Dell S2721D Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Sep 24, 2020 at 08:02 am
Dell S2721D Picture
7.4
Mixed Usage
7.7
Office
7.5
Gaming
7.2
Multimedia
7.2
Media Creation
5.4
HDR Gaming
Size 27"
Resolution 2560x1440
Max Refresh Rate
75 Hz
Pixel Type
IPS
Variable Refresh Rate
FreeSync

The Dell S2721D is a decent 1440p monitor that's well-suited for office use and some casual gaming. It has a 27 inch screen that provides plenty of space for multitasking, and wide viewing angles to make it easy to share work or content. It has low input lag, decent response time, and a 75Hz refresh rate that helps make motion look just a bit smoother than a typical 60Hz panel. Also, it has FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility to minimize screen tearing. It has great reflection handling and gets bright enough for use in well-lit rooms; however, its dark room performance isn't as good due to its low contrast ratio, which is typical of most IPS panels. Also, it lacks HDR support, and it has terrible ergonomics. On the upside, it has a flicker-free backlight that can help reduce eye strain.

Our Verdict

7.4 Mixed Usage

The Dell S2721D is an overall decent monitor. It's well-suited for work thanks to its large screen and high resolution. It provides a good gaming experience with its low input lag and decent response time, and it also has variable refresh rate support to reduce screen tearing. It delivers good picture quality, but its low contrast ratio makes it less ideal for dark room viewing, and it doesn't support HDR. Also, it has terrible ergonomics, so it's difficult to adjust the screen for the best viewing experience.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Great reflection handling.
  • Excellent gray uniformity.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Terrible ergonomics.
  • Doesn't get bright enough to overcome intense glare.
7.7 Office

The Dell S2721D is a good office monitor. It has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, and it gets bright enough to fight glare in most lighting conditions. It has a large screen size and a high resolution, allowing you to have multiple windows opened side-by-side. Its 75Hz refresh rate makes the desktop experience feel more fluid, like when scrolling through documents or dragging windows. Unfortunately, it has terrible ergonomics, as it only has a tilt adjustment.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Great reflection handling.
  • Excellent gray uniformity.
Cons
  • Terrible ergonomics.
  • Doesn't get bright enough to overcome intense glare.
7.5 Gaming

The Dell S2721D is good for gaming. It has low input, decent response time, and a 75Hz refresh rate that helps make motion look more fluid than a typical 60Hz panel. Also, it has FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility to reduce screen tearing. It isn't the best choice for dark room gaming due to its low contrast ratio, and its bad ergonomics make it hard to adjust the screen to your optimal viewing position.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • VRR support.
  • Great reflection handling.
  • Excellent gray uniformity.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Terrible ergonomics.
  • Doesn't get bright enough to overcome intense glare.
7.2 Multimedia

The Dell S2721D is decent for media consumption. Its 27 inch screen and high resolution help deliver an immersive viewing experience. It provides good visibility in well-lit rooms and handles reflections well. Sadly, it has a low contrast ratio, doesn't support HDR, and its bad ergonomics make it less ideal for sharing content.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Great reflection handling.
  • Excellent gray uniformity.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Terrible ergonomics.
  • Doesn't get bright enough to overcome intense glare.
7.2 Media Creation

The Dell S2721D is decent for content creation. It has a large screen size and a high resolution, allowing you to see your work in great detail. Its IPS panel has wide viewing angles, so images remain accurate when viewed from the side. It has an excellent color gamut, with nearly full coverage of the sRGB color space. Unfortunately, it's difficult to place the screen to your preferred viewing position or share your work due to its bad ergonomics.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Great reflection handling.
  • Excellent gray uniformity.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Terrible ergonomics.
  • Doesn't get bright enough to overcome intense glare.
5.4 HDR Gaming
  • 7.4 Mixed Usage
  • 7.7 Office
  • 7.5 Gaming
  • 7.2 Multimedia
  • 7.2 Media Creation
  • 5.4 HDR Gaming
  1. Updated Jan 20, 2021: For consistency, we've changed the height adjustment from N/A to '0.0'. The score has been adjusted accordingly.
  2. Updated Sep 24, 2020: Review published.
  3. Updated Sep 18, 2020: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Curved No
Curve Radius Not Curved
Weight (without stand)
8.2 lbs (3.7 kg)
Weight (with stand)
9.7 lbs (4.4 kg)

The Dell S2721D has a simple design that doesn't stand out. It has a full plastic build that looks a bit cheap, and the stand has extremely limited ergonomic adjustments. It has thin borders on three sides and a slightly thicker bottom bezel. The stand's base doesn't take up too much space, and because it's flat, you can still place things on top.

Design
Stand
Width
9.9" (25.1 cm)
Depth
7.0" (17.7 cm)

The stand's base doesn't take up much space, but it doesn't support the monitor well, and it wobbles a lot.

1.5
Design
Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
0.0" (0.0 cm)
Switch Portrait/Landscape No
Swivel Range No swivel
Tilt Range -21° to 5°

Update 01/20/2021: For consistency, we've changed the height adjustment from N/A to '0.0'. The score has been adjusted accordingly.

Unfortunately, the Dell S2721D has terrible ergonomics. It only allows for tilt adjustment, and the range is pretty narrow. The Dell S2721DS is a variant with better ergonomics, adding swivel and rotation to portrait mode; however, it's more expensive. If you want a monitor with exceptional ergonomics, check out the ASUS ProArt Display PA278CV.

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

The back of the monitor is plain. It can be VESA-mounted, but it doesn't have a quick-release feature. There's a small cutout on the stand for cable management.

Design
Borders
Borders
0.2" (0.6 cm)

The borders are very thin, great for multi-monitor setups.

Design
Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
5.0" (12.6 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
1.9" (4.8 cm)

The screen is relatively thin, and the stand doesn't take up much space either.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Dell S2721D's build quality is good. It's fully plastic and doesn't feel particularly premium, but the construction is sturdy, and there's very little flex. That said, the stand doesn't support the screen all that well as there's a fair amount of wobble.

Picture Quality
6.0
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
1,015 : 1
Contrast With Local Dimming
N/A

The Dell S2721D has a mediocre contrast ratio, typical of most IPS panels. Blacks look closer to gray, especially in dark environments.

Note that the contrast ratio can vary between units.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

This monitor doesn't have a local dimming feature. The video above is provided for reference only.

7.7
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
316 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
332 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
334 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
334 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
334 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
334 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
331 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
333 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
333 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
334 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
334 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.000

Good SDR peak brightness. It's incredibly consistent across different content, and it's bright enough to provide good visibility in most lighting conditions. However, it may struggle to overcome glare in very bright, sunny rooms.

We measured the SDR peak brightness after calibration, using the 'Custom Color' Picture Mode.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene
N/A
HDR Peak 2% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 10% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 25% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 50% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 100% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 2% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 10% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 25% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 50% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 100% Window
N/A
HDR ABL
N/A

This monitor doesn't support HDR.

7.8
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
46°
Color Washout From Right
42°
Color Shift From Left
54°
Color Shift From Right
63°
Brightness Loss From Left
52°
Brightness Loss From Right
51°
Black Level Raise From Left
70°
Black Level Raise From Right
30°
Gamma Shift From Left
44°
Gamma Shift From Right
39°

The Dell S2721D has good horizontal viewing angles. Images remain accurate when viewed from the side, great for sharing work or content.

9.2
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
50°
Color Washout From Above
59°
Color Shift From Below
64°
Color Shift From Above
60°
Brightness Loss From Below
54°
Brightness Loss From Above
58°
Black Level Raise From Below
70°
Black Level Raise From Above
70°
Gamma Shift From Below
67°
Gamma Shift From Above
70°

Outstanding vertical viewing angle. This is important if you tend to sit very close to the screen or have the screen mounted above eye level.

8.9
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.217%
50% DSE
0.090%
5% Std. Dev.
0.261%
5% DSE
0.047%

Gray uniformity on our unit of the Dell S2721D is excellent. The top corners and the sides appear darker, but there's almost no dirty screen effect. Uniformity is better in dark scenes.

Note that gray uniformity can vary between units.

6.7
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.489%
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

Our unit of the Dell S2721D has okay black uniformity. There's visible backlight bleed, and the whole screen looks a bit cloudy.

Note that black uniformity can vary between units.

6.2
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
Custom Color
Luminance
385 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
100
Contrast Setting
75
RGB Controls
100-100-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
5,806 K
White Balance dE
4.59
Color dE
3.60
Gamma
2.17

Before calibration, the color accuracy is mediocre. Most colors are inaccurate, and the white balance is visibly off. The color temperature is much warmer than our 6500K target, resulting in a reddish tint. Gamma doesn't follow the sRGB curve, making dark scenes too dark and bright scenes too bright.

Note that color accuracy can vary between units.

9.5
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Custom Color
Luminance
100 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
21
Contrast Setting
75
RGB Controls
92-94-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
6,543 K
White Balance dE
0.78
Color dE
0.48
Gamma
2.18

After calibration, the color accuracy is exceptional. Any remaining color inaccuracies shouldn't be visible to the naked eye. White balance is nearly perfect, and the color temperature is much closer to our target, though slightly on the cooler side. Gamma is much better, but both dark and bright scenes are over-brightened.

You can download our ICC profile calibration here. This is provided for reference only and should not be used, as the calibration values vary per individual unit even for the same model due to manufacturing tolerances.

8.8
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
98.6%
Adobe RGB xy
76.4%
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

The Dell S2721D has an excellent SDR color gamut. It has near full coverage of the sRGB color space used in most content, and good coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, mostly used for photo editing.

9.0
Picture Quality
SDR Color Volume
sRGB In ICtCp
97.4%
Adobe RGB In ICtCp
82.3%
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

Outstanding color volume. It has trouble displaying dark colors due to its low contrast ratio. It also has difficulty with bright blues; however, that's normal for LCDs.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
N/A
DCI P3 xy
N/A
Rec. 2020 xy
N/A
DCI P3 Picture Mode
No HDR
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
No HDR

This monitor doesn't support HDR.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 In ICtCp
N/A
Rec. 2020 In ICtCp
N/A
DCI P3 Picture Mode
No HDR
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
No HDR

This monitor doesn't support HDR.

9.7
Picture Quality
Image Retention
IR After 0 Min Recovery
0.08%
IR After 2 Min Recovery
0.01%
IR After 4 Min Recovery
0.02%
IR After 6 Min Recovery
0.00%
IR After 8 Min Recovery
0.00%
IR After 10 Min Recovery
0.00%

There's a tiny amount of image retention after exposing a high-contrast image for ten minutes, but it dissipates pretty quickly and shouldn't be an issue for most people.

Note that image retention can vary between units.

8.6
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
8 Bit

Excellent gradient handling. The most visible banding is in the greens and grays.

10
Picture Quality
Color Bleed
Pixel Row Error
0.000%
Pixel Column Error
0.000%

There's no color bleed on this monitor.

8.4
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
4.3%
Indirect Reflections
3.8%
Calculated Direct Reflections
0.5%

Great reflection handling. Visibility shouldn't be an issue unless you're in a very bright room.

7.0
Picture Quality
Text Clarity
Sub-Pixel Layout
RGB

Text clarity is decent. Turning on Windows ClearType (top photo) can make letters look more fleshed out, particularly diagonal lines. The picture of the pixels looks blurry due to the matte anti-reflective coating.

Motion
7.0
Motion
Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate
Best Overdrive Setting
Normal
Rise / Fall Time
9.8 ms
Total Response Time
17.4 ms
Overshoot Error
0.0%
Dark Rise / Fall Time
11.8 ms
Dark Total Response Time
19.8 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
0.0%

Overdrive Setting Response Time Chart Response Time Tables Motion Blur Photo
Normal Chart Table Photo
Fast Chart Table Photo
Extreme Chart Table Photo

The Dell S2721D has a decent response time at its maximum refresh rate. As a result, there's a slightly longer blur trail behind fast-moving objects, particularly in dark scenes where transitions are slower. The best overdrive setting is 'Normal', which provides the best performance with no overshoot.

7.3
Motion
Response Time @ 60Hz
Best Overdrive Setting
Normal
Rise / Fall Time
9.5 ms
Total Response Time
16 ms
Overshoot Error
0.1%
Dark Rise / Fall Time
11.8 ms
Dark Total Response Time
18.2 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
0.0%

Overdrive Setting Response Time Chart Response Time Tables Motion Blur Photo
Normal Chart Table Photo
Fast Chart Table Photo
Extreme Chart Table Photo

The response time at 60Hz is decent. It's slightly better than at the maximum refresh rate, and there's only a tiny amount of overshoot. The best overdrive setting is also 'Normal'. The 'Fast' and 'Extreme' settings cause a significant amount of overshoot and aren't recommended.

10
Motion
Image Flicker
Flicker-Free Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz

The backlight is flicker-free at all brightness levels, which is great.

0
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
No BFI
BFI Maximum Frequency
N/A
BFI Minimum Frequency
N/A

This monitor doesn't have a Black Frame Insertion feature.

7.8
Motion
Refresh Rate
Native
75 Hz
Max Refresh Rate
75 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
FreeSync
Yes
G-SYNC
Compatible (Tested)
VRR Maximum
75 Hz
VRR Minimum
48 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors DisplayPort, HDMI

The Dell S2721D has a 75Hz refresh rate that helps make motion look a bit smoother than a typical 60Hz panel. It supports FreeSync natively to reduce screen tearing when gaming and is compatible with G-SYNC as well. However, G-SYNC only works over DisplayPort.

Inputs
9.2
Inputs
Input Lag
Native Resolution
6.9 ms
Native Resolution @ 60Hz
8.6 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
7.7 ms
Variable Refresh Rate @ 60Hz
9.4 ms
10 Bit HDR
N/A
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
N/A

The Dell S2721D has exceptionally low input lag, resulting in a responsive desktop experience.

8.3
Inputs
Resolution And Size
Native Resolution 2560 x 1440
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Megapixels 3.7 MP
Pixel Density
109 PPI
Screen Diagonal 27.0"
Screen Area 310 in²

This monitor's 27 inch screen provides plenty of space for multitasking and it has a high resolution to render text clearly.

Inputs
Inputs
Inputs
Total Inputs
DisplayPort 1 (DP 1.2)
Mini DisplayPort No
HDMI 2 (HDMI 1.4)
DVI No
VGA No
DisplayPort Out No
USB No
USB C No
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Microphone In 3.5mm No
Digital Optical Audio Out No
Analog Audio Out RCA No
Power Supply Internal
Features
Features
Additional Features
RGB Illumination
No
Speakers
Yes
HDR10 No
Multiple Input Display
No

There are only a few additional features on the Dell S2721D, including:

  • Timer: Puts a timer on the screen.
  • OSD Lock: Locks the on-screen menu to prevent accidental presses.

Features
On-Screen Display (OSD)
Features
Controls

The controls are located on the right underside of the monitor. There's a power button, and four more buttons to navigate the monitor's on-screen menu.

Features
In The Box

  • HDMI cable
  • Power cable
  • User guide

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Dell S2721D, only available in a 27 inch size. There's a Dell 2721DS variant that has a better stand that allows for swivel and rotation to portrait mode, and we expect most of our results to be valid for that model as well. There are many monitors in Dell's S Series, some of which you can see in the table below.

Model Size Resolution Refresh Rate Note
S2721D 27" 2560 x 1440 75Hz  
S2721DS 27" 2560 x 1440 75Hz swivel, portrait mode
S2721QS 27" 3840 x 2160 60Hz swivel
S2721H 27" 1920 x 1080 75Hz  

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Dell S2721D doesn't correspond to our review, let us know, and we'll update the review. Note that some tests, such as gray uniformity, may vary between individual units.

Our unit of the Dell S2721D was manufactured in July 2020; you can see the label here.

Compared To Other Monitors

The Dell S2721D is a decent monitor overall. However, its bad ergonomics make it harder to place the screen to your optimal viewing position and isn't ideal for sharing work or content. There are much better options in its price range, such as the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best office monitors, the best budget monitors, and the best 1440p monitors.

Dell S2721DGF

Overall, the Dell S2721DGF is significantly better than the Dell S2721D. The S2721DGF is a better choice for gaming, as it has faster response time, lower input lag, and a much higher refresh rate. It also has better ergonomics, wider viewing angles, and supports HDR. However, the S2721D has better screen uniformity and color accuracy out-of-the-box.

ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV

The ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV is much better than the Dell S2721D. The ASUS has significantly better ergonomics, it gets brighter, and has wider viewing angles. It also has better color accuracy out-of-the-box, faster response time, and a Black Frame Insertion feature. The Dell has better reflection handling and a slightly better SDR color gamut.

LG 27GL850-B

The LG 27GL850-B is better than the Dell S2721D. The LG has lower input lag, faster response time, and a much higher refresh rate, making it a better choice for gaming. It also has wider viewing angles, better ergonomics, and supports HDR. The Dell has better gray uniformity and better reflection handling.

HP 27F

For most uses, the Dell S2721D is better than the HP 27F. The Dell has a higher resolution, a better color gamut, and it gets brighter. However, the HP has wider viewing angles, better color accuracy, and faster response time when running at its maximum refresh rate.

Lenovo Q27q-10

Overall, the Dell S2721D is better than the Lenovo Q27q-10. The Dell has faster response time, better color accuracy, and a better color gamut. It also has better reflection handling and gets brighter. On the other hand, the Lenovo is a thinner monitor.

Samsung T55

The Dell S2721D is much better than the Samsung T55. The Dell has a higher resolution, much wider viewing angles, and much better reflection handling. On the flip side, the Samsung has a VA panel with a much higher contrast ratio, allowing it to produce deeper blacks.

Dell U2717D

The Dell S2721D is better than the Dell U2717D for most uses. The S2721D has significantly lower input lag, higher refresh rate, and much better reflection handling. It also has a better color gamut and gradient handling, and it supports variable refresh rate. The U2717D has much better ergonomics, as it allows for height and swivel adjustments, and can rotate to portrait mode.

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