Don't be fooled by the unassuming appearance of Dell's gaming monitors; these displays are built for serious gamers. Take the Dell 24 Gaming Monitor, a gorgeous 24-inch, 2560 x 1440 screen with thin bezels, vibrant colors and Nvidia G-Sync support for extra-smooth performance. If you can live with some less-than-stellar navigation buttons, the Dell 24 is one of the best 1440p gaming monitors you can get for the price.
The Dell 24 Gaming Monitor doesn't really look like a gaming display, which might be a good thing depending on your tastes. This monitor would look just as home in your office as it would in your gaming nook, thanks to its unassuming, glossy black design and sleek silver base. The Dell 24's bezels are barely visible, making them ideal for folks looking to build a panoramic multimonitor setup.
Don't let the simple design fool you, though; this monitor is incredibly ergonomic. You can pivot the display roughly 45 degrees left or right, tilt it 21 degrees back and 5 degrees forward, and raise and lower it about 6 inches up or down. It's also remarkably easy to swivel the monitor into portrait mode, in case you're doing some vertically oriented work or want to use the display as a secondary screen to display your Twitch chat.
Ports and Interface
The Dell 24 offers your two essential display inputs: HDMI and DisplayPort (the latter of which you'll need in order to utilize G-Sync). Beyond that, you've got two USB 3.0 ports and a USB 3.0 Type-B port in the back, along with two more USB 3.0 ports as well as a headphone jack conveniently located on the left panel.
You navigate Dell's display using four physical buttons, which were far too stiff and small for my liking. I often found myself having to press twice just to register an input. Fortunately, the monitor's on-screen interface is very intuitive. Dell's white-and-black main menu is a lot cleaner than what I've seen on most gaming displays, and it didn't take me very long to figure out how to do basic things like adjust brightness, change inputs and fiddle with response times.
I'm a fan of the monitor's two programmable shortcut keys, which, by default, let you adjust volume and quickly flip through display modes. You can also program these buttons to give you quick access to brightness and contrast, or to let you instantly switch between HDMI and DisplayPort inputs.
With a rich, 24-inch, 2560 x 1440 screen and up to a 165-Hz refresh rate, Dell's monitor was vibrant, smooth and generally a joy to play games on.
My time with Grand Theft Auto V showed the value of having a 1440p monitor, as I could see in vivid detail everything from the stitching on my character's ski mask to the footprints I left on a snowy street. More importantly, the game played very smoothly on Dell's display. I didn't feel any hint of input lag when firing my assault rifle during a climactic shootout.
Dell's monitor did a great job showcasing the colorful crowds of characters in Heroes of the Storm, a hectic multiplayer battle arena game. The monitor's extra-rich RTS setting did an especially good job making the blue and red outlines around each character look extra pronounced, so it was easy to distinguish between friend and foe.
The Dell 24 proved highly responsive for Street Fighter V, a game in which input lag means the difference between winning and losing. I performed complex combos with no noticeable latency, and the neon lights hovering over the busy Chinese street in the game's background looked vibrant without being distracting.
The Dell Gaming 24 supports Nvidia G-Sync, a feature that delivers smoother performance by syncing your display directly to your Nvidia graphics card. While the benefits of G-Sync aren't always obvious, the feature eliminated some minor screen tears I ran into while playing GTA V.
Brightness and Color
The Dell 24 proved just as strong in our lab tests as it did during real-world play. The display exhibited a solid average brightness of 284 nits, topping our 247-nit average but trailing the ViewSonic XG2401 (355 nits) and the Asus MG278Q (328 nits).
Dell's monitor proved even more impressive in color performance, turning in a Delta-E color-accuracy rating of 1.88 (closer to 0 is better). That beats our 3.65 average, as well as the scores of the ViewSonic (2.34) and the Asus (6).
The Gaming 24 produced a strong 122.8 percent of the sRGB color gamut, besting the ViewSonic (91 percent), the Asus (105) and our 107-percent gaming monitor average.
Special Features and Modes
The Dell 24 is fairly no-frills when it comes to special features, but I appreciated that its few extras were useful for gaming. There are a handful of genre-specific presets: FPS mode is bright and dull for distraction-free shooting; RTS mode is hyper-saturated for identifying lots of units at once, and RPG mode is a vibrant middle ground between the two.
The monitor's Warm and Cool modes double down on reds and blues, respectively, and there's a Custom Color option that lets you set individual red, green and blue levels until you've found the perfect balance.
If you're looking for a 2560 x 1440 monitor, the Dell S2417DG should be at the very top of your list. For as low as $429 (if you buy from Dell), you're getting a sharp and responsive 1440p display complete with useful game modes and Nvidia G-Sync support. It's not easy to find 24-inch monitors at this resolution, which makes the Dell 24 all that sweeter.
Those seeking the same feature set on a bigger screen can check out Dell's 27-inch S2716DG, which the company sells for $499. You can get 4K on Acer's B286HK for less than $400, but that monitor lacks G-Sync or game-specific modes. Overall, if you want excellent performance and features on a 1440p display, you can't go wrong with the Dell 24.