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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Image Quality (Uniformity / Gamma)

Calibrated Settings

Please remember that the settings below have been calibrated for our specific environment, and your viewing conditions may differ from ours.

Mode: Custom Color
Brightness: 6%

All other settings left at standard defaults.

- All tests done at default settings at 120 cd/m2.
- Unless otherwise noted, the tests were carried out via DVI.

When it comes to entry-level monitors—especially in the sub-$250 category—we usually need to adjust our expectations downwards, so it is refreshing when such a step is unnecessary. Having a budget monitor outshine some downright expensive displays is our White Buffalo: it happens so rarely that when it does it has to be cherished—and maybe even stuffed and mounted. No one expects a $239 monitor to act like a $350 or $400 one, yet that is exactly what you can expect from the U2312HM: high performance without the high price tag.

With a 379.45 cd/m2 measured maximum brightness, the LED backlight can get extremely bright. Even at its default of 75% this monitor is capable of lighting up a room like a floodlight. We strongly recommend adjusting the brightness down into single digit numbers on the OSD and we found that a mere 6% output was enough to produce our comfortable gold standard of 120cd/m2. This really is the rare display that can impress budget-minded and “green” consumers, as well as professionals who demand high performance.

Panel Uniformity

In a perfect world, a screen’s brightness output would be equal throughout the entire panel. This is not a perfect world, but the lower the variation the less chances you will notice overly bright or dark sections on the screen. For the consumer LCD marketplace a variance of 10% is our gold standard, but anything below 15% can be considered excellent as we doubt anyone will notice a -7.5 to +7.5 variation. A variation above 15% but below 24% can be considered adequate, but anything above this does not meet our basic minimum standards.

If the U2312HM has one major weakness, it is its highly spotty panel uniformity. When compared against the 24” models, these results are poor. But when you consider that this is a smaller screen, these results go from merely bad to downright ugly since the variation is spread across such a limited amount of space. Hopefully, this is only an aberration with our particular sample and not a systemic issue with this line.

Gamma Performance

Gamma correction is one of the hardest terms to explain. However, for our purposes the gamma correction of any electronics device is how bright or dark an image will be displayed on a screen.

All PC devices now use 2.20 gamma as the default. Any variance from this will result in an image being either underexposed, which will create black crush and underexposed shadow detail, or washed out with too little black level detail (aka being over-exposed).

While 2.20 is the gold standard, a minor deviation of 0.10 will in all likelihood never be noticed by anyone other than professional photographers. Higher levels of deflection, however, will be noticed by just about everyone.

We doubt anyone would notice the difference between the default value of 2.16 and a 2.20 corrected value. It is always nice when out-of-the box performance is good enough to satisfy most consumers. If you feel the need for perfection, adjusting the gamma within Windows is a fairly simple fix that should not require the use of an expensive colorimeter.

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