The Dell UltraSharp U2711 is one of the best LCD monitors that a consumer can buy, with an excellent 27 inch screen.
The screen uses an IPS panel (In-plane Switching) that can display colours better than most others, including Dell’s older 27-inch model the U2709W. In keeping with the current trend, the Dell UltraSharp U2711 features a 16:9 wide-screen aspect ratio for movies, but the big deal here is its screen resolution.
A mind-blowing 2560x1440 pixels packed into 27 inches worth of diagonal screen space ensures that even Full High-Definition Blu-ray movies are just a large window on-screen. This is not a surprise considering it provides an extra 77.8 per cent worth of screen real-estate compared to Full-HD resolution. The monitor also offers every type of display input connector you could think of.
Dell UltraSharp U2711: Design and Features
The Dell UltraSharp U2711 is a gentle giant, your eyes quickly adjust to the massive screen size and it does not even feel all that imposing any more. It carries forward the looks of the familiar Dell UltraSharp series of monitors. coloured in black with dashes of metallic colour, it looks sombre and professional, yet stylish. The surrounding bezel is fairly thin in proportion to the monitor’s display size, but the monitor as a whole is thicker than normal ones. The screen itself is recessed slightly from bezel level as usual.
Controls for the Dell UltraSharp U2711 monitor’s OSD are touch-based with a sensor that detects when you take your finger anywhere close to the power button at the bottom-right. Input ports are at the rear facing downwards, including 2 USB ports. Power and sound outputs are also present right there, meant for attaching the Dell SoundBar (AX510/AY511) which could facilitate using this monitor as a TV.
The new Dell UltraSharp U2711’s stand is not plastic, it has a metal mechanical system so it is an upgrade from earlier such Dell monitors. What stands out is the stand’s large base (in comparison to smaller monitors). The stand offers cable management, and adjustment of the display – height, tilt and swivel are the adjustments possible. Perhaps due to the size of the monitor, Dell has not offered the “pivot” facility with its stand, which otherwise is a staple feature on UltraSharp monitors.
That indeed is a pity, turning the screen around by 90 degrees vertically to function in “Portrait-mode” at a resolution of 1440 pixels wide and 2560 pixels would have been quite a treat. Still, it does support VESA mounting, so you can use a wall-mount to use the Dell UltraSharp U2711 monitor in just the way you want it, whether oriented horizontally or vertically.
There is a memory card reader built into the left side of the Dell UltraSharp U2711, along with two more USB ports to let you easily plug USB devices into the system. A number of brands are moving to offer an LED backlight on their laptop/desktop monitors, but Dell has stuck to the tried and tested CCFL for this 27 inch giant of a monitor. Dell claims a viewing angle of 178 degrees on the U2711, both horizontally and vertically, so you can view the display just fine without colour shifts from almost any angle.
Even when placed beside a CRT monitor, you’d be hard-pressed to find colour-reproduction issues, since it uses one of the best panels currently (an LG H-IPS 10-bit panel, model number LM270WQ1). Colour depth is good, with Dell claiming the Dell UltraSharp U2711 can display 1.07 billion colours (as against the usual 16.7 million colours), output 30-bit colour (compared to the usual 24-bit colour) has 12-bit colour processing (most normal monitors are 6-bit) and a colour gamut of 110 percent (on the CIE1976 standard most monitors achieve just 72 percent). In short, this means you would be able to see every colour as the author intended it to be seen, making it a good choice for photographers, movie buffs and print/web graphics content creators.
Typical power consumption is rated at 113W while active and 2W during standby/sleep, these numbers exclude any additional power drawn by speakers/USB devices attached to the LCD monitor. Compared to the 5-year warranty for high-end monitors earlier, Dell has reduced it now to a 3-year warranty. But even this warranty continues to carry the privileges you’d expect after having paid for such a high-end monitor.
Dell UltraSharp U2711: Performance
The Dell UltraSharp U2711 LCD monitor claims a dynamic contrast ratio (DCR) of 80,000:1 which is fine for movies and games. However, we disable DCR to measure its true contrast ratio, claimed to be 1000:1 which was then measured by our Chroma meter to be 972:1 which is really good. We measured brightness of 226 cd/m2 and a deep black level of 0.23 cd/m2 which again put this monitor in distinguished company.
For once, we found our calibration equipment behind the curve and this premium monitor which is pre-calibrated by Dell at the factory for the sRGB and Adobe RGB colour spaces, actually performed better before calibration than after it. We run a battery of tests including those from Lavalys Everest, PixPerAn, Lagom, and DisplayMate, measuring them with a Chroma meter. It scored well as expected, for more details see the “Performance” tab of this review. In brief, the colour accuracy, brightness, and contrast were excellent as the numbers above will tell you.
Our subjective tests consisted of browsing and productivity apps, viewing photos, movies and playing games. The colours were vibrant and felt “true”, screen was sharp and the colour consistency was even across the screen (this is better than most normal CCFL-backlit monitors). Importantly for movie watchers, the depth of the black was very good – the black levels noted above are superb numbers.
On a related note, we saw no backlight bleeding which is good. The horizontal and vertical viewing angles were as expected for an IPS-panel monitor, the colours were close to their original from every angle in front of the screen. Thus you can even lie down on the floor and watch a movie just as comfortably with colours faithful to their original, just as they they’d look when you’re seated on a chair.
There were no dead/stuck/coloured pixels on the unit that came to us for review, as confirmed on 5 uni-colour screens (completely dark, white and the 3 primary colours). Input lag usually cripples many displays that use an IPS panel. Though the U2711 is not immune, it still aced this one, with no perceptible mouse lag even in fast-paced FPS games (they remain very playable), or out of sync audio in movies.
NEXT: the experience >>
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