Dell UltraSharp 2209WA Review

by Reads (20,197)

Overview

  • Pros

    • Awesome color uniformity
    • Solid build quality
    • Great price
  • Cons

    • Runs a little hot
    • A little power hungry
    • Video modes are not useful

by Greg Ross

Dell is well known for their wide variety of low cost LCD monitors and has practically taken over the LCD market. Low cost rarely means high quality when computers are concerned, but the Dell UltraSharp 2209WA breaks the mold with its fantastic price and unbelievably high quality LCD screen. If this is not Dell’s most popular model, it should be. Come in and read the review to see why!

Specifications:

  • Display: 22-inch WSXGA+ LCD Screen (1680×1050)
  • Panel: eIPS 8-bit LCD Screen (16.7M colors)
  • Brightness: 300 nits
  • Viewing Angles: 178 degrees horizatonal, 178 degrees vertical
  • Contrast: 1000:1
  • Response Times: 6 ms typical (GTG)
  • Inputs: DVI-D with HDCP support, VGA
  • Internal USB hub with 4 USB 2.0 ports.
  • 100mm VESA Complaint
  • Tilt, Swivel, Pivot, and Height Adjustable Stand
  • Kensington Lock Slot
  • 3-Year Dell Warranty

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the Dell UltraSharp 2209WA display is $289, but Dell often has sales and special orders that bring it down to somewhere in the region of $230.

Build and Design
The Dell UltraSharp line of monitors are Dell’s premium line of displays. When a consumer purchases one of the UltraSharp monitors, there is an expectation that Dell will deliver a high quality monitor with a solid build quality and great image quality.

 

Dell started to revamp its product designs with the 2209WA and migrate to a more muted, slightly more professional looking design. The front of the monitor is now an all black design, with a chrome logo at the bottom that matches the new logo design found in the Dell Latitude notebooks. The plastics used in the design feel very strong, the monitor is very well constructed, and there are plenty of vents in the back to allow heat to vent out. It is also fairly light for a large LCD monitor, which is great for consumers that want to use VESA compatible monitor stands, desk mounts, or wall mounts.

Dell moved away from those small silver buttons on the latest monitors, and instead use all black buttons around the bottom right hand corner of the display that blend in with the bezel. These buttons are much easier to manipulate when compared to older Dell displays, but we found the blue LED on the power button to be a little too prominent. But in general I think any blue LEDs are intrusive.

The stand included with the 2209WA has a very wide range of movement, and it has no problem supporting the display. The LCD screen can be tilted downwards just a little bit, but it can be tilted upwards to the point that users would have no problem viewing the display while standing up. The rectangular base also lets users swivel the display 45 degrees in either direction, and has several inches of height adjustability.

     

As with all of Dell’s UltraSharp monitors, a four port USB hub is also included. Users can attach their keyboards and mice to the display and still have two ports left over for attaching USB keys, and only need to run a single USB cable to the desktop computer. A pull-out card behind two of the USB ports contains the monitor’s serial number and other details about the monitor. Unfortunately, Dell choose to omit any kind of card reader into the design so that feature remains exclusve to larger (and more expensive) Ultrasharp monitors. Dell was also fairly minimalistic on other features to keep the final price low, as only one DVI-D and one VGA port are included.

 

Display Quality
It has been a LONG time since we have seen a non-TN display from Dell that is smaller than a 24″ display. While TN displays do have their advantages — cost, primarily — other technologies have better color uniformity, viewing angles, and are generally 8-bit LCD displays that do not not resort to using cheap dithering techniques to support more than 262K colors. The Dell 2209WA uses a new type of LCD panel, eIPS, which is essentially a version of IPS technology that is cheaper to produce but has approximately the same qualities.

       

Earlier revisions of the Dell 2209WA had a major color uniformity issue where one side of the monitor would be noticeably lighter or darker than the other, but starting last month Dell released the new A01 revision of the 2209WA that seems to have solved that issue. Both of our review units had excellent color reproduction across the panels, and colors on the fringes of the screen appeared to be just as vibrant and bright as those in the center of the display.

The backlight is also quite uniform as well, and we were pleased to see that there was VERY little backlight bleed on these monitors.  While the 2209WA does have a matte screen, we found it reflected just a little bit of light from lights in the room. It isn’t really noticable unless you are viewing a very dark, very black image, and that is probably something you are going to see with any LCD display. The image shown to the right displays two 2209WA monitors side-by-side with idential settings, but with one displaying an all white image and the other an all black image. Here we can see very little backlight bleed, a uniform backlight, and how good of a contrast the monitor has.

The 2209WA has higher than average viewing angles, mostly because the screen does not use TN technology. While eIPS technology is fairly new to the market, viewing angles are phenomial. Dell advertises 178 degree horizontal viewing angles, and we have no reason to argue that claim. Images and color do not wash out when looking at the monitor from the far left or right, though we did find some shades of gray were a little more difficult to see at an angle.

       

Vertical angles were also quite wide, though colors did start washing out when viewing from below. Vertical viewing angles could arguably be a bit better than horizontal angles, since those grays were still easy to see when viewed from extreme angles in the up/down direction.

       

Brightness and contrast was also quite good with the 2209WA monitor, though the brightest settings might fatigue the eye over time. The ranges are quite impressive for an LCD display, and users will have no problem adjusting the monitor brightness or contrast to the desired level. The monitor allows the user to adjust the brightness and contrast from 0% to 100% in 1% increments, though we did find setting the contrast above 75% makes text a bit too sharp for comfort.

Whlie it does not matter for a majority of users, those interested in color accurate displays (enthusiasts, photographers, etc) might be interested in how color accurate the 2209WA is out of the box. It is not exactly a scientific comparison, but we calibrated one 2209WA monitor using the Spyder2 color calibrator while leaving the other screen alone at default factory settings. Use the screen shots to evaluate the 2209WA for yourself.

 

If you could not tell which display was calibrated, it was the one on the right. While the display at default settings will certainly work for most users, enthusiasts that need a color accurate display will want to invest in a hardware color calibration tool. However, we would never really expect Dell to have color calibrated every display that comes out of their factory.

When both monitors were set to the same factory default settings, we did notice that the color was a little off between the two. It was not bad, but it was a tad noticable as colors were just a little less white on one of the displays compared to the other. Fortunately Dell includes six RGB color profiles as well as a user customized profile where the red, green, and blue levels of the display can be adjusted from 0% to 100% in 1% increments.

Dell also has a fairly generious pixel policy (Editor’s note: the pixel policy differs between the premium display lines – UltraSharp, Professional, and OptX – and the rest of their displays). If the 2209WA were to have one (1) bright stuck pixel, or six (6) dark stuck pixels, or six (6) subpixel defects (where the color displayed is not the color it should display) the monitor is eligible for a replacement. Out of the six displays I have had the opportunity to test, none of them had any kind of pixel defects so Dell seems to have a fairly high quality lineup here.


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