Dell U2410 / U2311H Monitors Plagued with Tinting Issues
Professional reviewers and garden-variety tech geeks are smitten with IPS panels. Once an expensive option reserved for the pros, prices have come down far enough to make IPS monitors attractive to the budget-minded consumer.
The deep, rich colours on a Dell U2410 or U2311H are definitely impressive. Sadly professional reviewers sometime fall into the trap of “pushing product” over writing unbiased reviews, often failing to emphasize just how noticeable the tinting issues are. It’s often mentioned as a con when it strikes me as more of a deal breaker. Why Digital Versus awarded the U2311H five out of five stars in their review is beyond me.
Dell doesn’t manufacture LCD panels. Like numerous other brands, they rely on LG for supplying the screen. From there Dell puts it in a nice, sturdy shell, and integrates hardware like the video connections and USB ports.
Other manufacturers such as Apple, HP and NEC are experiencing the same quality control issues from IPS screen suppliers. The uproar among Dell customers is the most apparent. Partly it’s due to their higher sales figures but it also appears that customer satisfaction is lower than competitors are experiencing.
Here are two threads on Dell’s official support forums with loads of complaints about tinting issues with the U2410. Below that is a massive thread on the HardForum where tons of tech-heads talk about their experiences with Dell. Several posters far more ambitious than myself have went through three or four monitors, hoping to win the panel lottery. All too often this behaviour results in more disappointment.
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Tinting issues bother some people more than others. Heck, ten percent of men are so bad with colour perception that they can’t distinguish the difference between green and red. For those folks an IPS is the perfect monitor. For the rest of us, especially graphic designers, photographers and people that surf the web often, the flaw is sometimes unbearable. That of course depends on what you are viewing. While watching a movie with saturated colours the monitor really struts its stuff. If viewing the plain white background on Google, the tinting is so obvious and aggravating that my “caveman instinct” makes me want to do something rash. There’s an urge to toss it out the window, grab a baseball bat then venture downstairs to pummel it ala “Office Space”.
As the owner of two U2311H monitors I can confirm that some specimens are affected with the tinting issues worse than others. The pair is surprisingly inconsistent. The secondary monitor has a plainly obvious horizontal gradient that goes from dirty-pink on the left to blue on the right. The primary has some blue casting on either edges of the screen, although it isn’t as annoying. The fact both displays are brighter in the center makes the flaw more obvious.
Out of the box, a blue cast was apparent on both monitors. Even after locating a satisfactory ICC profile for calibration, the cast needs to be dialled out with custom RGB settings. One needs a slight cut in greens, while the other display needs a cut in greens and a smidgen off the blues.
The first display isn’t as bright so to compensate the brightness setting is pushed up five points.
Dell’s latest IPS panels are suffering from quality control problems. Until standards improve at the LG factory, I recommend avoiding IPS panels altogether. Sure TN displays don’t handle off-axis viewing as well but let’s face it, 99% of people sit right in front of their monitors anyway.
I’m holding on to my Dell displays as I don’t feel like paying for return shipping plus a 15% administrative fee or going though the hassle. I’d rather get at least a year’s use out of the set then sell them when I’m ready to step up to something better, like an LED from Samsung.
If you are in the market for a new display I’d take good look at the Samsung PX2370, which won an editor’s choice award from CNET. Those still gravitating towards an IPS should look at models with better uniformity like the NEC EA231WMi or HP ZR22w.