Dell S2721DGF Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Sep 18, 2020 at 09:03 am
Dell S2721DGF Picture
8.0
Mixed Usage
8.0
Office
8.4
Gaming
7.9
Multimedia
8.0
Media Creation
7.0
HDR Gaming
Size 27"
Resolution 2560x1440
Max Refresh Rate
165 Hz
Pixel Type
IPS
Variable Refresh Rate
FreeSync

The Dell S2721DGF is a 27 inch, 1440p monitor, with great all-around performance. The IPS panel delivers wide viewing angles, but unfortunately, this comes at the expense of contrast. It has an excellent response time, with very little blur behind fast-moving objects, and it has outstanding low input lag for a responsive gaming experience. It's a versatile monitor, with outstanding ergonomics, great reflection handling, and a high peak brightness in SDR, so glare isn't an issue in a bright room. Although this monitor supports HDR and can display a wide color gamut, it can't get very bright in HDR and has low contrast, so HDR doesn't add much.

Our Verdict

8.0 Mixed Usage

The Dell S2721DGF is a great monitor for most uses. It has wide viewing angles, excellent ergonomics, and great reflection handling, making it a very good choice for office use or multimedia. Motion looks great thanks to the excellent response time, and it has low input lag, making it a great choice for gaming as well. Unfortunately, although it supports HDR, this doesn't add much due to the low peak brightness and low contrast.

Pros
  • Excellent motion handling & low input lag.
  • Great reflection handling.
  • Image remains accurate at an angle.
Cons
  • Low contrast.
  • Bad black uniformity.
8.0 Office

The Dell S2721DGF is a great office monitor. The 27", 1440p screen is great for multitasking, and it has wide viewing angles, great if you often share your screen with someone else. It has great reflection handling and high peak brightness in SDR, so glare shouldn't be an issue in a bright room. Unfortunately, it has a low contrast ratio and bad black uniformity, so it's not ideal if you're in a dark room.

Pros
  • Great reflection handling.
  • Image remains accurate at an angle.
Cons
  • Low contrast.
  • Bad black uniformity.
8.4 Gaming

The Dell 27 gaming monitor S2721DGF is great for gaming. It has an excellent response time, resulting in clear motion with little blur behind fast-moving objects, whether you're gaming on a high-end PC or a console. It also has low input lag, for a responsive gaming experience. Finally, it supports AMD's FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, and it's certified to work with NVIDIA's G-SYNC Compatible mode.

Pros
  • Excellent motion handling & low input lag.
  • Great reflection handling.
  • Image remains accurate at an angle.
Cons
  • Low contrast.
  • Bad black uniformity.
7.9 Multimedia

The Dell S2721DGF is a very good choice for multimedia. The wide horizontal viewing angle makes it a great choice for watching the latest trending videos with some friends. The high SDR peak brightness and great reflection handling means you don't have to worry about glare in a bright room. It doesn't look as good in the dark, though, due to the low contrast ratio and bad black uniformity, which might disappoint some people.

Pros
  • Excellent motion handling & low input lag.
  • Great reflection handling.
  • Image remains accurate at an angle.
Cons
  • Low contrast.
  • Bad black uniformity.
8.0 Media Creation

The Dell S2721DGF is a great choice for media creators. The large, high-resolution screen makes it easier to see more of your work at once. It has excellent ergonomics and an outstanding horizontal viewing angle, so you can easily share the screen with clients or colleagues. It also has an outstanding SDR color gamut, with great coverage of the Adobe RGB color space.

Pros
  • Excellent motion handling & low input lag.
  • Great reflection handling.
  • Image remains accurate at an angle.
Cons
  • Low contrast.
  • Bad black uniformity.
7.0 HDR Gaming

The Dell S2721DGF is a decent monitor for HDR gaming, mainly due to the outstanding response time and low input lag. Although it supports HDR, it can't get very bright in HDR and has a low contrast ratio. Although there's a local dimming feature, it's not very effective due to the limited number of zones. Overall, HDR doesn't add much.

Pros
  • Excellent motion handling & low input lag.
  • Image remains accurate at an angle.
Cons
  • Low contrast.
  • Bad black uniformity.
  • 8.0 Mixed Usage
  • 8.0 Office
  • 8.4 Gaming
  • 7.9 Multimedia
  • 8.0 Media Creation
  • 7.0 HDR Gaming

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Curved No
Curve Radius Not Curved
Weight (without stand)
9.9 lbs (4.5 kg)
Weight (with stand)
14.6 lbs (6.6 kg)

The Dell S2721DGF has a slightly different design from most Dell monitors we've tested, with a redesigned stand and a gaming-inspired design on the back. It has thin bezels on three sides, outstanding ergonomics, and a great stand. Like most Dell monitors, it's well-built, and it fits into any decor.

Design
Stand
Width
10.9" (27.6 cm)
Depth
7.9" (20.0 cm)

The stand is very different from other Dells we've tested. It supports the monitor well, but the base is slightly more bulky than other Dell monitors.

8.6
Design
Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
5.1" (13.0 cm)
Switch Portrait/Landscape Yes, Both Ways
Swivel Range -45° to 45°
Tilt Range -20° to 5°

Typical for a Dell monitor, the stand has excellent ergonomics, making it a very versatile choice.

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

The back has a different design than other Dell S-series monitors we've tested, like the Dell S3220DGF. Although there is a bias lighting feature, you can only turn it on or off, and it's a fixed color (blue). There's a hole in the stand for cable management, and although it's pretty basic, it works well and helps to keep your cables neat.

Design
Borders
Borders
0.3" (0.7 cm)

The borders are thin on three sides, making this a great choice for a multi-monitor setup.

Design
Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
6.3" (16.0 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
2.6" (6.5 cm)

The Dell S2721DGF is a bit thicker than the Dell S2719DGF, but it's not very noticeable.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

Like most Dell monitors, it has great build quality. Although it's mainly made of plastic, the panels are sturdy and appear well-built. The hinge on the stand is solid and easy to use.

Picture Quality
5.8
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
882 : 1
Contrast With Local Dimming
971 : 1

Like most IPS monitors, the Dell S2721DGF has a low contrast ratio, so blacks look gray if you're in a dark room. The local dimming feature helps to improve black levels a bit, but it's only available in HDR. This is pretty close to Dell's advertised typical contrast ratio of 1000:1, but this varies between units.

1.0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Edge

Although not advertised to support it, the Dell S2721DGF has a local dimming feature. It's automatically enabled with HDR, and can't be turned off. Unfortunately, due to the limited number of zones, it's not very effective. Zone changes can be clearly seen, and there's significant blooming around bright objects in dark scenes due to the large area of each dimming zone.

8.0
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
341 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
364 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
367 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
368 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
368 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
368 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
364 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
367 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
368 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
368 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
368 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.001

Great peak brightness, with no noticeable variation with different content. This monitor can easily overcome glare if you're in a bright viewing environment.

6.6
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene
328 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
464 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
483 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
484 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
489 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
490 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
463 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
482 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
482 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
488 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
489 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.003

Okay peak brightness in HDR. Small specular highlights stand out a bit, but they're not as bright as they should be. Most real content isn't much brighter than SDR. We measured the HDR peak brightness with the Smart HDR setting set to 'DisplayHDR'.

8.5
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
46 °
Color Washout From Right
47 °
Color Shift From Left
52 °
Color Shift From Right
55 °
Brightness Loss From Left
48 °
Brightness Loss From Right
49 °
Black Level Raise From Left
70 °
Black Level Raise From Right
70 °
Gamma Shift From Left
60 °
Gamma Shift From Right
61 °

Unlike the TN panel on the Dell S2719DGF, the Dell S2721DGF uses an IPS panel, and the horizontal viewing angle is excellent. This is great if you often share your screen with someone else.

6.2
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
32 °
Color Washout From Above
33 °
Color Shift From Below
31 °
Color Shift From Above
34 °
Brightness Loss From Below
36 °
Brightness Loss From Above
37 °
Black Level Raise From Below
32 °
Black Level Raise From Above
22 °
Gamma Shift From Below
30 °
Gamma Shift From Above
30 °

The vertical viewing angle is passable, but it's not ideal if you often share your screen with someone standing beside you.

8.5
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
3.977 %
50% DSE
0.109 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.474 %
5% DSE
0.045 %

The Dell S2721DGF has excellent gray uniformity. The sides of the screen are a bit darker than the center, but this isn't very noticeable. There's very little dirty screen effect (DSE) in the center, which is especially important for sports games or even browsing the web. In near-dark scenes, the uniformity is even better, with almost no noticeable issues. Uniformity varies between units, though, so let us know if you get one that looks worse than ours.

3.9
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
2.946 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
7.261 %

Unfortunately, our Dell S2721DGF has bad black uniformity. There's significant clouding throughout the screen, and some light bleed in the corners (commonly called IPS glow). Local dimming makes it worse, due to the limited number of zones, causing significant clouding around the test cross. This varies between units, though, so let us know if you get one that's better than ours.

5.2
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
Standard
Luminance
223 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
75
Contrast Setting
75
RGB Controls
100-100-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
5994 K
White Balance dE
4.97
Color dE
4.66
Gamma
2.19

Unfortunately, there are some noticeable issues out-of-the-box. There are noticeable inaccuracies in brighter shades of gray, and most colors aren't displayed accurately. On the other hand, gamma follows the sRGB target curve, and only some darker scenes are displayed a bit darker than they should be. Note that the exact out-of-the-box calibration can vary between units.

9.7
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Custom Color
Luminance
101 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
29
Contrast Setting
77
RGB Controls
95-94-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
6510 K
White Balance dE
0.56
Color dE
0.38
Gamma
2.18

After calibration, there are no noticeable issues with any color, or with the white balance. Gamma follows the sRGB target curve almost perfectly, and the color temperature is very close to our target of 6500K.

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

9.2
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
99.6 %
Adobe RGB xy
84.4 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

The Dell S2721DGF has an outstanding SDR color gamut, with perfect coverage of the sRGB color space used by most web content, and great coverage of the wider Adobe RGB color space.

9.4
Picture Quality
SDR Color Volume
sRGB In ICtCp
97.5 %
Adobe RGB In ICtCp
89.5 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

Outstanding SDR color volume. The Dell S2721DGF can't produce dark, saturated colors due to the low contrast ratio. Like most LCD monitors, it can't produce bright blues either, but this isn't very noticeable.

7.2
Picture Quality
HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
73.8 %
Rec. 2020 xy
70.4 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
Display HDR
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
Display HDR

The Dell S2721DGF has a decent HDR color gamut. It can display a wide color gamut, and coverage of the DCI P3 color space used by most current HDR content is satisfactory.

Note that the DCI P3 coverage is much lower than the 98% coverage advertised by Dell. This is normal and is due to the way we measure DCI P3. Like all reviewers, we measure DCI P3 by sending a Rec. 2020 signal, but unlike most reviewers, we limit the colors we're sending to the DCI P3 primaries. This results in a lower, but arguably more accurate measurement.

6.9
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 In ICtCp
68.2 %
Rec. 2020 In ICtCp
70.3 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
Display HDR
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
Display HDR

Okay HDR color volume. It can't display dark saturated colors very well, and can't fill out it's gamut, especially in bright scenes.

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

There are no signs of temporary image retention on our Dell S2721DGF. This can vary between units, though, so let us know if you see signs of image retention.

9.7
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit

The Dell S2721DGF has outstanding gradient handling, with no noticeable banding in most shades.

9.9
Picture Quality
Color Bleed
Pixel Row Error
0.003 %
Pixel Column Error
0.027 %

There's no noticeable color bleed on our unit.

8.4
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
4.3 %
Indirect Reflections
3.9 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
0.4 %

The Dell S2721DGF has great reflection handling. Combined with the high peak brightness, glare shouldn't be an issue, even in a bright room.

7.0
Picture Quality
Text Clarity
Sub-Pixel Layout
RGB

Decent text clarity, but it's recommended to enable ClearType for the best results. This is especially noticeable in diagonal or curved lines, as seen in the top photo.

Motion
9.6
Motion
Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate
Best Overdrive Setting
Fast
Rise / Fall Time
3.8 ms
Total Response Time
6.3 ms
Overshoot Error
0.9 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
3.7 ms
Dark Total Response Time
6.6 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
4.0 %

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

The Dell S2721DGF has an outstanding response time at the maximum refresh rate. Fast-moving objects are very clear, with only a short blur trail behind them. Like most gaming monitors, the level of overdrive can be adjusted, but we recommend the lowest setting, 'Fast'. Higher settings have slightly faster Rise/Fall times, but due to the level of overshoot, the total response time is slower.

9.1
Motion
Response Time @ 60Hz
Best Overdrive Setting
Fast
Rise / Fall Time
4.5 ms
Total Response Time
9.6 ms
Overshoot Error
1.0 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
4.8 ms
Dark Total Response Time
13.1 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
3.1 %

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

Outstanding 60Hz response time, with a much faster total response time than the Dell S2719DGF. There's very little overshoot, and only a very short blur trail behind fast-moving objects. We recommend the 'Fast' overdrive setting, as the higher settings are slower overall, with more noticeable overshoot.

10
Motion
Image Flicker
Flicker-Free Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
>1000 Hz

The backlight doesn't use PWM to dim, but there's a very high-frequency flicker. This is extremely unusual, we rechecked it with different equipment and confirmed that it's flickering at about 20kHz. This isn't at all noticeable in person.

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

There's no optional Black Frame Insertion feature on this monitor.

9.2
Motion
Refresh Rate
Native
165 Hz
Max Refresh Rate
165 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
FreeSync
Yes
G-SYNC
Compatible (NVIDIA Certified)
VRR Maximum
165 Hz
VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors DisplayPort, HDMI

The Dell S2721DGF has a very high refresh rate, great for gaming. It supports AMD's FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, and it's also certified by NVIDIA to work with their G-SYNC Compatible technology. Although FreeSync works over both HDMI and DisplayPort, G-SYNC mode only works over DisplayPort.

Over HDMI, the maximum refresh rate is 144Hz.

Inputs
9.5
Inputs
Input Lag
Native Resolution
3.7 ms
Native Resolution @ 60Hz
11.1 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
4.8 ms
Variable Refresh Rate @ 60Hz
12.4 ms
10 Bit HDR
11.0 ms
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
N/A

The Dell S2721DGF has outstanding low input lag, which is important for a responsive gaming experience. The 60Hz input lag is slightly higher than the Dell S2719DGF, but this isn't a noticeable difference.

8.3
Inputs
Resolution And Size
Native Resolution 2560 x 1440
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Megapixels 3.7 MP
Pixel Density