I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

Left: Dell 2407WFP-HC. Right: 2408WFP.

Tip: If you’re going dual-monitor, get two identical models.

It’s nearly impossible to get these to look similar, even though the 2408 is just one generation ahead of the 2407 HC. I was only able to get them to this point with the help of Tiff’s new calibrator and a lot of manual settings tweaks, but both are still nowhere near accurate or balanced.

The 2408 isn’t actually very good. It has embarrassing input lag (my 2407 HC doesn’t), the backlight is too eye-burning bright at nearly every setting above “0”, and the color reproduction is worse than the 2407 HC.

But the 2407 isn’t perfect, either: its USB hub is unreliable, and its power button has an annoying habit of rotating out of position and failing after less than a year. Mine does this, and frequently needs a good 30 seconds of prodding to turn on, but the process of cross-shipping it from a Brooklyn apartment with no car and awful UPS/FedEx drivers is so prohibitive that I’m waiting until it becomes so bad that I can’t turn it on at all before sending it for repair. It’s pretty sad that Dell can’t make a power button that lasts more than a year of being pushed twice per day on a $400+ product.

The Tumblr office recently got a pair of the new model in this line, the U2410. They’re not mine, so I can’t tell you how good they are, but they’re garishly decorated with bright blue LEDs that would be nearly impossible to tolerate in anything but a brightly lit office.

All of this has made me realize that Dell’s monitors aren’t as good as they used to be. The standard good-value practice for the last few years has been to buy computers from Apple but everything else — monitors, keyboards, RAM, hard drives — from third parties. Dell was always the first choice for monitors, offering top-quality panels with great connectivity and convenience features (USB hubs, card readers) for much less money than nearly anyone else, especially Apple. But I think I’ve bought my last Dell monitor.

If Apple puts LG’s magical 27” panel into a standalone monitor for a reasonable price ($1200?), it will be difficult for many people to resist. And if anyone else with any semblance of quality and design offers it in matte, I might dump one of these Dells on Craigslist, give up any hope of color-matching between my pair, and replace the primary (left) screen with something that doesn’t look, feel, and work as well as a GM car.