The Dell S2721QS offers a crisp IPS screen with a 4K resolution that’s built into a premium chassis at a very reasonable price. 4K is the hottest battleground in the monitor market now since manufacturers are endeavoring to catch sales at every price category. Let’s see if the Dell S2721QS is the next top choice in the budget 4K segment against established options from LG, Asus, and more.
Dell S2721QS Specifications
- Screen Size: 27 Inches
- Resolution: 3840 x 2160 4K UHD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Panel Technology: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
- Refresh Rate: 60Hz
- Response Time: 4ms
- Contrast Ratio: 1300:1 (Static)
- Brightness: 350 cd/m²
- Speakers: Yes (2 x 3 Watts)
- Stand: Height – Yes
- Stand: Tilt – Yes
- Stand: Swivel – Yes
- Stand: Pivot – Yes
- VESA Compatibility: Yes
- Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.4 x 1, HDMI 2.0 x 1, USB 3.0 x 3, 3.5mm Jack x1
- Dimensions with Stand (WxHxD): 24.08” x 15.8” x 6.88″
- Weight: 20.28 lbs
Design and Features
The Dell S2721QS and the S-series where it belongs to is usually associated with budget monitors, but that isn’t the case when it comes to its quality and design. The device has a silver finish with a bit of matte black in some discrete spots. The display is bezel-free on three sides so the user can get a maximized view of the gorgeous 4K screen.
Its also noticeable that Dell reduced their monitor’s footprints which saves space, materials, and is generally better for the environment. The device needs under seven inches of depth from your desk so more space are freed up for your other peripherals. It’s quite heavy for a 27-inch monitor, but even glass desks will be able to handle it.
One of the things we love about the Dell S2721QS is its build quality which comes as a surprise since it’s part of a lineup that’s focused on economy. The plastics have a nice premium finish while the metals used in the chassis give it a lot of durability. We didn’t notice any wobbling or cosmetic defects on the monitor and it looked just as good as their high-end monitors in person.
One thing that Dell drops the ball on is their preference to use OSD buttons on the Dell S2721QS instead of joysticks which are generally better. The keys are readily accessible since they are at the bottom bezel, but it is easy to press the wrong button if you haven’t memorized the layout. It also doesn’t help that there are no labels, but you do get a white indicator light next to them which can help locate the keys.
It may not look like it, but the Dell S2721QS’s slim and low-profile stand is actually fully adjustable with tilt, swivel, pivot, and height adjustments. It is made out of a mix of plastic and metal, so it’s quite durable and stable even if Dell reduced the base’s size. You can opt for VESA mounts with this model, but it’s only necessary in special cases or if you absolutely need to save space.
One of the things that helped lower the price for the Dell S2721QS is the reduction of connectors on the I/O panel. It includes DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 2.0 slots, and a 3.5mm jack which is basic for a 4K monitor, but sufficient for daily use. You can connect your PC to the DP slot while the HDMI receptacles can go to a 4K device like a Bluray player or a 4K gaming console.
You will also find speakers with the Dell S2721QS which extends its value since they are useful for various situations such as conference calls or something simple like background music. They can get decently loud, but they cannot provide the necessary oomph for games or movies. Most will probably use headphones anyway, but it’s always nice to have a backup.
Display and Performance
The Dell S2721QS sports a 27-inch IPS panel with a 3840 x 2160 resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, and a 4ms response time. The backlight is rated at 350 cd/m2, while the contrast ratio is a bit higher than most IPS models at 1300:1. The monitor supports HDR content playback, but it doesn’t have the necessary specifications to produce the full experience.
The 4K screen in the Dell S2721QS looks extra crisp and sharp thanks to its 163 PPI which is great for games and movies. However, that same pixel density could hurt your eyes if you are reading walls of text, so scaling might be necessary for that purpose. 4K screens look more comfortable on 32-inch variants, but there are ways to get around this minor issue for some users.
The Dell S2721QS is capable of great colors since it produces 100% sRGB and around 81% DCI-P3 which are more than enough for daily use and gaming. The default accuracy average with a deltaE average of 3.12 has errors, but it’s still within acceptable limits for most users. The color temperature is more or less balanced, so you can get away with a few minor tweaks with this model.
Calibrating the Dell S2721QS yields amazing results with a color accuracy that is already inline with professional monitors. The dE average was lowered to around 0.61 with noticeably better gamma that makes the output less dark in some scenes and more balanced. Take note that results may vary between every unit, but these results are a good basis for its performance in practice.
The backlight on the Dell S2721QS can reach its specified peak of 390 cd/m2, while its contrast ratio hovers around 1200:1 at 50% brightness. These are great numbers for a mixed-use monitor, but they fall short of providing a good HDR experience. The screen can still look grayish when used in the dark, but that’s expected from an IPS panel.
Panel uniformity for the Dell S2721QS sample is great since there are no major backlight leaks or clouding issues on the screen. An all-black image can reveal a few, but it’s not enough to disrupt regular use with unwanted image defects. Take note that this aspect also varies between every unit since there are manufacturing tolerances to consider.
The Dell S2721QS’s pixel response time is decent for a 60Hz display with very minimal trailing and blurring. It looks great while playing immersive titles, but competitive gamers might need to look elsewhere. The monitor also has an overdrive setting, but we can only recommend the normal level since anything higher will add overshoot.
The Dell S2721QS works with both FreeSync and G-Sync, provided that you are connected to its DisplayPort slot. This is great for PC users, but console gamers are left without any VRR capabilities for the screen. Input lag sits at 10ms, but these limitations are acceptable since the product isn’t designed for or dedicated to fast-paced gaming.
Thoughts on the Dell S2721QS
The Dell S2721QS is a well-rounded 4K IPS option at the sub-$400 price point for mixed-use. The IPS is capable of great image quality, although you have to apply some elbow grease and tweak it manually or with a colorimeter to get accurate colors. We like the aesthetics and functionality of the monitor, although it could use a few extras such as a USB slot or two.
There’s very little to complain about with the Dell S2721QS, especially since it looks quite better than its predecessors in the S lineup. There are some limitations, but those who want a 4K display that won’t hurt the pocket will find it easy to look past them.
- Great Price
- Excellent Image Quality When Calibrated
- Attractive Design and Functionality
- Good Pixel Response Time
- Crisp and Clear IPS Display
- Limited Connectivity Features
- Accuracy and Gamma Needs Adjustment
- Limited HDR Capabilities
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.