I'm in the market for a good graphic design monitor for around $200-250. I've been looking at some dells but its so hard to tell whats good just by looking at the specs. Anyone know of any good monitors for around this price primarily for graphic design/web design.
I don't know about specific models, but I can tell you what to look for.
Any work related to graphics or image needs a good monitor, and that doesn't only involve the resolution, but also the color reproduction and contrast.
LCDs are slim and nice, but cheap LCDs have cheap panels (the panel is the layer that generates the image), and they have bad color reproduction, narrow viewing angles, etc. Those are TN panels. The better ones are VA (PVA, S-PVA, etc), and then IPS (S-IPS, E-IPS, etc). Be careful, because although IPSs are better than VAs, there can be some models of VA better than IPS (I think E-IPS is the worst IPS type, not sure).
So, in conclusion, I think you should search by paying attention at the COLOR GAMUT (the area of the human color space that it can reproduce), which is measured in percentages relates to a specific standard (NTSC is a common reference). Cheap monitors are around 70% NTSC, and expensive ones can reach 120% NTSC.
Also at the CONTRAST RATIO (as it is a ratio, it is measured in doubles and halfs. So take into account that the difference between a 500:1 and 600:1 is much bigger than the difference between a 3000:1 and 3100:1. More contrast is better, although there is a point that it just doesn't matter.
And the BRIGHTNESS, I think 300-400cd/sq meter is fine.
For the price tag you posted, I'd recommend going with a good CRT (tube) monitor, and not an LCD. There are also bad quality CRTs, but the price difference between a normal CRT and a professional CRT is not big.
The Dell 2209WA has no real IPS panel, it uses an E-IPS panel instead. E stands for economic which means lower color gamut and less viewing angle. This allows them to position an IPS panel for a lower budget just above the TN panel area.