibration if you require accurate colours for photo editing). The only thing it lacks really is HDMI but you could use a DVI to HDMI adapter and use Display Port for the other connection as graphics cards these days have Display Port outputs. It comes with 4 USB2 downstream ports as well but I didn't bother testing this as it's not something that I will ever use.
Maybe some people will find this review useful I don't know but I thought it was worthwhile sharing my experience of this monitor and I think it's a perfect upgrade for someone on a ~22" screen but wants a proper 16:10 aspect ratio display instead of the many 16:9 ones out there and also wants good image quality with good performance in games. It won't rank up with 120Hz TN panels for gaming of course but where it doesn't match them it strips them naked for viewing angles and picture quality.**
If you edit photos or just want accurate colours then it's worth investing in a calibration probe of some description from Spyder or Xrite. It's a long term investment that pays for itself over the years because you're doing your eyes a favour and they can be used on multiple screens as many times as you like. I calibrate my screens once every 6 months or sooner if I make a big change like GFX upgrade or whatever.
Here are my OSD settings and ICC profile that others might want to try on their U2412M screens as well. I created the profile using BlueEyePro and before clibration got as close to 120cd/m2 and 6500k using the pre-cal fine tune measurement. This allowed me to set the monitor OSD close to how it should be so when using other input sources the display is good enough. It also makes calibration easier for the software with less deviation due to extreme LUT changes.
Custom Colour Values: