Dell P190S 19" Flat Panel LCD TFT (Active Matrix) Monitor Reviews

Dell P190S 19" Flat Panel LCD TFT (Active Matrix) Monitor

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Great display, above-average features, high price

Oct 28, 2010
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:

Pros:Great image quality, VGA/DVI options, USB hub, adjustable stand, soundbar option

Cons:Overpriced for the features, height adjustment does not have a locking mechanism.

The Bottom Line: If you can buy the P190S for the right price it's great, but at retail cost I'd look elsewhere.


Being a fan of having easier access to USB ports (not to mention a larger monitor), I was happy to stumble into a monitor upgrade at work, in the form of a Dell P190S.  Overall it's a really nice monitor, with good features all things considered, but it's also got a pitfall that makes it a tough pick for me.

The P190S is a pretty standard monitor for business, in that it retains the 4:3 aspect ratio that was popular once upon a time when we still used CRT monitors.  It's actually pretty tough to find a monitor that doesn't have the wide-screen 16:9 (or 16:10) aspect ratio, and the fact that Dell still has an offering is refreshing.  Although watching movies and playing games are great on a wide-screen monitor, business functions are still optimized for a "square" 4:3 monitor: that's right, you're not getting any more productivity in Microsoft Office with that wide-screen LCD!  With a 19" diagonal width, the P190S also features a native resolution of 1280x1024.  You can go lower than this (helpful for folks with poor eyesight), but you won't go any higher than 1280x1024, and the image displayed on the screen will have the most clarity at that resolution.  This isn't a terribly high resolution in today's age of small 1080P displays, but for the screen it really is an ideal balance between high resolution, and readability.

The image on the screen is very good, and although the pixel pitch isn't the smallest that I've seen, it still has an image quality that makes old business monitors I've used look poor.  I also really like that the screen has an anti-glare matte coating.  A popular feature nowadays is to have screens that have a high-gloss finish, which is great in some circumstances, but if you have any direct light around (a window, or lamp) a glossy finish tends to create a ton of glare.  I haven't tried to play any games on it, but there isn't any evidence at all of ghosting of any kind when playing videos or moving content on the screen quickly.

Connectivity on the panel is slightly above average, offering both VGA and DVI ports.  Additionally, the P190S offers the option of a soundbar.  Essentially, this is a long bar that attaches to the bottom edge of the display, and has a few speakers in it.  The soundbar draws power from the display itself, and shuts off when the monitor goes into sleep mode (although this is selectable in the monitor settings), and of course has an audio cable that goes back to your PC, or any other device with a stereo jack.  The display also has a height-adjustment stand that swivels, tilts, and rotates.  These are great features if you ever twist the display around to show someone some content, or if you just like to adjust it to be just the way you want it on your desk.  Many LCDs have a fixed stand, with a tilt adjustment at best, so this is one of the features that really sets the P190S apart from it's cheaper brethren.  It's worth noting, however, that the height adjustment does not in any way lock in place.  It does stay in place on it's own, but pushing it up or down will cause it to slip.  It's not a big deal, really, but if you're the type of person that puts things on the top edge of their monitor, you might find that it's sliding down over time.

Of course, I would be remiss to forget to mention the USB hub!  The P190S has a built-in four-port powered USB 2.0 hub.  There are two ports on the underside of the monitor (next to the VGA and DVI ports), as well as two more on the side.  I'm a big fan of these, as it allows users to hook up their keyboard and mouse to the underside ports, and have the two ports on the side for removable media like a USB thumb drive, or camera.  Personally, I have my wireless mouse's USB dongle in one of the underside ports, and my iPhone cable on the other.  It doesn't really sound like a big feature, but if you've got your PC down on the floor, or out of the day, the USB hub makes it much easier to plug in USB drives without sliding out the tower or digging around under your desk.

Cool features aside, the big sticking point with me on this display is the price.  At current time, Dell is asking $239 for the panel, plus $36 for the optional soundbar.  The format, and marketing of this monitor is geared towards business, but all someone needs to do is walk through the aisle of their local computer/electronics store to see that there are larger monitors available for significantly less.  Granted, many of these won't have the fun features like the adjustable stand or integrated USB hub, but for many people this won't be a deal breaker; it's not a hard decision to make between a 19" Dell, and a 23" wide-screen display from another reputable manufacturer if they're both the same price, and a lower price tag for the 23" wide-screen display makes it even easier.

Overall, I really like this display, but it's above-average features don't warrant it's above-average pricetag.  I fully believe that Dell makes some very, very nice monitors, but most of the time I wonder if Dell prices them high just because they've already got people buying their computers, and want to bleed just a little more profit from them as a convenience tax.  If the price was right (and it probably will be if you buy it second-hand) I wouldn't hesitate to give the P190S two big thumbs up, but with their current pricing I can't help but feel like they're asking about $100 too much, especially when there are nicer displays to be had for less than Dell's asking price.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 239
Operating System: Windows and Macintosh


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