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Introduction

Dell's 'Professional' P series of screens has always taken somewhat of a back seat to their flagship, and very popular UltraSharp U series. One of the main reasons for this is the fact Dell have utilised high end IPS panels in their U series, but stuck with the lower cost, and lower performing TN Film matrices in their P series. That is, up until now. The 2014 P series line-up makes use of modern AH-IPS panel technology from LG.Display and brings a range of specs and features which are bound to interest buyers. This range will run along side their UltraSharp range, which has recently moved to a semi-professional, higher-end feature set than some of the older models. The U series (U2413, U2713H, U3014) still offer a wide colour gamut backlight system, but now also include programmable hardware LUT's, 10-bit colour depth support and other high end features designed to offer users something beyond a lot of the other common IPS models out there. While competitively priced compared with other professional grade screens, there is of course still a demand for the more "regular" IPS screens with standard gamut backlights and at a lower retail cost. That's where the new P series comes in. It's almost as if this P series is now the lower cost end of the U series, as they provide a lot of the features and specs that you could want, but without the high end features and associated cost of the new U series models.

The P series has been updated with models in sizes of 21.5" (P2214H), 23" (P2314H), 23.8" (P2414H) and 27" (P2714H). We have the P2414H with us at the moment for review, with the 27" P2714H following soon. Dell's website states that the P2414H offers: "Widescreen Full HD display with vivid clarity and a number of comfort and connectivity features that help speed production."


Dell P2414H Now Available


Specifications and Features

The following table gives detailed information about the specs of the screen:

Monitor Specifications

Size

23.8"WS (60.47 cm)

Panel Coating

Light AG coating

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Interfaces

DVI-D (HDCP), VGA, DisplayPort 1.2a

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Pixel Pitch

0.2745 mm

Design colour

Matte black bezel with silver stand/base

Response Time

8ms G2G

Ergonomics

Tilt, 130mm height, swivel and rotate

Static Contrast Ratio

1000:1

Dynamic Contrast Ratio

2 million:1

VESA Compatible

Yes 100mm

Brightness

250

Accessories

Cable cover, power, DisplayPort, USB and VGA cables

Viewing Angles

178 / 178

Panel Technology

AH-IPS

Weight

monitor without stand: 3.51Kg

Backlight Technology

W-LED

Physical Dimensions

(WxHxD with stand max height)
565.6 x 499.0 x 180.0 mm

Colour Depth

16.7m (6-bit+FRC)

Refresh Rate

60Hz

Special Features

4x USB 2.0 ports

Colour Gamut

Standard gamut
sRGB, ~72% NTSC

The Dell P2414H offers a reasonable set of connectivity options. There are DVI-D, DisplayPort and D-sub (VGA) provided for video interfaces, but the screen is lacking HDMI unfortunately. The digital interface is HDCP certified for encrypted content.

The screen comes packaged with a DisplayPort and VGA video cables, but oddly without DVI. The screen has an integrated power supply and so it only needs a standard kettle lead which is provided in the box. There is a built-in 4 port USB 2.0 hub as well on this model. Oddly Dell's spec list it as having 3x USB 2.0 downstream ports, but there are definitely 4 present. 3 on the underside by the video connections (and an additional upstream port) and an extra 1 built into the back of the screen for easier access. There are no further extras such as integrated speakers, card readers or ambient light sensors. The screen is compatible with Dell's SoundBar if you want.

Below is a summary of the features and connections of the screen:

Feature

Yes / No

Feature

Yes / No

Tilt adjust

DVI

Height adjust

HDMI

Swivel adjust

D-sub

Rotate adjust

DisplayPort

VESA compliant

Component

USB Ports

Composite

Card Reader

Audio connection

Ambient Light Sensor

HDCP Support

Touch Screen

MHL Support

Hardware calibration

Integrated Speakers

Uniformity correction

PiP / PbP



Design and Ergonomics



Above: front view of the screen


Above: front view of the screen. Click for larger version

The P2414H comes in a black and silver design. The front bezel of the screen is a matte black plastic and provides a pretty thin outer edge to the screen. There is a thin silver trim around the bezel on all edges as well, and the corners of the screen are rounded. The bezel measures ~19mm along all four edges. There is a shiny silver Dell logo in the middle of the bottom bezel, but not other writing or model designations at all. In the bottom right hand corner are the four pressable OSD control buttons and the power on/off button.

The stand is different to the mostly black style stands of the UltraSharp models, and comes in an all-silver colour. Matte plastics are again used for the stand and base. The base measures ~225 (width) x 180 mm (depth) and provides a sturdy support for the screen.


Above: side and front views of the screen and stand

From the side the screen offers a pretty thin profile thanks to the use of W-LED backlighting. You can see that the stand is silver in design along the edges and back as well.


Above: rear view of the screen and stand

The back of the screen is finished in a matte black plastic and is rounded off to look smooth and sleek. There is a useful cable tidy hole in the back of the stand as well. There is even a detachable black plastic section at the bottom of the back of the screen which can hide the cabling connections (pictured attached here).


Above: full range of tilt adjustment shown. Click for larger versions

The screen provides a full range of ergonomic adjustments. The tilt function is smooth and very easy to use, offering a wide range of angles to choose.


Above: full range of height adjustment shown. Click for larger versions

Height adjustment is a little stiffer, but is again smooth and easy to manoeuvre, offering a very good range of adjustment again. At the lowest height setting the bottom edge of the screen is approximately 33mm from the edge of the desk. At the maximum setting it is ~163mm, and so there is a 130 mm total adjustment range available here.

Side to side swivel is again smooth and very easy to use. The rotation function is a little stiffer though to use, but is at least provided to complete the options.

A summary of the screens ergonomic adjustments is shown below:

Function

Range

Smoothness

Ease of Use

Tilt

Yes

Smooth

Very easy

Height

130mm

Smooth

Quite stiff

Swivel

Yes

Smooth

Very easy

Rotate

Yes

Reasonable

Stiff

Overall

Very good range of adjustments and mostly very easy to use

The materials were of a good standard and the build quality felt good as well. There was no audible noise from the screen, even when conducting specific tests which can often identify buzzing issues. The whole screen remained very cool even during prolonged use as well which was pleasing.

 
Above: interface connections on back of the screen

The back of the screen provides connections for the power supply which is provided with the screen. There are then video connections for DVI, VGA and DisplayPort (not pictured here). There are then 1x USB upstream and 3x USB 2.0 downstream ports provided as shown.


Above: view of rear USB 2.0 connection on back of screen. Click for larger version

An additional easier access USB port is also available a little above these connections in the back of the screen. It might have been better to include this on the side of the screen perhaps.

 



OSD Menu


Above: views of OSD operational buttons on the bottom right hand edge of the screen

The OSD menu is controlled from a series of 4 pressable buttons on the lower right hand edge of the front bezel. Beneath this is a round power button which glows white during operation and pulsates on and off (white) during standby.

Pressing any of the four buttons pops up the familiar Dell quick access menu as shown above. There are then quick access options to get to the preset modes and the brightness/contrast controls as you can see. These can actually be customised within the main OSD menu if you would prefer quick access to other settings such as input selection for instance.

    

The preset mode menu gives you access a series of 8 modes, including a 'custom color' in which you can adjust the RGB channels individually if you want. The brightness and contrast quick access menu is also shown above (right). 

The main OSD menu is split into 9 sections down the left hand side as shown above. In the top right hand corner is Dell's "energy use" bar which gives you an idea of your power consumption. You can scroll down the left hand menu sections and the options available within each section are then shown on the right.

The input source section allows you to switch between the video inputs as shown above.

The 'color settings' section allows you to access the preset modes and make a few other alterations relating to colour control.

The 'Display settings' section allows you to control a few advanced features. There is access to the hardware aspect ratio control settings (16:9, 4:3 and 5:4 modes available) and the Dynamic Contrast Ratio as well, if you're in a suitable preset where it is available.



The other sections shown above are pretty self explanatory. All in all the menu was fast and easy to use. Navigation felt simple and intuitive and the controls worked well. No complaints here.



Power Consumption

In terms of power consumption the manufacturer lists 28W typical usage during operation and <0.3W in standby. (*) The spec also lists maximum power consumption of 45W but that's with maximum brightness, USB in use and Dell's SoundBar connected as well apparently. We carried out our normal tests to establish its power consumption ourselves.

State and Brightness Setting

Manufacturer Spec (W)

Measured Power Usage (W)

Factory Default (75%)

28.0

21.2

Calibrated (34%)

-

15.3

Maximum Brightness (100%)

45.0*

25.1

Minimum Brightness (0%)

-

10.9

Standby

<0.3

0.8

We tested this ourselves and found that out of the box the screen used 21.2W at the default 75% brightness setting. At maximum brightness the screen used 25.1W of power, but that was without Dell's SoundBar connected or anything being powered on USB. Once calibrated the screen reached 15.3W consumption, and in standby it used only 0.8W. We have plotted these results below compared with other screens we have tested:



Panel and Backlighting

Panel Manufacturer

LG.Display

Colour Palette

16.7 million

Panel Technology

AH-IPS

Colour Depth

6-bit +  FRC

Panel Module

LM238WF1-SLA3

Colour space

Standard gamut

Backlighting Type

W-LED

Colour space coverage (%)

sRGB, ~72% NTSC

Panel Part and Colour Depth

The Dell P2414H utilises an LG.Display LM238WF1-SLA3 AH-IPS panel which is capable of producing 16.7 million colours. According to the detailed panel spec sheet this is done with a 6-bit colour depth and an additional Frame Rate Control (FRC) stage (6-bit + FRC) as opposed to a true 8-bit panel. This is a measure commonly taken on modern IPS panels, and the FRC algorithm is very well implemented to the point that you'd be very hard pressed to tell any difference in practice compared with an 8-bit panel. The panel is confirmed when dismantling the screen:


 

Screen Coating

The screen coating on the P2414H is much like that featured on other recent Dell IPS screens like the U2413, U2713H and U2713HM, all of which has been a positive change. It is a normal anti-glare (AG) offering as opposed to any kind of glossy coating. However, this is contrary to a lot of other older IPS based screens which usually feature a grainy and aggressive solution. Instead it is a light AG coating which retains its anti-glare properties to avoid unwanted reflections, but does not produce an overly grainy or dirty image.

As a side note, some users reported a "cross hatching" appearance on the 27" U2713HM screen, where on very close inspection you could detect a small grid like effect as part of the coating. This didn't affect everyone of course but it was something some people complained about or became sensitive to. Having seen this so-called cross hatching on the U2713HM we're pleased to report that the new P2414H does not suffer from this, even when looking very closely for it.


Backlight Type and Colour Gamut

The screen uses a White-LED (W-LED) backlight unit which has become very popular in today's market. This helps reduce power consumption compared with older CCFL backlight units and brings about some environmental benefits as well. The W-LED unit offers a standard colour gamut which is approximately equal to the sRGB colour space (equating to ~72% NTSC). Anyone wanting to work with wider colour spaces would need to consider wide gamut CCFL screens, or perhaps the new range of GB-r-LED displays like the Dell U2413, U2713H and U3014 models.
 

Backlight Dimming and Flicker

We tested the screen to establish the methods used to control backlight dimming. Our in depth article talks in more details about a common method used for this which is called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). This in itself gives cause for concern to some users who have experienced eye strain, headaches and other symptoms as a result of the flickering backlight caused by this technology. We use a photosensor +  oscilloscope system to measure backlight dimming control with a high level of accuracy and ease. These tests allow us to establish

1) Whether PWM is being used to control the backlight
2) The frequency and other characteristics at which this operates, if it is used
3) Whether a flicker may be introduced or potentially noticeable at certain settings

If PWM is used for backlight dimming, the higher the frequency, the less likely you are to see artefacts and flicker. The duty cycle (the time for which the backlight is on) is also important and the shorter the duty cycle, the more potential there is that you may see flicker. The other factor which can influence flicker is the amplitude of the PWM, measuring the difference in brightness output between the 'on' and 'off' states. Please remember that not every user would notice a flicker from a backlight using PWM, but it is something to be wary of. It is also a hard thing to quantify as it is very subjective when talking about whether a user may or may not experience the side effects.


100%
                                                     50%                                                    0%

Above scale = 1 horizontal grid = 1ms

At all brightness settings the backlight output remains constant and is not cycled on and off at all. A Direct Current (DC) method is being used instead of PWM which is welcome. If users are worried about flicker or particularly susceptible to it, then you do not need to worry here.

Pulse Width Modulation Used

No

Cycling Frequency

n/a

Possible Flicker at

 

100% Brightness

No

50% Brightness

No

0% Brightness

No

For an up to date list of all flicker-free (PWM free) monitors please see our Flicker Free Monitor Database.



Testing Methodology

An important thing to consider for most users is how a screen will perform out of the box and with some basic manual adjustments. Since most users won't have access to hardware colorimeter tools, it is important to understand how the screen is going to perform in terms of colour accuracy for the average user.

I restored my graphics card to default settings and disabled any previously active ICC profiles and gamma corrections. The screen was tested at default factory settings using the DVI interface, and analysed using an X-rite i1 Pro Spectrophotometer (not to be confused with the i1 Display Pro colorimeter) combined with LaCie's Blue Eye Pro software suite. An X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter was also used to verify the black point and contrast ratio since the i1 Pro spectrophotometer is less reliable at the darker end.


Targets for these tests are as follows:

  • CIE Diagram - validates the colour space covered by the monitors backlighting in a 2D view, with the black triangle representing the displays gamut, and other reference colour spaces shown for comparison

  • Gamma - we aim for 2.2 which is the default for computer monitors

  • Colour temperature / white point - we aim for 6500k which is the temperature of daylight

  • Luminance - we aim for 120 cd/m2, which is the recommended luminance for LCD monitors in normal lighting conditions

  • Black depth - we aim for as low as possible to maximise shadow detail and to offer us the best contrast ratio

  • Contrast ratio - we aim for as high as possible. Any dynamic contrast ratio controls are turned off here if present

  • dE average / maximum - as low as possible. If DeltaE >3, the color displayed is significantly different from the theoretical one, meaning that the difference will be perceptible to the viewer. If DeltaE <2, LaCie considers the calibration a success; there remains a slight difference, but it is barely undetectable. If DeltaE < 1, the color fidelity is excellent.



Default Performance and Setup

Default settings of the screen were as follows:

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

75

Contrast

75

Preset mode

Standard

RGB

n/a


Dell P2414H - Default Factory Settings

 

 

 

Default Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

176.79

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.16

Contrast Ratio

1105:1

 

Out of the box the screen looked pretty good to the naked eye. Colours felt even and well balanced, and the brightness was actually not too bad which is rare for a desktop monitor out of the box. We went ahead and measured the default state with the i1 Pro.

 

 

The CIE diagram on the left of the image confirms that the monitors colour gamut (black triangle) matches the sRGB colour space pretty well, with some over-coverage evident in blue shades and some slight under-coverage in greens. Default gamma was recorded at 2.4 average, leaving it a little out with an 11% deviance from the target of 2.2. White point was measured at 6233k leaving it a small 4% out from our target of 6500k which was pleasing, just slightly too warm. Note that we are using a spectrophotometer to make these measurements which is not sensitive to the wide gamut backlight as some colorimeter devices can be. When using a standard gamut colorimeter not designed to work with modern backlighting units like W-LED, WCG-CCFL and GB-r-LED there can be a typical deviance of 300 - 600k in the white point measurement which is why some sources may refer to a different white point in this test incorrectly.

 

Luminance was recorded at a bright 176 cd/m2 which is a bit too high for prolonged general use, but not too severe. The screen was set at a default 75% brightness in the OSD menu but that is easy to change of course to reach a more comfortable setting. The black depth was 0.16 cd/m2 at this default brightness setting, giving us an excellent (for an IPS panel) static contrast ratio of 1105:1. Colour accuracy was reasonable, but not great, out of the box with a default dE of 3.2, and maximum of 6.0. Testing the screen with various gradients showed smooth transitions with no sign of any banding thankfully. There was some very slight gradation evident in darker tones as you will see from most monitors and if you looked very closely you could pick out some twinkling from the Frame Rate Control. Not something you'd see in normal use though at all. Overall the default setup was ok for general uses, but needs some tweaking to get a higher level of accuracy.

 


 

Calibration

 

We used the X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer combined with the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software package to achieve these results and reports. An X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter was used to validate the black depth and contrast ratios due to lower end limitations of the i1 Pro device.

 

 

Monitor OSD Option

Calibrated Settings

Brightness

34

Contrast

75

Preset mode

Custom Color

RGB

93, 96, 99


Dell P2414H- Calibrated Settings

  
 

 

Calibrated Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

121.20

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.12

Contrast Ratio

1010:1

 

We first of all reverted to the 'custom color' preset mode in the OSD menu to allow us access to the individual RGB channels. Adjustments were made during the process to the RGB channels as shown in the table above as well as the brightness control. This allowed us to obtain an optimum hardware starting point and setup before software level changes would be made at the graphics card level. This would help preserve tonal values and limit banding issues. After this we let the software carry out the LUT adjustments and create an ICC profile.

 

 

Average gamma had been corrected to 2.2 average according to the initial test, correcting the default 11% deviance we'd found out of the box which was good. The white point was also corrected to 6516k, correcting the slightly warm setting we had observed before (6233k default). Luminance had also been improved thanks to the adjustment to the brightness control and was now being measured at 121 cd/m2. This left us a black depth of 0.12 cd/m2 and retained an excellent (for an IPS panel) static contrast ratio of 1010:1. Colour accuracy had been corrected nicely, with dE average of 0.3 and maximum of 0.8. LaCie would consider colour fidelity to be excellent.

 

Testing the screen with various colour gradients showed mostly smooth transitions. There was some slight gradation in darker tones and some very slight banding introduced in dark tones due to the adjustments to the graphics card LUT from the profilation of the screen. You can use our settings and try our calibrated ICC profile if you wish, which are available in our ICC profile database. Keep in mind that results will vary from one screen to another and from one computer / graphics card to another.

 

 

Calibration Performance Comparisons


 

The comparisons made in this section try to give you a better view of how each screen performs, particularly out of the box which is what is going to matter to most consumers. When comparing the default factory settings for each monitor it is important to take into account several measurement areas - gamma, white point and colour accuracy. There's no point having a low dE colour accuracy figure if the gamma curve is way off for instance. A good factory calibration requires all 3 to be well set up. We have deliberately not included luminance in this comparison since this is normally far too high by default on every screen. However, that is very easily controlled through the brightness setting (on most screens) and should not impact the other areas being measured anyway. It is easy enough to obtain a suitable luminance for your working conditions and individual preferences, but a reliable factory setup in gamma, white point and colour accuracy is important and not as easy to change accurately without a calibration tool.

 

From these comparisons we can also compare the calibrated colour accuracy, black depth and contrast ratio. After a calibration the gamma, white point and luminance should all be at their desired targets.

 

 

Default setup of the screen was moderate overall, but should be fine for most casual users. There was a reasonable deviance in the desired gamma, with an 11% error which was probably the main issue with the default setup. The white point was very close to the desired 6500k (4% out) which was good, but colour accuracy was not great with an average dE of 3.2.

 

 

 

The panel did excel in terms of black depth and contrast ratio for an IPS matrix, with a calibrated contrast ratio of 1010:1 measured. This couldn't compete with some of the AMVA based screens we've tested which could reach up to 2000 - 3000:1 static contrast ratios easily. For an IPS panel it was one of the best we have tested, out-performing some of Dell's other recent AH-IPS screens like the S2740L (691:1), U2413 (783:1) and U2713HM (869:1) for instance.

 

 

 


Contrast Stability and Brightness

We wanted to see how much variance there was in the screens contrast as we adjusted the monitor setting for brightness. In theory, brightness and contrast are two independent parameters, and good contrast is a requirement regardless of the brightness adjustment. Unfortunately, such is not always the case in practice. We recorded the screens luminance and black depth at various OSD brightness settings, and calculated the contrast ratio from there. Graphics card settings were left at default with no ICC profile or calibration active. Tests were made using an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter. It should be noted that we used the BasICColor calibration software here to record these, and so luminance at default settings may vary a little from the LaCie Blue Eye Pro report.

OSD Brightness

Luminance
(cd/m2)

Black Point (cd/m2)

Contrast Ratio
( x:1)

100

267.08

0.24

1113

90

224.47

0.21

1069

80

189.38

0.17

1114

70

163.46

0.15

1090

60

148.49

0.14

1061

50

133.38

0.12

1112

40

116.33

0.11

1058

30

101.58

0.09

1129

20

86.04

0.08

1076

10

69.71

0.06

1162

0

53.49

0.05

1070

 

Total Luminance Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

213.59

Brightness OSD setting controls backlight?

Total Black Point Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

0.19

Average Static Contrast Ratio

1096:1

PWM Free? 

Recommended OSD setting for 120 cd/m2

42

The brightness control gave us a very good range of adjustment. At the top end the maximum luminance reached 267 cd/m2 which was actually a little higher even than the specified maximum brightness of 250 cd/m2 from the manufacturer. There was a 213 cd/m2 adjustment range in total, and so at the minimum setting you could reach down to a luminance of 53 cd/m2. This should be adequate for those wanting to work in darkened room conditions with low ambient light. A setting of ~42 in the OSD menu should return you a luminance of around 120 cd/m2.

We have plotted the luminance trend on the graph above. The screen behaves as it should in this regard, with a reduction in the luminance output of the screen controlled by the reduction in the OSD brightness setting. This wasn't quite a linear relationship as you can see a steeper curve when using the brightness settings between 100 and 70. It should be noted also that the brightness regulation is controlled by a Direct Current (DC) method instead of using Pulse Width Modulation, which means the P2414H is flicker free.

The average contrast ratio of the screen was 1096:1 and it remained reasonably stable across the brightness adjustment range as shown above.


Dynamic Contrast

The Dell P2414H features a dynamic contrast ratio (DCR) control, which boasts a spec of 2,000,000:1 (2 million:1). Dynamic contrast ratio technology in theory involves controlling the backlight of the screen automatically, depending on the content shown on the screen. In bright images, the backlight is increased, and in darker images, it is decreased. We have come to learn that DCR figures are greatly exaggerated and what is useable in reality is often very different to what is written on paper or on a manufacturers website.

For this test we would use an i1 Display Pro colorimeter to record the luminance and black depths at the two extremes. Max brightness would be recorded on an almost all white screen. Black depth would be recorded on an almost all black screen. In real use you are very unlikely to ever see a full black or full white screen, and even our tests are an extreme case to be honest. Carrying out the tests in this way does give you a good indication of the screens dynamic contrast ratio in real life situations however.

The DCR feature is available in the Movie and Game preset modes within the 'Display Settings' menu section. It has a simple setting for off and on, and is labelled as "Dynamic Contrast".

 

Dynamic Contrast

Specified DCR Range

2 Million:1

Available in Presets

Movie, Game

Setting Identification / Menu option

Dynamic Contrast

Settings

Off / On

Measured Results

Movie

Game

Default Static Contrast Ratio

743:1

984:1

Max luminance (cd/m2)

177.62

252.57

Min Black Point (cd/m2)

0.23

0.21

Max Dynamic Contrast Ratio

772:1

1203:1

Useable DCR in practice

No

Slightly

Backlight turned off for 100% black

Yes

Yes

We tested the DCR feature in both of the preset modes. By default the Game preset mode gave us a static contrast ratio similar to that which we'd measured in the standard default preset mode (984:1). However, with DCR enabled the brightness of the screen was very high at 252.57 cd/m2. The DCR seemed to do very little when switching between an almost all-white and almost all-black screen which was a shame but there was a slight extension of the contrast ratio, up to 1203:1. This was of course nowhere near the adverted 2 million:1 figure. If you switch to a 100% black image, the backlight doesn't dim any further either, but after 10 seconds it is turned off completely. Given that you're unlikely to ever get a 100% black image in practice, especially continuously for 10 seconds or more, this feature seems pointless and is more of a marketing number than anything else. The high 2 million:1 spec is achieved in the lab when the backlight is turned off, but in day to day use you're never going to be able to use it. The 'Movie' mode was a similar story, with the DCR not doing anything in practice. In fact the static contrast ratio was crushed quite a lot in this mode to around 743:1 so it wasn't very desirable. Again the backlight is turned off completely after ~10 seconds but again useless in practice.

 


Viewing Angles


Above: Viewing angles shown from front and side, and  from above and below. Click for larger image

Viewing angles of the P2414H were very good as you would expect from an IPS panel. Horizontally there was very little colour tone shift until wide angles past about 45. A slight darkening of the image occurred horizontally from wider angles as you can see above as the contrast shifted slighting. Contrast shifts were slightly more noticeable in the vertical field but overall they were very good. The screen offered the wide viewing angles of IPS technology and was free from the restrictive fields of view of TN Film panels, especially in the vertical plane. It was also free of the off-centre contrast shift you see from VA panels and a lot of the quite obvious gamma and colour tone shift you see from some of the modern AMVA and PVA offerings. All as expected really from a modern IPS panel.


Above: View of an all black screen from the side. Click for larger version

On a black image there was a slight white glow from an angle which can be problematic on some IPS panels. If you are working in darkened room conditions and with dark content on the screen this may prove difficult. As you change your line of sight the white, silvery glow appears across the panel. This wasn't actually too bad at all on this screen and in normal lighting conditions didn't seem to be a problem at all. The 'IPS glow' was quite minimal here which was pleasing.


Dell P2414H Now Available



Panel Uniformity

We wanted to test here how uniform the brightness and colour temperature was across the screen, as well as identify any leakage from the backlight in dark lighting conditions. Measurements of the luminance and colour temperature were taken at 35 points across the panel on a pure white background. The measurements for luminance were taken using BasICColor's calibration software package, combined with an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter with a central point on the screen calibrated to 120 cd/m2. Measurements for colour temperature (white point) were taken using BasICColor software and the i1 Pro spectrophotometer which can more accurately measure the white point of different backlighting technologies. The below uniformity diagram shows the difference, as a percentage, between the measurement recorded at each point on the screen, as compared with the central reference point.

It is worth noting that panel uniformity can vary from one screen to another, and can depend on manufacturing lines, screen transport and other local factors. This is only a guide of the uniformity of the sample screen we have for review.
 


Uniformity of Luminance

The luminance uniformity of the screen was pretty good overall. There were some small deviances in the upper corners of the screen, where the luminance dropped by -16.67% at a maximum, compared with the centre of the screen. The lower half of the screen seemed to be more uniform than the top half. Around 83% of the screen was within a 10% deviance of the central point which was pretty good.
 


Uniformity of White Point / Colour Temperature

The colour temperature uniformity was measured based on a centrally calibrated 6500k point. As you can see, the colour temperature was very uniform across the panel with only small deviations across the screen. There was a maximum of 5.77% deviance between any two points on the screen. The lower left hand corner appeared to be a little cooler than the rest of the screen, but only by about 4.39% max.



Backlight Leakage


Above: All black screen in a darkened room. Click for larger version

As usual we also tested the screen with an all black image and in a darkened room. A camera was used to capture the result. Three was some slight leakage in the bottom left hand corners of the screen but nothing too severe, and certainly nothing you could spot during normal uses day to day.

 


General and Office Applications

The 1920 x 1080 resolution and 23.8" screen size give a nice decent area in which to work and the vertical resolution is a little less than the range of 16:10 aspect 24" models (1920 x 1200) out there in the market. A lot of people prefer that extra vertical area and it is useful for office applications we think as well. You may want to consider the fact that high resolution 27" 2560 x 1440 models are becoming increasingly available and so the difference in desktop size is certainly noticeable coming from a 27" screen like that. Nevertheless, the 23.8" 1920 x 1080 resolution should be adequate for many users. The screen offered a comfortable 0.2745mm pixel pitch which delivered easy to read text at a nice size, in our opinion. It is slightly smaller than 24" screens with the same resolution of course, since the screen size here is slightly less at 23.8" diagonal. We're not really sure why this has become a new size class to be honest, but presumably there must be manufacturing cost benefits for the panel manufacturers to make them ever so slightly smaller. The resolution is big enough for side by side split screen working as well in many cases although we do find that nowadays a lot of web content needs more than half a screen (i.e. wider than 960 pixels).

The light AG coating of the new AH-IPS panel is certainly welcome, and a very positive change from the older grainy and 'dirty' appearance of older IPS AG coatings. The wide viewing angles provided by the IPS panel technology on both horizontal and vertical planes, helps minimize on-screen colour shift when viewed from different angles. The default setup of the screen was reasonable really in terms of white point and balance of colours, but gamma and colour accuracy were a bit off. The contrast ratio was excellent for an IPS panel at over 1000:1 which was pleasing, even after calibration. The brightness range of the screen was also very good, with the ability to offer a luminance between 267 and 53 cd/m2. This should mean the screen is perfectly useable in a wide variety of ambient light conditions, including darkened rooms. A setting of ~42 in the OSD brightness control should return you a luminance close to 120 cd/m2. On another positive note, the brightness regulation is done without the need for the use of the now infamous Pulse-Width modulation (PWM), and so those who suffer from eye fatigue or headaches associated with flickering backlights need not worry.

There was no audible noise or buzzing from the screen, even when specifically looking for it using test images with a large amount of text at once. The screen also remains cool even during prolonged use. There is a 'text' preset mode available from the menu which may be useful if you want to set up the screen for different uses perhaps. The DVI connection provided a slightly sharper and crisper image than the VGA connection, although the latter was still very good really.

The screen offers 4x USB 2.0 ports which can be useful, although a lot of modern screens are now offering USB 3.0 instead. Might have been nice to keep this up to date with them perhaps. There are no further extras like ambient light sensors or card readers which can be useful in office environments. There was a great range of ergonomic adjustments available from the stand allowing you to obtain a comfortable position for a wide variety of angles. The VESA mounting support may also be useful to some people as well.

 
Above: photo of text at 1920 x 1080 (top) and 1600 x 900 (bottom)

The screen is designed to run at its native resolution of 1920 x 1080 and at a 60Hz recommended refresh rate. However, if you want you are able to run the screen outside of this resolution. We tested the screen at a lower 1600 x 900 resolution to see how the screen handles the interpolation of the resolution, while maintaining the same aspect ratio of 16:9. At native resolution the text was very sharp as you can see from the top photograph. When you switch to a lower resolution the text is larger of course but still clear. The screen seems to interpolate the image well although you of course lose a lot of desktop real-estate running at a lower resolution.



Responsiveness and Gaming

The P2414H is rated by Dell as having an 8 ms G2G response time and the panel uses overdrive / response time compensation (RTC) technology to boost pixel transitions across grey to grey changes. There is no user control over the overdrive impulse within the OSD menu and so we are reliant on the factory setup. The part being used is the LG.Display LM238WF1-SLA3 AH-IPS panel. Have a read about response time in our specs section if you need additional information about this measurement.

We will first test the screen using our thorough response time testing method. This uses an oscilloscope and photosensor to measure the pixel response times across a series of 20 different transitions, in the full range from 0 (black) to 255 (white). This will give us a realistic view of how the monitor performs in real life, as opposed to being reliant only on a manufacturers spec. We can work out the response times for changing between many different shades, calculate the maximum, minimum and average grey to grey (G2G) response times, and provide an evaluation of any overshoot present on the monitor.

We use an ETC M526 oscilloscope for these measurements along with a custom photosensor device. Have a read of our response time measurement article for a full explanation of the testing methodology and reported data.

The response time performance overall was close to the specified 8ms G2G figure. In fact we measured an average grey to grey response time across all transitions of 8.9ms. The rise times shown in the upper right hand region of the table, and representing changes from dark to light shades were slightly slower at 9.2ms G2G average, as compared with the fall times (8.6ms G2G average, lower left region, changes from light to dark shades). Overall the responsiveness remained pretty similar across all transitions with no significantly faster or slower changes.

If we evaluate the Response Time Compensation (RTC) overshoot then the results are pleasing and there is very little to be seen. A couple of the measured transitions showed a fairly high overshoot, mostly when changing from black (0) to darker grey shades (50 to 150). The 10 - 14% overshoot was apparent, but really only affected a couple of the transitions. Quite a few other transitions had a very slight overshoot between 2 and 5%, but that is so slight that you shouldn't see any problems with that in practice. Overall this was a pleasing result from the P2414H.


Transition: 0-100-0
(scale = 20ms)

The above oscillogram is an example of the largest overshoot we saw, but even there it is not too severe at all at 13.8%.


Transition: 150-255-150
(scale = 20ms)

Above is a more classic example of what we saw in terms of overshoot, with a very small amount on the rise and the fall times but nothing to be worried about at all.

As we begin to measure more screens with the oscilloscope system we can begin to plot them on a graph like the above for easy comparison. This shows you the lowest, average and highest G2G response time measurement for each screen. As you can see, the P2414H performed much like the other IPS panels we have tested. It performed quite comparably to the Asus PA248Q (8.7ms G2G average) once we'd set that screen at its optimum response time setting. The Dell P2414H was a little slower in these tests than the U2413, U2713H and U3014 models shown here (7.2 - 7.9ms G2G), but those models had some severe issues with overshoot, which thankfully the P2414H doesn't suffer from. The TN Film based Asus VG278HE was a fair bit faster with its ultra-quick 4.1ms G2G average, but that is a gamer orientated screen don't forget.

 

Display Comparisons

The screen was also tested using the chase test in PixPerAn for the following display comparisons. As a reminder, a series of pictures are taken on the highest shutter speed and compared, with the best case example shown on the left, and worst case example on the right. This should only be used as a rough guide to comparative responsiveness but is handy for a comparison between different screens and technologies as well as a means to compare those screens we tested before the introduction of our oscilloscope method.


23.8" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS

In practice the Dell P2414H showed pretty low levels of motion blur, and no obvious ghosting. There was some some slight trailing in the best case images as you can see above but overall the movement felt quite good. There was no sign of any obvious overshoot artefacts either which was pleasing.


23.8" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


24" 6ms G2G AU Optronics AMVA


24" 8ms G2G LG.Display e-IPS


23" 8ms G2G LG.Display e-IPS

We have provided a comparison of the P2414H first of all against 3 of Dell's other 23 - 24" screens we have tested. While the other three models showed low levels of motion blur comparable to the P2414H, they did suffer from some noticeable overshoot artefacts. There are dark trails behind the moving car as you can easily see, where the overdrive impulse was being applied too aggerssively. As a result, the P2414H performed better in these tests than the other three.

 


23.8" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


24"WS 6ms G3G LG.Display e-IPS (Trace Free = 40)


24" 6ms G2G LG.Display e-IPS (Video OverDrive = On)


24" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AMVA (AMA = Premium)

We can also compare the P2414H against some other popular 24" models of recent times. You can see that the Asus PA248Q (set at the optimum 'Trace Free' overdrive setting) performed very similarly to the P2414H, a fact confirmed also by our oscilloscope tests. There was 0.5ms G2G difference between the two models from our measurements. The HP ZR2440w also showed low levels of motion blur, but there was some slight dark trailing introduced here as well. The BenQ GW2450HM's is based on an AMVA panel (as opposed to IPS) and while it was pretty fast for AMVA technology, it was not as fast as these IPS models and also showed some fairly noticeable overshoot as well in the form of dark trails.

 


23.8" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


27" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


27" 5ms G2G Samsung PLS (Trace Free = 40)


27" 12ms G2G Samsung PLS (Response Time = Advanced)

We have also provided a comparison of the P2414H above against 3 popular 27" high res screens we have tested. The very popular Dell U2713HM performed very similarly to the P2414H in practice, showing pretty fast response times and no noticeable overshoot. The Asus PB278Q and ViewSonic VP2770-LED both feature PLS panels from Samsung, very similar overall to IPS but a competing technology. Both were again pretty fast in these tests although in the case of the Asus there was a small amount of overshoot introduced, but not much at all while at the modest Trace Free setting of 40. All in all the Dell P2414H held its own against some of these fast IPS/PLS models.

 


23.8" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


27" 2ms G2G Chi Mei Innolux TN Film +144Hz (Trace Free = 60)


24" 2ms G2G AU Optronics TN Film + 120Hz (AMA = On)


27" 1ms G2G Chi Mei Innolux TN Film + 120Hz (Over Drive = 0)


22" 3ms G2G Samsung TN Film + 120Hz

We've also included a comparison above against four very fast 120Hz+ compatible screens we have tested. In all cases these other screens are using TN Film panels and are aimed primarily at gamers. Firstly there is a comparison against the Asus VG278HE with its 144Hz refresh rate. This showed very fast pixel response times and smooth movement thanks to its increased refresh rate. You are able to reduce the motion blur even more through the use of the LightBoost strobed backlight which we talked about in depth in our article about Motion Blur Reduction Backlights.

Then there is a comparison against the BenQ XL2420T. This showed very low levels of motion blur, but some dark overshoot was introduced as a side-effect. The Iiyama G2773HS was very responsive and even has a quoted 1ms G2G response time. This showed very low levels of blur and had minimal issue with overshoot. The Samsung SM2233RZ performed very well in these tests and showed very low levels of motion blur also. When 120Hz mode was enabled the overdrive artefacts evident in 60Hz mode were almost completely eliminated, which is something we have seen with the BenQ XL2420T as well.

While these pixel response tests show the Dell to have pretty fast pixel transitions and freedom from any overshoot, there is something else going on as well here which can't be picked out by the camera. All of these other TN Film models are running at 120Hz (or higher) refresh rates, which allows for improved 120fps+ frame rates and the support of 3D stereoscopic content as well. This can really help improve smoothness and the overall gaming experience so these screens still have the edge when it comes to fast gaming.


The responsiveness of the Dell P2414H was pleasing, and about on par with the faster IPS and PLS models we have tested to date. The average 8.9ms G2G response time couldn't of course compete with fast TN Film models, but for an IPS panel it was good. More pleasing perhaps, certainly compared with some other recent Dell releases, was the freedom from any overshoot problems. That can really be problematic in a whole variety of uses, and so we were pleased Dell hadn't tried to push the response time too far at the expense of overshoot. The screen should be able to handle some fast gaming without problem, although those wanting to play fast FPS or competitive games may want to consider some of the more gamer orientated 120Hz+, TN Film based compatible displays out there. Even better still would be models equipped with LightBoost systems for optimum motion blur elimination.



Additional Gaming Features

Aspect Ratio Control - The screen offers three options for hardware level aspect ratio control, available within the 'Display settings' menu as shown above. There are options for 16:9, 4:3 and 5:4 modes which should cover a wide variety of uses. These will force the selected aspect ratio regardless of what the source resolution/aspect is. It would have been helpful to include an "aspect" option perhaps, to automatically maintain the source aspect ratio whatever it may be. A defined 1:1 pixel mapping option would also have been handy for some. Given a lot of content is native 16:9 aspect nowadays anyway, and the screen is of course 16:9 itself, there will hopefully not be the need to scale content as often as on a 16:10 aspect screen for instance.

Preset Modes -
There is a defined 'game' preset mode available in the menu. This seems to accentuate the brightness and sharpness of the content, which some people may like for gaming. The DCR function is also available in this mode if you want, although we've already seen it does very little in practice.



Lag

We have written an in depth article about input lag and the various measurement techniques which are used to evaluate this aspect of a display. It's important to first of all understand the different methods available and also what this lag means to you as an end-user.

Input Lag vs. Display Lag vs. Signal Processing

To avoid confusion with different terminology we will refer to this section of our reviews as just "lag" from now on, as there are a few different aspects to consider, and different interpretations of the term "input lag". We will consider the following points here as much as possible. The overall "display lag" is the first, that being the delay between the image being shown on the TFT display and that being shown on a CRT. This is what many people will know as input lag and originally was the measure made to explain why the image is a little behind when using a CRT. The older stopwatch based methods were the common way to measure this in the past, but through advanced studies have been shown to be quite inaccurate. As a result, more advanced tools like SMTT provide a method to measure that delay between a TFT and CRT while removing the inaccuracies of older stopwatch methods.

In reality that lag / delay is caused by a combination of two things - the signal processing delay caused by the TFT electronics / scaler, and the response time of the pixels themselves. Most "input lag" measurements over the years have always been based on the overall display lag (signal processing + response time) and indeed the SMTT tool is based on this visual difference between a CRT and TFT and so measures the overall display lag. In practice the signal processing is the element which gives the feel of lag to the user, and the response time of course can impact blurring, and overall image quality in moving scenes. As people become more aware of lag as a possible issue, we are of course keen to try and understand the split between the two as much as possible to give a complete picture.

The signal processing element within that is quite hard to identify without extremely high end equipment and very complicated methods. In fact the studies by Thomas Thiemann which really kicked this whole thing off were based on equipment worth >100,1000 Euro, requiring extremely high bandwidths and very complicated methods to trigger the correct behaviour and accurately measure the signal processing on its own. Other techniques which are being used since are not conducted by Thomas (he is a freelance writer) or based on this equipment or technique, and may also be subject to other errors or inaccuracies based on our conversations with him since. It's very hard as a result to produce a technique which will measure just the signal processing on its own unfortunately. Many measurement techniques are also not explained and so it is important to try and get a picture from various sources if possible to make an informed judgement about a display overall.

For our tests we will continue to use the SMTT tool to measure the overall "display lag". From there we can use our oscilloscope system to measure the response time across a wide range of grey to grey (G2G) transitions as recorded in our response time tests. Since SMTT will not include the full response time within its measurements, after speaking with Thomas further about the situation we will subtract half of the average G2G response time from the total display lag. This should allow us to give a good estimation of how much of the overall lag is attributable to the signal processing element on its own.

 

Lag Classification


To help in this section we will also introduce a broader classification system for these results to help categorise each screen as one of the following levels:

  • Class 1) Less than 16ms / 1 frame lag - should be fine for gamers, even at high levels

  • Class 2) A lag of 16 - 32ms / One to two frames - moderate lag but should be fine for many gamers. Caution advised for serious gaming and FPS

  • Class 3) A lag of more than 32ms / more than 2 frames - Some noticeable lag in daily usage, not suitable for high end gaming

For the full reviews of the models compared here and the dates they were written (and when screens were approximately released to the market), please see our full reviews index.

(Measurements in ms)

Standard Mode

Total Display Lag (SMTT 2)

5.5

Pixel Response Time Element

4.45

Estimated Signal Processing Lag

1.05

Lag Classification

1

 Class 1

We have provided a comparison above against other models we have tested to give an indication between screens. Those shown with blue bars in the bottom half represent the total "display lag" as at the time of review we did not have access to an oscilloscope system to measure the response time element and provide an estimation of the signal processing. The screens tested more recently in the top half are split into two measurements which are based on our overall display lag tests (using SMTT) and half the average G2G response time, as measured by the oscilloscope. The response time is split from the overall display lag and shown on the graph as the green bar. From there, the signal processing (red bar) can be provided as a good estimation.

The Dell P2414H showed an average total display lag of only 5.5ms during the initial tests. This lag was very low overall, equating to less than half a frame. We measured half the average G2G response time as 4.45ms and so we can estimate that the signal processing is approximately 1.05ms. This represents a very low lag and means the screen should be perfectly fine, even for fast FPS gaming.
 

For more information about the SMTT 2.0 tool, or to purchase a copy please visit:

http://smtt.thomasthiemann.com/index_en.html


Movies and Video

The following summarises the screens performance in video applications:

  • 23.8" screen size makes it a reasonable option for an all-in-one multimedia screen, but being quite a bit smaller than most modern LCD TV's of course.

  • 16:9 aspect ratio is more well suited to videos than a 16:10 format screen, leaving smaller borders on DVD's and wide screen content at the top and bottom.

  • 1920 x 1080 resolution can support full 1080 HD resolution content

  • Digital interface support HDCP for any encrypted and protected content

  • DVI, VGA and DisplayPort connections available, so maybe some limited connectivity choices for modern DVD players, Blu-ray, consoles etc. It's a shame HDMI wasn't included as an additional option.

  • Cables provided in the box for VGA and DisplayPort, but not DVI.

  • Light AG coating a positive change providing clean and clear images, without the unwanted reflections of a glossy solution.

  • Wide brightness range adjustment possible from the display, including high maximum luminance of ~267 cd/m2 and a good minimum luminance of ~53 cd/m2. This should afford you very good control for different lighting conditions. Contrast ratio remains stable across that adjustment range as well, and the backlight does not use PWM and remains flicker-free as a result.

  • Black depth and contrast ratio are excellent for an IPS panel at 1010:1 after calibration. Detail in darker scenes should not be lost as a result, and shadow detail should be good.

  • Dynamic contrast ratio is available on this model but does nothing in real use really.

  • There is a specific 'movie' preset mode available for movies or video if you want but it is much cooler than our calibrated custom mode. May be useful to some though.

  • Good pixel responsiveness which should still be able to handle fast moving scenes in movies without issue. No overshoot issues which is pleasing.

  • Wide viewing angles thanks to IPS panel technology meaning several people could view the screen at once comfortable and from a whole host of different angles. IPS glow is also minimal meaning you won't see annoying white glows on darker content from an angle.

  • Very good and easy to use range of ergonomic adjustments available from the stand, so should be easy to obtain a comfortable position for multiple users or if you want to sit further away from the screen for movie viewing.

  • No particularly noticeable backlight leakage, and none from the edges which is good. This type of leakage may prove an issue when watching movies where black borders are present but it is not a problem here.

  • No integrated stereo speakers on this model but it is compatible with Dell's SoundBar if you want.

  • Moderate range of hardware aspect ratio options with 16:9, 5:4 and 4:3 modes available which should be fine for most uses.

  • Picture in picture (PiP) and Picture By Picture (PbP) are not available.

  • For PAL sources, we have tested the screen and confirmed it will support the full native resolution of 1920 x 1080 at 50Hz refresh rate.
     


Conclusion

The Dell P2414H was a positive upgrade to the P series of screens. The move to the very popular IPS panel technology is a great move by Dell, and it can now offer some excellent all-round performance as a result. The technology brings wider viewing angles and more stable colours compared with alternative TN Film panels which have been used before. Readers will also be pleased that the move to IPS has not cut any corners, and the AG coating is nice and light and not overly grainy like older generations. The use of a flicker free backlight is also a positive result which we're sure will attract potential buyers. Dell have also avoided cutting corners with the stand and connectivity on the most part, with a wide range of easy to use ergonomics available. The only things we would have liked to see included were an HDMI port and maybe USB 3.0 really.

It's nice to see Dell offer an updated "mainstream" IPS model in their range as well, since the U series have firmly positioned themselves as being more for semi-professional uses (and at a cost to boot). The use of a W-LED backlight is pleasing, providing a standard sRGB gamut which is more suitable for your average user. Out of the box setup was moderate, with white point being pretty good at least and the static contrast ratio being excellent for an IPS panel. Some tweaking will be needed to correct the gamma offset and colour accuracy but that's fairly normal. We were impressed by the static contrast ratio of this panel, which was excellent for IPS technology. It's a shame that the dynamic contrast ratio was useless in practice, that's something Dell need to sort out for future screens. We were also pleased that the so-called IPS glow was very minimal here, another pleasing sign for a modern IPS panel.

Response time was of course not as fast as gamer-orientated TN Film screens, but about as good as you can hope for from current IPS screens really. The panel provided low levels of blur and thankfully was free from the severe overshoot problems we'd seen from some other recent Dell screens (the new U series in particular). The lag was also very low, meaning that this screen is certainly capable of handling gaming as well very nicely.

The Dell P2414H currently retails for ~212 GBP (inc VAT) putting it at a very similar cost to the older U2412M (215). To be honest, this new model felt like a worthy replacement to the U2412M offering some noticeable performance improvements as well as positive changes like lighter AG coating and a flicker free backlight. The P2414H is certainly priced lower than the U2413 (412) as you might expect, and is very competitively priced compared with other 24" IPS models like the Asus PA248Q for instance (380). It's even very competitively priced against a lot of TN Film based models, making it an excellent choice in this size sector.

 

Pros

Cons

Very good all-round performance from IPS panel

Missing HDMI connection

Flicker free backlight, light AG coating and minimal IPS glow

DCR function is useless in practice

Decent responsiveness and very low lag for gaming

Maybe should have featured USB 3.0 instead of 2.0?

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Dell P2414H Now Available


 

 

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