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Dell U2711

This is a highly interesting model. Generally speaking, I do not have a fancy for 27-inch monitors. Having a native resolution of 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 pixels, their pixel pitch is too large. As a result, they are only really good for games and movies but no better than cheaper 24-inchers for productivity applications.

The U2711 is different. This 27-inch monitor has the same native resolution as 30-inch products, i.e. 2560x1440 (an aspect ratio of 16:9). The pixel pitch is very small here, only 0.233 millimeters, yet the U2711 with its price tag of about $1000 may prove to be a real bargain to you, compared to 30-inchers which cost much more, if you need to have a lot of information on your screen. I guess that users of CAD/CAM systems, page layout applications and other software of this kind will share in my enthusiasm.

The monitor’s Brightness and Contrast are both set at 50% by default. I achieved the 100-nit white by choosing 30% Brightness and 38% Contrast. The monitor regulates its brightness by modulating its backlight at a frequency of 180 Hz.

The monitor is very bright at over 350 nits at the maximum but you can easily lower it to a comfortable level. The contrast ratio is typical enough, fitting within the range of 600 to 700:1 the previous models have shown as well.

The gamma curves are somewhat higher than necessary. Without overloading this article with diagrams, I will just limit myself to reporting that the gamma curves have the same shape, producing a somewhat low-contrast image, at the reduced Brightness and Contrast as well as in the Game and Multimedia modes. The monitor displays darks and lights without problems and shows no banding in color gradients.

Like with the U2410, switching into the sRGB mode improves the shape of the gamma curve almost ideally.

The same goes for the AdobeRGB mode.

These two models are also similar in terms of the color gamut: coinciding with sRGB in blues, surpassing sRGB in reds and shifting the top of the triangle leftwards. The latter fact makes this monitor unable to display the whole range of sRGB colors. Some yellows and yellow-greens are beyond its native color gamut.

The AdobeRGB profile adjusts the position of the red point and does it in a neater way than with the U2410. It is somewhat beyond the border of the AdobeRGB space whereas the 24-inch model’s red point was within the triangle. As a result, the U2410 did not display some reds as required by AdobeRGB.

The sRGB mode also adjusts the position of the green point, so but there is no exact match because the monitor’s own color gamut does not cover sRGB, particularly in yellows.

Thus, although the U2711’s emulation of different color spaces is set up more accurately than the U2410’s, you should not expect it to deliver 100% sRGB or AdobeRGB because the monitor’s native color gamut does not encompass the emulated color spaces. If you do care about color accuracy, I’d recommend you to create a profile for this monitor with a hardware calibrator and use it in your image-editing software even when running the monitor in sRGB or AdobeRGB modes.

The sRGB and AdobeRGB modes should suffice for users who only need decent color accuracy. The neat gamma curves and the lack of serious defects in the color space emulation make the monitor’s color rendering more accurate than in the Standard mode.

The monitor produces a rather cold image in every mode. You only get 6500 K in the Warm mode, which is not really warm but neutral. The sRGB mode has a color temperature of 8000 K although it should be 6500 K (the value described in the sRGB standard).

On the other hand, the U2711 has got rid of the greenish hue typical of the Dell monitors described earlier in this review. There is a small deflection from the neutral gray curve (it’s black in the diagrams) in the Standard mode only. The other modes hit the gray curve precisely.

Like with the U2410, the backlight brightness is a gradient. The right part of the screen is somewhat darker than the left one, and there is a bright horizontal band along the center. As for the exact numbers, the average nonuniformity of black brightness is 3.3% with a maximum deflection of 10.1%, which is an excellent result. It’s worse with white: the average nonuniformity is 7.4% and the maximum deflection is 23.3%.

The response time average is 5.7 milliseconds (GtG), so the U2711 is one of the fastest IPS-based monitors I’ve ever tested.

Unfortunately, the high speed is achieved at the expense of visual artifacts which amount to 15.7% on average and 45% at the maximum. This is not as bad as with gaming TN-based monitors which can have an RTC miss of up to 70% on some transitions, yet I would prefer to have a lower level of RTC errors even at the expense of response time proper. Subjectively, the monitor wouldn’t be any slower if it had an average response time of 7 to 8 milliseconds (GtG) whereas the RTC-provoked artifacts (light shadows behind moving objects) may prove to be an unpleasant surprise for some users.

Summing everything up, I can say that the U2711 stands out among other products in some but not all ways. It is a rather inexpensive 27-inch monitor with a very high resolution of 2560x1440 pixels. There have been no such models at all until recently, although they may be very appealing for people who work with large amounts of visual information and cannot afford 30-inch monitors. On the other hand, the U2711 is no different from the other e-IPS based Dell monitors in terms of quality and setup. It has a few downsides that are not critical but annoying. The most serious of them are the poor regularity of backlight when displaying white and the rather high level of RTC errors. Neither can be corrected in the monitor’s menu.

 
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