Dell UltraSharp U2711 lcd monitor
The Dell UltraSharp U2711 is one of the best LCD monitors that a consumer can buy, with an excellent 27 inch screen.
- 2560x1440 screen resolution, quality of H-IPS panel, lot of input ports, DeepColor gamut support, input lag not noticeable
- No screen pivot functionality
The Dell UltraSharp U2711 is an absolutely enjoyable 27-inch monitor. With an awe-inspiring screen resolution, a quality IPS panel, future-proof colour gamut and wide variety of input options, people who do not mind spending more for a good product need not have to think very much as it is simply the best buy. And shop around online and you can get a good deal. If you were anyway looking for a 26 inch monitor or beyond, consider this one where the picture on-screen rivals a good CRT, games are easily playable with negligible input lag, and the overall package is mouth-wateringly cool. The only sticking bone could be that Dell seems unconcerned about the high price. This is one area where nit-picking is pointless, since this monitor is still the most economical at this niche level of feature offering and there is almost no competition in this price segment since the U2711 would win hands down on the price/quality graph.
Price$ 1,199.00 (AUD)
Dell UltraSharp U2711: Competition and Alternatives
Individual preferences are a deciding factor, in addition to intended purpose, monitor size, resolution, looks and price. So here’s a look at the competing options. The first and most obvious competition this monitor has is LCD TVs. It is tempting to consider getting a TV with an even larger screen instead of a monitor priced so high. But anyone who has used a plain-old 720p (or even 1080p) TV needs no convincing that the Dell U2711 (at 1440p and all the trappings of a premium display product) is very different from a TV.
Any discussion about this monitor cannot leave out the Apple iMac 27-inch computer priced at Rs. 90,000 which uses the same panel as the Dell U2711. However, the iMac uses an LED backlight which might have contributed to the yellow banding issues, whereas the Dell uses a tried and tested older technology of a CCFL lamp as backlight. We had both, the Dell UltraSharp 27-inch and the iMac 27-inch in the PCW Test Center at the time of writing this review. What did we find out? That image quality wise both can be considered similar, so that was the end of that. Using the iMac as an external monitor takes some extra expense (mini-DP convertor), the iMac does not have OSD buttons to adjust the screen in hardware mode outside of OSX, and you still don’t get the number of input ports found on the U2711.
Dell UltraSharp U2711 input ports at the rear
An LED-backlight does make for a monitor with a thinner body, and they are not bad at all in quality, laptops have been using LED monitors since a while now. But for a desktop PC, not all LED monitor models can justify a price premium yet, considering their performance, so they do not quite fall in the class of the U2711.
Another contender is 3D compatible 120Hz monitors. But these are effectively still a gimmick for now, except for select games, and in any case the “3D glasses” make it an individual experience and not a shared one. Moreover, 3D for normal content is not going to be possible very soon. Despite claims to the contrary, content that is not specifically made for 3D viewing gets distorted and annoys people who want to see things as intended by the image/movie author.
As is always the case in this segment, Dell is its own most serious competitor. You can buy two 24-inch IPS panel monitors for a little more than the price of the U2711. Or you can buy three 24-inchers for a price close to that of Dell’s U3008 30-inch monitor, set them up in Eyefinity mode and get more screen space than the 30-incher!
Dell UltraSharp U2711: Nit-Picking
In the context of all the positives of this monitor, there aren’t really many negatives. Still, if we had to nit-pick, the following paragraph will spell out our thoughts. The height not being very different from the 24-incher and the change of aspect ratio to provide a higher resolution, are closely linked and to be honest this part cannot be changed because it had to be this way to achieve a diagonal size of 27 inches.
Accordingly, you have to make sure you have a large desk and sit about a metre away from it to prevent spoiling your eyes. The decision to not include pivot functionality with the stand provided though, is something that could have been improved upon. After getting used to the screen pivot function (flip the screen around by 90 degrees, to view screen vertically in “portrait mode” as Windows 7 calls it) in the 24 incher, being denied this useful feature even after pricing it so high is disappointing.
The same goes with regard to the provision of a remote. Add-ons like a webcam and remote can be flaky and are not usually expected in a monitor of this class, but Benq does provide a remote with their 27-inch monitor, and that makes it easier to manage the monitor. In any case, the remote’s buttons and the touch-sensor on the U2711 would both wear out eventually. As for the screen resolution, we sometimes wish that it was a 16:10 monitor if only to gain the 160 extra pixels along the vertical plane (the current 2560x1440 versus the familiar resolution of 2560x1600).
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