Twitter: Stay up to date: @TFTCentral |    Forum: Discuss this review  | RSS Feed: Review Alerts


Introduction

Dell's UltraSharp range always attracts quite a lot of attention and they always seem to do a good job of updating their screens to offer buyers something a bit new and different each time they do. The latest 2014 range screen in a 24" size (actually 23.8") is the U2414H. The "U" signifies it is part of their UltraSharp range, and the "H" signifies it is a 16:9 aspect screen. This is a change from their previous 24" class monitors (U2412M and U2413) which have been 16:10 aspect ratio. What is particularly different about this new model is the design, and Dell have gone for an ultra-thin side bezel and are marketing this screen as being ideal for multi-screen setups. Its connectivity is geared at providing Daisy-chaining via the DisplayPort interfaces, and the ability to display your mobile phone screen on the display using the HDMI with MHL support.

Those seem to be the key messages Dell are promoting with the U2414H, but behind that they have kept some of the high end features which have made the U-series so popular over the years. The screen is again IPS based, using a modern AH-IPS panel from LG.Display. There are also some extras like USB 3.0 ports, touch-sensitive buttons and also a factory calibrated preset mode. It should be noted that unlike a lot of the other recent UltraSharp screens this model does not offer hardware calibration and is a standard gamut unit. It seems to be produced as a possible replacement for their U2412M model which is currently still available, and will surely run alongside the higher pro-grade UltraSharp screens with wide gamut, 10-bit support and hardware calibration (U2413). This is their more general, multimedia option for your average user. Dell also have a similar model in their P-series which is the P2414H we tested recently. Throughout the review we will try to make some comparisons between the two to help you understand the differences.

Dell's website states: "See your work in vivid Full HD detail with a 23.8" monitor that features the world’s thinnest border for nearly seamless viewing across multiple screens."


Dell U2414H 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

DisplayPort 1.2a, Mini DisplayPort, 2x HDMI (with MHL) and DisplayPort out

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 to Mini DP cable, USB cable, factory calibration report

Viewing Angles

178 / 178

Panel Technology

LG.Display AH-IPS

Weight

monitor without stand: 3.61Kg

Backlight Technology

W-LED

Physical Dimensions

(WxHxD with stand max height)
539.1 x 485.8 x 185.0 mm

Colour Depth

16.7m (6-bit+FRC)

Refresh Rate

60Hz

Special Features

4x USB 3.0 ports, DisplayPort out, audio out, factory calibration

Colour Gamut

Standard gamut
96% sRGB, 72% NTSC

The Dell U2414H offers a reasonable set of connectivity options for modern uses although we were a little disappointed to be honest. There are DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort and 2x HDMI provided for video interfaces. The HDMI interfaces support MHL as well. The problem is though Dell have completely omitted DVI and VGA from this model. Sure, you can use a DVI to HDMI cable if you want, and most modern graphics cards have either a DisplayPort of HDMI output (or both), but we would still have liked to have seen DVI and VGA offered. This is particularly important for people with older systems which perhaps don't have DP or HDMI and don't want to have to spend extra on a conversion cable. The only video cable provided in the box is a DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable incidentally. On top of this we did find the DisplayPort input to be incredibly fussy. We had a great deal of difficulty getting a laptop connected over DP, when normally on every other screen it's just a simple case of plugging it in and it automatically detecting the appropriate resolution and refresh rate. With the U2414H it seemed to occasionally work, but quite often the screen would inexplicably just show "entering power saving mode" or worse still seem to make the graphics card driver crash when it tried to use DisplayPort. We're not sure what was causing this, but it's the first screen we've used which gave us these kind of issues. From our normal testing PC the DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort seemed to work fine thankfully. Had the screen featured VGA we could have avoided those issues with the laptop hopefully. One other issue was that the DisplayPort connections didn't seem to detect a signal if your PC was waking up from sleep, so you'd have to unplug and re-plug the cable sometimes to get the screen to display anything again. Alternatively you can power the screen fully off and on again via the power button which allows it to redetect the input again.

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 3.0 hub as well on this model. 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. It would have been better if this was on the side of the screen really we felt. The ports are at least the latest USB 3.0 generation which is good. 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. Click for larger version


Above: front views of the screen. Click for larger versions

The U2414H comes in a black and silver design. The front bezel of the screen is a matte black plastic and provides a very thin outer edge to the screen. The actual plastic measures only 1mm along the sides and top, and the bottom bezel is a modest 15mm as well. Before people get too excited about the 1mm outer bezel, there is also a ~5mm wide "inner bezel" to the panel before the actual image starts. All in all, it's still only a 6.05mm edge (specified by Dell in fact) around the image which looks very nice in practice and should be very good for multi-screen setups.

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 touch-sensitive OSD control buttons and also a touch-sensitive power on/off button. There is a small LED light underneath the power button which glows white during normal operation. Unlike some of the other UltraSharp screens we've seen the OSD control buttons don't light up at all on the front of the bezel to identify themselves, so you have to actually press the small grey circle to operate the control.


Above: view of the stand and base. Click for larger version

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. From the side the screen offers a pretty thin profile thanks to the use of W-LED backlighting. 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. 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).


The screen provides a full range of ergonomic adjustments from the stand which is good to see. It can also be easily detached so you can wall or arm-mount the screen (VESA 100mm).

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

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 in the downwards movement, 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 40mm from the edge of the desk. At the maximum setting it is ~170mm, 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.


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

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 DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, DisplayPort out (for daisy chaining), 2x HDMI, audio output, USB upstream and 3x USB 3.0 downstream.


Above: view of rear USB 3.0 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 for easier access.

 



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 touch-sensitive buttons on the lower right hand edge of the front bezel. There are 4 small dark grey circles on the front bezel to mark where the controls are. On other UltraSharp models of recent years these would light up when you hover your finger near them or use them, but on the U2414H they don't. There is also a touch-sensitive power button which has a small rectangular LED beneath it which glows white during operation and pulsates on and off (white) during standby.

Pressing any of the four buttons pops up a quick access menu as shown above. This looks a bit different to the quick access menus we've seen on other recent Dell OSD software. There are quick access options to get to the preset modes and the brightness/contrast controls by default. Note that we've actually changed the preset quick launch in the photo above to instead offer access to the input selection. These can be customised within the main OSD menu if you would prefer quick access to other settings as well.

    

As an example of what the quick launch option looks like when selected, the brightness and contrast quick access menu is shown above.

The main OSD menu is split into 8 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 preset mode options are shown above as well for reference.

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 touch-sensitive controls worked well. No complaints here.



Power Consumption

In terms of power consumption the manufacturer lists 16W typical usage during operation and <0.5W in standby. (*) The spec also lists maximum power consumption of 74W 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%)

16.0

21.3

Calibrated (35%)

-

14.4

Maximum Brightness (100%)

74.0*

24.3

Minimum Brightness (0%)

-

8.1

Standby

<0.5

1.4

We tested this ourselves and found that out of the box the screen used 21.3W at the default 75% brightness setting. At maximum brightness the screen used 24.3W of power, but that was without Dell's SoundBar connected or anything being powered on USB. Once calibrated the screen reached 14.4W consumption, and in standby it used only 1.4W. 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

LM238WF2-SSA1

Colour space

Standard gamut

Backlighting Type

W-LED

Colour space coverage (%)

96% sRGB, 72% NTSC

Panel Part and Colour Depth

The Dell U2414H utilises an LG.Display LM238WF2-SSA1 AH-IPS panel which is capable of producing 16.7 million colours. This is achieved 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 and is slightly different to that used in the P2414H model (LM238WF1-SLA3):

Screen Coating

The screen coating on the U2414H 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. It's not a full semi-glossy appearance like some screens but it is nice and light.

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 U2414H 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 (96% coverage according to Dell's specs), and 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. Note that the P2414H model was also flicker free which is good news.

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.

 


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

241.60

0.26

929

90

224.60

0.25

898

80

207.70

0.23

903

70

188.23

0.21

896

60

167.21

0.18

929

50

145.90

0.16

912

40

124.13

0.14

887

30

102.25

0.11

930

20

79.29

0.09

881

10

56.04

0.06

934

0

32.11

0.04

803

 

Total Luminance Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

209.49

Brightness OSD setting controls backlight?

Total Black Point Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

0.22

Average Static Contrast Ratio

900:1

PWM Free? 

Recommended OSD setting for 120 cd/m2

38

The brightness control gave us a very good range of adjustment. At the top end the maximum luminance reached 242 cd/m2 which was only slightly lower than the specified maximum brightness of 250 cd/m2 by the manufacturer. There was a 209 cd/m2 adjustment range in total, and so at the minimum setting you could reach down to a luminance of 32 cd/m2. This should be more than adequate for those wanting to work in darkened room conditions with low ambient light. A setting of ~38 in the OSD menu should return you a luminance of around 120 cd/m2 at default settings.

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 was pretty much a linear relationship as you can see from the shape of the graph. 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 U2414H is flicker free.

The average contrast ratio of the screen was 900:1 and it remained reasonably stable across the brightness adjustment range as shown above with some variation at the lower adjustment range.



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

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before we get into this section we need to make an important note about use of the HDMI port if you choose to use that for connectivity. The screen features a couple of options you can use, including DisplayPort and HDMI. If you have an NVIDIA graphics card and want to use the HDMI at all you need to make a change to your graphics card settings to display the optimum picture. This is because by default the output range over HDMI is limited by the graphics card, and it can greatly limit the picture quality and in particular the black range and contrast ratio. In fact when speaking to our friends over at PCmonitors.info they said they had experienced the same issue using DisplayPort on this screen. If the image looks washed out or odd, we would suggest checking the graphics card output first or trying a different connection if you can. We didn't experience any issues with the RGB output when using an AMD graphics card and DisplayPort incidentally.

When connected via HDMI on an NVIDIA graphics card the screen by default will not look right, and the black range in particular is poor. A change is needed via your graphics card to ensure a full 0 - 255 output when using HDMI, rather than it being limited to a smaller output range of 16 - 235. A similar change might be required when using an AMD graphics card but the setting is built into their graphics card drivers. For NVIDIA cards the simplest way to ensure a full output range over HDMI is to use the handy toggle utility available here. If you run the program you can select a full 0- 255 range quickly and easily.

Default settings of the screen were as follows:

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

75

Contrast

75

Preset mode

Standard

RGB

n/a


Dell U2414H - Default Factory Settings

 

 

 

Default Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

208

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.23

Contrast Ratio

908:1

 

Out of the box the screen looked pretty good to the naked eye. Colours felt even and well balanced, and although the brightness was a bit harsh, it was not too bright 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 2.3 average, leaving it a little out with an 5% deviance from the target of 2.2. White point was measured at 6549k leaving it a small 1% out from our target of 6500k which was very pleasing. 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 208 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 0.23 cd/m2 at this default brightness setting, giving us a very good (for an IPS panel) static contrast ratio of 908:1. Colour accuracy was reasonable too out of the box with a default dE of 2.3, and maximum of 4.8. 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 and we hoped for even more from the factory calibrated sRGB preset.

 

 

 

Factory Calibration

 

 

The Dell U2414H comes factory calibrated to some extent, and the box even includes a calibration report from Dell specific to the unit you have. It states that every unit is shipped incorporating a pre-tuned sRGB mode which offers an average DeltaE of <4 and fine-tuned grey scale tracking. We've included a copy of the calibration report from the Dell factory below for you to review. Note that this report is only relevant to our specific test unit and they do state that results may vary with each setup and different test equipment.

 

We were interested to see if this factory calibration helped at all with default settings. Note that this is only relevant for the sRGB preset mode available through the OSD menu. You will need to change from the default 'Standard' profile to benefit from these factory calibrated settings.
 


Dell U2414H - Factory Calibration, sRGB mode

  
 

 

Default Factory Calibration, sRGB

luminance (cd/m2)

216

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.27

Contrast Ratio

798:1

 

The factory calibration of the sRGB preset mode made some improvements over the standard mode. Gamma was now very close to the 2.2 target, with a small 1% deviance overall. The white point remained within 1%, now being measured at 6404k. Luminance was too high still while the monitor was at its default 75% brightness setting, and unfortunately the contrast ratio had dropped a little here to 798:1. Still respectable for an IPS panel though. The colour accuracy had improved nicely here with an average dE of 1.5 now (max 3.3). Gradients remained smooth and free from banding and overall this represented a decent factory setup which we were pleased by. This means that even those without a hardware calibration device should be able to obtain a reliable setup, even for semi colour critical work. It's nice to see a decent factory calibration as not everyone has access to calibrate their screen independently. This is certainly a distinguishing feature as compared with the P2414H model which does not come with any factory calibration and has a less reliable default setup as well.

 


 

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

35

Contrast

75

Preset mode

Custom Color

RGB

99, 92, 98


Dell U2414H- Calibrated Settings

  
 

 

Calibrated Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

121

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.12

Contrast Ratio

970:1

 

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. We left the  LaCie software to calibrate to "max" brightness which would just retain the luminance of whatever brightness we'd set the screen to, and would not in any way try and alter the luminance at the graphics card level, which can reduce contrast ratio. These adjustments before profiling the screen 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 5% deviance we'd found out of the box which was good. The white point was also corrected to 6484k, correcting the minor 1% deviance we'd seen out of the box. 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 an excellent (for an IPS panel) static contrast ratio of 970:1. This was actually a little higher than we'd seen in the default 'standard' preset, where RGB levels are set at a pre-defined level. In the 'custom' mode we were setting the RGB levels ourselves and so the contrast ratio was a little higher. Colour accuracy had been corrected nicely also, with dE average of 0.5 and maximum of 1.6. LaCie would consider colour fidelity to be excellent.

 

Testing the screen with various colour gradients showed smooth transitions. There was some slight gradation in darker tones but no banding was introduced which can often happen where adjustments are made 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 good overall, and should be fine for most casual users. There was only a minor deviance in the desired gamma, with an 5% error which was probably the main issue with the default setup. The white point was very close to the desired 6500k (1% out) which was good, and colour accuracy was not bad at 2.3 average dE. The factory calibrated sRGB mode was even closer to the desired settings (1% gamma and 1% white point deviance, dE average of 1.5) and was pleasing.

 

 

 

The panel did well in terms of black depth and contrast ratio for an IPS matrix, with a calibrated contrast ratio of 970:1 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. Some, like the Eizo Foris FG2421's MVA panel reached even higher up to 4845:1. 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. It was very comparable in fact to the Dell P2414H (1010:1) and P2714H (1065:1) which was great news. The default contrast ratio in the 'standard' preset was a bit lower than this (908:1) and the factory calibrated sRGB mode was even lower (798:1). However, if you are able to calibrate the screen or use our recommended settings in the 'custom color' mode, you can get an even better contrast ratio close to the advertised 1000:1.

 

 


Dynamic Contrast

The Dell U2414H 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

753:1

792:1

Max luminance (cd/m2)

202.60

213.06

Min Black Point (cd/m2)

0.25

0.25

Max Dynamic Contrast Ratio

810:1

852:1

Useable DCR in practice

Slightly

Slightly

Backlight turned off for 100% black

Yes

Yes

We tested the DCR feature in both of the preset modes. By default both preset modes gave us a static contrast ratio which was quite a bit lower than that which we'd measured in the standard default preset mode (908:1). This was the first issue really with using these modes, having to settle for a slightly lower static contrast ratio. With DCR enabled the brightness of the screen was very high at 202 - 213 cd/m2. The DCR seemed to do only a little when switching between an almost all-white and almost all-black screen and you could see the energy meter in the OSD menu very quickly change from maximum to 3 bars lower. This took less than a second to change so the transition was very fast. This resulted in a slight extension of the contrast ratio, up to 810 - 852:1. This was of course nowhere near the advertised 2 million:1 figure.

If you switch to a 100% black image, the backlight does dim further and you can see the energy bar drops all the way to 1 bar. This takes around 3 seconds to change from full power to 1 bar so again is fairly speedy. The transitions were smooth though. After 10 seconds the backlight was 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. In practice the actual useable DCR was not really worth trying to use.

 


Viewing Angles


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

Viewing angles of the U2414H 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, much like we'd seen from the P2414H as well in fact, 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 U2414H Now Available



Panel Uniformity

We wanted to test here how uniform the brightness was across the screen, as well as identify any leakage from the backlight in dark lighting conditions. Measurements of the luminance  were taken at 35 points across the panel on a pure white background. The measurements 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. 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 very good overall. There were some small deviances in the four corners of the screen, where the luminance dropped by -15.24% at a maximum, compared with the centre of the screen. The lower edge of the screen seemed to be slightly darker than the upper portion. Around 86% of the screen was within a 10% deviance of the central point which was good.


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 clouding in the bottom left and top right 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 good in terms of white point and the balance of colours, but gamma was a bit off. The contrast ratio was very good out of the box for an IPS panel at 908:1 which was pleasing. After calibration we had improved contrast ratio even more to 970:1. For those without access to a hardware calibration device the screen provides a well set up sRGB factory calibrated mode as well, with good gamma, white point and colour accuracy. The contras ratio was a little lower (798:1) in this mode but still perfectly adequate. This factory calibration was very good and should be used by those looking for higher levels of accuracy where they cannot accurately calibrate the screen themselves.

The brightness range of the screen was also very good, with the ability to offer a luminance between 242 and 32 cd/m2. This should mean the screen is perfectly useable in a wide variety of ambient light conditions, including darkened rooms. A setting of ~38 in the OSD brightness control should return you a luminance close to 120 cd/m2. On another positive note, the brightness regulation is controlled 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 'paper' preset mode available from the menu which may be useful if you want to set up the screen for different uses perhaps and made the image more yellow. There are only 2x HDMI and 2x DisplayPort connections (1 regular, 1 mini) here so connectivity could be considered a little limited for some systems. We would have liked to have seen DVI and VGA provided as many graphics cards still rely on these options and no one wants to have to go and fork out for an adapter cable really. As we explained earlier on in the review we did find the DisplayPort was quite fussy, particularly with certain systems. Some users have reported random screen shut-offs as well, although we didn't experience anything like that. If in doubt, try the provided cable if you can.

The screen offers 4x USB 3.0 ports which can be useful and it was nice to keep this up to date with the modern version. 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. Perhaps one of the biggest draws for the U2414H is its ultra-thin bezel and narrow edges. This makes it potentially a great screen for multi-monitor setups and we liked the design of the new screen.

 
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 pretty clear, with minimal blurring introduced. 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

Quoted G2G Response Time

8ms G2G

Quoted ISO Response Time

n/a

Panel Manufacturer and Technology

LG.Display AH-IPS

Panel Part

LM238WF2-SSA1

Overdrive Used

Yes

Overdrive Control Available to User

No

Overdrive Settings

n/a

The U2414H 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 LM238WF2-SSA1 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 9.6ms G2G average, as compared with the fall times (8.3ms 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 between two very similar shades, more so if that transitions was getting slightly darker. The 8.3 - 9.4% 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 U2414H.


Transition: 200-255-200
(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 9.4% on the fall time.


Transition: 100-150-100
(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. The rise and fall times are also of a similar length.

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 U2414H performed much like the other IPS panels we have tested and in fact was very close overall to the P2414H model. It also 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 U2414H 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 U2414H 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. The response time of the U2414H seemed to be about as good as you can get at the moment from an IPS panel, without introducing a large amount of overshoot by pushing the response time too much with overdrive.

 

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 U2414H 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. Of course you do need to keep in mind this is an IPS panel, and so does not feel as snappy as a fast TN Film panel, and cannot offer the response time of that panel technology either. Other limiting factors also come into play including the refresh rate (limited to 60Hz here) and motion blur as a result of eye-tracking and the way LCD monitors operate. For an IPS panel at 60Hz it is a decent result though.


23.8" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


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 U2414H first of all against 4 of Dell's other 23 - 24" screens we have tested, including the similar P2414H model. In practice the U2414H and P2414H perform identically, and this is also backed up by our more precise oscilloscope measurements in the previous section. While the other three models showed low levels of motion blur, comparable to the U2414H and 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 aggressively. As a result, the U2414H and 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 U2414H 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 U2414H, 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. 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 U2414H above against 3 popular 27" high res screens we have tested. The very popular Dell U2713HM performed very similarly to the U2414H 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 U2414H 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)


23.5" 4ms G2G Sharp MVA + 120Hz

We've also included a comparison above against 3 very fast 120Hz+ compatible screens we have tested. The other screens shown here are all aimed primarily at gamers and have various features and extras which make them more suitable overall for gaming. Firstly there is a comparison against the Asus VG278HE with its 144Hz refresh rate and fast response time TN Film panel. 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 with another very fast TN Film panel and 120Hz refresh rate. This showed very low levels of motion blur, but some dark overshoot was introduced as a side-effect. Lastly there is the MVA based Eizo FG2421 screen with a fast response time (especially for the panel technology being used) and 120Hz refresh rate support. There is also an additional 'Turbo 240' motion blur reduction mode which really helps reduce the perceived motion blur in practice.

While these pixel response tests from PixPerAn 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 gaming 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. Any additional extras to reduce perceived motion blur can also have a real benefit in practical terms, and again not easy to pick out with this camera method.


The responsiveness of the Dell U2414H 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, or perhaps something like the Eizo FG2421. Even better still would be models equipped with LightBoost systems or other motion blur reduction backlights 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)

4.0

Pixel Response Time Element

4.45

Estimated Signal Processing Lag

~0.0

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 U2414H showed an average total display lag of only 4.0ms during the initial tests. This lag was very low overall, equating to a quarter of a frame. We measured half the average G2G response time as 4.45ms and so we can estimate that the signal processing is basically nothing. There will be some minimal margin for error in this as taking half the G2G response time is a close estimation of the pixel response time element. Regardless, the signal processing lag is incredibly low, much like we'd seen on the P2414H (there estimated at 1.05ms) and P2714H (0.95ms). From a lag point of view this means the screen should be perfectly fine, even for fast FPS gaming.

For more information about the SMTT 2.0 tool, 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

  • 2x HDMI and 2x DisplayPort (one regular, one mini) connections available, so good choices for modern DVD players, Blu-ray, consoles etc. Good to see HDMI included here, unlike on the P2414H model.

  • Cables provided in the box for DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort only, no HDMI cables.

  • 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 ~242 cd/m2 and a good minimum luminance of ~32 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 very good for an IPS panel at 970:1 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.

  • 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 and has a lower static contrast ratio too. 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 as much 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.



Conclusion

The Dell U2414H was an impressive screen and it seemed Dell have done a great job in offering a strong all-round performer. We liked the new design and ultra-thin bezel which gave the whole display a sleek and modern feel. The versatile stand, USB 3.0 connections and touch-sensitive buttons added to the premium feel as well showing that it's not just the expensive pro-grade screens which can offer the high end features. We were a bit disappointed by the connectivity options. As nice as it is to have 2x DisplayPort and 2x HDMI (with MHL), we missed DVI and VGA and suspect that some people with older systems may be put off by the lack of those options. Had Dell provided some conversion cables in the box (DVI > HDMI for instance) it might have been better but it did feel like the U2414H was getting a bit ahead of itself perhaps with providing modern connectivity only.

Performance wise the IPS panel again offered some great all round performance. Default setup was good out of the box, and the factory calibrated mode provided an even better setup which is a welcome extra for those who don't have the means to calibrate the screen themselves. Contrast ratio was strong for an IPS panel as well, and the brightness range was very wide. The flicker-free backlight was obviously very welcome and we were pleased with the light AG coating and the pretty minimal IPS glow as well. Response times were about as good as you can get from an IPS panel at the moment without introducing a lot of overshoot and this made the U2414H a decent IPS option for gaming, especially when you consider the incredibly low / non existent signal processing lag as well. To be honest there isn't much we have to say negatively about the U2414H, apart from the usual pointless DCR function.

An obvious question is whether the U2414H is better or not than the P2414H model? The U2414H currently retails for £201.60 GBP (inc VAT) whereas the P2414H is slightly cheaper at £174.00. The main differences you need to consider are:

  1. The connectivity options - the U2414H has 2x DisplayPort and 2x HDMI (with MHL) whereas the P2414H has DVI, VGA and 1x DisplayPort. You need to establish which is more suitable for your needs. The U2414H's HDMI is an added bonus for external games consoles and DVD/Blu-Ray players. The U2414H also has USB 3.0 whereas the P2414H has older USB 2.0 ports only.

  2. Design - the U2414H has the ultra-thin bezel design so may be more suited for multi-screen setups. It also has touch-sensitive buttons if that it important to you.

  3. Performance - overall, both are very comparable. The U2414H has a better default setup and the additional factory calibration brings about some extra accuracy. If you're doing more colour critical work and don't have a calibration device the U2414H has the edge. Other aspects like contrast ratio, response time, lag, viewing angles etc are very similar between the two models. Both have a light AG coating, flicker-free backlight and low levels of IPS glow.

So really the additional cost is for the different connections, USB 3.0 ports, a few design changes and the factory calibration and improved accuracy. Both are very good screens and really are well priced if you compare them to other 24" IPS offerings.
 

Pros

Cons

Good factory calibration and great all-round performance

Missing DVI and VGA connections, may be limited for some

Flicker-free backlight, light AG coating and minimal IPS glow

DCR function is useless in practice

Decent responsiveness and very low lag for gaming

Reduced contrast ratio in the factory calibrated mode (not much though)

If you have enjoyed this review and found it useful, please consider making a small donation to the site.


 

TFT Central Awards Explained

We have two award classifications as part of our reviews. There's the top 'Recommended' award, where a monitor is excellent and highly recommended by us. There is also an 'Approved' award for a very good screen which may not be perfect, but is still a very good display. These awards won't be given out every time, but look out for the logo at the bottom of the conclusion. A list of monitors which have won our awards is available here.

 

 

Back to Top

 

Sections
______
 

Reviews

Articles

News

Forum

Buying Support

___________

 

TFT Selector

Specifications Explained

Terms and Functions

Technologies

Frequently Asked Questions

Resources

_______

 

Panel Search Tool
Settings and ICC Profiles Database

Monitor Panel Parts Database

Laptop Panel Parts Database

Links

About

_____

 

Contact

Donations

Store

Advertise

 


    © Copyright, TFT Central.                 Privacy Policy and Cookies

 

     Search TFT Central