Dell UltraSharp U2312HM, 23” Monitor Review

Author: AkG
Date: April 24, 2012
Product Name: UltraSharp U2312HM
Part Number: U2312HM
Warranty: 3 Years
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A Closer Look at the Dell U2312HM

Rather than jumping straight into the aesthetics of the Dell U2312HM, let’s first address the elephant in the room: its 16:9 format. Unlike any other IPS-based monitor we have reviewed, the U2312HM does not use a 16:10 aspect ratio but rather sports a 1080P 16:9 screen. Most serious professionals and computer enthusiasts prefer a 1920x1200 resolution over 1920x1080 as it usually means a sharper picture with a smaller dot pitch. In the case of the U2312HM, this is not an issue: it has exactly the same dot pitch as the U2412M, but you get 120 less vertical pixels, reducing the viewable image space.

For the same reason that some people opt for 27” displays instead of pricier 30” models, you may be willing to give up some vertical resolution to save almost a third of the cost. For many consumers—especially those already using 16:9 monitors—$239 is a lot easier to justify than $329. We may not be fans of the 16:9 form factor, but it’s hard to argue against cold hard cash savings.

Unless someone had told you beforehand that the U2312HM was priced like a “budget” TN monitor, you would be hard-pressed to ascertain this based solely upon its appearance or construction. The shape may be slightly different than that of its 24” sibling, but for all intents and purposes the U2312HM is a slightly smaller facsimile of the U2412M. It has the exact same black and silver color scheme and the same durable—if conservative—look about it.

The U2312HM is a bit chunky compared to most monitors in its price range, but this is largely due to the fact that the electronics inside IPS displays take up more room than their TN counterparts do. Nevertheless, the monitor’s footprint is relatively small, and its 23” form factor makes it easy enough to integrate into confined or cluttered spaces. You will have a hard time justifying a slim TN display from a footprint point of view, especially when you take into consideration that the slightly thicker dimensions will net you huge improvements in overall performance, color fidelity, and general usability.

A fringe benefit of the increased thickness is that unlike most TN monitors we have looked at recently, the U2312HM has room to accommodate side-mounted dual USB ports. Having USB connectivity on your monitor may not seem like such a big deal, but it can come in handy and suggests that Dell wants the U2312HM to be taken seriously in the professional market. Unfortunately, Dell does not include a card reader next to the USB ports and in order to gain this feature, you have to move two steps up the UltraSharp ladder to the U2410M. Considering the difference in price between this monitor and its more expensive brethren, the lack of a ten dollar USB 2.0 card reader is nothing to be overly concerned with.

The stand that accompanies the U2312HM goes a long way in compensating for the lack of a card reader. For all intents and purposes, this stand is a slightly smaller replica of the one that comes with the U2412M. This means the U2312HM has an exceptional range of movement and is simply in a different league when compared to any other sub-$250 monitor we have looked at. To be precise, it offers 45° of center-axis swing, 25° of tilt (from +4 to -21) and 130mm of height adjustment, as well as landscape- to portrait-mode rotation.

While a robust stand is nice, the feature we most like to see on any professional oriented monitor is physical buttons and this monitor delivers. As with the U2412M and P2412H, the buttons are laid out in a logical and convenient manner, which makes setup and configuration a lot easier and may even make it the most user-friendly “budget” monitor we have reviewed to date.

As you can see, the input options are very good for a monitor in its price class. They may not be as impressive as what the U2410M or Asus ProArt offer, but this isn’t really a fair comparison. In fact, the inputs on the U2312HM are identical to those of the U2412M: single DVI, DisplayPort, and VGA ports and another pair of USB 2.0 ports. HDMI is conspicuous by its absence, but that’s all that is missing.

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