Dell UltraSharp U2520D Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Jul 02, 2020 at 07:47 am
Dell UltraSharp U2520D Picture
7.7
Mixed Usage
7.9
Office
7.5
Gaming
7.7
Multimedia
8.0
Media Creation
6.7
HDR Gaming
Size 25"
Resolution 2560x1440
Max Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Pixel Type
IPS
Variable Refresh Rate
No VRR

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D is the replacement to the Dell U2518D and it's a good overall monitor. It's very good for office use because it has wide viewing angles, impressive ergonomics, great out-of-the-box color accuracy, and its 1440p resolution makes text clear to read. It also has a USB hub with a ton of connectivity options, including a USB-C input that supports DisplayPort Alt mode, allowing you to display an image from a device and charge it at the same time. If you're a photo editor, you should be happy to know it has great coverage of the Adobe RGB color space and it has outstanding gradient handling. Unfortunately, with its IPS panel, it can't display deep blacks since its contrast ratio is low and it has mediocre black uniformity. Luckily, it has excellent gray uniformity, so solid colors across the screen, such as on a web page, look uniform without many dark areas.

Our Verdict

7.7 Mixed Usage

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D is a good monitor for most uses. It's best-suited for office use as it has wide viewing angles, impressive ergonomics, and a high 1440p resolution. It's also great for media creation because it has great coverage of the Adobe RGB color space. Even though this monitor isn't designed for gaming it still provides a satisfying gaming experience with its extremely low input lag and impressive response time. It also supports HDR10 but the HDR experience is limiting as it doesn't get bright enough to truly bring out highlights.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Impressive ergonomics.
  • Extremely low input lag.
  • Great out-of-the-box color accuracy.
Cons
  • Limiting HDR experience.
  • Doesn't handle reflections very well.
  • Low contrast ratio.
7.9 Office

Very good for office use. The Dell UltraSharp U2520D has a high 1440p resolution and its 25-inch screen is big enough for multitasking. It has wide viewing angles, so you can share your screen with others and not lose image accuracy. Sadly, its reflection handling is just okay and it doesn't handle direct sunlight well. On the upside, it has impressive ergonomics, so you can place the monitor however you like.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Impressive ergonomics.
  • Extremely low input lag.
Cons
  • Doesn't handle reflections very well.
7.5 Gaming

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D is good for gaming. It's not designed to be a gaming monitor and it lacks features like variable refresh rate and black frame insertion. However, it still has an extremely low input lag and an impressive response time for a 60Hz monitor, resulting in minimal motion blur. It's an ideal monitor for casual console gamers.

Pros
  • Impressive response time.
  • Extremely low input lag.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Lacks extra gaming features.
7.7 Multimedia

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D is good for consuming media. It has a high resolution and wide viewing angles, so you can watch the latest videos online with a few friends. Unfortunately, it doesn't handle reflections well and it's not ideal for dark room viewing as it has a low contrast ratio and mediocre black uniformity. However, its stand has impressive ergonomics, allowing you to place the monitor how you like.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Impressive ergonomics.
Cons
  • Doesn't handle reflections very well.
  • Low contrast ratio.
8.0 Media Creation

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D is great for content creators. Its 25-inch screen provides a high pixel density and the stand has impressive ergonomics. The monitor has great coverage of the Adobe RGB color space used in photo editing and it also has outstanding gradient handling. It's not ideal for working in bright environments as it doesn't handle reflections well. However, it has wide viewing angles if you need to share your screen with others.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Impressive ergonomics.
  • Great coverage of the Adobe RGB color space.
  • Outstanding gradient handling.
Cons
  • Doesn't handle reflections very well.
  • Low contrast ratio.
6.7 HDR Gaming

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D is okay for HDR gaming. Its HDR experience is a bit limiting as it doesn't get bright enough to bring out highlights and it has just decent coverage of the DCI P3 color space used in most HDR content. It's good for gaming as it has an impressive response time and extremely low input lag but it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate and it doesn't support any VRR.

Pros
  • Impressive response time.
  • Extremely low input lag.
Cons
  • Limiting HDR experience.
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Lacks extra gaming features.
  • 7.7 Mixed Usage
  • 7.9 Office
  • 7.5 Gaming
  • 7.7 Multimedia
  • 8.0 Media Creation
  • 6.7 HDR Gaming

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Curved No
Curve Radius Not Curved
Weight (without stand)
9.3 lbs (4.2 kg)
Weight (with stand)
13.2 lbs (6.0 kg)

The UltaSharp U2520D has a simple office-oriented design that's in line with other Dell UltraSharp monitors. Its body is black and grey and it has a square-based stand.

Design
Stand
Width
9.6" (24.4 cm)
Depth
7.3" (18.5 cm)

This monitor has the same stand as other Dell monitors. It's smaller than the Dell U2518D and doesn't take up a lot of space. It supports the monitor well but there's still some wobble.

8.4
Design
Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
5.1" (13.0 cm)
Switch Portrait/Landscape Yes, Both Ways
Swivel Range -45° to 45°
Tilt Range -20° to 2.5°

Impressive ergonomics. The UltraSharp U2520D has a very wide swivel range and you can rotate it into portrait mode either clockwise or counterclockwise.

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

The back of this monitor is very simple. It can be VESA-mounted and it has a quick-release button to take it off from the stand too. The stand has a hole used for cable management.

Design
Borders
Borders
0.3" (0.7 cm)

The borders are thin and aren't distracting.

Design
Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
4.7" (12.0 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
2.0" (5.0 cm)

The screen itself is thin and won't stick out much if VESA-mounted. With the stand attached, the entire monitor gets thicker but it's still thinner than the Dell U2518D and Dell UltraSharp U2720Q.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The UltraSharp U2520D has a good build quality. It's made out of plastic that doesn't give any sort of premium feel to it but there aren't any obvious build quality issues.

Picture Quality
6.0
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
1010 : 1
Contrast With Local Dimming
N/A

Mediocre contrast ratio, which is expected from an IPS panel. Blacks appear gray when viewed in the dark.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

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

7.9
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
332 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
350 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
350 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
351 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
351 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
351 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
349 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
350 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
350 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
351 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
351 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.000

The UltraSharp U2520D has very good peak brightness. It gets bright enough to combat glare and the screen's brightness remains consistent with different content. The UltraSharp U2520D doesn't get as bright as the Dell U2518D, but it's brighter than the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q.

6.7
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene
385 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
388 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
436 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
439 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
442 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
444 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
388 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
436 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
439 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
441 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
443 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.008

The peak brightness in HDR is just okay. It gets bright enough to bring out some highlights but it still doesn't give you a true HDR experience.

8.2
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
43 °
Color Washout From Right
43 °
Color Shift From Left
49 °
Color Shift From Right
52 °
Brightness Loss From Left
46 °
Brightness Loss From Right
46 °
Black Level Raise From Left
70 °
Black Level Raise From Right
70 °
Gamma Shift From Left
55 °
Gamma Shift From Right
57 °

Like most IPS panels, the UltraSharp U2520D has a great horizontal viewing angle. The image remains accurate from the side, which is ideal for sharing your screen with others.

6.6
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
31 °
Color Washout From Above
31 °
Color Shift From Below
33 °
Color Shift From Above
32 °
Brightness Loss From Below
35 °
Brightness Loss From Above
34 °
Black Level Raise From Below
52 °
Black Level Raise From Above
54 °
Gamma Shift From Below
31 °
Gamma Shift From Above
32 °

The vertical viewing angle is alright but it's nothing special for an IPS panel. You lose some image accuracy if you mount the monitor too much above eye level.

8.7
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
3.014 %
50% DSE
0.110 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.394 %
5% DSE
0.055 %

The UltraSharp U2520D has excellent gray uniformity. There's minimal dirty screen effect, and solid colors across the screen such as on a web page or document are uniform. The screen is extremely uniform in near-dark scenes.

6.1
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.965 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

Mediocre black uniformity. There's visible clouding throughout and a lot of backlight bleed in the corners. This gets distracting when watching dark scenes in dark rooms.

8.0
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
Color Space (sRGB)
Luminance
75 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
21
Contrast Setting
75
RGB Controls
100-100-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
6606 K
White Balance dE
3.01
Color dE
1.99
Gamma
2.25

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D has great out-of-the-box color accuracy. Most colors only have slight inaccuracies to them and the color temperature is slightly warmer than the 6500K target, giving the image a red/yellow tint. Unfortunately, gamma doesn't follow the curve well so most scenes are darker than they should be.

9.7
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Custom Color
Luminance
98 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
21
Contrast Setting
75
RGB Controls
96-98-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
6470 K
White Balance dE
0.49
Color dE
0.40
Gamma
2.17

The color accuracy is near-perfect after calibration. The color temperature is much closer to the target and the gamma follows the curve well, but some bright scenes are still 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.

9.1
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
99.6 %
Adobe RGB xy
82.4 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

The UltraSharp U2520D has an outstanding SDR color gamut. It has near-perfect coverage of the sRGB color space and it has great coverage of the Adobe RGB color space used in photo editing. This is an improvement from the Dell U2518D.

9.3
Picture Quality
SDR Color Volume
sRGB In ICtCp
97.8 %
Adobe RGB In ICtCp
87.5 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

The UltraSharp U2520D has remarkable color volume. It displays most colors at different brightness levels but due to its low contrast ratio, it can't display dark colors well.

7.0
Picture Quality
HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
71.9 %
Rec. 2020 xy
68.2 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
Display HDR
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
Display HDR

Decent HDR color gamut. It displays a wide color gamut for HDR content but it's a bit limited. It has decent coverage of both the commonly-used DCI P3 color space and the wider Rec. 2020 color space.

6.5
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 In ICtCp
63.7 %
Rec. 2020 In ICtCp
66.2 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
Display HDR
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
Display HDR

The HDR color volume on the UltraSharp U2520D is just okay. It's limited by its color gamut and low contrast ratio, as it can't display deep, saturated colors well.

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 %

The UltraSharp U2520D shows no sign of image retention after displaying a high contrast static image for 10 minutes.

9.5
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit

Outstanding gradient handling. There's minimal banding in the darker shades but this isn't noticeable with real content.

10
Picture Quality
Color Bleed
Pixel Row Error
0.001 %
Pixel Column Error
0.009 %

The UltraSharp U2520D displays no signs of color bleed, which is ideal for photo editing.

6.5
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
7.3 %
Indirect Reflections
3.9 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
3.4 %

Okay reflection handling on the UltraSharp U2520D. It handles a moderate amount of light well but struggles in bright rooms. This is good for most office environments, but you shouldn't place it in direct sunlight.

7.5
Picture Quality
Text Clarity
Sub-Pixel Layout
RGB

Good text clarity, similar to most 1440p monitors. You can make text more clear by enabling ClearType (top photo).

Motion
8.3
Motion
Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate
Best Overdrive Setting
Normal
Rise / Fall Time
6.3 ms
Total Response Time
12.5 ms
Overshoot Error
5.2 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
7.0 ms
Dark Total Response Time
13.3 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
7.3 %

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

The UltraSharp U2520D has an impressive response time, especially for a 60Hz monitor, which is ideal for console gaming. The recommended Overdrive setting is 'Normal' since there's a lot less overshoot than the 'Fast' setting.

8.3
Motion
Response Time @ 60Hz
Best Overdrive Setting
Normal
Rise / Fall Time
6.3 ms
Total Response Time
12.5 ms
Overshoot Error
5.2 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
7.0 ms
Dark Total Response Time
13.3 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
7.3 %

Overdrive Setting Response Time Chart Response Time Tables Motion Blur Photo
normal Chart Table Photo
fast Chart Table Photo

Since this is a 60Hz monitor, the results are the same as the 'Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate' results.

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

The UltraSharp U2520D has a flicker-free backlight, which helps reduce eye strain.

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

The UltraSharp U2520D doesn't have a black frame insertion feature.

5.9
Motion
Refresh Rate
Native
60 Hz
Max Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
FreeSync
No
G-SYNC
No
VRR Maximum
N/A
VRR Minimum
No VRR
VRR Supported Connectors No VRR

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate. It doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology either. If you're looking for a gaming monitor with a high refresh rate and VRR support, check out the Dell Alienware AW2521HF.

Inputs
9.1
Inputs
Input Lag
Native Resolution
8.2 ms
Native Resolution @ 60Hz
8.2 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
Variable Refresh Rate @ 60Hz
N/A
10 Bit HDR
N/A
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
N/A

The UltraSharp U2520D has an extremely low input lag for a 60Hz monitor, similar to the Dell UltraSharp U2721DE.

Note: the monitor only supports 10-bit HDR over DisplayPort and not HDMI. However, we can't test HDR input lag over DisplayPort.

8.3
Inputs
Resolution And Size
Native Resolution 2560 x 1440
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Megapixels 3.7 MP
Pixel Density
117 PPI
Screen Diagonal 25.0 inches
Screen Area 268 sq inches

This monitor's 1440p resolution and 25-inch screen is good enough for multitasking and it fits in most home office setups.

Inputs
Inputs
Inputs
Total Inputs
DisplayPort 1 (DP 1.4)
Mini DisplayPort No
HDMI 1 (HDMI 2.0)
DVI No
VGA No
DisplayPort Out 1 (DP 1.4)
USB 3 (USB 3.0)
USB C 2 (1x USB, USB PD, DP Alt Mode, 1x USB 3 Amp))
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Microphone In 3.5mm No
Digital Optical Audio Out No
Analog Audio Out RCA No
Power Supply Internal

New on the UltraSharp U2520D compared to the Dell U2518D is the USB-C inputs. One USB-C input is a downstream charging port while the other supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, which allows you to display an image from a device and charge it at the same time. There's also a USB port with B.C. 1.2 charging adaptability, which allows you to charge devices with a higher current. Also, you can daisy chain your screen to a second monitor with the DisplayPort output.

Features
Features
Additional Features
RGB Illumination
No
Speakers
No
HDR10 Yes
Multiple Input Display
No

The main features on the UltraSharp U2520D are with its connectivity options. You can daisy-chain a second screen or charge your devices with the USB hub. It also supports HDR10, but other than that, it has limited features.

Features
On-Screen Display (OSD)
Features
Controls

There are four buttons and the power button underneath the monitor to control the on-screen display.

Features
In The Box

  • Power cable
  • DisplayPort cable
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • USB-C cable
  • Manual
  • Calibration report

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

We tested the Dell UltraSharp U2520D, which is the only size available for this model. There are other models in Dell's UltraSharp lineup, some of which are listed below.

Model Size Panel Type Resolution USB-C inputs USB 3.0 inputs Notes
U2520D 25" IPS 1440p 1x DisplayPort Alt mode, 1x downstream charging  3   
U2419HC 24" IPS 1080p 1x DisplayPort Alt mode 4  
 U2421HE 24" IPS 1080p 1x DisplayPort Alt Mode 4 RJ45 ethernet input 
U2719D 27" IPS 1440p  NA 5  
U2719DC  27" IPS 1440p 1x DisplayPort Alt mode 4  
U2720Q 27" IPS 4k 1x DisplayPort Alt mode, 1x downstream charging 3  
U2721DE 27" IPS 1440p 1x DisplayPort Alt mode 4 RJ45 ethernet input

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Dell UltraSharp U2520D doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we'll update the review. Note that some tests such as the gray uniformity may vary between individual units.

Our unit was manufactured in May 2020; you can see the label here.

Compared to other monitors

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D performs well for a 1440p monitor. Although you won't get the same gaming performance as 1440p monitors with a higher refresh rate, you don't necessarily need that for office use, so this is a very good office monitor compared to its competitors. See our recommendations for the best office monitors, the best 24-25 inch monitors, and the best 1440p monitors.

Dell U2518D
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D is a bit better than its predecessor, the Dell U2518D. The U2520D has a better SDR color gamut, quicker response time, and much lower input lag. However, the U2518D has much better out-of-the-box color accuracy and it handles reflections a bit better too.

Dell UltraSharp U2720Q
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell UltraSharp U2720Q is a bit better than the Dell UltraSharp U2520D, mainly because it's a bigger monitor and it has a 4k resolution. The U2720Q also has slightly better ergonomics as it has a wider tilt range. The U2520D is better for gaming since it has a much quicker response time and a lower input lag.

Dell U2719D
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D is better overall than the Dell U2719D. The U2520D has a wider swivel range, it has much better black uniformity, it displays a wider color gamut in SDR, and it supports HDR10. This monitor is also a bit better for gaming because it has a quicker response time and lower input lag. Meanwhile, the U2719D has better out-of-the-box color accuracy and it handles reflections better.

Dell UltraSharp U2721DE
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D is better than the Dell UltraSharp U2721DE. The U2520D supports HDR, it displays a wider SDR color gamut, has much better out-of-the-box color accuracy, and it has a quicker response time. The U2721DE handles reflections better and it has a wider vertical viewing angle.

ViewSonic Elite XG270QG
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The ViewSonic Elite XG270QG is a bit better overall than the Dell UltraSharp U2520D. The ViewSonic is a much better choice for gaming as it has a 165Hz refresh rate and G-SYNC support. It also has a much quicker response time and lower input lag. The Dell is a slightly better choice for office use as it has better ergonomics, significantly better out-of-the-box color accuracy, and it has a higher pixel density since it's a smaller screen.

Lenovo Q27q-10
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell UltraSharp U2520D is much better than the Lenovo Q27q-10, despite the smaller size. The Dell has much better ergonomics, it supports HDR (although this doesn't add much), and it has a much faster response time, despite having a lower native refresh rate and no variable refresh rate support. On the other hand, the Lenovo has better reflection handling, so it might be a better choice for a brighter environment.

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