Dell UltraSharp U2412M
Dell's UltraSharp U2412M is one of a few new monitors making a lot of buzz. As the U2410's successor, this monitor is different from the rest of the pack in several ways. For one, it offers the now-rare 1920x1200 (16:10) native resolution. Most 24" screens utilize cheaper 1920x1080 (16:9), but our love for 1920x1200 lives on.
Second, while the U2412M is an IPS-based monitor, this is a variety of IPS that you probably haven't seen before. As we showed in our 27" LCD round-up, most wide gamut displays employ H-IPS technology, which improves upon S-IPS by providing better contrast ratios and a more balanced white. The U2412M uses e-IPS (e for economical), a successor to H-IPS that focuses on lowering cost.
The distinctions between e-IPS and H-IPS are subtle because most display experts consider e-IPS to be a partial revision of H-IPS. The viewing angles are the same, but e-IPS panels employs panels with lower bit color depth. Bottom line: economy means you're getting better color production than TN, but not as much as p-IPS or H-IPS.
Physically, the U2412M is housed in the same matte black chassis to which we grew accustomed with Dell's U2410. Perhaps more important, Dell preserves the ability to rotate the screen. It's becoming increasingly difficult to find 4:3 monitors, which is unfortunate for folks looking at lots of text in a portrait orientation. The natural solution is to buy a larger widescreen display to compensate for the loss of vertical resolution. However, the ability to work with this screen using a 10:16 ratio is an even better solution.
Dell covers the connectivity basics, including DVI-D, VGA, DisplayPort, and a USB 2.0 hub on the left side. Due to space restrictions, the company supports DisplayPort in lieu of a direct HDMI connection. This makes sense because DisplayPort is positioned as a more PC-oriented interface compared to HDMI's consumer-electronics focus. If you need an HDMI connection, though, a conversion cable does the trick.
Dell updates its OSD menu with a larger UI, which makes it easier to navigate. We do have mixed feelings about the OSD buttons, though. Dell decided to forgo the capacitive touch buttons on the U2410 in favor of simple press-and-click buttons. We're told this was done in order to further cut costs, but we still prefer the cleanness of capacitive buttons that sit completely flush against the display's frame.