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Dell SP2309W review


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

Review Date: 10 Feb 2009

Reviewed By: David Bayon

Price when reviewed: £217 (£250 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Image Quality
4 stars out of 6

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.

Author: David Bayon

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User comments

Fantastic Monitor

For the price this is a great monitor, I've had mine for nearly a year now and love it. The high resolution is great for professional work.

By lukemcurley on 2 Feb 2010

Which graphics cards?

Hi folks, I've had my dual screen setup for six months now...yes two of these monitors side by side using ergotron swing arm desk mount, sligtly overkill I know.

One thing I didn't check before I plunged was my graphics card capability, I'm struggling to find a card which clearly states it can handle dual 2048 x 1152 resolution. One of the monitors is being run in a lower res. as my card cannot handle all the pixels!

Can anyone offer any advice please, within suitable lower budget terms!

By martino_mahony on 14 Jul 2010

Also a fantastic monitor

Ahh, I forgot to say that this monitor is fantastic, so much real estate size. Very productive! The standard mount supplied is also very flexible and more than ergonomic for everyone's desired position.

By martino_mahony on 14 Jul 2010

Leaves you feeling Like something is missing..

This Monitor looks amazing , from a looks perspective. If only the Monitor display matched the looks! I bought one from Dell recently and sent it straight back. The blacks weren't convincing and the Whites were exactly as described in the review. i needed a good versatile monitor and this is not the one. Games look a tad washed out. The Colours seem off balance. quite disappointed when i expected so much!

By waseemb on 20 Jan 2011

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