Editors' note (May 24, 2010): CNET has raised its standard for monitor performance over the past year, and as a result, some monitors that scored high last year, likely wouldn't do as well in 2010. Case in point: the Dell G2410. It scored a 9 in performance in 2009, but compared with recent monitor releases, we think its performance would equal an 8. Also, since its only available price is currently $100 more than its original price, we've lowered its feature rating by two points (from 8 to 6). We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, but we felt this a necessary step in the interest of fairness and accuracy.
Dell sells the 24-inch G2410 for $299 online--a satisfying price--and in fact, it is your best option for a 24-inch TN 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 a HDMI connection, but it makes up for these shortcomings with great performance in movies and by offering energy options that let you track and control your energy footprint. (Dell sells the similar 24-inch Dell S2409W for $10 less, and although the cheaper monitor looks sleeker and includes HDMI, it can't match the G2410's performance and low power consumption.). If you have the extra funds, we also recommend the 23-inch Dell SP2309W with its high 2,048x1,152-pixel resolution and it has better performance than the S2409W.
Design and features
The 24-inch Dell G2410 is plainly designed with angular features and a black matte finish. The bezel measures a short 0.75 inch long on all sides and the middle of the bottom bezel has a slightly raised silver Dell logo on it. The panel is nearly 1 inch deep (In comparison, most 24-inch models we've tested have a panel depth of more than an inch); however, the back of the display--which houses the backlight, connection options, and ventilation system--extends another 1.5 inches, bringing the full monitor depth to about 2.4 inches. The panel width measures 22.4 inches long--average for a monitor of this screen size.
The rectangular footstand measures 10.75 inches in width, with a depth of 6.1 inches. The footstand is a short 0.5 inch tall. We saw only minimal wobbling when we knocked the display from the sides, but with such a long and flat footstand, you'd really have to knock it hard before it toppled. The bottom of the bezel sits about 2.75 inches from the desktop, but unfortunately, this screen height is neither adjustable nor is there a screen rotation or pivot option--useful if you prefer portrait mode. The capability to tilt the screen back 25 degrees 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 is no HDMI--which is a mainstay on most monitors this size.
The most improved feature of the Dell G2410 is its onscreen display. The OSD follows Dell's recent stellar, labelless design last seen in 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 corresponds to one of the four buttons. Once a new menu comes up, the function of the buttons change dynamically, as the top two buttons become the up and down arrow buttons used to navigate though the newly seen menu. Since any button labels for the OSD are actually on the screen, calibrating the display in a dark room proved 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 percent. The ambient light sensor will adjust the brightness based on the level of light in the room--the lower the ambient light level, the lower the brightness automatically adjusts. 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--brightness, the three energy modes--you'll see an Energy Gauge in the OSD. The gauge is a meter that 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 Energy Gauge is not that useful, as it depends primarily on your monitor's current brightness level; however, this is a welcome first step and we'd like to see Dell and other vendors continue to develop its usefulness. Aside from the energy mode options, OSD options include the mainstays: brightness, contrast, and various color 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, of course, Custom. The movie presets are: Movie, Game, Sports and Nature. The presets do not change anything other than the Red, Green, and Blue color balance and therefore how well each setting works will be subjective. Also, there are options to adjust the hue and color saturation in addition to options like setting the OSD to stay on screen up to a minute--useful for anyone who will spend a good amount of time calibrating.
The Dell 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 toward 16:9 from 16:10 because high-definition content--in particular 1080p movies--can fit onto a 1,920x1,080-pixel screen without distorting the image.
Resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel-response rate: 5ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Connectivity: VGA, DVI-D
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? VGA, DVI
Panel Type: TN
We tested the Dell G2410 with its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 97 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, which is the highest we've yet seen. We compared it with the 24-inch Dell Ultrasharp 2408WFP, which scored a 90, and to the Dell S2409W's 87. The G2410's accurate reproduction of color and its screen uniformity impressed us the most. In the Dark Screen test, the display yielded the least backlight bleed-through 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 color tests getting perfect scores in all six tests.