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2009 October | PencilGym.com

Archive for October, 2009

deng.

didn’t i blog about this before some where… i personally believe very strictly in the micro transaction business model for games. There’s always been a new idea for how to make money off the game you work so hard to develop and put onto store shelves… the more accepted “episodic release” being one of the better favored “new successful distribution” method. Games like NCSoft’s Guild Wars for example was one of the early pioneers of ‘episodic release’ business model… customers buy the game, and get to enjoy the full content of the game for free, until, there’s a new “episode” or expansion, you pay for the expansion, and it’s the customer’s choice if he/she wants the additional content. Valve’s Halflife 2 Episodes are also a great example of this business model.

But that model seems to be… failing. It’s hard work to keep steady with a “6 month” develop-and-release cycle, especially if each new episode has to be as good, or even better, than the previous one (usually it has to be better otherwise why would fans continue to keep up with the game).

So introduce Micro Transactions. The general idea of it alone sounds so much more appealing already to any shopper. You pretty much buy the game free, play all you want, but, when you’re in-game with your character and friends, you start to realize you’re lacking something. So you continue on into the in-game shop, and purchase a new item or boost or armor or etc..for a measly fee of usually something around 2 or 3 real-life dollars. Every time you want something more, or a new kind of boost or upgrade or a new expansion chapter, you head back into that virtual store, and make another 3 or 5 real-life dollar purchase to get an in-game item. Developers are constantly updating and adding new content, usually very simple and quick content, bringing them into these virtual stores within that game, and everyone loves new stuff, so the masses will naturally horde in to grab that new item for 3 dollars a pop.

Alright so what about the iPhone??

well, now Apple has available this type of transaction for game/app developers that wish to make use of. It’s proven that this kind of distribution and business solution helps control piracy, and also increases the title’s distribution rate. Afterall, game is free, why won’t a person grab it? And the moment they do start playing it, that’s where the hook is…and they latch on, and they start micro-transactions, buying mini-game items for “just 1 buck” for the rest of their lives playing this game. Developers add something new and enticing into this virtual shop, and bam, the person goes to spend more money on the game.

I’m excited ’cause i’ve always dreamt to develop a game, which utilizes heavily this micro transaction model..and with the iPhone now capable of it, it’s another motivator for me to push on with my personal iPhone project. :)

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Hooray!

i finally purchased a new monitor.

it’s not just any monitor, it’s the perfect choice for me, personally.

given i did read about the problems customers were having, i believed it was just a problem particular to that single unit they had recieved…and i believed right :D

the unit i recieved, is jaw-dropping gorgeous.

colors pop, compared to my dell 2005wfp 20inch IPS monitor. i believed that my good ol’ 2005wfp monitor was already amazing with regards to colors, viewing angles.

not! not until i got my hands on this bad boy!

it’s. amazing.

and im very very nit-picky about my “big purchases”, and this was one of it.

prior to getting this u2410 model, i had bought a dell 2408wfp (read/researched hype and rave reviews for the 2408) but i had troubles with it, viewing problems, extreme color shifting, making text and any work with the screen just uneasy and uncomfortable for me. i sent it back, waited a while (couple weeks how coincidental!) and picked up a sale/offer for this beautiful U2410 model.

Alright!

Here’s the “down-to-earth” review of this monitor you people have been emailing me to do! Forget CNET and other big sites that are rumored to be biased based off the money they are paid to put good word in for the product.

*Note! I’m no color/monitor geek professional. This U2410 is review is based off Out-Of-the-Box + eyeball/manual calibration (no 3rd party hardware color calibrators).

Aesthetics: woo, dam. does this bad boy look sexy. comparing it to the now-smaller-lesser sibling monitor dell 2005wfp, this u2410 looks absolute professional, and classy. the matte black “square block” of a stand, the nice thick matte silver neck, and the 4 sharp corners of the panel, along with touch-sensitive OSD buttons, and a single non-distracting blue led power button, this baby is beautiful. Compare it with the HP2475 and the NECs (wuxis) (other competitors in this monitor range), the U2410 has absolute class.

The Searing Sun: this screen came out of the box with Brightness 50 Contrast 50. Waaaay tooo bright for me, it caused me to frown and squint (and squeal). I have it set to Brightness 8  Contrast 45 now.

Colors of the Rainbow & Beyond: this screen came factory calibrated. it shipped with a factory color calibration report sheet (with a reported Avg. Delta E graph with everything under 2.1, which is rather excellent). Also, away from the ‘science’ of color, what i saw, was immediately a new world of color comparing with my old boy 2005wfp model. The colors on this U2410 pop. It’s not over saturated, not ‘sunburned’, or whateva other terms you coined in your past experiences with monitors.

the U2410 is stated as a 12-bit color monitor, an upgrade for the standard 8-bit and/or 10-bit average consumer monitor out in the market. It’s rated to have a color range past 1billion colors, not the typical “12.something million colors”.

So everything together, the color experience is absolute amazing.

Sure, i had to do some manual color tweaks, adjusting the display through the u2410′s on-screen menu options…but the controls are alot more detailed than what was available on the dell 2005wfp model. Depending on the Preset Mode you’re running, the options available to tweak will vary. But it’s still a fairly generous depth of color precision controls you can get.

The Black Blacks: Given this is an IPS monitor, with cathode lighting, i wasnt expecting the U2410 to shine at this area. and i was right. Some might be disappointed with the black levels, it certainly is not as deep as my ol’ 2005wfp model, neither is it as deep and black as the dell 2408wfp i had sent back. But it’s still really black-black. It has a black level reading of “2.0ish” for the scientific readers. :) (‘pro plasma’ screens have blacks levels as deep as 0.01, smaller the value the better black.)

The Whiter Whites: Whites are great. I had to adjust the gamma and contrast setting initially to get the white to be the white i was comfortable with (eyeballing again! no hardware color calibration here!). I was aided with the renown Lagom LCD Monitor color calibration screen tests website. (http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/)

Viewing All Angles: This is an IPS screen, viewing angles are spot on greatness. :D Comparing my viewing experience with the Dell 2408wfp (which is a PVA panel), that 2408 model and this u2410 difference was like night vs day. It was astounding to me at just how great the viewing angle on this u2410 is.

Gaming in the Fast Lane: I’ve played every game i’ve been playing recently on this U2410. Call of Duty 5, Killzone, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, Counter Strike, Company of Heroes, Supreme Commander, Grand Theft Auto 4, Crysis. (Yes, notice the cross-platform titles in this list haha, that’s because i have hooked up my playstation 3 to the U2410 as well as my PC, i’ll be commenting shortly about the U2410 connections inputs.)
And this screen is excellent for every game in any genre. Drop-dead gorgeous! AND IN FULL 1080P HD! (yes, im coming from playing my ps3 on Composite video on my ol’ 2005wfp monitor).

Inputs galore: Yes, you certainly get everything you put your money down for. The U2410 has an entire barrage of inputs/outputs. It has 2 x DVI, Component, Composite, HDMI, Display Port, Speaker in/out for the Dell Sound Bar, 8-in-1 Card Reader, 4 x USB ports.
I have hooked up my Playstation 3, PC, laptop, and cable tv, all to this single screen. All i have to do is push the Input button on the U2410 to select a video source, and wee! I’m contemplating purchasing a nintendo Wii some time soon, and it’s gonna go up on this same monitor :D

The final experience: At the end of the day, i’m way more satisfied than i had been psyching myself to be! I had read alot of complaint about the U2410, common troubles like dead pixels, color tinting in the screen’s corners, and screen graininess (?)…all of which i’ve seemed to have completely avoided! This U2410 is yet another absolute awesomeness buy i’ve made, and i will forever recommend this screen to my friends and relatives. (if you can bring yourself to it’s price, i dropped down $500usd for this, and that was after a discount/sale of over a hundred bucks! but it’s certainly the best bang for your buck for a monitor of this sature!) I can say with confidence this U2410 is clearly the ultimate next step up from the dell 2005wfp!

It’s not often i shop for and buy a new monitor, the last time i did was in 2005, that’s a 4 year gap, and $400-500 in such a long time, i’m certain that’s really conservative already. And plus, i know well in heart that this U2410 is going to take me through another 5 years or more! woohoo! what’s not to like!

Yes, let it be made known, there is no perfect monitor out on the market, there is no “the One monitor”…every monitor to date has it’s own flaws, and when it comes down to the money, the Dell U2410 hits the very sweetest spot. The next competitor up to this behemoth would be Apple’s LED Cinema Display, retailing for $900 USD. Almost twice the cost of a single U2410. Further up the tier into the professional monitor zone, you can start looking at the NEC monitors, which start at $1200 USD and go up to $10,000USD! (all 24 inchers too)

Review Requests: Please email me your thoughts and questions and requests! Want me to “test” or write about another aspect of this monitor? Or leave a comment below too! :D

U2410 Pictures and Video:

I’ve made a video with my point-and-shoot camera of this screen “in life”, readers interested can easily check it out at youtube.com. (link will be added shortly)

meanwhile, indulge yourselves in the pictures i’ve taken of this sexy beast too! :D

If you like, i have made available the “Full Color Screen” test pictures i used in the following pictures, for download if you like. They are 1920×1200 resolution big, and just view in something you can set to ‘full screen’, good choice would be the standard Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, and going into Slide Show Mode (pressing F11).

Download here: Full Color Screen Test Pictures
Added: Wallpaper shown in photos here (Hi-Res 1920×1200 wallpaper)
Added: Youtube Video of the Dell U2410 24 inch Monitor

*Note: The Fuzziness/Graininess in the following pictures are not in/from the monitor! It’s from my point-and-shoot camera…crappy $200 consumer budget camera :/ Also bear in mind that this camera has White Balance, and i’ve not been successful with tweaking it to the right tone, so these pictures are not “true to your eye” compared to in real life.. i made them to give readers a feel and idea of what this screen is like in a home. (clik the images for full size!)

Full Black Test Screen (i need to retake the picture in a completely darkened room!)

Full Black Test Screen (i need to retake the picture in a completely darkened room!)

Blue Test Screen

Full Blue Test Screen

Black To White Gradient Test Screen

Black To White Gradient Test Screen

Full Green Test Screen

Full Green Test Screen

Full Red Test Screen

Full Red Test Screen

Full White Test Screen

Full White Test Screen

View Angle Test: Front

View Angle Test: Front

View Angle Test: Side Right

View Angle Test: Side Right

View Angle Test: Side Left

View Angle Test: Side Left

View Angle Test: Bottom

View Angle Test: Bottom

View Angle Test: Above

View Angle Test: Above

How helpful was my review? Did you like it? What else would you like to see with regards to this monitor? Leave a comment please! Hope this write up helps those that are having a tough time deciding what monitor to put down their money on!

Thanks all for reading! 450 reads and counting!(as of 10/15/2009) :D
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