Dell SP2309W review

10 Feb 2009

A unique resolution, but it's largely wasted on a glossy consumer TFT like this.

Price when reviewed: 
250(£249 inc VAT)
4

The current trend in monitors is a move towards 1080p resolutions, a step that Dell appears to be taking with its latest 16:9 model. But closer examination of the SP2309W reveals, in fact, an unusual "higher than Full HD" 2,048 x 1,152 resolution. Rather than sacrificing valuable desktop space, as with the move to 1080p, this results in more pixels than a standard 16:10 1,920 x 1,200 display. It also uses a 23in panel, a size which we thought had all but died out following the rise of the budget 22in monitor.

The sleek black frame and hinged stand - which dives right down to hug the desk if necessary - suggest a consumer focus that is furthered by the overly glossy screen. Our office lights proved too much for comfortable use, so this should be considered very much a monitor for home use. It comes with HDMI, DVI and VGA ports, as well as in and out 3.5mm audio connectors for adding external speakers.

Adjusting settings initially seems confusing, until you realise the series of lights on the bottom right of the bezel are in fact touch-sensitive controls which bring up a matching on-screen context menu. We soon had the picture as we wanted it, lowering the brightness a little to reduce the minor backlight bleed at the bottom edge.

The glossy finish brings tremendous life to the Dell's colours: our new test favourite, Wall-E in full HD, looked stunning at native resolution. Black bars appear around the edges in 1:1 mode, but the resolution offers a good trade-off between video and desktop acreage. The 2ms response time means fast motion is handled with ease, and the high pixel pitch lends video a real sharpness.

This makes text a little more difficult to read, and icons are smaller than you we're used to. Our technical tests also found the white level to be a little dirty, with some minor dark patches at the top edge of the screen, while the black level held a slight bluish tinge that may annoy. Some grey tones also appeared a little off.

But our main issue is the purpose of the higher resolution. There's little point having video at higher than 1080p resolutions, while the reflective finish negates the advantage of a bigger desktop for work purposes. As it stands, then, the Dell SP2309W is an interesting experiment in how to take TFTs upwards and onwards, but while it impresses in some respects we can't help but feel it would have worked better on a more all-round, non-glossy monitor.

Details

Price ex VAT £217
Price inc VAT £250
Overall rating 4
Image quality 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 4

Main specifications

Screen size 23.0in
Aspect ratio 16:9
Resolution 2048 x 1152
Screen brightness 300cd/m2
Pixel response time 2ms
Contrast ratio 80,000:1
Pixel pitch 0.249mm
Horizontal viewing angle 160 degrees
Vertical viewing angle 170 degrees
Speaker type N/A
Speaker power ouput N/A
TV tuner no
TV tuner type N/A

Connections

DVI inputs 1
VGA inputs 1
HDMI inputs 1
DisplayPort inputs 0
Scart inputs 0
HDCP support yes
Upstream USB ports 1
USB ports (downstream) 4
3.5mm audio input jacks 1
Headphone output yes
Other audio connectors N/A

Accessories supplied

Other cables supplied VGA, USB
Internal power supply yes

Power consumption

Peak power consumption 75W
Idle power consumption 65W

Image adjustments

Brightness control? yes
Contrast control? yes

Dimensions

Dimensions 558 x 265 x 440mm (WDH)
Weight 5.000kg