Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP

I’m writing this from a spanking new Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP LCD monitor. This thing is a little bigger than I thought, I actually have to turn my head a little to look at the left and right sides. It definitely improves my workflow immensely when I’m using Photoshop and Dreamweaver. There’s just so much more space on the screen to work with. Not to mention I have some 1080p videos that look absolutely gorgeous on this thing.

Discount

Dell was (or actually still is) running a special 25% discount on this monitor and free shipping so I pulled the trigger. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this monitor at a lower price. It’s currently $517 plus tax at Dell.com. You can also get it off Ebay without tax but I’m not sure how the warranty would work because you need a purchase ID from Dell when you invoke the warranty.

Best Monitor at this Price Point

I’ve done a lot of research and at this price point I don’t think you can get a better monitor. The next tier up would be professional S-IPS panels that usually go for about $1,000 at 24″-26″ sizes. The Dell 2408WFP has inputs for EVERYTHING. And I seriously mean everything and then add the new DisplayPort as well. You’ll be hard pressed to find a media device you can’t connect to this monitor (and all at the same time). It’s also got USB and memory card readers. In my research, the first version of this monitor (firmware A00) actually has some significant issues that have been alleviated to some extent with the new firmware (revision A01). I’ve read a lot of user reviews complaining about such issues, but mine seems to be okay.

First Impressions and Settings

Out of the box, the monitor is bright as hell and the colors are oversaturated. You’ll need to use the OSD (on screen display) to adjust the colors. I also used the color profile on the included CD. I set custom RGB values using the OSD. My current settings are:

  • Brightness: 15 (it is still VERY bright, lights up a dark room)
  • Contrast: 50
  • Sharpness: 50
  • Gamma: PC
  • Color Setting Mode: Graphics
  • Red: 92
  • Green: 90
  • Blue: 98
  • Dynamic Contrast: Off

Everyone’s settings and preferences are different. I’ve got it to what I think are relatively accurate representations of the colors but some people opt for hardware color calibrators like Spyder.

Dynamic Contrast

With dynamic contrast, the monitor automatically adjusts brightness/contrast based on what you’re viewing, so on dark screens, it gets darker and on bright ones, it gets brighter. This would probably work better while you’re watching movies, otherwise I think it’s distracting so I have it off.

Issues

There are a few common issues cited by people who’ve bought this monitor, these are: input lag, extra brightness on the left side, a pink tint in the lower left, some pink pixels around text when there’s anti-aliasing (Macs and Cleartype on Windows), and trouble coming out of power-save mode. These issues are more common with the older A00 version of the monitor. Dell has been selling a nwer A01 revision for several months that alleviates or fixes these issues. Everyone’s experience will be different since each panel varies, but I’ll simply describe mine:

Input Lag

The A01 revision has greatly reduced input lag by all accounts. There are reviews out there with people doing in depth measurements. Personally, I don’t notice any lag. I haven’t gamed on it yet (I don’t do much gaming at all these days), but I’ll try out CounterStrike sometime to see if there’s noticeable input lag. The input lag only becomes an issue when twitch movements are required and most people won’t notice this. It’s mostly an issue for gamers.

Extra Brightness on the Left Side

At first I didn’t notice any extra brightness on the left side. Then I visited a website with a gray background and saw it. The left 2-3 inches are slightly brighter (on a gradient). It only becomes noticeable on dark backgrounds. But on pure black or light backgrounds, you generally don’t notice it. It’s not really that big of an issue to me, I’m able to live with it. I don’t know of any LCD out there that’s perfect (TN, S-PVA, S-IPS panels all have their own issues), you basically have to live with the compromise.

Pink Tint in Bottom Left

I can verify that yes, there’s a very slight pink tint towards the bottom left of the screen when the background is white. But most people probably won’t even notice this. Severity varies between each monitor. Luckily for me, it’s very minor and most of the time I don’t notice it unless I really look for it.

Pink Pixels Around Anti-Aliased Text

According to most user accounts, this only happens with anti-aliased text, so if you have Cleartype disabled on Windows like me, you likely won’t have this issue. Actually, in Outlook 2007 and Safari (both force anti-aliasing), I’m not seeing this issue at all.

Trouble Coming Out of Power Save Mode

The monitor has a feature where it basically goes on standby in a low-power mode. It’s sort of like a screensaver but it’s built into the monitor. In the A00 version, many people reported having trouble getting out of power-save mode and having to restart their computer to get monitor running again. This is supposed to be fixed in the A01 revision. If I’m not using my computer for a little bit, I leave it running but I turn off the monitor. When I turn it back on, it flickers once, but always comes back, so I don’t have the issue described.

Conclusion

Anyway, I hope this review is helpful to those also considering this monitor. There are a lot of cheap 24″ LCD’s out there but they all use cheap TN panels and don’t have nearly as many inputs. Overall, I’m very happy with this monitor. As long as you calibrate it correctly, it’s an excellent monitor.

Update: A Month Later

I’ve been using this monitor now for over a month and I don’t have anything bad to report. I actually sprung for a hardware color calibrator. Mainly because I do design work in Photoshop and that’s a color-managed application and I need the colors to be accurate. I was deciding between a ColorVision Spyder 3 Elite and a X-Rite Eye-One Display 2. Both are capable of calibrating wide-gamut monitors like the Dell 2408WFP (note that Spyder 2 cannot).

X-Rite Eye-One Display 2

I decided to go for the i1Display2 because based on reviews, it’s just as capable as the Spyder 3, if not more so. And ColorVision’s customer support is reportedly horrendous. Additionally, several reviews stated that the hardware used in the i1Display2 is also used in higher end calibrators. The i1Display2 is actually cheaper than the Spyder 3 Elite so that’s a bonus. Anyway, after calibration the colors look great and I was able to tone down the brightness to about 9 without it looking too dark or dull. The custom RGB values are also significantly lower so that reduces brightness as well. I was getting noticeable eye fatigue before, most likely due to the brightness.

Also note, I went through the Advanced calibration steps, not the automatic calibration. I targeted 140 nits for lumninance. 120 nits is supposed to be the standard but I thought it was too dark.

New OSD Values

Please note that optimal OSD values can vary for different monitors even if you have the same model. My stated values are used in conjunction with the ICC color profile produced by the i1Display2. Without a proper color profile, these values could make your monitor look off. Here goes:

  • Brightness: 9
  • Contrast: 100
  • Sharpness: 50
  • Gamma: PC
  • Color Setting Mode: Graphics
  • Red: 74
  • Green: 71
  • Blue: 74
  • Dynamic Contrast: Off

One Complaint About Power Save Mode

Sometimes the monitor goes into Power Save mode improperly. It’s rare but when it does happen, it usually occurs during Windows startup right when the login screen loads. It goes into Power Save mode and I can’t get out of it. But if I login, the monitor comes back (Tab twice, type in password, enter). Other times if I’ve had the computer running for a while with the monitor off, when I turn the monitor on, it comes on but jumps into Power Save mode. If I move the mouse or tap a few keys, it comes back. Again, this is also random, and happens relatively rarely.

Since it doesn’t happen often, I can deal with it and I don’t think it’s a big enough issue to send it back to Dell for replacement. If it happens a lot I can see why it would be extremely annoying. Some users have reported severe issues with the Power Save mode, but mostly affecting the prior A00 version of the monitor, not the A01.

Join the Conversation

7 Comments

  1. I greatly appreciate the post. You have succinctly covered the major issues and your new OSD settings are the best I’ve seen. Fantastic public service to the many struggling with the 2408wfp.

  2. No problem, I had to do a lot of research on the 2408WFP before and after the purchase so I though it would be helpful for others to walk through my experience with it.

  3. When i start up calibrating with i1Display, my screen “entering power save mode”… I cannot make it continue the calibration?? Please some suggestions?

    Thank you very much

    Ulrik

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