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Dell UltraSharp U2421E review: A killer 16:10 monitor and hub combo for laptop users

Dell's latest UltraSharp monitor brings an enjoyable 16:10 viewing experience for your daily work that also acts as a hub.

Dell U2421e
(Image: © Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Dell is no stranger to displays, which run the gamut from basic consumer variants to high-end professional options. In between those categories is the UltraSharp series for business and enterprise and the 24-inch U2421E combines a Type-C hub with a new taller 16:10 display aspect instead of 16:9.

While it's not cheap (regularly $450, but on sale for $375), the full HD screen offers compelling features in a factory-calibrated screen. Here is what else you need to know.

Modern 16:10 design

Dell UltraSharp U2421E: What I like

Dell U2421e

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

There are two main reasons to get the Dell UltraSharp U2421E. One is the rare but welcomed 16:10 display aspect. Today, most monitors are 16:9, which is wider and better tuned if you watch movies or videos a lot. With 16:10, you get a taller aspect better suited for web browsing, Office productivity, and general work-related tasks. When combined with some razor-thin bezels, the U2421E looks slick in any office cubicle or home working area. Another bonus is if you use this monitor with the Dell XPS 13, XPS 15, or XPS 17, you get a matching screen experience since those are all 16:10 too.

The other highlight of the Dell UltraSharp U2421E is the built-in hub feature. If you are a one-PC kind of person who only wants to use a laptop, this is your monitor. With a 90-watt Type-C plug, you can connect to any modern laptop for display out and charge your device simultaneously. There is a built-in RJ-45 Ethernet for wired internet, three Type-A ports, and you can daisy chain the DisplayPort to extra monitors if you are a real power user.

This monitor relies on Type-C and not the more advanced Thunderbolt 3 or 4, so any modern laptop with a Type-C port, including Surface PCs, works just fine.

CategoryDell UltraSharp U2421E
Size24 Inches
Resolution1920 x 1200 WUXGA
Aspect Ratio16:10
Panel TechnologyIn-Plane Switching (IPS)
Refresh Rate60Hz
Response Time5ms
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (Static)
Brightness350 cd/m²
Blue lightYes via ComfortView Plus
Connectivity1x DisplayPort 1.4
1x DP Out (MST)
1x HDMI 1.4
1x USB-C 3.2 Gen1 (90w)
1x USB-C 3.2 Gen1 (15w)
3x USB 3.2 Gen1
1x Audio Jack
1x RJ45
Built-in SpeakersNo
StandHeight adjustabale
Tilt
Pivot
VESA CompatibilityYes 100 x 100
Dimensions with Stand (WxHxD)20.9 x 14.33 x 6.81 inches
Weight8.8 lbs

Color accuracy is also solid at 98 percent sRGB, 74 percent AdobeRGB and 75 percent DCI-P3. Those are not extraordinary levels of color precision, but they are more than good enough for basic photo editing or office work. Each Dell UltraSharp U2421E is also factory color calibrated, and the results are included in each box.

Brightness peaks around 350-nits, which is fine for indoor usage, and the anti-glare helps reduce eye fatigue from overhead office lighting. The 60 Hz 5ms response is good enough, so you do not see any ghosting when scrolling. There are ample 178 degrees of viewing without color shift thanks to IPS display tech.

Adjustments for the on-screen display (OSD) settings are accessed via a physical joystick, which is nice to have at this price level. Adjusting the monitor's brightness and settings is a breeze.

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Dell's stand is also quite good with a quick attach feature, VESA support, tilt, rotate, and height-adjust if you want to go vertical or better target it for your line of sight.

A bit pricey

Dell UltraSharp U2421E: What I don't like

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA) resolution at 24-inches is excellent for writing in Word, browsing the web, and more. Still, it is also on the low end than modern "2K" options that deliver more pixels per inch for media consumption.

Pricing is also a bit high even when on sale for $375 (MSRP is $450). By comparison, the Dell 27-inch 4K UHD S2721QS is the same $375 and comes with AMD FreeSync and supports HDR – both of which are missing on the U2421E. Of course, the 4K S2721QS also lacks that Type-C 90-watt hub, Ethernet, and omits any Type-A ports, where the differences manifest.

While the Dell UltraSharp U2421E is perfect for laptop users, you cannot split the screen with two inputs. That's probably OK due to the aspect and resolution, but we see a feature pop up in more ultrawide options. See our best 27-inch monitors for more ideas if you need something a bit larger or with more features.

Dell UltraSharp U2421E: Should you buy?

Dell U2421e

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

You should buy this if ...

  • You only use one laptop as your main PC
  • You want a display and a Type-C hub all in one device
  • You prefer 16:10 for office work
  • You like premium, thin-bezel monitors

You should not buy this if ...

  • You want a 24-inch full HD monitor for a desktop PC
  • You need higher resolution and color accuracy for media work

Let's be clear, while the pricing of the Dell UltraSharp U2421E is not cheap for a full HD experience you are buying this because it is both a solid productivity display and the all-in-one laptop hub feature for a single-cord experience. The Dell UltraSharp U2421E is perfect for those who use one laptop for work and want to have a bigger display experience with a Type-C wire. If you only need a 24-inch full HD monitor for a desktop PC, this is overkill.

The build quality, port options, and flexibility in the stand (including the ability to rotate to vertical orientation) deliver a unique offering in a crowded market of budget and work-related displays.

While the Dell UltraSharp U2421E is not for everyone, if you are looking for a larger screen for your laptop along with a full hub-experience, this is an excellent option without going ultrawide.

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

7 Comments
  • An integrated webcam would be nice like Dell does on the P2418HZm. It's good and it also supports Windows Hello.
  • Yeah, a webcam with Hello would be a nice value-add. It'd a bit challenging due to how thin this is, but if they could do it in a laptop, it'd be neat here too.
  • Interesting with even an Ethernet port built-in, it really is a full laptop hub, which does make the price reasonable for what you get. However, I would really like to see desktop screens start at closer to 4k and go up from there. The main argument against higher resolution on laptops is the battery hit, which is not an issue for a desk monitor. Games may struggle at 4k w/o the best graphics cards, but it's easy enough to run games at a lower resolution than the full resolution of the monitor. For text and productivity, the higher resolution make a real difference for text and Excel files. With 1920x1200, even from a few feet away with mediocre eyes (like mine), you're going to see the pixels. To fit enough on the screen to work, you're limited to running at 100% scale, which, as Zac rightly points out, makes all the fonts downright ugly.
  • I run two 25" 1440 (16:9) monitors and I don't once think there aren't enough pixels. That's with lots and lots of Excel! Also, many laptops won't support two 4K monitors. My previous device did not and it wasn't particularly old.
  • I bought two of these to replace some older Dells I had. The USB-C ports compelled me to get these ones so I could connect my work HP Pro X2 when working from home. Whilst the tablet drives the display and the built-in Ethernet and USB, it refuses to charge. When I plug the cable into the tablet, the charge indicator flashes briefly but simply won't charge. The genuine HP charger is a 45w one and there's a 60w charger available so there's no way my tablet is trying to draw more than 90w from the Dell USB-C. And yes, I'm using the supplied Dell cable which supports Power Delivery. This behaviour happens on both monitors so the monitors aren't faulty; rather there's some sort of incompatibility with Pro X2
  • Great review. I mean, it's a full-on dock with power and everything - I wouldn't call this "expensive" given that fact. But you're right to say it's kind of meh otherwise. 16:10 on a desktop monitor is great, and I wish they were more common. If the taller aspect ratio were more common, I think I would have gone for two 24" 16:10's instead of the two 25" 16:9's that I have now. About the same screen real estate, but maybe more comfortable viewing.
  • I might go for this one, I have very old 16/10 monitors I'd like to replace. One thing I love is the full borderless, when most "borderless" monitors still have a bottom border.
    If only I could find another full borderless monitor, gaming oriented, to go aside this one...