We're gradually coming round to the use of 1920x1080 resolution in 22in TFTs, largely because it's a step upwards from 1680x1050 and you're not losing out on any pixels. Dell's latest 22-incher, the S2209W, comes with an agreeable price tag and its frugal features sit well with our bank accounts.

The S2209W has an attractive gloss-black styling, but with a few concessions to affordability. The stand isn't height adjustable and the range of connections is more limited; in fact, it consists of just D-SUB and DVI with no built-in speakers, so it isn't going to be an ideal companion for a console or Blu-ray player.

Sensible layout

There's still plenty for PC users to like here, though. The control buttons are large and well labelled, and the onscreen display is sensibly laid out and comprehensive. It even docks automatically to the bottom corner, which we'd like to be the default for all LCD menus, so you can see most of the screen as you adjust.

Not that we really needed to: the Dell comes set up to standard mode out of the box, and we saw no reason to tinker further with the settings.

In our tests, the greyscale ramps were neutral with no unwanted colour tinting, while the topmost shades of grey were just visible against a white background. Colours were vivid, with only the orangey-red betraying the Dell's affordable TN panel. It takes a PVA or IPS panel to get the blood-red you'd hope for, but that will cost you considerably more.

Better than budget

The S2209W actually does a very good job of disguising its budget roots, with crystal-clear 1080p video output and tremendous sharpness.

Wall-E looked as stunning, as we know it can, with the muted yellows of earth giving way to the reds and greens of the spaceship interior. The only weakness that might put you off is the thin sliver of backlight bleed at both the top and bottom of the screen – 1080p films often still have small black letterbox bars, so this is noticeable.

At such an affordable price, though, this is a minor drawback to an otherwise impressive home monitor. With no HDMI port or integrated speakers, it isn't quite a match for the cheaper BenQ E2200HD, but it's certainly a worthy contender.


Stuff says... 

Dell S2209W review

Impressive image quality, stylish curves and a bargain price give this home TFT an irresistible combination