I’ll always remember my first day at work as a software engineer for Electronic Arts in 2006 when someone showed me my desk and I saw what my workstation setup was like. They gave me two 24″ Ultrasharp Dell monitors. At my previous job, I was still using a CRT monitor. I had asked for one of them new fangled LCD monitors but since this company was cheap, they denied my request. So when EA sat me down with dual widescreen 24″ monitors, I wasn’t sure where to look or even how to use that much screen real estate.

Over the years, I’ve used many Dell Ultrasharp monitors at work and have been impressed by their image quality and durability. I’ve stared at those monitors for more hours than I can count. Things look great on them and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one break down. For many years I’ve wanted my own Ultrasharp at home but they were initially very expensive. I think when I first looked at buying one for myself, the standard 24″ from Dell was probably close to $700. Being cheap, that was too rich for my blood, so I spent a lot less on a budget 24″ monitor from Benq. It was definitely not as good as a Dell but good enough that I didn’t complain. I bought that monitor in 2008 I believe and to be fair, that thing soldiered on as my main from monitor for over seven years. It did, however, run into some problems about three years ago. You’d have to manually turn it off and back on again for it work when you powered up your computer. Most monitors now recognize when a signal is present on one of its inputs and it knows to turn on the screen. Somehow this broke on my monitor so I had to deal with this little quirk. It also meant that if my monitor went to sleep, simply moving the mouse or pressing a key on the keyboard wouldn’t wake it up. I’d have turn it off and then back on again to get an image.

Anyways, I can’t believe I put up with that for years. This Christmas though, I finally decided to buy my own Dell Ultrasharp. The Boxing Day sales had them down to less than $300 and coupled with a very modest $8 EA employee discount, I pulled the trigger on a 24″. It arrived on Friday and I’ve been using it all weekend. The difference between this new monitor and the old was was immediately apparent and very striking. The first thing I noticed was how colours popped off the screen. The Dell definitely has a wider colour gamut than my old monitor, meaning it can more faithfully display a wider range of colours. I put up an image of a pink sunset that I’d seen before on my old monitor but this time it looked more alive with more vibrant colours. The same thing happened when I displayed photos with uh, skin tones. It was as if my old monitor was showing me the world through a lens that faded out colours. Text also seemed to be somewhat sharper and distinct, which makes reading easier.

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