Dell U2412M Brightness and Contrast

Despite the larger size of the display compared to recent 23” monitors I have reviewed, the U2412M says it can produce 300 nits of light at maximum output, which should certainly be bright enough for anyone to use. It’s worth noting that I usually set the display around 5 nits too high before calibration, to allow for a little headroom when ColorEyes generates the curves. However this also means that maximum light output, once calibrated, might be around 5% lower than maximum due to the curves inside the ICC profile.

White Level -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Despite this possible limitation, the Dell still put out 294 nits at maximum brightness after calibration, and 39 nits at minimum brightness. This was plenty bright for my work area, even with bright overhead lights, and the combination of the high brightness and anti-glare coating made it easy to see the screen.

The weak area for IPS screens has always been the black levels, with them being much higher than those from VA based displays. The U2412M did well here, out performing all recent non-VA displays with a nice, low black level.

Black Level - XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

With this combination of black level and a very bright screen, we would expect to see a decent contrast ratio to come out as well, and the Dell delivers here.

Contrast Ratio -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Beating the specified number by over 10% is always nice to see, and the contrast on the Dell is very nice. It easily outperforms most TN displays, though it's not able to compete with the combination of LED lighting and a VA panel from BenQ. It was also very stable across the spectrum, with virtually identical ratios at maximum and minimum brightness.

While the center stayed nice and bright, the edges showed a good amount of fall off in comparison, and an overall variance of around 6%. The areas with higher brightness uniformity issues were also the areas with higher dE values on the uniformity testing, just as we expected. Looking at black uniformity, thanks to the bright corners this wound up even worse, with a variance of around 14%.

Taken as a whole, the contrast ratios are good, and while there is light fall-off at the edges of the display, it does not seem to have a noticeable effect on color quality.

Dell U2412M Color Uniformity and Color Gamut Dell U2412M Input Lag and Power Use
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  • DarkUltra - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - link

    Maybe not $15k, but there are enthusiasts out there willing to buy sandy bridge E, high end motherboards and gtx 580 tri-sli setups. So why not a 24" 1920x1200 120Hz IPS with zero input lag?

    But I do agree a 30" IPS might be too expensive - until theres more demand that is. So please enlighten your next.
    Reply
  • rscoot - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - link

    I'm not even sure if the technology exists to have zero lag 120Hz IPS displays, but when one requests the monitor equivalent of a Bugatti Veryon, one has to expect to pay the equivalent price. The economy of scale just isn't there otherwise. Reply
  • IceDread - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    I'd pay 15k for "120Hz, 30", IPS @ 16:10, 2560:1600, no input lag", no doubt. Reply
  • mtoma - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    I think perhaps an OLED display is bettter suited for in-door use. We don't need that much brightness, but better contrast we do. Also, why we don't see integrated webcams more often? Why a smartphone needs to have all the goodies (picture and movie recording in 720p or 1080p, Gorilla Glass, OLED).
    Regarding to 120 Hz (or even higher), that feature is only good when it can be disabled. Surely it's useful in games, but under no circumstances in movies. Really!
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Saturday, March 3, 2012 - link

    > Does anyone know how far from my dream we are?

    Very, very far. It has been 6 years since the 3007WFP came out, and nothing has superseded it. I would sure love something that steps it up: 120Hz, 2560x1600, 32", <17ms lag.
    Reply
  • Sergio526 - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - link

    Not an extra 120 pixels, but 230,400 pixels you gain over a 1920x1080 monitor, but who's counting? Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - link

    Hehe, good way to point out how much difference there really is between 16:10 and 16:9.

    ;)
    Reply
  • seapeople - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    Or.... about 11% more pixels. For 50% more money.

    I swear, the math abilities of today's teenagers is going downhill fast.
    Reply
  • colonelclaw - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - link

    Thanks for a very interesting read. As soon as this monitor was announced I was looking forward to see how it compared to other IPS monitors, and that's exactly what you did. It's exactly the kind of display I would like to fill my office with - good quality at a low price.

    Would you say that the NEC is the absolute best a monitor can get these days? Or is there something even better (and probably more expensive) from Eizo? I'm always interested to know what the reality is between the best and worst of any one product type, and whether or not the expense is worth it.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - link

    "Would you say that the NEC is the absolute best a monitor can get these days? Or is there something even better (and probably more expensive) from Eizo?"

    Best depends on your usage model. That includes what you plan to do with it, how big your budget is, and what space you plan to use it in (lighting).

    There's an HP Dreamcolor monitor with RGB LED backlighting. That's pretty interesting for color pros. But, it's not perfect.

    There's another HP (27") with a constant control backlight -- which avoids PWM flicker. But, it's not perfect either. It has no onscreen display and has a very fine pixel pitch which is tough for old eyes.

    Eizo makes some nice monitors, but they can be pricey.

    I got a BenQ EW2420 refurb and it works fine for my usage, although I really wish it would have a constant control backlight. Flicker does fatigue my eyes after a while.
    Reply

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