In the realm of monitors, consumers often find themselves having to give up something on their wishlist in order to get the price they want. The Dell ST2420L offers a big and bright 24-inch picture, a full range of inputs, and a slim profile. Even better, at $239, this 24-inch model is less expensive than some smaller-sized competitors.
The Dell ST2420L offers a fairly slim profile, measuring just 2.4 inches thick. The round stand is just over 8 inches deep, so the monitor takes up little space on a desk. The glossy black exterior looks good, save for the few fingerprints it'll pick up if moved. Though the base detaches, the Dell ST isn't readily wall-mountable. Nor is the height adjustable, though users can tilt the monitor in a 25-degree range for the optimal angle.
Unfortunately, the connectors and inputs on the ST2420L are inconveniently located under a lip, pointing downward. We prefer outward-facing connectors, as on the Samsung SyncMaster and Acer S Series. At least the Dell monitor includes the full range of computer connections: DVI, HDMI, and VGA. There are also 3.5mm audio in and audio out jacks. Dell bundles a VGA cable with the unit, leaving users to bring their own audio, HDMI or DVI cables.
With the on-screen display (OSD) controls located on the lower right side of the bezel, the Dell ST2420L offers a wide range of settings and display adjustments. We particularly appreciated the preset modes for users who are less adept at choosing the optimal settings for watching video, gaming, or normal usage. A separate menu selection is available for users who need fine control over their monitor color calibration.
Display and Performance
The Dell ST's matte, LED-backlit, 24-inch, 1920 x 1080 full HD display offered deep colors but isn't the sharpest. When we tested contrast with PassMark, each of the brightness steps were clearly delineated from each other in all colors (blue, green, red, white) both on the light and dark ends of the spectrum. When viewing solid colors fading from darkest to lightest, we detected little or no banding. In the font test, we noted that starting at 10 points on downward, letters were somewhat fuzzy and not as distinct as we'd like, but still readable.
Viewing angles on the ST2420L were appropriately wide, even from several feet away. We watched a Blu-ray of Iron Man and played Batman: Arkham Asylum across several other monitors in this roundup, and found that the Dell's picture wasn't as rich or detailed as the Acer S243HL or the Samsung SyncMaster B2330HD, though it offered deeper colors than the ViewSonic VX. During scenes with fast-paced action and complex visuals we noted smooth, error-free movement.
The ST2420L doesn't have built-in speakers, but an optional soundbar--designed to attach to the lower lip--is available via Dell.com for $24.
Model Family and Warranty
Aside from the 24-inch ST2420L, Dell also has a 23-inch model in this line, the ST2320L, for $229. The company offers a one-year advance exchange warranty for free, with the option to purchase two to five years of protection for $29 to $89.
Consumers who long for a large, 24-inch canvas for work and play should definitely give the Dell ST2420L a look. At $239, it offers fairly good image quality for the price. The $239, 24-inch Acer S243HL offers a crisper image, but doesn't match the Dell's color accuracy. Ultimately, we prefer the $269, 23-inch Samsung SyncMaster B2330HD (and its 24-inch counterpart, the $289 B2430HD) due to its superior picture and integrated TV tuner. Nevertheless, the Dell ST2420L is a solid choice for the price.