Dell has designed what might be the world’s most beautiful monitor – but can this 22-incher justify its monstrous price tag?
Let's get the obvious comment out of the way first: for the same price as the 22in Dell Crystal monitor you could buy two of the company's standard 27in panels. In any sane world where you had £800 to burn on a screen, it should be fairly obvious which you'd choose.
Fortunately, this is an insanely well-designed monitor, which in a blind moment of madness could find itself sitting on your desktop. There's literally nothing like it out there, and to look at it is to break to the tenth commandment. You know, the one about coveting stuff.
See through surround
The big deal is the transparent surround. Apple, Sony and even Elonex have made monitors with a glass bezel before, but none have looked like this.
Shiny speaker cones are embedded in the sides, a 2megapixel webcam stares from the top and along the bottom there's a row of touch sensitive controls. Beyond that, there's just the highly polished metal stand.
It looks great, but it would be better if the chrome tripod was height adjustable too. All the cabling for the controls and speakers is traced onto the glass as an extra stylised touch: eat your heart out, Jonathan Ive.
Around the back there's a single cable that ends in several spidery tendrils for HDMI, USB and power inputs, and an LFE audio connector for hooking up to a subwoofer. It's a neat idea, but if you're using it with a laptop you'll struggle to get the power cable to reach the desktop.
The screen itself is full of high quality features. A 98% colour gamut, 2ms response time and 2000:1 dynamic contrast ratio stand out as top class. In use it's good, but not quite good enough. While colours are indeed very rich, the whole is a little unevenly lit and viewing angles aren't great.
Normally, it'd get a pass, but at this price there should be no compromise. It's a stunning monitor, but you really are paying just for the looks, and that's not necessarily something to be proud of.
Dell Crystal review
Nothing else comes close to the design, but you can get better performance for much less