The Dell S2721D is an easy to own IPS monitor with an upgraded resolution that’s highly suitable for the current school and work from home trend. There are some cut corners with this model, but a clear image with decent colors is all that matters for its intended audience. The Dell S2721D is one of the sleekest monitors you can upgrade your productivity with, but does it have the chart-topping performance we’ve come to expect from the brand?
Dell S2721D Specifications
- Screen Size: 27 Inches
- Resolution: 1440p QHD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Panel Technology: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
- Refresh Rate: 75Hz
- Response Time: 4ms
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 (Static)
- Brightness: 350 cd/m2
- Built-in Speakers: Yes (2 x 3 Watts)
- Stand: Height -No
- Stand: Tilt – Yes
- Stand: Swivel – No
- Stand: Pivot– No
- VESA Compatibility: Yes
- Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2 x 1, HDMI 1.4 x 2, 3.5mm Audio Jack
- Dimensions with Stand(WxHxD): 24.08″ x 17.85″ x 7.35″
- Weight: 11.9 lbs
Design and Features
The Dell S2721D follows the design trend of the S-series, but its noticeably sleeker and a bit more sophisticated this time around. The device has a silver aesthetic all over which makes it look more professional, but it has a matte black strip at the bottom of the screen. One of the highlights of the product is its frameless design, although you can still see the thin panel borders when its in use.
The Dell S2721D isn’t the biggest monitor we’ve seen, but it can still feel like a considerable upsize if you are coming from a typical office display. However, it doesn’t take up a lot of space since Dell already reduced the size of the bases used on many of its latest iterations. This model only needs 7.35 inches of depth, so we reckon most users won’t have any trouble placing it on compact desks.
Its one of the budget options from the brand, so it had to make a few sacrifices to help meet its targeted price point. The plastic build on the monitor looks nice and clean, but it can sometimes feel cheap especially for those who are used to premium models. The chassis is durable enough to withstand a few accidental taps, but the stand wobbles to the point of becoming bothersome.
It’s also worth noting that the Dell S2721D still uses tiny OSD buttons which are more difficult and sometimes confusing to use. The layout is located under the bottom bezel, so it is easy to unintentionally press the wrong button, especially in the dark. We prefer joysticks all around for a monitor’s functions, and it being a budget option isn’t an excuse since other brands are already implementing it on their cheapest models.
The stand included with the Dell S2721D only offers tilt, but its worst offense is the wobbling issue that can become disturbing at times. You can remove it via a quick detach button in favor of a VESA mount for better reliability, but that adds a cost that will defeat the value proposition of the product. It’s only necessary and practical if you are planning on a multi-screen setup, but otherwise, spending the extra on something like the Asus PA278QV is a wiser choice.
The connectivity layout on the Dell S2721D includes a DisplayPort 1.2 slot and two HDMI 1.4 connectors for video inputs. You can connect a PC and up to two secondary consoles such as the Xbox One X, but take note that it’s the only console out now that supports the resolution natively. There is also a 3.5mm jack for your headphones, but most will most probably use the one on the PC’s motherboard.
We like that the Dell S2721D managed to include speakers even if this model is one of their lower-priced models. The add-on comes in handy for school and work from home, so you don’t have to buy an external set. The drivers can get decently loud, but their lack of bass and clarity can make them sound tinny in games, movies, or when the volume is turned up.
Display and Performance
The Dell S2721D offers a 27-inch IPS panel with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, a 75Hz max refresh rate, and a 4ms response time. Dell lists the maximum backlight output at 350 cd/m2, while the contrast sits at 1000:1 like most IPS panels. this model isn’t HDR-compatible, but that’s expected since its an entry-level option.
The 1440p resolution is perfect for 27-inch screens since the pixel density offers the best balance between sharpness and visibility. Most wouldn’t feel the need to use scaling while reading or browsing, and games and movies usually look crisper and cleaner even if the settings are turned down a bit. You also get more space to work with, so it can upgrade your workflow and efficiency depending on the situation.
The Dell S2721D covers 99% of the sRGB gamut which is vibrant enough for daily use and a bit of entertainment. The screen looks pleasantly saturated, but the default accuracy is mediocre since the deltaE average reached 3.21. The screen is also noticeably warmer than most sRGB-tuned variants, so some tweaking is necessary to balance it out.
You can thankfully get away with a few tweaks to the RGB sliders in the OSD to reduce the warmth of the screen. The dE average improved to 2.17 with a few minor tweaks, but you can push it down to 0.59 if you enlist the help of a colorimeter. Results will vary between every unit, plus it is not practical to buy a colorimeter which will double the cost of a budget monitor upgrade.
The Dell S2721D reached a peak brightness of 335 cd/m2 at 100% which is slightly below the company’s claims, but its more than enough for daily use. The screen’s contrast ratio of 1020:1 at 60% brightness is reasonable for IPS panels, but it isn’t the best we’ve seen. This results in poor black luminance and at times, limited grayscale performance, so dark scenes or images can look slightly washed out.
We didn’t notice any major backlight leaks on the Dell S2721D, but some clouding can become visible when an all-black image is set. The flaw is hard to notice especially in full-color, but dark scenes can sometimes reveal them to the user. Take note that this also varies between every unit, so there are better and worse ones out there.
The Dell S2721D isn’t a fast-IPS gaming model, so it is prone to some blurring and persistence. Fast-moving scenes and contrasting transitions can reveal some trails if your eyes are sensitive enough so gamers might want to shoot for a quicker 144Hz model instead. The monitor does have an overdrive feature that lessens this issue, but we only recommend the Normal level since anything higher will introduce overshoot to the image.
The Dell S2721D is a FreeSync gaming monitor, but it also works with Nvidia’s G-Sync compatible mode. This comes in handy for entry to mid-level machines which can struggle in providing stable FPS since the resolution is higher. Input lag sits at 8ms at 75Hz, so there is no need to worry about delays between the screen and your inputs.
Thoughts on the Dell S2721D
The Dell S2721D is a practical choice if you want a decent IPS screen with a higher resolution and reasonable vibrancy. It needs a bit of tweaking, but its capable of going into prosumer territory if you have a colorimeter handy. It is compatible with both FreeSync and G-Sync and has a low input lag score, so it is also a capable display for casual gaming purposes.
However, the Dell S2721D’s budget pricing includes considerable penalties that many may consider to be deal-breakers. The build quality isn’t very good, and the stand has a noticeable wobble that can get annoying during extended use. It’s a practical purchase if you need a high-res IPS monitor for daily tasks and casual gaming, but spending a bit more can get you a better-equipped alternative.
- Accurate Color When Calibrated
- Attractive Design
- Low Input Lag
- FreeSync/G-Sync Compatible
- Poor Default Accuracy
- Prone to Blurring without Overdrive
- Mediocre Build Quality
- Wobbly Stand
-About the Author:
Paolo is a gaming veteran since the golden days of Doom and Warcraft and has been building gaming systems for family, friends, and colleagues since his junior high years. High-performance monitors are one of his fixations and he believes that it’s every citizen’s right to enjoy one. He has gone through several pieces of hardware in pursuit of every bit of performance gain, much to the dismay of his wallet. He now works with Monitornerds to scrutinize the latest gear to create reviews that accentuate the seldom explained aspects of a PC monitor.