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I'm going to school for graphic design. I work mainly on PC and I hate apple, not to say I don't know how/won't use a Mac, but I hate them as a company. I use my crappy Samsung laptop over their iMacs every day; however, I can't deny dat color quality. Does the Dell U2412m or ASUS PA248Q (supposedly same panel) have a color gamut and display that can get even close to apple's displays?
If you are doing Photography then you might want a full-gamut monitor But if you are doing Graphics Design, any IPS would do, even though it does not display all the colors in the world but at least it is 8 bit and not 6 bit + dithering like TN You will have to match whatever color you use on your design to the limited set of pantone colors anyway so again any IPS should display those just fine and some more. Oh, get a calibrator too
I'm definitely not a photographer. Stock photos and creative commons licensed pics are going to be my main source. I know sRGB covers most of the Pantone gamut, so thats why I'm willing to go with the ASUS PA248Q for now. At least until I can afford a 10-bit monitor. Any other monitors that might be better than one in the $400 budget? I do plan on getting a Spyder4pro as well (unless you have suggestions on better calibrators too).
Not sure if this is accurate, but this link http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1708553 says that the u2412m is 6-bit, the PA248q is 8-bit and on par with the u2410. I know the QC on the ASUS isn't quite as good so I might get backlight bleeding, but since I'm ordering the throught amazon, I can just get a replacement if that rare problem happens to me.
One of the reasons why the iMac/rMBP screens look so impressive is because the don't have an anti-glare coating on top, it will be more reflective yes but it is also crystal clear. If you really want that clarity then I would recommend a glossy IPS instead of that Asus.
This is the reason I will never be using anything with anti-glare again http://www.overclock.net/content/type/61/id/954440/width/563/height/429
I am using the X-rite i1 to calibrate my monitor, no experience with any Spyder whatsoever but from what I have heard you will be fine with either.
I have an Asus PA248Q and absolutely love it, no stuck pixels and the factory calibration was pretty good right out of the box. Granted, although I consider myself an amateur photographer, I don't have a legitimate need for 100% accurate color and wide gamut... but I do try to get as close as I can to true life.
These guys are exhaustive in their monitor evaluations and I think they have both of the monitors you're looking at covered. FWIW they're both quite comparable in ability with the Dell being better at some aspects but the Asus better in a few others... it's pretty much a wash IMHO.
Either way you should give it a look before pulling the trigger.