Dell SP2309W Monitor Review

Written by Clive Webster

January 23, 2010 // 12:34 p.m.

Tags: #1080p #169 #2048-x-1152 #2309w #23in #dell #monitor #recommended #sp2309w #tft #tn #widescreen

Image Testing

Loading the Lagom screen test site we saw a wide contrast range, with detail lost only at the extremes of the bright end of the scale. The depth of the black level was superb – displaying a pure black image on this screen is like staring into the void, and gives images a great feeling of solidity. Throughout the Lagom tests we noted only a few trivial infractions – some pixel jitter, a slight variation of colour at extreme viewing angles – but the most significant result was the pixel response test.

Whether Overdrive was enabled or not, we saw some evidence of lag, which makes us sceptical of the 2ms quoted response time. However, this screen is still far from laggy; only those who particularly hate blurriness will mind. Input lag was minimal, too, with the screen as quick to update as the practically lag-free Dell 3007WFP-HC, as you can see from the comparison shot (below, right).

The blend of vivid colours and tight pixel pitch gave us a lot of joy during our image-quality tests. The HD Serenity trailer had all the visual punch of a much more expensive monitor, with the deep black level and generous contrast giving shadows great depth, and the image in general plenty of vitality and realism.

Dell SP2309W Monitor Review Image Testing and Input lag Dell SP2309W Monitor Review Image Testing and Input lag
Left: Ports are fairly standard; Right: There's no input lag, either

As you probably noted from the first page, perhaps the strangest thing about the SP2309W is its resolution - 2,048 x 1,152. It's quite unusual in and of itself - although it's still in a standard 16:9 ratio. It's also a huge pixel count that's actually higher than 1,920 x 1,200. This means it's a lot of work for your graphics card when gaming, although given how few games challenge a decent graphics card these days, that's less of an issue than you might think. Throughout our testing, we didn't have an issue with game support either; as the screen uses a standard aspect ratio, all the titles we tried (Dirt 2, Crysis and Torchlight) supported it just fine. The jungles of Crysis were verdant, and the game looked more like an HD nature documentary than a two-year-old FPS.

In Windows, the screen offers a huge amount of desktop real estate, making juggling with lots of apps easy. There are downsides though; websites can look small (though you can manually adjust the text size in the browser of course). The high resolution can produce some issues with DVD-quality video, however, as you have to zoom into the picture so tightly that the picture lacks crispness and definition. HD video looks fine, and of course, you've got room for both 720p and 1080p movies.

Conclusion

This screen is certainly different, with its unusual size, resolution and stand. The visuals it’s capable of displaying are also extraordinary – the deep black level is hugely impressive, while the colour saturation makes for strong and engaging images. The reflectivity of the screen might put some off, but it’s the high (and atypical) 2,048 x 1,152 resolution that could cause issues with sub-HD quality video and in terms of your PC's performance in games.

That being said, if you can't afford the £280 NEC Multisync EA231WMi - the cheapest decent IPS panel screen we've seen - the SP2309w is an excellent alternative. This is especially the case when Dell decides to price it, as at the time of this review, at a stunning £186. For that price, you really are getting a lot of screen. Knowing Dell's monitor pricing strategy of course, which is as balanced and stable as a plate of jelly on top of a giant bouncy castle, the cost could quite easily yo-yo up towards £280 at any time. In the meantime though, the SP2309w is a great buy.

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Score Guide

Dell SP2309W Monitor Review Image Testing and Input lag

Dell SP2309w


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