After a little less than two years of using a TN type panel LCD (Samsung 226BW) for photo editing, I finally made the switch to an IPS type panel. For all of you who are unfamiliar with the difference, an IPS type panel provides much wider viewing angles and is a true 8 bit panel as opposed to 6 bit. Thus, colors are more accurate and both color and brightness will remain uniform from the top of the screen to the bottom, even when slightly shifting your viewing angle by moving around in your chair. These were qualities inherent in the CRT that are now luxuries and difficult to find qualities in a reasonably priced LCD. Unfortunately, these are features that are a must have for a digital photographer or graphic artist.
So it seems after missing out on the deal of the century back in January of 2009 when Dell was selling the 2209WA for just over $200, I stumbled across one on eBay for $299. I’ve received conflicting reports from Dell… one indicating that this model has been discontinued and one indicating they are behind in stock and will replenish some time in September, 2009. I decided not to wait until September to see if Dell would re-stock the 2209WA and purchased one of the few appearing on eBay.
The 2209WA was a breeze to set up. The stand that is heavily constructed and allows the monitor to be raised, lowered, tilted, swiveled and rotated 90 degrees to portrait mode, needs to be attached. This was accomplished both easily and securely.
The monitor allows for both DVI and VGA hook up (both cables provided). This is a great feature as I run two computers and I can easily switch between the two by pushing the input source button. Four USB ports are part of the monitor enclosure (one can always use extras) though they are powered off when the monitor is powered down.
Once the monitor was connected to my main computer I booted and installed the driver from the included cdrom. I then set the resolution to 1680×1050 at 32 bit color from the WinXP display properties window.
All the control functions of the monitor are accessed at the lower right corner of the screen.
1 – Brightness and Contrast
2 – Auto Adjust
3 – Input Source
4 – Menu
5 – Power
All the options in the menu are self explanatory and well laid out. One added plus is that when the menu is activated, it appears in the lower right hand corner of the screen, far away from any calibration sensors instead of directly in the middle of the screen. It makes calibrating with the Spyder less of a problem as the menu doesn’t get hidden behind the colorimeter.
The 2209WA has received very high reviews on the internet including this one at PRAD. After using their recommended contrast and brightness settings of 75% and 10% respectfully, I proceeded with a Spyder 2 calibration.
After running through the LCD tests found here, all I can say is wow! For $299, this inexpensive eIPS panel is a gem. I was able to distinguish all 32 bands in each of the different colors in the contrast test, left the sharpness at 50 even though the tests indicated 40 was the better choice, the black level and white saturation tests were superb, the viewing angle test was excellent with the lettering blending in with the background across the entire screen (except for a very, very slight discrepancy in the upper left corner) and the color uniformity was very good with the purplish screen showing only slight variations.
After my calibrations, I checked my results in more detail using the freely available software, Colorimetre HCFR, along with my Spyder 2.
Note: A very good tutorial written in English on Colorimetre HCFR can be found here. The article’s primary focus is on calibrating home theater type displays though the information can be applied to computer monitors as well.
With my brightness set at 10%, contrast at 75% and RGB values of 94, 98 and 99 respectfully, I achieved an illumination of 139.62 cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 324:1. The CIE chart above shows the 2209WA color space outlined in white with the sRGB color space outlined in black for comparison.
Note as of 1/1/2010: I now use an Eye One Display 2 for monitor profiling and set my white point to 5800K. With RGB values of 100, 98 and 92 respectfully, brightness at 9 and contrast at 75 I get a white luminance of 120 cd/m2, black luminance of 0.2 cd/m2 and a contrast ration of 600:1. It seems not all colorimeters are created equal.
The gamma was shown to be quite accurate (yellow line) compared to the reference line
while the color temperature and luminance curves were darn near perfect as well.
I’ve only owned the 2209WA for a couple of days and I’m not aware of long term usage issues though if you are looking for an inexpensive 22″ wide screen IPS type panel LCD with excellent performance, this is the one. With a three year warranty from Dell, I don’t believe you can go wrong.
Addendum: This article has been very popular as it seems there are many interested in the qualities of the 2209WA. If anyone requires more information or has questions, you can reach me via the “contact me” option at the top of the page or by using the comments section. I’ll do my best to help out in any way I can.