Logo   Banner   TopRight
TopUnder
Transparent
Dell Ultrasharp 2408WFP 24" Widescreen LCD
Transparent
Date: Jun 04, 2008
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: Chris Connolly
Transparent
Overview

We’re willing to bet that many of you have wildly varied opinions of Dell. Some no doubt consider them a huge, monolithic corporation who pushes out generic computers without a soul; while others consider them to be pioneers of the low-cost PC movement, who (almost) single-handedly made computers available to nearly every price point. No matter what your opinion of Dell as a company is, it is difficult to find many people in IT circles who dislike their monitor division.

Dell’s lineup of flat panel displays have proven themselves to be reliable, stylish, and typically right on par price-wise with some of the most inexpensive LCD monitors on the market. They’ve delivered exceptional bang for the buck, and throughout the years, they’ve managed to improve the quality of the screens and the overall feature sets while overall prices have gone down. While this is also true for the rest of the monitor industry, Dell has retained their reputation for reliability, which still sticks with them today. Sure, Dell displays don’t have the raw sexiness of Apple’s Cinema series displays, but they’re typically quite a bit cheaper while offering more functionality.

Perhaps the best part of Dell’s monitor division is that they never slow down. Around every year or so, we typically see Dell launch refreshes of their monitor designs, which typically include updated bezel styling, upgraded features, and new connectivity options. This year is no exception, and Dell is getting pretty feisty with its new WFP lineup. Today, we’ll be looking at the 24” model, which many (including us) consider to be the sweet spot in terms of price, productivity, and raw size. Studies have often shown 24” displays to be the best for price/productivity, even more so than 30” displays, as many find screens larger than 24” hard to navigate due to having so much space.

Without further ado, let’s meet the latest display in Dell’s arsenal, the 24” Ultrasharp 2408WFP.
 


Dell's Ultrasharp 2408WFP 24" and Ultrasharp 3007WFP 30" displays, side by side.

Transparent
Specifications

As their popularity has risen, Dell has split their display models into a high-end/low-end schema for each monitor size. Typically, at each size (17" / 19" / 20" / 22" / 24" / 27" / 30"), Dell has a monitor which is a bare-bones model with just the screen and basic connectivity features, along with a high-end model with integrated USB hubs, memory card readers, multiple inputs for picture-in-picture, and in most cases, higher quality LCD panels. Dell charges a significant price premium for their high-end models (price comparison here), but in most cases, the additional cost ends up being worth it in our opinion.

The Ultrasharp 2408WFP which we're looking at today is one of these higher-end models. Let's see how this new model compares to Dell's prior high-end 24" display (2407WFP-HC), along with their current low-end 24" display model (E248WFP).
 


Dell Ultrasharp 2408WFP

  • 24" Display, 22.0" x 8.17" x 19.56"

  • 21.74 Pounds

  • 1920 x 1200 Resolution (WUGXA)

  • 6ms Pixel Refresh Rate (GtG)

  • 400 cd/m2 Brightness Level

  • 3000:1 Constrast Ratio

  • 110% Color Gamut

  • 178º (Horizontal/Vertical) Viewing Area

  • 2 x DVI-D, 1 x HD-15 Connectors

  • 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI 2.1 Connectors

  • Composite, Component, S-Video Connectors

  • 1 x Upstream, 4 x Downstream 2.0 Ports

  • Side Mounted 9-in-2 Memory Card Reader

  • VESA 100mm Support

  • Height Adjustment, Tilt, Swivel


Dell Ultrasharp 2407WFP-HC

  • 24" Display, 22.0" x 7.7" x 15.3"

  • 18.3 Pounds

  • 1920 x 1200 Resolution (WUGXA)

  • 6ms Pixel Refresh Rate (GtG)

  • 400 cd/m2 Brightness Level

  • 1000:1 Constrast Ratio

  • 92% Color Gamut

  • 178º (Horizontal/Vertical) Viewing Area

  • 1 x DVI-D, 1 x HD-15 Connectors

  • No DisplayPort or HDMI Connectors

  • Composite, Component, S-Video Connectors

  • 1 x Upstream, 4 x Downstream 2.0 Ports

  • Side Mounted 9-in-2 Memory Card Reader

  • VESA 100mm Support

  • Height Adjustment, Tilt, Swivel


Dell E248WFP

  • 24" Display, 22.0" x 6.7" x 17.7"

  • 11.46 Pounds

  • 1920 x 1200 Resolution (WUGXA)

  • 5ms Pixel Refresh Rate (GtG)

  • 400 cd/m2 Brightness Level

  • 1000:1 Constrast Ratio

  • 92% Color Gamut

  • 160º (Horizontal/Vertical) Viewing Area

  • 1 x DVI-D, 1 x HD-15 Connectors

  • No DisplayPort or HDMI Connectors

  • No Composite, No Component, No S-Video Connectors

  • No USB 2.0 Ports

  • No Memory Card Reader

  • VESA 100mm Support

  • No Height Adjustment, Tilt, Swivel


As the Ultrasharp 2408WFP is retailing for roughly the same price as the 2407WFP variant, we can see that the 2408WFP looks like a solid upgrade. Dell’s new model sports an enhanced color gamut, three times the available contrast ratio, and support for HDMI and DisplayPort. Beyond these upgrades, the 2408WFP and 2407WFP are virtually identical.

As for comparing the new 2408WFP against the budget-minded E248WFP, well, the difference is quite large. The E248WFP lags in terms of color support, contrast, input connectors, and has no USB ports or integrated card readers. However, the E248WFP has the same base screen as the 2407WFP, but at a much lower price-tag, so we’re certainly seeing progress here.. How much will you save by opting for an E248WFP 24” compared to a 2408WFP 24”? According to market prices, about $150, or about 25%. Whether that difference in money is worth the difference in features is up to you.
 

Transparent
Design and Aestheics

Upon first glance, the 2408WFP didn’t strike us as being visually different compared to most recent Dell displays. Frankly, we think this is a good thing, as the base design we’re presented with here is exceptionally strong, and appeals to both gamers and business-types. Dell has shifted away from this base design with some of their newer models, but in our opinion, the visual differences always end up being negatives compared to what we’re seeing here. In this case, not having a large amount of change is very much a positive.

The Ultrasharp 2408WFP sports a two-tone silver and black color schema which works great when paired with a black or silver chassis sitting next to it. The display itself is surrounded by a thin border which is a matte black plastic. In reality, it’s actually a very dark gray plastic, which is also textured a bit, unlike some previous Dell Ultrasharp displays we’ve seen. This makes the border around the display less shiny, which makes it less distracting if you are using the display in a room with lots of light.
 


Dell 2408WFP - Front


Dell 2408WFP - Rear


While some Dell displays are moving towards “button-less” buttons (relying on touch-sensing to enable/disable menus), the 2408WFP sports real buttons with real tactical feedback. The bottom right corner of the display has a series of six buttons which control the brightness/contrast, display input, picture-in-picture, and power. The buttons are linked to a fairly intuitive on-screen display which helps guide you through the more advanced display options.

The back of the display is largely silver, which connects to the heavy-duty weighted metal-base. The base ships as a separate unit compared to the actual display, and the user must install the base upon setting up the unit. Luckily, Dell has an extremely easy to use mounting system which uses a VESA 100mm bracket. The base easily snaps into place and immediately offers height adjustment, vertical tilt, and portrait/landscape swivel modes. The base also centers the display’s weight and focuses it on the base, which makes it very sturdy, even when you’re adjusting the display to suit your needs. The base also has a cut-out which allows cables to run through it for cleanliness purposes. However, if you plan to run a lot of cables through here, be warned, it gets pretty cramped and difficult only after a few cables. We can’t imagine running all of the available display connectors through this area – this would be next to impossible given the available area to run cables through.
 


Maximum Tilt Upwards


Maximum Tilt Downwards


We found the 2408WFP’s flexibility to be ample enough for our needs, although we did note during our photography that the screen does not have the ability to tilt forward very far. In the shots above, you can see the screen tilting all the way backwards (left) and forwards (right), which is quite a difference in tilt angle. Swiveling the monitor to become a 1200 x 1900 portrait-style display is a piece of cake, provided you leave some leeway with your cables and you've got your monitor height set at a high-level (if too low, the monitor edge will scrape your desk).

Transparent
Connectivity, I/O, and Power

For most LCD displays, you swing around the back and you have a power connector, an HD-15 analog connector, and maybe a DVI digital connector. The Ultrasharp 2408WFP is, thankfully, not like most LCD monitors in this respect. A peek under the rear of the monitor showcases a very impressive array of connectivity ports.


Dell 2408WFP I/O Panel (Left to Right) - Power, DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, HD-15, S-Video, Composite, Component, HDMI Audio, USB Ports

On the left, we have a standard 3-pin AC jack. Pretty standard stuff, here, but this shows that the monitor has an integrated power supply. This means that you won’t have any external power “bricks” to deal with – just run the power line right up. We ran some quick power tests on the display through our wattage meter, and we found that the 2408WFP used a maximum power level of 70W when displaying all white content on-screen. Showing all black, the power load level dropped down to 66W. If you’re running devices off the onboard USB ports, this number will increased slightly. For example, with an iPhone charging through the monitor’s USB port, our peak power consumption jumped up to 73W.

Let’s talk input connectors. From left to right, we have one DisplayPort 1.1, one HDMI, two dual-link DVI digital ports, one HD-15 analog port, 1 x S-Video, 1 x Composite, Component, HDMI audio output, and 1 x USB 2.0 upstream with 2 x USB 2.0 downstream ports. It’s a very comprehensive array of connectivity options, and this is what really separates the 2408WFP from the rest of the LCD monitor pack.

The most eye-catching additions here are the DisplayPort and HDMI ports, both of which are new to Dell’s 24” monitor lineup. Both of these ports are “next-gen” ports, and are not widely used on most consumer level graphics cards just yet. HDMI is gaining traction with home-theater PC focused graphics cards, whereas DisplayPort is the next-generation replacement for DVI. DisplayPort connections are now available on some GeForce 9600-series cards and on AMD’s new FireGL V7700, but market penetration is still slim. Both DisplayPort and HDMI can carry the same resolutions as a dual-link DVI port and also 8-channel audio. Dell does not list which variant of HDMI is supported on this monitor, although it’s believed to be HDMI 1.3. For our testing, however, we used the fancy new DisplayPort connector, which can be seen below.
 


DisplayPort 1.1 and Single-Link DVI Connectors


DisplayPort 1.1 connectors are about half the height and width of a DVI connector, but can carry significantly more data. DisplayPort sports a sleek locking mechanism which keeps the connection sturdy when hooked up to a graphics card. When plugged in, a pressure lock is put in place, which requires the connector to be pressed down while being pulled out. No more half-connected DVI cables and screwing/unscrewing the retention mechanism in place – it’s a very nice connector. Dell includes a DisplayPort cable in the box, as well as DVI, HD-15, USB 2.0 upstream and power cables. No HDMI cabling is included in the box.

As for HDMI vs. DisplayPort, it’s a tough battle right now. Both connectors share many of the same attributes, and in terms of features, DisplayPort 1.1 and HDMI 1.3 are pretty similar all around. It’s somewhat frustrating that the industry couldn’t sit on HDMI as the true next-generation graphics card connector, but given that DisplayPort is a royalty-free interface, we think there might be some politics involved. Technology-wise, both HDMI and DisplayPort are excellent interfaces and have significant benefits over today’s DVI/HD-15 interfaces.
 


Memory Card Reader / USB 2.0 Ports


VESA Mounting Panel


We’re still not done with the connectors, though. If you choose to plug in the USB 2.0 upstream connector to your PC, you’ll be granted the ability to plug in up to four USB 2.0 devices to your monitor. Two of the ports are located on the back of the display by the I/O connectors, the other two are located on the left side of the display. Sitting alongside these two USB 2.0 connectors are the monitor’s memory card reader slots, which support 9 different memory card variants over two slots. These ports talk to your main system via USB 2.0, so if you want to use this function, you’ll need to plug in that USB 2.0 cable.
 

Transparent
Usage

Dell uses an LCD panel which uses S-PVA technology, which means that Samsung is likely the brains behind the actual LCD panel. S-PVA offers 10-bit color, which is in-line with Dell’s claims of supporting a wider color gamut compared to the majority of large-screen monitors. It’s clear that Dell has taken their time and focused a lot of efforts on clarity and color precision with the 2408WFP – and it shows through. This is arguably the most beautiful screen which we've tested out of the box. For reference, we have Dell’s 30” 3007WFP right next to this screen in testing, and tons of experience with the Dell’s older 2407WFP 24" model. Even with this range of high-end monitors against it, the 2408WFP showcases a very noticeable difference in color. Right out of the box, our screen was perfectly calibrated, making our other screens look dingy and old.

Obviously, the screen shipped with no dead pixels. As the Ultrasharp is Dell’s premium lineup, it would be embarrassing to still be dealing with this problem in this day and age. Dell now has a policy that they will exchange your panel for free if any bright/stuck/dead pixels appear in the first three years, which is a pretty solid indicator of the quality levels expected here.

As a desktop display, the 2408WFP works brilliantly. A 24” display at 1920 x 1200 resolution is just about the perfect sized display for business usage in our opinion. Colors are vibrant and crisp, video looks great, especially when played back at the screen's full 1080P (1920x1200) resolution. Below are some snaps of the camera without any color retouching.
 


Dell 2408WFP showing a Windows Vista desktop


As a gaming display, again, just about perfect, with a 6ms pixel refresh rate and no noticable lag. 1920 x 1200 resolution works well in a gaming environment as well, as most mid-to-high-end cards can play games at this resolution quite well. A 24” definitely does not have the same total visual immersion aspect like 30” displays do, but they’re still a great size for gaming.
 


Dell 2408WFP showing Half Life 2 : Episode One


Workstation users will dig the 2408WFP as well. Not only does the high-resolution allow for additional workspace (check out all the Photoshop real-estate below), but the monitor’s crazy number of inputs also allow you to monitor / swap between a number of systems with just a few presses of the input button. The top notch color accuracy and integrated card reader support mean that the display will likely be well regarded by photographers and digital artists.
 


Dell 2408WFP showing Adobe Photoshop CS3


Really, we could not find any major flaw in regards to the performance of the screen. It’s bright, has excellent contrast, performs as fast as one would expect, and is surprisingly easy on the eyes. Some users have complained about their screens being “too blue” or “too pink”. Eyes can be tricky sometimes, as you may have adopted to an incorrect color schema with your current display, so a properly configured display can look “off” for some time while your eyes adjust. Or, Dell could just be shipping some which are configured wrong – we can’t say for sure. We can say that our test display was configured well, definitely a bit “colder” compared to most monitors, but our whites and blacks were extremely vivid and appeared more lifelike.
 

Transparent
Display Quality Testing

We continued testing the Dell 2408WFP, with Lavalys’ Everest Ultimate Edition’s display testing suite side by side against its bigger brother, the Dell 30” 3007WFP.  The suite runs through a number of images which typically show flaws in lower grade monitors.  As we’re testing two of the top of the line LCD screens on the market today, our expectations are high.


small_brightcontrast.jpg  small_lcdcalibration.jpg  small_sharpness.jpg

small_patterns.jpg  small_readtext.jpg  small_palette.jpg

A sample of the screen diagnostics available with Lavalys' Everest Ultimate Edition


Throughout the test suite, the one constant we noticed about the 2408WFP is how vibrant the colors are at their default settings, and how contrast is much higher than Dell’s previous generation models.  This isn’t all that surprising, considering the new 2408WFP has a 3000:1 contrast ratio, compared to the prior generation displays which have 700-1000:1 contrast ratios.   This showed itself to be especially true on orange and green gradients, which were much sharper and vivid on Dell’s new 24” display. Black and white colors were definitely truer to their original color on the 2408WFP, allowing for some of the most true to life colors we’ve seen from an LCD display to date.

Thanks to a pure digital DisplayPort connection, everything was perfectly sharp and readable at the screen's full 1920x1200 resolution.  The monitor can scale down to resolutions smaller than this as well, if need be, including non-widescreen resolutions.  However, if you choose to run at lower resolutions, you’ll deal with some level of image degradation.  We re-ran our monitor tests at 1024 x 768 (non-widescreen, smaller resolution) and 1280 x 800 (widescreen at proper scaling 16:10 ratio, smaller resolution).  Both resolutions showed similar levels of degradation, as sharp lines and small-sized text were blurrier and harder to distinguish.  Granted, in compared to some of the LCD monitor scaling issues we’ve seen in the past, the 2408WFP handles lower resolutions quite gracefully.

In a gaming environment, many consider this image degradation to be a form of “free” anti-aliasing, as edges tend to look a bit “softer” when running in a non-standard resolution.  While you can convince yourself of this, we would definitely recommend running the screen at the its optimal resolution if possible, as it simply looks gorgeous.   Keep in mind though, if you’re going to run at 1920 x 1200 resolution, you’ll want to use either the DVI or DisplayPort connectors, as running this resolution through an HD-15 analog cable is hitting the limits of what analog can do. You’ll likely see a blurrier picture and a small amount of ghosting on-screen using an analog connection.  With a digital connector (DVI/DisplayPort), images were impeccable.

If you’re a photographer, digital artist, or just someone who really, really cares about image quality, there is unlikely to be many choices on the market which can provide you with a better experience than the Dell 2408WFP – simple as that.
 

Transparent
Conclusion

Dell has once again raised the bar for the display industry with the release of their Ultrasharp 2408WFP. While its price tag ($619 currently) puts it in the “luxury” class of 24” displays on the market currently, its feature-set puts it ahead of the competition by a sizable margin. Considering most 24” monitors sell in the $350 - $500 range, Dell is asking a lot of potential buyers – however, those who do open their wallets will likely not be disappointed by this screen. There is very little not to like here.
 




While the $600+ price tag is steep, keep in mind that it’s still significantly less expensive than Apple’s closest Cinema Display model, which is a 23” model that sells for $900. While the Cinema Display 23" features Firewire support, Dell’s 24" 2408WFP blows the Apple display away in terms of pixel response, contrast ratio, and connectivity options, and it supports a higher color gamut too. For creative types, Dell really is producing a superior product here – although granted, we still do feel that the Apple Cinema Display may be an aesthetically better looking monitor overall. Dell is definitely top tier when it comes to aesthetics, but no one has been able to match the elegance of an Apple Cinema display quite yet.

Obviously, we’d love to see the price of the screen drop to more tolerable levels, which we’re sure it will with time. Keep in mind, Dell frequently throws around sizable discounts on their displays if you’re willing to look around for codes and keys – and if you stumble upon one and you’re looking for a big new LCD display, it’s hard to pass up a display like the 2408WFP.

The display isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn close. We would have liked to see an integrated webcam at the top of the display considering the price point, and we would have liked to see the model support Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture with a wider array of ports, but neither of these negatives are deal breakers. This is the first 24” display with DisplayPort connectivity, the first to boast 110%+ color gamut support, one of a small few which boast 3000:1 contrast ratio, all three are features which deserve to be noticed. It’s sleek, vibrant, professional, and gets the job done. A beautiful display which we would be happy to own. We don’t know what more Dell can add to their Ultrasharp lineup to enhance this beast anymore, but we’re looking forward to seeing what they have up their sleeves.




  • Beautiful Design, Beautiful Screen
  • Array of Input Connectivity
  • Precise Color Accuracy
  • 6ms Pixel Refresh Rate
  • Pricey - Nearly 2x Basic 24" Display Price
  • PiP/PbP Features Not Incredibly Useful
  • No Webcam


Content Property of HotHardware.com