Dell UltraSharp U2312HM review

11 Jul 2012

With superb image quality, excellent build and a great warranty, Dell’s UltraSharp U2312HM is as good as sub-£200 monitors get

Price when reviewed 
170
5

UtraSharp monitors are no stranger to PC Pro, but Dell has taken its 23in model back to the drawing board for 2012. Swapping the CCFL backlighting of its predecessor for more power-efficient LED technology, the U2312HM has an IPS panel and a smart, adjustable stand for less than £200.

Compared to most displays at this price, the U2312HM is smart and attractive. The stark, square lines of last year’s model have softened into a more elegant, curved figure; the combination of black and silver making for a monitor that looks every penny of the asking price.

Dell UltraSharp U2312HM - side

It has some welcome practical touches, too. It takes only one hand to adjust the stand height or swivel it from side to side, and it’s possible to pivot the screen into a portrait orientation. The stand holds the monitor stable, with none of the wobble of cheaper models, and an oval cutout makes it easy to route cables behind.

Around the back, there are plenty of connectivity options: D-SUB, DVI and DisplayPort are all present, and the four-port USB 2 hub is split between two ports at the rear and two on the panel’s left edge. The only thing missing is a set of internal speakers.

As you’d expect with its IPS panel, Dell’s U2312HM delivers a luscious image. The LED backlight pushes the maximum brightness to 352cd/m[sup]2[/sup], and there’s no serious backlight leakage. A slight halo of light peeks in from both edges under close inspection in a dark room, but it isn’t enough to impact on day-to-day performance. More importantly, the backlighting is even across the panel.

Dell UltraSharp U2312HM - front

The Dell breezed confidently through our tests. Colour accuracy is up with the best models here and, combined with the high-quality backlight, the U2312HM gave a sterling performance with all of our test images and clips. The 926:1 contrast ratio means there’s plenty of detail in darker scenes, and the average Delta E of 2.7, while not the best in the group, enabled the Dell to deliver vibrant colours and natural skin tones. If there’s a weakness, it’s that the panel’s 6,152K colour temperature is warmer than the 6,500K ideal – a trait that lends images a rosy tint – but it’s a minor criticism.

Should power consumption be a concern, the U2312HM’s LED backlight is more frugal than the other IPS monitors here. We measured the maximum power draw at 32W, and dropping the brightness to a more sensible everyday level of 120cd/m[sup]2[/sup] saw that figure halved to 16W.

While Dell’s website lists the U2312HM for £238 inc VAT, several online retailers sell it for considerably less. Even at that higher price this monitor would be worthy of recommendation, but for less than £200 we’d snap it up in a flash. With top performance and the reassurance of a three-year on-site warranty, Dell’s UltraSharp U2312HM strides straight onto the A-List.

Details

Price ex VAT £142
Price inc VAT £170
Overall rating 6
Image quality 6
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 5

Main specifications

Screen size 23.0in
Aspect ratio 16:9
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Screen brightness 300cd/m2
Pixel response time 8ms
Contrast ratio 1,000:1
Dynamic contrast ratio 2,000,000:1
Horizontal viewing angle 178 degrees
Vertical viewing angle 178 degrees
Speaker type none
Speaker power ouput N/A
TV tuner no
TV tuner type none

Connections

DVI inputs 1
VGA inputs 1
HDMI inputs 0
DisplayPort inputs 1
Scart inputs 0
HDCP support yes
Upstream USB ports 1
USB ports (downstream) 4
3.5mm audio input jacks 0
Headphone output no
Other audio connectors none

Power consumption

Peak power consumption 32W
Idle power consumption 1W

Image adjustments

Brightness control? yes
Contrast control? yes

Ergonomics

Height adjustment 130mm
Pivot (portrait) mode? yes

Dimensions

Dimensions 547 x 186 x 493mm (WDH)