Dell’s UltraSharp 2408WFP: A tale of woe

The story begins one lovely spring day, with me deciding to invest in a bigger display to freshen up my aging ViewSonic vx2025wm and LG L1730B dual-monitor setup. I could definitely use the extra screen real estate, I told myself, and a display with richer connectivity options would finally allow me to purchase and use a Nintendo Wii. (Yes, I’m one of those hippies who doesn’t own a television.) What better display to purchase than one of Dell’s latest and greatest high-end UltraSharp offerings, praised so highly by so many in the enthusiast community?

After some research and a look at several very positive reviews (as well as some less positive but still encouraging user reviews), I bit the bullet and ordered an UltraSharp 2408WFP—the crown jewel of Dell’s 24" monitor series and one of the only newer Dell displays without a low-quality TN panel. The monitor was on sale for €641, down from its regular price of €801, and Dell’s zero-bright-pixel guarantee made it doubly tantalizing. I was thrilled.

I received the monitor on Wednesday. After barely two days of use, I called Dell and asked for a full refund. The display is sitting in its cardboard box as I write this, and UPS is coming to pick it up on Monday.

What went wrong? Initially, I was pretty pleased with my purchase. No dead pixels, stunning brightness, a very solid and good-looking external design (I’m a fan of the V-shaped metallic stand), and an apparently splendid picture. I say "apparently" because little problems quickly started piling up in that area. First, there was the display’s input lag. I had read about it in forum threads and thought people were exaggerating, but it turned out they weren’t. Moving the mouse around the monitor felt a little laggy, like I was using a cheap wireless mouse. The same happened when I typed quickly—characters took longer than usual to appear on the screen, which was a little unsettling. Determined not to let that little quirk ruin the experience, I shrugged it off and tried to get used to it.

Then, I began to notice other problems. The image was excessively sharp, which made text look aliased and turned ClearType’s normally subtle sub-pixel hinting into colored blotches around some characters. Attempting to set the sharpness in the OSD gave me two options: 50%—the default—and 25%—far too blurry. I also noticed that the left half of the display was somehow brighter and redder than the right half. Displaying a dark grey image, the entire left third of the picture looked completely washed out, and on a white image, the same area looked slightly pink. This wasn’t typical backlight bleeding, because it didn’t show up at all on a completely black image. That issue became bothersome in everything from web browsing to gaming, but like the excessive sharpness and lag, I thought I’d forget about it eventually. After all, no display is entirely perfect, right?

Unfortunately, the problems just kept on coming. A few hours later, I became frustrated with the display’s color rendering. The default "Desktop" preset just looked awful, with bluish whites and hideously oversaturated colors. Moving to the "sRGB" preset turned the saturation too far down, so browns and blues looked grey-ish. My next step was to customize the red, green, and blue settings myself, and I actually came up with something half-way decent. However, colors were still oversaturated, no matter how much I played with the contrast and color settings. I thought the over-saturation might be a subjective side-effect of using older monitors for so long, but skin tones in photos looked overly flushed, greens in pictures of vegetation looked almost fluorescent, and reds felt like they were searing off my retinas.

While fighting with the OSD to fix the saturation problems, I came across yet another problem (no, really). At certain brightness levels, the display hums. Loudly. The hum gets loudest around the 40% setting, and you have to turn up the brightness to around 60% to completely get rid of it. I make a point to keep my PC as quiet as possible, so having a display actually generate more noise is frustrating, to say the least.

Putting all the annoying issues together, I eventually had to admit that this monitor was no good and return it. Before calling Dell, I hit a few Internet forums, including Dell’s own support message board, to see if other users were as unlucky as I. With dismay, I learned that they indeed were—the input lag, pink tinge, washout, and over-saturated colors seemed standard fare, and I saw multiple reports of users returning one monitor and getting another one with the exact same problems. Clearly, either this display has some serious design flaws, or it has very widespread quality control issues.

Those issues are so widespread that one Dell forum moderator actually advised a user to wait for the A01 revision of the 2408WFP to come out before returning his monitor. I contemplated doing the same, but €641 is a lot to pay for the privilege of effectively beta-testing an immature product. I could also invest in calibration equipment to fix the color issues, but come on—I shouldn’t have to purchase yet another piece of equipment to make an expensive display usable. My 20.1" Viewsonic vx2025wm looked just right out of the box, and it cost around €400 two years ago. In fact, aside from the notably darker picture, it still seems to have better overall image quality than the Dell.

All in all, this experience has left me quite disillusioned. Dell monitors are supposed to be the among the best in the consumer market, and everything about this particular model was excellent—reviews on major sites, the warranty, the build quality, the connectivity, and the little extras like the USB hub and SD/CF card reader. Yet the panel looked so obviously sub-par to me that I’m left to wonder just what happened in Dell’s quality control labs and what product those professional reviewers actually got.

Even more disappointing is the fact that I now don’t know where to look for a good 24" display. BenQ’s FP241W seems to have solid street cred, but it’s expensive, and BenQ seems to be discontinuing it. Samsung’s SyncMaster 245T also gets rave reviews, but it costs well over €800 here, and I’ve seen reports that suggest it has the same panel as the 2408WFP. Besides, neither of those manufacturers offer the same warranty as Dell with respect to stuck pixels. I may simply end up waiting for the A01 and A02 revision of the 2408WFP and checking forums to see if Dell irons out the issues, but I’m wary of getting another substandard product.

Comments closed
    • pixel_junkie
    • 12 years ago

    I own a 2408WFP and i have to agree that the colors on this screen are well over saturated. The reds (depending on the hue) do sear the retinas beyond comparison. Other than that I haven’t had issues with any of the other items listed. I have noticed some input lag, yes. But only when running Office 2k7. Everything else seems to respond just fine (at least for what I do). I’m not the fastest typist, but at 70wpm I think I would notice something. My color perception isn’t the best (thankfully I don’t work in the graphics industry ;•) so I can live with that. I haven’t detected any sort of hum when adjusting the brightness.

    In all fairness AbRASiON, this really IS my first flat panel display coming off of 8 years of CRT use so my glasses may be of a particular rose color, but so far I love this display (with the exception of the reds). I haven’t had the finances nor the resources to really do any sort of head to head comparisons, making this a good display for me all around.

    Having read all this I don’t know if I would further recommend this display to anyone else. I’m bound to do some more testing and reading to see if this monitor really fits my bill, but I have to say that so far I’m happy.

    HOORJ for rose colored glasses :•)

    Thanks for the review Cyril

    • d0g_p00p
    • 12 years ago

    Man that sucks. I have the old UltraSharp 2005FPW and love it. I was looking at the 24″ series and I hated the new stand. I like the oval stand on the old models and that made me look at something other than Dell. I ended up with the Samsung. I guess I am lucky because I have yet to have any of the issues you had.

    That sucks though, I know how excited I was when I purchased both of my widescreen displays. If I had to return them I would be extra depressed.

      • pixel_junkie
      • 12 years ago

      I understand that aesthetics account for some part of a purchase. But the stand? Is what made you look elsewhere? OK, fair enough. I guess I just spend more time looking at the display than the stand, but whatever floats your boat :•)

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 12 years ago

      Yeah, the stand is pure crap. I actually broke my screen because it just doesn’t hold as well. I much prefer the stand on my 2005fpw to that on my 2407. They’re not interchangeable though, unfortunately.

    • Joel H.
    • 12 years ago

    I love my Samsung 245T. No complaints at all, and none of the issues you discuss.

    • NeRve
    • 12 years ago

    Geez you guys are too picky – I’d be damn happy with a 2408wfp….

    • lhav
    • 12 years ago

    AnandTech recent 24″ LCD roundup review has awarded Dell 2408WFP a silver and achieve best overall performance apart form the minor msecond input lag…

    • A_Pickle
    • 12 years ago

    Get a Samsung or an HP display. They’re excellent quality, and the only difference is that the HP displays will be glossy versus the matte-ness of the Samsungs.

    • deruberhanyok
    • 12 years ago

    New display issues are a bummer, Cyril.

    Have you considered a 32″ 1080p LCD TV for use as your display? I’ve just done this about three weeks ago and I’m still in awe of my desktop. Toshiba 32RV530U connected with a DVI -> HDMI cable from monoprice; cost me less than the Dell 2707WFP would have.

    Sharp also has a 32″ 1080p Aquos that is apparently really nice.

    Je ne sais pas sur le prix en France… mais je pense qu’il… uh… merite… regarder? Crap, my French is a lot worse than I remembered. Time to dig out the books again. And accents don’t show up in comments. :/

    One caveat: it’s great for use as a PC monitor if your average viewing distance is about 1 meter from your display… closer than that and it might seem too big. Also it works great as a TV from 2 or 3 meters but the further back you go the less the 1080p part comes into play. Still great for a Wii, though. 🙂

      • Tuanies
      • 12 years ago

      Heh, I just bought one of those the other day for a bedroom TV. Loving it so far 🙂

    • lucas1985
    • 12 years ago

    Go for a NEC with a S-IPS panel (such as this §[<http://www.trustedreviews.com/displays/review/2007/04/12/NEC-MultiSync-LCD2690WUXi/p1<]§ ) and you won't be disappointed.

      • Flying Fox
      • 12 years ago

      A bit too pricey don’t you think? 😉

      Of course I know, you get what you pay for.

      • SnowboardingTobi
      • 12 years ago

      As an owner of the NEC 2690… I can say without a doubt that this monitor rocks.

      • cynan
      • 12 years ago

      I’m sure it’s a great monitor, but it costs $1,200. You can currently buy the Dell 3007WFP-HC for about the same price

    • lhav
    • 12 years ago

    I got a 2408WFP a month ago. My main usage is for running AutoCAD. Play FPS occassionally. Did finish COD4 no problem. I cant understand the claim that the input lag is so bad that it become noticeable when typing. Cyril must the fastest typist in the world or he got a lousy keyboard & mice combo…

      • Cyril
      • 12 years ago

      I have an IBM Model M keyboard, which is far from lousy, and I hit 120-130 words per minute on a good day. I did get used to the lag after a while, but it was unsettling for the first hour or so.

    • zgirl
    • 12 years ago

    I have two 2001FPs and a 2407WFP

    No issues at all with any of them. I hate when a good product goes bad.

    • drsauced
    • 12 years ago

    Don’t mean to put salt in the wound, but…

    §[<http://www.behardware.com/articles/712-2/lcd-david-vs-goliath-iolair-vs-dell.html<]§ Ouch. Thanks for being the beta tester of this one though. Well, if you can find one, I believe the Dell 2007WFP is one of the rare gems in the Dell lineup.

    • UberGerbil
    • 12 years ago

    For the the folks who have seen color blotching with ClearType — this is after optimizing things with the Tuner?

    • spiritwalker2222
    • 12 years ago

    I have the 2407 WFP, I’ll express my complaints.

    With clear type I also get pretty bad colour blotching.

    While I have no real problem with the stands design, the two legs of the “V” curve up so they don’t touch the desk. Leaving me with an unstable display. I’ve put a 1/4″ stack of post it notes under each leg.

    The display also flickers on start up. It takes about a minute for the bulbs to warm up and the flickering to stop.

    I haven’t been able to get the red bias right. I haven’t fiddled around with it to much, but I have made more adjustments than should be expected.

    • Crayon Shin Chan
    • 12 years ago

    I’d rather spend my money on an Eizo…

    • nstuff
    • 12 years ago

    When i was looking for a new display a while back, I was eyeing the magnificent 2005fpw. Doing the normal research, I had found a dell forum thread listing major problems with it after it’s initial release. They mentioned mostly back-light problems and/or dead pixels.

    This was the first 20″ widescreen flatpanel from Dell that used the same display as the 20″ Apple Cinema display. So I waited until I read that a new A01 revision had been released and when people rma’d theirs to get this updated display, the problems went away. This was when i bought 2 and have been extremely happy with them ever since.

    Only minor problems have been the amazing brightness when they were new which after over a year has diminished somewhat. Or, i just got used to it. This wasn’t a necessarily a bad thing, but it was so bright, it was hard to look at it without other lights on in the room to compensate.

    The only other bad point was the tendency to have temporary burn-in. If you view an all white image over the entire screen, you’ll see a faint ghost image of the Windows taskbar at the bottom. After about 30 seconds to a minute, it goes away.

      • Flying Fox
      • 12 years ago

      That’s why I had my 2005FPW set to 0 brightness.

      Plus, I set a screen saver interval of like 2 minutes to minimize image persistence.

      There was a thread somewhere I have read before where a guy fixed bleeding issues with some electrical tape around the edge. However I don’t have the balls to crack the casing open yet.

    • Skids
    • 12 years ago

    Im using a Olevia 42 Inch 1080P and loving it…

    • oldDummy
    • 12 years ago

    Great, just what I need; a tale of woe for one of my dream items.

    First the 30 inch goes away now this.

    Where have you gone Joe Dimaggio.

    ps- thanks for the heads-up.

    • flip-mode
    • 12 years ago

    Bummer. We’ve got (6) 2408WFPb monitors here in the office – two of them I use myself. They are perfect. The other two people in the office using them haven’t mentioned any issues. They’re just totally gorgeous.

      • Flying Fox
      • 12 years ago

      Input lag may not be as big a problem with office work.

      Colours… well, are the users graphics professionals?

        • DrDillyBar
        • 12 years ago

        this being CRT vs. LCD oldschool. 🙂

    • themattman
    • 12 years ago

    It’s unfortunate that you have had all these problems with your WFP2408. I’m glad that my 2407WFP-HC has been working great since I bought it 9 months ago.

    • henfactor
    • 12 years ago

    Does anyone know if Apple cinema displays are any good? I know they’re expensive but it might be worth it?

      • eitje
      • 12 years ago

      i love mine. have ’em hooked up to Shuttles. 😉

    • yehuda
    • 12 years ago

    Sorry to hear about your experience Cyril. If you can afford it, I would recommend looking at Eizo’s S2431W which uses a normal gamut S-PVA panel. I haven’t seen it in person but from what I have read it is a great all arounder. The only downside is that it won’t take a 1920×1080 signal from consoles and standalone players (HD2441W would do that, but it’s far more expensive) so essentially it’s a PC-only display. As long as you’re OK with that it should fit the bill nicely.

    Here’s a professional review at prad.de
    §[<http://www.prad.de/en/monitore/review/2007/review-eizo-s2431w.html#Introduction<]§ and some user reviews (in German) at prad's forum: §[<http://prad.de/board/board.php?boardid=255<]§

    • kvndoom
    • 12 years ago

    I’ve just passed 2.5 years on my 2405FPW. It came with 2 dead pixels but they aren’t very conspicuous, and I’ve had zero problems with it. I have been very happy with this screen, and I think it’s part of what gave Dell such a fantastic reputation for large LCD’s. But as with all things it seems, they don’t make em like they used to. I wish you the best luck in finding something good.

    • computron9000
    • 12 years ago

    Just another vote for the BenQ FP241W here. They are so nice, I bought two.

    • NeRve
    • 12 years ago

    On a side-note, does anybody know if using the DisplayPort on the 2408wfp vs DVI provide any better picture quality or color enhancements?

      • Flying Fox
      • 12 years ago

      Why would a different digital input source make a difference, assuming the /[

    • DrDillyBar
    • 12 years ago

    Rough. But mine is of the 2×05 generation.

    • MrJP
    • 12 years ago

    Recently bought a Benq FP241W and very pleased so far. Colours still need some adjustment to get closer to the small S-IPS screen I’ve upgraded from, but I’ve certainly not had the catalogue of obnoxious problems you’re describing Cyril. I picked mine up for £400 (including VAT), which is cheaper than the 2408WFP in the UK. I’d recommend trying one if you can get it for a reasonable price en France.

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 12 years ago

    Just how much did you want to spend to get a decent picture?
    §[<http://www.eizo.com/products/graphics/index.asp<]§ §[<http://www.necdisplay.com/Products/Series/?series=f52d7f47-df4d-4223-b75e-c23e8b085ed7<]§ You may want to look for a new monitor off of this list: §[<http://www.pchardwarehelp.com/guides/s-ips-lcd-list.php<]§ Once you've got it, one of these may help: §[<http://spyder.datacolor.com/s3compare.php<]§

      • Flying Fox
      • 12 years ago

      A guy at work got the 26″ version with an included calibrator. Needless to say he’s not buying anything else for a while.

      Argh… the joys of youth and no car to feed/maintain I guess.

    • lethal
    • 12 years ago

    This does sounds like dell, its not the first time that reviewers get top of the line displays and the actual units use inferior panels, with no sure way to know if you won the panel lottery until you receive the unit.

    • kitsura
    • 12 years ago

    Maybe the S-PVAs just aren’t that great anymore. But then you’re basically stuck with 2007WFP or 3007WFP since these are the only 2 available Dell monitors with S-IPS panels.

      • lethal
      • 12 years ago

      ugh don’t count on the 2007 either, it looks like it vanished from their catalog.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 12 years ago

    Maybe just find a used 2407?

    • Kurotetsu
    • 12 years ago

    You might want to look into the DoubleSight DS-263N 26″? Its an S-IPS display thats reported to have to surprisingly little input lag. HardForum’s Display board has a very long thread about it:

    §[<http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1268063<]§ That forum has quite a few in-depth threads about various monitors. Makes for interesting reading.

      • Cyril
      • 12 years ago

      I’ve heard good things about the DoubleSight too, but unfortunately I can’t find it anywhere here in France.

      Edit: Hm. Apparently it’s sold in Europe as the Daewoo Sensy LCD26KAL. I’ll have to look into it.

      • Flying Fox
      • 12 years ago

      To me the 24″ at 1920×1200 is about the largest pixel size that I would like for a computer monitor. The 26″ the pixels will be too big for me. Great for a TV display though, so may be if I’m looking to use it as a combo device I may get that one.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This