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The 3 Best Dell Monitors of 2020
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Best Dell Monitors

We've tested over 30 Dell monitors. Dell releases a handful of monitors each year, usually towards the end of the year, and like many manufacturers, some of their most popular models tend to stay on the market for two to three years. Dell monitors range from basic 1080p monitors to the most advanced gaming or professional-grade monitors. Many Dell monitors target office users, and from Dell's website, it's even possible to buy monitors without stands or in kits, which is great if you want a multi-monitor setup on a mounting bracket.

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Best Dell Monitors


  1. Best Dell Monitor

    7.9
    Mixed Usage
    8.3
    Office
    7.5
    Gaming
    7.9
    Multimedia
    8.2
    Media Creation
    6.8
    HDR Gaming
    Size 27"
    Resolution 3840x2160
    Max Refresh Rate
    60 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    No VRR

    The best Dell monitor that we've tested is the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q. This 4k monitor is packed with office-oriented features and offers good overall performance. Like most Dell monitors, it has excellent ergonomics with a wide swivel range, and you can rotate it into portrait mode. It has three USB inputs and a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, allowing you to display an image from a compatible device and charge it at the same time. The high resolution delivers clear and crisp text, and the screen has excellent gray uniformity. Its IPS panel provides wide viewing angles, which is great if you need to share your screen with a coworker or client.

    Unfortunately, it has a low contrast ratio, which is typical of IPS monitors, and blacks appear closer to gray. It's limited on gaming features as it doesn't have any variable refresh rate support and doesn't have a Black Frame Insertion feature. It has a good response time and low input lag, great for console gamers. It supports HDR10 and displays a wide color gamut, but very small highlights don't get bright in HDR. If you work in a well-lit environment, it gets bright enough to combat glare, but its reflection handling is just okay. Lastly, it has excellent gradient handling and great coverage of the Adobe RGB color space used in photo editing. Overall, this is the best Dell monitor for work that we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Best Dell Ultrawide Office Monitor

    7.2
    Mixed Usage
    7.8
    Office
    6.8
    Gaming
    7.1
    Multimedia
    7.3
    Media Creation
    5.2
    HDR Gaming
    Size 38"
    Resolution 3840x1600
    Max Refresh Rate
    60 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    No VRR

    The best Dell monitor with an ultrawide screen that we've tested is the Dell U3818DW. The 38 inch screen and 21:9 aspect ratio makes it easy to open multiple windows side-by-side, and the 3840x1600 resolution delivers clear images. It has Picture-by-Picture and Picture-in-Picture modes, allowing you to display images from two sources at once. It has a USB-C input that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode and four USB 3.0 inputs, including two on the side for easy access. It has built-in speakers in case you don't want to pay extra to get a dedicated setup. It has wide viewing angles, and the curved screen helps you see the left and right edges a bit better. Our unit has one of the best out-of-the-box accuracies we've tested on any monitor, so you may not need to get your monitor calibrated.

    Sadly, it's not a good choice for gaming. It doesn't have any VRR support, and it has a poor response time, resulting in motion artifacts that you may even notice while scrolling through documents. It has a low contrast ratio and doesn't support HDR, which is disappointing if you want to watch some movies on the large screen. You may have to avoid using it in very well-lit environments because it doesn't get very bright, and reflections may get too distracting with direct sunlight on it. On the upside, it has great gray uniformity and has a flicker-free backlight, which helps reduce eye strain for those long office hours. All things considered, this is one of the best Dell monitors we've tested.

    See our review

  3. Best Dell Gaming Monitor

    7.7
    Mixed Usage
    7.9
    Office
    8.4
    Gaming
    7.4
    Multimedia
    7.4
    Media Creation
    5.7
    HDR Gaming
    Size 25"
    Resolution 1920x1080
    Max Refresh Rate
    240 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    The best Dell gaming monitor we've tested is the Dell Alienware AW2521HF. This is an impressive gaming monitor in Dell's Alienware lineup with a 240Hz refresh rate. Even though the 1080p resolution isn't ideal for office use, it doesn't put too much stress on your graphics card, making it ideal for gaming. The response time at its max refresh rate is incredible, one of the best we've tested on a monitor. It remains excellent at 60Hz, so even though there's no Black Frame Insertion feature, motion looks extremely smooth regardless. The input lag is also really low, and although it slightly increases with VRR enabled, most people won't notice. It has native FreeSync support and it's certified by NVIDIA to be G-SYNC compatible over a DisplayPort connection.

    Sadly, like most IPS monitors, it has a low contrast ratio and blacks appear closer to gray when viewed in the dark. It doesn't support HDR10 either, but overall, it has a good picture quality. It has wide viewing angles, impressive reflection handling, great peak brightness, and it has good out-of-the-box color accuracy too. It also has some good features like RGB illumination and a USB hub. It's really well-built and it has good ergonomics, but the stand has a fairly large footprint, so if you don't choose to VESA-mount it, it takes up a good amount of space on your desk. There's a large variant of this monitor, the Dell Alienware AW2720HF, which has a worse response time at 60Hz and a lower pixel density, but you should consider whichever size you prefer. Overall, this is one of the best Dell monitors that we've tested.

    See our review

Compared to other brands


  • Great ergonomics. Most Dell monitors have easily adjustable stands, allowing you to place the monitor in the ideal viewing position. Many of them are designed with multi-monitor setups in mind.
  • Good quality. With very few exceptions, most Dell monitors have good build quality and are well-designed.
  • Good color accuracy. Dell monitors typically have good pre-calibration results and accurate colors.
  • Mediocre contrast. Almost all Dell monitors use IPS panels, which typically have mediocre contrast. There are a few exceptions to this though, including the S3219D, and the S3220DGF.
  • Basic gaming performance. Most Dell monitors have very basic gaming performance. Dell's Alienware lineup is more gamer-oriented, though.

Dell vs ASUS

ASUS monitors typically have better motion handling and are more gaming-oriented than Dell monitors, offering more advanced gaming features. Dell has a wider range of monitors and has some available in larger sizes and higher resolutions that are better suited for multitasking.

Dell vs LG

Dell monitors generally have much better ergonomics than LG, and are generally a bit better suited for office use. Most LG monitors we've tested offer better motion handling and more advanced gaming features.

Buying a Dell monitor is generally a pretty safe bet. Like most brands, they vary greatly in performance, but even most cheaper Dell monitors perform well for most uses.

Lineup

Dell's lineup ranges from very basic, cheaper models, to more advanced professional monitors. Their naming scheme is very easy to understand, so you know almost exactly what you're getting just by the model number.

Dell model numbers start with a letter, which indicates the series:

  • E: Essential. This is Dell's budget category. We haven't tested any of them.
  • P:​ Professional.
  • S: These monitors are typically designed for home office or small business.
  • U: UltraSharp monitors.
  • UP: UltraSharp, with PremierColor.
  • AW: Stands for Alienware, which is used to differentiate Dell's gaming monitor.

This is followed by a two-digit code that indicates the size, followed by two digits which indicate the model year. For example:

  • 2520: 25", 2020 model
  • 2719: 27", 2019 model
  • 3218: 32", 2018 model

Most Dell model numbers end with one or more letters, which are used to identify certain features. This isn't a complete list, but here are some of the most common suffixes:

  • H: 16:9 aspect ratio
  • W: Ultrawide aspect ratio
  • D: 1440p resolution
  • Q: 4k resolution
  • F: AMD FreeSync support
  • G: NVIDIA G-SYNC support

Conclusion

Dell monitors range from basic, small monitors that are great for students to the most advanced professional displays for photo editing, media creation, or general office use. They also have a few great gaming monitors, but this isn't their main focus. Dell monitors are well-built, and almost all of them have great ergonomics. Dell is very consistent in their design language, with most models sharing a very similar style, and even the UI is consistent across lineups. Usually, buying a Dell monitor is a pretty safe bet.

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