Dell UltraSharp U2721DE Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Jun 12, 2020 at 08:30 am
Dell UltraSharp U2721DE Picture
7.4
Mixed Usage
7.9
Office
7.4
Gaming
7.3
Multimedia
7.5
Media Creation
5.3
HDR Gaming
Size 27"
Resolution 2560x1440
Max Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Pixel Type
IPS
Variable Refresh Rate
No VRR

The Dell U2721DE is a decent 1440p, 27" monitor. Dell's UltraSharp lineup tends to focus more on office features than gaming, and this one is no exception. It has great connectivity, including USB-C power delivery support, and it even has a built-in RJ45 (ethernet) port, which is extremely rare. Like most Dell monitors, it has excellent ergonomics and a simple design that looks great in any setting. It's not as good for gaming though, as it has a limited 60Hz refresh rate, a relatively slow response time, and no dedicated gaming features, and like most IPS monitors, blacks look gray in a dark room. Overall, it's a very good office monitor and a decent choice for media creation, but gamers are likely to be disappointed by it.

Our Verdict

7.4 Mixed Usage

The Dell U2721DE is a decent monitor overall. It's a very good office monitor, with excellent ergonomics, wide viewing angles, and great connectivity options. This also makes it a good choice for media creation. It's a bit limited for gaming, as it has a low refresh rate and no dedicated gaming features. Like most IPS monitors, it has a low contrast ratio, so it's not as good for watching videos in a dark room.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Excellent connectivity.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • No VRR support
  • Low native contrast.
7.9 Office

The Dell U2721DE is a very good office monitor. The 27", 1440p screen delivers decent text clarity, and it has some great connectivity options. The image remains accurate when viewed at an angle, and it has excellent ergonomics.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Excellent connectivity.
Cons
  • Low native contrast.
7.4 Gaming

Decent monitor for gaming, but the Dell U2721DE doesn't support any advanced gaming features, like a variable refresh rate. It has excellent low input lag, for a responsive gaming experience, but the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz, and the response time isn't very fast.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • No VRR support
  • Low native contrast.
7.3 Multimedia

This is a decent monitor for multimedia. The Dell UltraSharp U2721DE has wide viewing angles, great screen real estate, and low input lag. It also has good reflection handling and good peak brightness, so glare shouldn't be an issue in a bright room. Unfortunately, like most IPS monitors, it has a low contrast ratio, so it's not as good for watching videos or playing games in a dark room.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • Low native contrast.
7.5 Media Creation

The Dell U2721DE is a good monitor for media creation. The 27", 1440p screen is great for multitasking, and it has excellent ergonomics, so you can easily adjust it to an ideal viewing position. It also has wide viewing angles, excellent gray uniformity, and good reflection handling. Unfortunately, there's a bit more banding than most monitors we've tested, which might be an issue for media creation.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
Cons
  • Low native contrast.
5.3 HDR Gaming

The Dell U2721DE doesn't support HDR.

  • 7.4 Mixed Usage
  • 7.9 Office
  • 7.4 Gaming
  • 7.3 Multimedia
  • 7.5 Media Creation
  • 5.3 HDR Gaming

Check Price

27" UltraSharp U2721DE
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Curved No
Curve Radius Not Curved
Weight (without stand)
8.9 lbs (4.0 kg)
Weight (with stand)
12.6 lbs (5.7 kg)

The Dell U2721DE has a very simple design that doesn't stand out. Like most Dell monitors, it has very thin bezels, great for a multi-monitor setup, and the base is very small, so it doesn't take up a lot of space. It has decent build quality, despite being almost entirely made of plastic.

Design
Stand
Width
9.1" (23.0 cm)
Depth
7.1" (18.0 cm)

The stand is small and nearly identical to most recent Dell monitors. It supports the monitor well, with very little wobble.

8.5
Design
Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
5.1" (13.0 cm)
Switch Portrait/Landscape Yes, Both Ways
Swivel Range -40° to 40°
Tilt Range -20° to 5°

The stand on the Dell U2721DE has excellent ergonomics. The hinge on the back is a bit different from most recent Dell monitors, resulting in a slightly smaller swivel range, but this shouldn't be an issue for most people.

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

The back of the monitor is clean, made of a single plastic panel. Like most Dell monitors, there's a cutout in the stand for cable management, and the stand can be quickly removed via a quick release button.

Design
Borders
Borders
0.2" (0.6 cm)

The borders are very thin on all four sides, making it a great choice for a multi-monitor setup.

Design
Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
5.0" (12.8 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
1.5" (3.8 cm)

The Dell U2721DE has a very thin side profile, great if you're planning on VESA mounting it.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Dell U2721DE has good overall build quality, very similar to the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q. The outside panels are entirely made of plastic, but there are no obvious issues or weak points in the construction.

Picture Quality
6.0
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
1014 : 1
Contrast With Local Dimming
N/A

Like most IPS monitors, the Dell U2721DE has a mediocre contrast ratio. This is especially noticeable in a dark room, where blacks tend to look gray instead. This isn't an issue in a bright office setting.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

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

7.8
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
314 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
347 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
348 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
348 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
349 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
349 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
347 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
348 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
348 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
349 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
349 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.000

Good peak brightness, similar to the Dell U2720Q and the Dell Alienware AW2720HF. It's bright enough even for a bright office environment.

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. If you want a similar monitor with HDR support, check out the Dell UltraSharp U2520D.

7.4
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
39 °
Color Washout From Right
39 °
Color Shift From Left
48 °
Color Shift From Right
47 °
Brightness Loss From Left
45 °
Brightness Loss From Right
46 °
Black Level Raise From Left
70 °
Black Level Raise From Right
41 °
Gamma Shift From Left
39 °
Gamma Shift From Right
38 °

Like most IPS monitors, the image remains accurate, even when viewed from the side. This is especially important if you like to share your screen with someone sitting beside you, or if you like to sit close to the screen, as the sides of the screen remain uniform.

7.6
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
32 °
Color Washout From Above
34 °
Color Shift From Below
41 °
Color Shift From Above
43 °
Brightness Loss From Below
34 °
Brightness Loss From Above
36 °
Black Level Raise From Below
70 °
Black Level Raise From Above
70 °
Gamma Shift From Below
44 °
Gamma Shift From Above
63 °

Good vertical viewing angles. Colors start to wash out if you're too far above or below eye level, so a proper height adjustment is important, but this shouldn't be an issue for most users.

8.7
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.436 %
50% DSE
0.115 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.279 %
5% DSE
0.041 %

Like most recent Dell monitors, the Dell U2721DE has outstanding gray uniformity. The sides of the screen are a bit darker than the rest, but this isn't very noticeable. In near-dark scenes, the uniformity is even better, and there are no noticeable issues.

7.1
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.219 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

Decent black uniformity. There's only a little bit of backlight bleed along the bottom edge, and it's not very noticeable.

7.1
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
Standard
Luminance
103 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
22
Contrast Setting
78
RGB Controls
100-100-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
5949 K
White Balance dE
3.53
Color dE
3.19
Gamma
2.24

Out of the box, this monitor has decent accuracy. Gamma is a bit high, so most scenes appear a bit darker than they should, and the color temperature is a bit warm. Most people won't notice any issues with colors, and most shades of gray are displayed accurately.

9.7
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Custom Color
Luminance
101 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
23
Contrast Setting
78
RGB Controls
94-92-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
6489 K
White Balance dE
0.40
Color dE
0.52
Gamma
2.17

After calibration, the Dell UltraSharp U2721DE has outstanding accuracy. Any remaining inaccuracies aren't at all noticeable, and the color temperature is extremely close to our calibration 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.

8.6
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
96.8 %
Adobe RGB xy
75.3 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

Excellent SDR color gamut. Coverage of the most commonly used sRGB color space is nearly perfect. Although it has good coverage of the wider Adobe RGB color space, content creators looking to master content in Adobe RGB might want to look elsewhere.

8.9
Picture Quality
SDR Color Volume
sRGB In ICtCp
96.6 %
Adobe RGB In ICtCp
81.4 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

Excellent SDR color volume. It's mainly limited by the low contrast ratio, as it can't display dark, saturated colors very well. It also can't display very bright blues, which is common on LCD monitors.

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

The Dell U2721DE can't display HDR color gamuts.

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

The Dell U2721DE doesn't support HDR.

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, which is great.

7.8
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
8 Bit

There's quite a bit of noticeable banding on this monitor, especially in darker shades of gray and green. This is a bit worse than most similar monitors we've tested, but still good overall.

10
Picture Quality
Color Bleed
Pixel Row Error
0.000 %
Pixel Column Error
0.002 %

There are no noticeable signs of color bleed on this monitor.

7.6
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
6.5 %
Indirect Reflections
5.7 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
0.8 %

The Dell U2721DE has a matte anti-glare finish, which helps to reduce reflections in a bright room. It's not as effective as the coating on the Dell Alienware AW2720HF, but it's better than the Dell U2720Q and good enough for most rooms.

7.0
Picture Quality
Text Clarity
Sub-Pixel Layout
RGB

Decent text clarity, similar to the LG 27GL83A-B. It benefits from enabling ClearType (top photo), especially in diagonal lines, like on the letters R and N.

Motion
7.1
Motion
Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate
Best Overdrive Setting
Normal
Rise / Fall Time
7.7 ms
Total Response Time
19.2 ms
Overshoot Error
4.5 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
8.4 ms
Dark Total Response Time
20.7 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
6.0 %

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

The Dell U2721DE has decent response times, but it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, which may be disappointing for gaming. There are two overdrive settings: "Normal" and "Fast". "Fast" is a bit faster, but there's significant overshoot in almost every transition, so we don't recommend it.

7.1
Motion
Response Time @ 60Hz
Best Overdrive Setting
Normal
Rise / Fall Time
7.7 ms
Total Response Time
19.2 ms
Overshoot Error
4.5 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
8.4 ms
Dark Total Response Time
20.7 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
6.0 %

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

This monitor only supports a 60Hz refresh rate, so these 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 backlight is completely flicker-free at all brightness levels.

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 an optional 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 U2721DE has a simple 60Hz refresh rate, and it doesn't support any of the variable refresh rate technologies, which is disappointing for gaming.

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

Outstanding low input lag, this results in a more responsive gaming 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 inches
Screen Area 310 sq inches

The 27", 1440p screen is great for multitasking, but the image isn't as sharp as Dell's 4k offerings, like the U2720Q.

Inputs
Inputs
Inputs
Total Inputs
DisplayPort 1 (DP 1.4)
Mini DisplayPort No
HDMI 1 (HDMI 1.4)
DVI No
VGA No
DisplayPort Out 1 (DP 1.4)
USB 4 (USB 3.0)
USB C 1 (USB, USB PD, DP Alt Mode)
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Microphone In 3.5mm No
Digital Optical Audio Out No
Analog Audio Out RCA No
Power Supply Internal

The Dell U2721DE has a good selection of inputs. There's a single USB-C port with power delivery, great for charging your laptop while you work on the computer, but it's limited to 65W, which is too low for some recent MacBooks. It even has an RJ45 ethernet port, which can be used as a passthrough connection from your laptop to your LAN. It also has a DisplayPort Out connection, which can be used to daisy chain to a second monitor.

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

This monitor has almost no additional features other than the connectivity options mentioned above.

Features
On-Screen Display (OSD)
Features
Controls

The OSD on this monitor is controlled through four buttons located beneath the bottom bezel. This isn't as easy to use as the joystick controls found on most LG monitors.

Features
In The Box

  • Calibration report
  • User's manual
  • DisplayPort cable
  • HDMI cable
  • Power cable

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

We tested the Dell U2721DE, and it's also available in a 24" size, but that model has a lower native resolution. There are other models in Dell's UltraSharp lineup, some of which are listed below.

Model Size Panel Type Resolution Note
U2721DE 27" IPS 1440p 1 x USB-C, DisplayPort Alt mode
U2421HE 24" IPS 1080p 1 x USB-C, DisplayPort Alt mode
U2720Q 27" IPS 4K 2 x USB-C, DisplayPort Alt Mode
U2520D 25" IPS 1440p 1 x USB-C, DisplayPort Alt Mode

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Dell U2721DE 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 of the U2721DE was manufactured in April 2020, you can see the label here.

Compared to other monitors

The Dell UltraSharp U2721DE is a basic 27", 1440p monitor. It has very few additional features, but it's a good choice if you're looking for a workstation to quickly connect your laptop, thanks to the built-in USB hub and USB-C features. See also our recommendations for the best 27 inch monitors, the best USB-C monitors, and the best office monitors.

Dell UltraSharp U2720Q
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell UltraSharp U2720Q is much better than the Dell UltraSharp U2721DE. The U2720Q supports HDR, and it has a much higher native resolution, resulting in much clearer text, and better multitasking thanks to the greater screen real estate. On the other hand, the Dell U2721DE has better reflection handling, so it might be a better choice for a bright office environment.

Dell U2719D
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell UltraSharp U2721DE and the Dell U2719D are very similar overall. The U2721DE has slightly different inputs, with the addition of a USB-C port and an ethernet port. Other than that, there are no significant differences between these two models.

Dell UltraSharp U2520D
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.

LG 27UK650-W
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The LG 27UK650-W is much better than the Dell UltraSharp U2721DE. The LG has a higher native resolution, which delivers clearer text and a better multitasking experience. The LG also has much better gradients, and it supports HDR. On the other hand, the Dell has better ergonomics, and a better selection of inputs, with a built-in USB-C hub and an Ethernet port.

BenQ EX2780Q
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The BenQ EX2780Q is better than the Dell UltraSharp U2721DE. The BenQ has a much higher refresh rate, making it much better for gaming, although even desktop users will notice a difference. The BenQ also supports HDR, although this doesn't add much. The Dell has better ergonomics and a better stand, and it supports power delivery over its USB-C port.

Lenovo Q27q-10
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell UltraSharp U2721DE is much better than the Lenovo Q27q-10. The U2721DE has much better ergonomics, it's brighter, and it can display a wider color gamut. The Dell has a lower refresh rate and it doesn't support any variable refresh rate technologies, but despite this, it has a better response time than the Lenovo, resulting in cleaner-looking motion.

Dell U2518D
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell U2518D is a bit better than the Dell UltraSharp U2721DE. The U2518D is a bit smaller, but it supports HDR and has much better gradient handling. The smaller screen on the U2518D results in slightly sharper text, but it's not quite as good for multitasking. On the other hand, the UltraSharp U2721DE has better connectivity, including USB-C power delivery support.

LG 32UD99-W
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The LG 32UD99-W is much better than the Dell UltraSharp U2721DE for most people. The LG has a larger, higher-resolution screen, which is much better for multitasking, and it delivers sharper text. The LG also supports HDR and is a more versatile monitor thanks to a few dedicated gaming features. On the other hand, the Dell has much better reflection handling, making it a better choice for a bright office.

Samsung T55
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Dell UltraSharp U2721DE is better than the Samsung T55. The Dell has a native 1440p resolution, excellent ergonomics, wide viewing angles, decent out-of-the-box color accuracy, and it also has a quicker response time. The Samsung has more gaming features like a slightly lower input lag and FreeSync VRR support. It also has a VA panel that displays deep blacks and its SDR color gamut is wider too.

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