"Cheap but you really get what you pay for."0.5 starson by kcnet5
Pros: Lots of features, cheap, bright.
Cons: Big, bulky, build quality is very low (very plastic), not as sharp as Apple Cinema Display, color is not suitable for serious graphical needs (photography, printing). Easy to get eye fatigue.
Summary: My wife does serious photography editing and design, and she has an Apple 24" LED Cinema display. It is stunning, and very easy on the eyes. On the other hand, I do a lot of programming and email, so I originally didn't care about color and looks and bought a Dell 2408wfp purely based on specifications. This Dell is a big step up from my 20" Dell that's about 5 years old. At every aspect, the Dell on paper seems superior to the Apple in terms of bang for bucks, and in terms of amazing features. Dell wins every aspect, hands down.
The Dell is pretty cheap, and if you catch Dell deals at the right time you can get it directly from Dell for $450 with shipping and handling! When I got it, I was super excited. I opened the box, and boy oh boy, this has got to be one of the clunkiest, plastic looking behemoth I've ever seen. It's thick, bulky, and looks very... typical PC, which is alright, because I've been a PC person all my life. Function over form, right?
It has a very very bright backlight and the colors are quite vivid, and it's a pretty good deal considering how little you pay for so much features. However, after using it for a while, I realized that I was getting a lot of eye fatigue. During the day, I needed to turn the brightness from the default eye blinding 50 down to about 15, and at night, I needed to turn it down to 0. Even at 0, it is still eye blindingly bright. This has got to be one of the brightest monitors I've ever had in my life, and if you find it appealing to look at bright monitors like how moths fly to those bug lanterns, you'll love this Dell. One of the most annoying thing about the Dell is that to change the brightness, you must get into the Dell menu-- minus button (to call the brightness menu), minus button again to get into brightness selection, Enter to select it, then finally -/+ to select brightness, then Enter, then plus to select Exit, then Enter. That's at least 7 buttons!!! On a Mac, you can do it in 2 seconds. I can't believe how bad the usability on the Dell is even after so many years that they could have improved it. The next most irritating thing about this monitor is the lack of power-off feature. If your laptop is suspended, it'll go to sleep. But the moment you unplug it to go out, it goes back alive and says "No input" instead of sleeping gracefully. Everytime I unplug, I also have to remember to turn it off manually, which is really annoying. Even my old Dell monitor slept when I unplugged it. The inconsistent user interface is just yet another example of how badly engineered this monitor is.
As for color, I don't know what to say. If your life doesn't require knowing what sRGB, AdobeRGB, raw, color calibration, printing, etc, then it doesn't matter. However, I do some basic web design and photography, and I've had no choice but to calibrate the monitor. By default, this monitor is too bright, and too vivid for serious photographic needs, and requires a calibration hardware+software (I use Spyder3Pro which although not spectacular, gets the job done).
I've always wondered why the Apple LED Cinema display looked sharper, and simply looked nicer. So I took my Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 micro lens VR for a 1:1 repro close-up macro on an APS-C camera, which resolves much more resolution than a naked eye can possibly see (near microscopic). Go to Amazon to see the pictures I uploaded. the Apple display is superior in terms of clarity. If this Dell is suppose to be ultra sharp, then the Apple is "superiorly" sharper (and without hurting your eyes). As for color... the colors on the Macs just look better, pre-calibrated without much adjustments needed. If it weren't for the fact that my current computer doesn't support mini-DisplayPort, I'd have gotten an Apple LED display already. I guess I'll just have to wait for my next big upgrade so that I can get the Apple display.
In short, if you're a programmer or just a casual emailer/web browser, and if you want the MOST features or the brightest backlighting hitting your eye balls, and if you don't care anything about sRGB/AdobeRGB/etc... this Dell is an awesome monitor. It probably has one of the best bangs for bucks, with tons of features like multiple video inputs and card readers which I do find very useful since I do a lot of digital photography. On paper, the specifications are very impressive. On the other hand, if you want a well built, well designed, and great looking graphical display for serious photography and serious graphical needs, one that looks good on your desktop and is easy on the eyes, one with excellent resale values year after year... if these things matter to you more, then the Apple 24" LED Cinema Display is really worth every single penny.