Introduction and specifications
Hi everyone, hope you are all well and doing good. A few months back, I got a Dell S2240M and herein decide to write a review since Dell’s S series monitor lineup has proven itself to be very popular to the consumers. Before going into the details, I will briefly explain some of the terms and fields commonly used for monitors.
Resolution of a monitor is defined as the number of pixels in each coordinate, expressed in width(x) * height(y) with respect to pixels. Example: A resolution of 1024*768 means that there are 1024 pixels on the x axis and 768 pixels on the y axis. Higher is better in terms of productivity.
Aspect ratio in a monitor is defined as the ratio of its width to height calculated either with respect to number of pixels or physical lengths. Thus the aspect ratio of a 1024*768 would be (1024:768) = 4:3. The value is usually expressed in fraction to make the user aware of the physical dimensions of the monitor.
Contrast ratio are of two types: Static and Dynamic.
Dynamic contrast ratio is the ratio of the relative luminance that seems to appear to the human eye when watching normal images. For example, suppose a picture showing the bright Sun just shining(twilight) with the surrounding having dark scenes. The black level of those dark scenes will seem to be more black than if the picture of a dull moon was shown with most of the background black.
This is related to human eye image perception and contrast judgement and thus this type of contrast ratio “changes” according to the scenes displayed, hence the name “dynamic”. This value cannot be compared within two different manufacturers because their measuring methodology might be different as in type of image used, settings etc.
Response time is defined as the time taken for a pixel to change from one color to another i.e. the color transition time. Response time determines the measure of probable ghosting which can be noticeable in fast moving images especially in games and some movies. This value is usually expressed in some specific color transition times in milliseconds. Lower the time, faster the color change. So a lower value is better.
If you are a hardcore gamer, then you would want to make sure that you get a monitor with low response time to prevent ghosting.
Pixel pitch is the distance between two pixels either horizontally or vertically and measures how close one pixel is from another.
Viewing angle is the maximum angle in which the images on the screen can be seen without much appreciable color change. This is a very important aspect for a good display and is a measure of the color accuracy of the screen. You would like to have a screen with good viewing angles if you plan to enjoy your PC with your family or friends. It is expressed in angles horizontally and vertically. A viewing angle of 170 degree horizontal means the image on the screen can be seen without much distortion making 85 degree angle to the left and 85 degree angle to the right. Same goes for the vertical value in terms of top and down views.
This value is a measure of the screen luminance without the backlight expressed per unit area of the screen. In other words, it is luminous intensity of the transistors without the backlight per unit area. A higher value signifies a better quality display. Expressed in candela/m^2 (cd/m^2).
So that is the theory part. Here are the specifications of the monitor.
- Resolution: 1920*1080(Full HD)
- Screen size: 22 inches(diagonal)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1(Static) , 8 million:1
- Pixel pitch: 0.248mm
- Brightness: 250 cd/m^
- Viewing angle: 178 degree both horizontally and vertically
- Panel type: In Plane Switching(IPS)
- Backlight module: LED
There are mainly 3 types of panel used in monitors. TN(Twisted Nematic), IPS(In Plane Switching) and VA(Vertical Alignment). TN panel is known for limited viewing angles/limited color accuracy and fast response times. IPS panel is known for wide viewing angle and high color accuracy but slow response times. VA panel is known for exceptional contrast ratio(deeper blacks), fast response times but inferior viewing angles and color accuracy than IPS panel. You can read about these elsewhere.
Close ups and build quality
First of all, sorry for not including the unboxing and packaging section because I suddenly planned to write the review for this monitor. I will add it if someone I know buys the same model.
So this is how the monitor looks.
The monitor is a beauty to look at even when it is turned off. The screen is glare(hard coating 3H). So the screen is glossy. Glossy screens can cause problems in brightly lit environment but offers superior sharpness and contrast when compared to matte finish panels. Also, the bezel is very thin and is “virtually borderless” as Dell says in their website.
Here is the rear of the monitor. There is a stylish Dell logo which looks good. I was disappointed that this does not have provision for wall mount(VESA).
The port choices are DVI and VGA. Please note that the S2240″M” comes with VGA and DVI whereas the S2240″L” comes with VGA and HDMI. Both use the same panels. So this can also be considered as a review of the S2240L with respect to picture quality.
The monitor is slim and occupies a small foot print. We have seen better stand design though especially oval ones from Samsung, LG, BenQ etc. On the optimistic side, the stand is sturdy and the monitor stands rigidly.
The buttons are on the right side faced towards the rear. It is a good approach and enhances the aesthetics. You have to get used to the buttons because they are not marked except the power.
A calm white LED glows when the monitor is active. The light changes to amber when the monitor enters standby mode.
Build quality is quite good except near the borders where pressing the panel causes backlight bleed.
Real world performance
Here are some photos of the inbuilt menu interface: Pretty much self explanatory.
Color modes are given as preset. You can also customize Red, Green and Blue values by selecting “Custom color” mode.
Most of these settings are applicable for VGA interface.
Energy smart is a feature with which the monitor dynamically adjusts the backlight based on what is displayed on the screen. Like when the screen has a lot of dark scenes, the backlight is reduced. On the other hand, the backlight is increased when there are a lot of bright elements on the screen.
DDC/CI stands for Display Data Channel. It is a dedicated signal through the cable which lets the graphics card identify the monitor by its device and vendor ID and also receives some specifications of the monitor like maximum supported resolution, refresh rate etc.
LCD conditioning is needed when there is some image burn-in in the screen due to the same image displayed on the screen for a long time. You can think of this like your eyes also. If you stare at a bright light source for sometime, it appears as if the image is retained in the eye and then it slowly disappears. Same happens with LCD panels but sometimes, LCD conditioning needs to be done to minimize image burn-in.
Shortcuts for frequently used: You can change them as you need.
This is the secret factory menu and shows the offset values and gain. It also displays the total time the screen remained powered on.
And here is the real time performance:
There is negligible color shift in those angles as promised by the 178 degree viewing angle specification based on the IPS panel.
Only in the last picture taken from the top, the contrast is slightly lost and the black level also. Here is a different set of images:
Here also in the photos based on top and bottom color accuracy at an angle, the contrast is slightly lost and the black level is worsened. But note that the black level only gets worse in the diagonals. Here’s the reason:
So yes, that is some bad IPS bleed I am afraid. In real time bright pictures, it might not be noticeable to this extent but dark scenes will look bad. This phenomenon of IPS panel can be termed as IPS light bleed. Basically the diagonal viewing angles are not good.
From a distance, the problem will be reduced by quite an extent.
Black level is average for an IPS panel. The corners are lit up not due to backlight bleed but due to IPS light bleed as I explained above. Please note that backlight bleed is a kind of lottery for various monitors. Some have none and some have very annoying backight bleed. I seem to be on the lucky side so far.
So horizontal viewing angle is very good. Vertical viewing angles are okay but definitely much better than TN panels. Color accuracy is excellent.
About response time, this monitor has got a high response time of 7 ms with which some gamers might not be happy about. However in reality, it did not give much issues. But color transition from light blue to moderately dark green caused some ghosting which was visible while I was playing Medal of Honor Warfighter.
I hardly noticed any other issues.
- Wide viewing angles
- Rigid stand
- Premium looks
- Excellent color accuracy
- Good ergonomics
- Very good price to performance ratio
- Bad IPS bleed when viewing dark scenes from a diagonal angle
- No wall mount support
- 7 ms response time might make some gamers unhappy
Thanks for reading. Suggestions and feedbacks are warmly welcome. Do not hesitate to ask any questions you might have and I will try my best to answer.