We’ve got the Dell S2721DGF, one of Dell’s new gaming monitors in 2020.
It might be one of the most versatile monitors that we’ve seen this year and it can have a lot of value for a work or a gaming monitor.
Hey, I’m Abdullah,
The Dell S2721DGF is an all-around performer that would work for both gamers and those looking for a high-quality monitor for that work at home life.
- It has an IPS panel that offers a 1440p resolution at 165Hz.
- the Impressive picture quality and supports HDR.
- With adaptive-sync for G-sync or Freesync, it’s definitely an impressive monitor to look out for and a definite competitor to the LG 27GL83A-B and the LG27GL850.
- First, we’ll look at the design of the monitor and then move on to the picture quality.
We’ll look at the motion handling and input lag, and then compare it to other competing models which are currently available.
Let’s start with the design of the monitor.
The S2721DGF is a well-designed monitor.
It’s a little bit of a departure from the typical Dell monitors, but it is by no means bad.
The new stand looks modern and fits with the gaming aesthetic of the back of the display.
It has a line of blue LED light that helps to highlight this new back pattern Like most Dell monitors, it’s got a good build quality.
Even though it’s mainly plastic, it fits well together and is sturdy.
There are no visible gaps or bends anywhere and the bezels fit snugly on the panel.
The ergonomics of the monitor are fantastic, which is to be expected from a Dell monitor.
The stand doesn’t take up very much desk space and you’re able to manipulate the monitor easily thanks to a generous swivel range or just attach it onto a 100by100 VESA mount.
As far as cable management goes, there is a hole in the stand to keep all the cables in a tidy spot.
The input selection on the Dell S2721DGF is great and should satisfy most people.
There are 2 HDMI 2.0s, a single DisplayPort 1.4, 4 USB 3.0, and a USB-B port.
Keep in mind that the highest refresh rate you can get through the HDMI ports is 144Hz, so you’ll need to use the DisplayPort in order to take advantage of the full 165Hz of this monitor.
You’ll also need a DisplayPort for the G-sync to work, but Freesync will work across all ports.
The controls are on the back of the monitor with a joystick and some buttons to navigate through the menus.
Now we’ll move on to the picture quality.
We’ll be comparing to currently available monitors but competing models may change as new monitors are released throughout the year.
We’ll start with the contrast.
The contrast ratio is the difference between the darkest black and the brightest white that a screen can display.
Having a low contrast ratio makes it so that scenes that should be black appear more gray.
We measured an 882:1 contrast ratio which is not very good.
There is a local dimming feature on this monitor which allows it to turn on and off sections of the backlight, but it is only available in HDR and it is automatically enabled when sending an HDR signal.
Unfortunately, it does not do much to the contrast, increasing it to 971:1.
That said, it is expected because this monitor has an IPS panel, which are notorious for having low contrast ratios.
Now onto viewing angles.
As I just mentioned, the S2721DGF has an IPS panel.
Where it fails in contrast ratio, it excels in viewing angles.
Having a good viewing angle means that the colors and brightness of the screen do not deteriorate at various angles.
Horizontally, it performs excellently and there should be no issues if you’re reasonably off-angle from the center of the monitor.
Vertically, it is fine, but if someone is standing next to your desk and looking at the monitor, colors, and brightness will look blander.
Now we’ll move on to the reflection handling of the monitor.
This is important since it will help to control the amount of glare and light reflected on the screen.
The S2721DGF has great reflection handling and should work well in most rooms, but it may struggle a little by a window.
Another way to combat reflections is the brightness of the monitor.
The S2721DGF has got great brightness levels with peaks as high as 368 nits in SDR and 490 in HDR, with the local dimming feature enabled in the 100% window.
This is great and as mentioned, will help with the glare but, it also helps with the color, since bright screens can also produce bright colors.
Out of the box, the monitor has a few different picture modes, but the best is the Standard picture mode.
Unfortunately, it has many inaccuracies in the brighter shades of gray and most colors are not displayed accurately.
The gamma tracks well, but darker scenes may appear too dark.
After calibration, we’re able to completely get rid of any noticeable issues.
The gamma almost perfectly follows the curve and we’re almost at our color temperature target of 6500k.
You can find the ICC profile and calibration settings in the full review on the website, linked here.
Another important aspect of the picture quality is the color gamut which is the range of colors that a screen can display.
The wider a color gamut, the more saturated and more colors the display can reach.
In SDR, the S2721DGF has almost perfect coverage of the sRGB color space and great coverage of the Adobe RGB.
It’ll work great on regular web viewing, and it will look nice for professionals who need a color-accurate screen for work.
For HDR content, it has decent coverage of the P3 color space at about 74% and about 70% for the rec 2020 color space.
This means that when playing HDR Games or watching an HDR movie, you won’t be getting the full experience.
Depending on the content, you may want to keep the monitor in SDR for color accuracy.
We’ll finish off picture quality with the black uniformity.
Black uniformity tells us how uniform the screen is when displaying black.
Issues with black uniformity are seen as brighter spots or areas of the screen that are noticeable; which is known as backlight bleed.
Unfortunately, the S2721DGF suffers from backlight bleed.
The entire black slide is gray, thanks to its low contrast, but there are noticeably brighter areas in the top corners, the bottom left, and the brightness leaks down towards the middle.
This can be really distracting in dark scenes.
The local dimming feature when HDR-enabled doesn’t make it better.
Since there are so few zones, it creates a large section of clouding in the center of the screen around the cross.
Black uniformity can vary between units due to manufacturing tolerances, so if yours is any different, let us know in the comments.
Now we’ll move on to the motion handling of the Dell S2721DGF, starting with the response time.
The response time is the time it takes for the monitor to switch from one color to another.
It’s important to have a fast response time, especially in gaming, because a slower response time will result in a blurry trail behind moving objects.
There are overdrive settings on this monitor that allow you to adjust the response time.
We found the ‘Fast’ setting to be the best since there are almost no overshoot and fast transitions, which results in a clear and smooth motion at the maximum refresh rate of 165Hz.
The response time is heavily related to the refresh rate the monitor is set to, and so when testing the monitor at 60Hz, it performs almost as well, which is excellent.
Now, onto the input lag, which is how long it takes for the monitor to process and display an image.
It’s very important to have a fast input lag, especially for gamers, since any delay between your inputs and the change affecting the screen can mean success or failure.
Thankfully, the S2721DGF has an amazing input lag of only 3.7ms at 165Hz and 11.1ms at 60Hz, which is a little bit high, but it won’t be noticeable compared with most other monitors.
Either way, input lag is a non-issue on this monitor.
Finally, we’ll look at the refresh rate and the VRR settings.
High refresh rates are important for gamers especially since it smooths out motion and it feels much more responsive.
The S2721DGF has a high refresh rate of 165Hz when at 1440p over DisplayPort.
As I mentioned earlier in the article, the highest refresh rate you can get when plugged in through HDMI is 144Hz at 1440p.
As for VRR, Freesync and G-Sync are both supported by this monitor, however, G-sync is only able to work over DisplayPort.
So overall, the Dell S2721DGF is a great monitor for a lot of different people.
Gamers will like it for its popular refresh rate and resolution combination and professionals will like it for its great coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, it’s ergonomics, and viewing angles.
It’s a very good overall monitor for all types of uses.
A popular comparison is the LG 27GL850 or the LG 27GL83A-B, which are both 1440p monitors with a 144Hz refresh rate.
They are very similar to the S2721DGF, but the P3 color space has a higher coverage on the 27GL850 and 27GL83A-B. Otherwise, the S2721DGF is a little better for gaming due to the higher refresh rate and slightly better motion handling in general.
So that’s it!
What do you think of the Dell S2721DGF?
Have you bought it?
Let us know what you think below.
Thank you for reading and see you next time.