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The best 24-inch monitor

That would be the Dell UltraSharp U2415.

The Wirecutter
03.04.16 in AV
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By David Murphy

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer's guide to the best technology. Read the full article here.

After spending 50 hours researching 19 different monitors and testing six finalists, we recommend the 24-inch Dell UltraSharp U2415 to most people looking for a large computer monitor right now. It has the best picture quality of any 24-inch display we tested, indistinguishable from perfection thanks to its factory-calibrated IPS screen.

Who this is for

For most people, a 24-inch monitor hits the sweet spot of size and price. Most 24-inch monitors these days have 19201080 screens, but we prefer the slightly less common 19201200. A 19201200-pixel monitor with a 16:10 aspect ratio gives you more vertical space than a 1080p monitor with its 16:9 proportions. The taller screen makes a big difference for most office work, Web browsing, and gaming. You'll still have black bars when you watch movies, but you'll probably have those on a 1080p monitor, too. If you're still using a monitor smaller than 20 inches, give your eyes a break by upgrading to our pick.

How we tested

Our i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer costs a small fortune but offers incredible accuracy. Photo: David Murphy

The Wirecutter's Chris Heinonen helped design our monitor testing process, which relies on two measuring devices: a $1,200 i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer from X-Rite and a $170 Spyder4 Pro. We customized tests in the CalMAN 5 software calibration suite to measure each monitor's maximum and minimum brightness levels, gamma, color temperature, and color accuracy.

Most people don't change their monitor settings, so default performance is critical. We measured each monitor on its default picture mode as well as on its sRGB mode where applicable. For each test, we adjusted the monitor's brightness to 140 cd/m—a good value for everyday use—and set the contrast as high as it could go without losing white details. We left every other setting at the default value. We then used each of our finalists for a few days to get a feel for their features.

Our pick

Dell minimized the UltraSharp U2415's bezel, creating the illusion that the monitor's panel ​is bigger than its actual dimensions​. Photo: David Murphy

Dell's UltraSharp U2415 is the best 24-inch monitor for most people because its factory-calibrated display looks practically perfect, its 19201200-pixel resolution gives it 11 percent more screen space than a 1080p monitor offers, and its ultrathin bezel makes its screen feel bigger and look better than monitors with thicker bezels. Its stand lifts, tilts, pivots, rotates, and swivels, so you can position the screen exactly where you need it. Equipped with HDMI and DisplayPort connections as well as five USB 3.0 ports, this monitor gives you more flexibility than most other models for anything you do at your desk. Other 24-inch monitors have a subset of these attributes, but no other has them all. The U2415 also costs hundreds less than most monitors with comparable display quality.

A distant runner-up

Dell's UltraSharp U2412M hasn't aged badly, but it lacks many new features and the factory calibration of our top pick. Photo: Michael Hession

If the U2415 is unavailable, we recommend the Dell UltraSharp U2412M. This model's default picture quality is better than that of other uncalibrated monitors, and it has some of the same features we love in our primary pick, including a 1200p resolution, excellent adjustability, VESA support, and a great warranty and premium panel guarantee. However, it lacks a factory-calibrated mode and HDMI, has USB 2.0 ports instead of USB 3.0 connections, and uses pulse width modulation to dim the backlight.

The upgrade pick

If you already have a 22- or-24-inch IPS display, save up for the 27-inch Dell UltraSharp U2715H, which is both bigger and better. Photo: David Murphy

You won't find any 24-inch monitors that are better than the U2415. If you have more money to spend, you should get our 27-inch pick, the Dell UltraSharp U2715H. This 25601440 monitor has a bigger screen and more working space than a 24-inch, 1200p monitor. For Windows users, it's a better choice than a 4K monitor, because it doesn't have any app display-scaling issues (and you don't need to spend as much money to play games at high settings on it).

The budget pick

ASUS's VS239H has good color accuracy for its price, but among other deficiencies, it lacks almost all of the awesome adjustability of our pick's stand. Photo: David Murphy

If you need a decent but cheap monitor, get the ASUS VS239H. It's a pretty good 23-inch, 19201080 IPS monitor that usually costs less than $150, but you give up a lot to get to that point: Its screen has 11 percent fewer pixels than our 19201200 primary pick, its colors are less accurate, and it has very limited adjustability, no DisplayPort connections, no USB ports, and an ugly on-screen display. Still, it looks a lot better than the other monitors in its price range, which tend to use lower-quality TN (twisted nematic) panels.

Wrapping up

The best 24-inch monitor is the Dell UltraSharp U2415, which has the best picture quality of any display we tested. The UltraSharp U2412M is a distant runner-up, as it has the same 1200p resolution but lacks factory calibration, USB 3.0, and HDMI. If you have more money to spend, we recommend our 27-inch pick, the 2560x1440 Dell UltraSharp U2715H, and if you're on a budget, we recommend the ASUS VS239H-P, which is the cheapest good IPS monitor available.

This guide may have been updated by The Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

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