When is HDR not quite HDR? When it's Dell HDR.
That's what you get on the 24-inch, S2418H monitor. If you're buying this thinking you're getting an HDR monitor for cheap (about $220) you'll come away disappointed. That's not to say you shouldn't buy the S2418H. It's a very good, low-cost, 1080p monitor. But you should know just what you're getting.
About this review
This review was conducted using a retail unit purchased by Windows Central and connected over HDMI to an Alienware Aurora R5 PC with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.
Dell S2418H display tech specs
|Viewing angle||178 degrees horizontal and vertical|
|Contrast ratio||1,000:1 (typical)
8 million:1 (DCR)
|Response time||Six milliseconds|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
Audio line in and out
Dell S2418H design and construction
Dell monitors are usually a pretty safe bet for good design and solid construction, and even in the lower price brackets the company doesn't disappoint. The S2418H is the latest in Dell's UltraSharp range with super skinny bezels around every edge. Even the bottom bezel is tiny, with a reduced-size Dell logo.
The monitor is propped up by a metal stand that doubles up as a speaker. The speakers aren't built into the body of the monitor, instead they come as a stylish looking wedge that nestles in the cut out in the stand. It's a very good speaker, with performance far beyond what I'd expect from a monitor that hits this price point.
It's still a fairly basic soundstage lacking in any noticeable bass, but compared to other monitors it's exceptional.It also has great volume, and if you just need some sound without having external speakers, it's pretty darn good.
From the front things are great. It's nearly all screen, with a nicely designed stand and good speaker. Around the back it's plain and professional looking with an absurdly glossy finish.
The gap in the stand allows for rudimentary cable routing, but they will sag and you will be able to see them unless you're handy with cable ties. Also on the back you'll find the connections which are par for the course for a 1080p monitor.
It's time for VGA to go quietly into the night
You get a solitary HDMI 2.0 input along with the old-hat VGA connector. For visuals, that's it. I can't be alone in thinking that the days of VGA connections for a decent PC monitor need to be gone. Two HDMI ports would be preferable, especially since other budget monitors can do that. I wonder if Dell is still targeting business customers who rarely upgrade their PCs.
The audio in and out are useful touches, but the only thing that's really missing is an integrated USB hub. Sure, this is at the budget end of the spectrum, but Dell includes it on many of its monitors and it would have been nice to see it on this one.
Dell S2417DG display and performance
The 1080p resolution display is an IPS panel, and as such, you get great viewing angles and good color reproduction. Run through the Spyder 5 Pro Colorimeter, this particular panel supports 100 percent of the sRGB standard and 79 percent AdobeRGB.
Out of box calibration wasn't too bad, with our unit suffering from some flatness and the slightest hint of warmth over proper calibration. You can change some aspects of the display in settings, and there are a number of pre-installed modes including ones for movies and gaming.
You'll also see mention of HDR, and this is where things get a little more complicated. Dell HDR is what you get here and it's not "true" HDR as you might find elsewhere, even on some other Dell monitors. Here's the official spiel:
Dell's HDR feature has been designed with a PC user in mind and supports specifications that are different from existing TV standards for HDR. With a peak brightness of more than 50 percent higher than your average monitor's typical brightness (400-550 nits vs. 250-300 nits), Dell HDR monitors use a hardware engine in the monitor to process HDR metadata and deliver true-to-life color, contrast, and detail, starting at $289.99 today. While these monitors don't deliver HDR10 peak brightness, Dell HDR monitors are perfect for users looking for a striking viewing experience with beautifully modern design at an affordable price point.
Essentially, it's simulated HDR. So while you do get a wider dynamic range than on a regular monitor, it's way short of the HDR10 standard you'd be looking for if you're going for true HDR. Dell HDR also seems incompatible with Windows 10's built in HDR settings. If you turn it on, the monitor will freak out and most definitely not display in HDR. The same can be said for Xbox One S games like Forza Horizon 3.
The S2418H also isn't bright enough for HDR support. It's actually not bright at all, coming in lower than my Dell S2417DG. But with a glossy finish on the front that's not the worst thing in the world.
This isn't necessarily for PC gamers but it is great for console gaming.
What you get, then, is the ability to view HDR content and have it look better than it would on any other regular, non-HDR monitor. It's a bit of a cheat, and a lot of marketing guff, but colors look very nice on this monitor.
It also has support for AMD FreeSync, but with only a 60Hz refresh rate this isn't really one that PC gamers should be looking at. The six millisecond response time is just fine, and while PC gaming isn't going to be its strong point, it's an excellent monitor to use with a console.
The bottom line
If you're looking for a genuine HDR monitor, you won't find it here. Despite the somewhat misleading marketing, Dell HDR isn't HDR at all.
People who buy this monitor will, however, get great color reproduction and contrast. The combination of this and an IPS panel means great viewing angles, too, which is useful for multi-monitor setups and to compensate somewhat for there being no swivel on it.
- Great colors.
- IPS panel.
- FreeSync support.
- Surprisingly good speakers.
- Great price.
- It's not real HDR.
- No swivel, only tilt.
- Glossy finish on the front will put some folks off.
The price really seals the deal here. At just $220, you get a lot of PC monitor for your money. The glossy finish on the front is annoying, but not enough to change my own opinion. This is a very good PC monitor, especially for the price.
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