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Dell UltraSharp 24 U2421E review

A well-rounded monitor for everyday work

Dell UltraSharp U2421E
(Image: © Dell)

Our Verdict

The Dell UltraSharp 24-inch U2421E can be used as a primary or secondary display with HDMI or DisplayPort connections depending on the work style and customer preference. The modest input response time and refresh rate make this display more suited to traditional or home office work and some creative applications rather than gaming.

For

  • Great colors and viewing angles
  • Edge-to-edge picture
  • Swivel, rotation, tilt, and height adjustment
  • USB-C connections/charging

Against

  • No integrated speakers
  • Response time not ideal for gaming
  • No HDMI inputs
  • Not 4K

Two-minute review

If you're in the market for a monitor to upgrade your current PC or a secondary display for your desktop or laptop, you'd be hard pressed to find a better solution than the Dell UltraSharp U2421E. With a quick and easy setup process and a sleek and practical design, it looks at home on both home and traditional work desks. 

The Dell UltraSharp U2421E retails for $469 (£279, AU$509), putting it on solid footing with other hub displays like the $349 (£318, AU$538) HP EliteDisplay E243d and the $399 (about £290, AU$510) Acer H7 series. It may seem a bit of a high price for a 24-inch screen, but this monitor packs plenty of features to make it a worthy investment. The USB-C input allows you to connect your laptop to the screen and use it as a secondary display or full docking station, making it perfect for anyone who needs more space to multitask with several programs and applications at once or prefers a traditional desktop configuration. 

The USB-C port also allows for quick-charging of compatible mobile devices and peripherals to keep your workflow moving smoothly throughout the day. Connecting the monitor to your desktop is also fairly straightforward. Though it includes a DisplayPort connector cable, it doesn't come with an HDMI cord, so you'll have to either find a spare or invest in a video card that supports DP connectivity.

Dell UltraSharp 24 U2421E

(Image credit: Future)

The included stand allows the monitor to be used in either portrait or landscape mode; vertical orientation is perfect for using as a secondary display on smaller desks. Switching screen orientations is about as easy as it gets: just rotate the screen to the left or right and change the display settings on your computer to match. The stand also allows for height adjustment and tilting the screen to avoid glare or enhance viewing angles. 

We mostly use the screen in portrait mode since we have it set up as a third monitor, and aside from some video aspect ratio weirdness with YouTube and playing DVDs, it produces some truly amazing images and colors. The screen also has a very narrow bezel, giving you an edge-to-edge picture that makes the monitor feel larger than its 24-inch size class. 

For typical work applications and programs like Microsoft Word or Google Sheets, this monitor is perfect, giving you clean, legible text and lines as well as vivid colors and great contrast for better video conferencing and calls. It can also be used for a bit for gaming, but the 5ms response time and max refresh rate of 75Hz isn't nearly as good as what you can find in gaming-specific displays for the same price. 

If you're a creative professional, the monitor is capable of producing over 16 million colors and is 99 percent color accurate with sRGB ranges, making it great for digital artists, graphic designers, and video producers. However, if you're an audio engineer or work with music, this monitor doesn't feature any integrated speakers, so you'll have to invest in a good headset or some external speakers.

Dell UltraSharp 24 U2421E

(Image credit: Future)

We put the Dell UltraSharp 24 U2421E through its paces with everything from typical word processing and spreadsheet work, watching hours of videos, and playing some graphically intense games like Yakuza: Like a Dragon and Curse of the Dead Gods. As mentioned above, we can't fully recommend this display for a main gaming monitor if response times and refresh rates are at the top of your priority list, but even with its default settings, there was very little flickering or tearing during intense missions or lengthy cutscenes. 

The LED panel produces a bit of a warmer color palette that's most noticeable with a white screen like on a Google search page or word processing document, especially when it's side-by-side with a cooler LED display, like the MSI Optix 27-inch curved monitor or the Philips 27-inch frameless monitor, both of which we were using before we received the Dell UltraSharp 24 for review. The slight differences in color temperature aren't enough to be a big distraction and wouldn't dissuade us from buying the Dell UltraSharp 24, but if you're picky it could be annoying. 

The screen's full HD resolution is pretty great, even in a tech world that's rapidly moving toward 4K becoming the new standard, and introducing 8K displays to those with a deep drive to future-proof their workstations and even deeper pockets. If you're a creative professional who works with UHD video often, you may want to pass this monitor up in favor of one with native 4K resolution. But for typical office work and entertainment, the Dell Ultrasharp 24 is a solid option. 

Details and contrast look great, and the IPS function gives you great color saturation and accuracy at wider viewing angles; though since folks tend to sit much closer to a computer monitor than a television, viewing angles aren't that extreme to begin with. But if you're using the Dell Ultrasharp 24 as a second or even third display off to the side, you won't have to worry about having to sit just right or needing to constantly adjust the screen tilt and swivel to get the perfect picture.

The Dell Ultrasharp 24-inch USB-C hub monitor is a solid workhorse of a display that will be at home in just about any office or home setting. It can handle everything from day-to-day operations, streaming videos, video calls, and even gaming to a certain degree. So if you're looking for a mid-range hub display that doesn't load itself down with unnecessary features, you won't find a much better choice.   

Dell UltraSharp 24 U2421E

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You need a well-rounded monitor for everyday work
The stand allows for tilt, rotation, and height adjustments for the perfect viewing angles, and the moderate refresh rate is perfect for Zoom meetings, video conferences, and typical office work.

You use programs in both landscape and portrait mode
The screen can be rotated either to the left or right to use in portrait or landscape mode. Portrait mode is great for smaller desks with a multi-monitor setup or working with spreadsheets and documents.

Dell UltraSharp 24 U2421E

(Image credit: Future)

Don't buy it if...

You're looking to buy a gaming specific monitor
This monitor has an input response time of 8ms and a maximum refresh rate of 76Hz. While this isn't horrible for gaming, there are much better displays out there for the same price or even cheaper. 

Your graphics card doesn't support DisplayPort connections
The monitor has an HDMI input for connecting to older graphics cards, but you'll get the most out of the screen if you use a DisplayPort connection; it allows for 4K video and graphics as well as higher refresh rates for smoother playback.

You don't have space for external speakers
This monitor doesn't have any integrated speakers, though it does have a headphone jack for private listening. If you're an audio engineer or prefer not to use a headset, you may want to look at other monitors.