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Looking for an excellent gaming monitor on a budget? We just found one…

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For a PC gamer, few things are quite as daunting as choosing a monitor. There’s a billion of them out there ranging in price from about $75 to several thousand dollars. All this just so you can see your game — which is kind of necessary if you’re going to play it.

The good news is you don’t have to spend a mint to get a solid gaming monitor. The Dell SE2417HG offers good performance, build quality and aesthetics for less than a moderate video card.

This 24-inch monitor comes with an extremely sturdy stand and assembles in about minute. The stand’s arm snaps into the monitor and the base snaps sturdily into the arm. You don’t need any tools to set it up, which may not seem like a big deal but is a welcome when all you want to do is take the monitor out of the box and get going.

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Once the monitor is assembled, it’s time to connect everything. The monitor comes with a power cord and an VGA cable, so you can connect it to most computers immediately. However, to fully take advantage of its quality, consider using one of the two included HDMI ports.

With a resolution of 1920 x 1080, the high-definition display sports a contrast ratio of 1000:1. As a result, the blacks present more as grays. Still, the panel is bright enough that the contrast looks good and unless you are the pickiest player, the lack of deep blacks won’t be a particular concern.

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The screen’s anti-glare coating worked well, muting unwanted reflections without affecting the quality of the visuals. This is aided by the excellent LED back-lighting which is consistent across the panel, resulting in an even image that does not warp at the edges or the corners.

It also helps that the colors are rich and natural. Saturation, especially on reds and yellows, stands out without ever overwhelming. Even during the fast action of Forza Horizon 3, the beautiful Australian landscapes never muddied.

Likewise, while I was playing the early access version of Civilization VI, the screen showed excellent detail even when many small units moved about at the same time. I never had trouble spotting what I needed to do, even when the camera was zoomed out, because the action was so clear and stutter-free.

While you can also use this monitor to watch movies and videos, the lack of deep blacks is more noticeable. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice washed out in some of the darker scenes, but the monitor never displayed any jitter. It performed better with the animated Minions movie, accurately displaying every color of yellow under the sun, as well as the other colors.

This monitor doesn’t have speakers, but it sports an audio line-out to pass sound to your favorite speakers.

While the monitor has a number of preset display modes, including Movie, Games, Multimedia and Paper, it’s a little less robust when it comes to manual adjustments. You can tweak the contrast and brightness as well as some basic color settings, but a full calibration isn’t possible without getting into the service settings, which would be beyond most casual users.

Overall, the Dell SE2417HG performed very well, particularly for a monitor in the sub-$200 price range. Its easy setup and solid performance make it the perfect monitor for any gamer looking for a great value.

PROS

  • Excellent performance for the price
  • Images are bright and colors are true and consistent
  • No stutter or lag with fast moving images

CONS

  • Not the deepest blacks in a monitor
  • Somewhat limited calibration options