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Dell S2740L review

Home OfficeReviews
8/10
by John R. Delaney, 10 Dec 2012Reviews
Dell S2740L review

With its edge-to-edge glass, slim profile, and crystal clear 27in screen, the Dell S2740L offers an enticing blend of style and performance. This sleek looking monitor uses IPS (In Plane Switching) panel technology to deliver excellent colour depth that remains true from any angle, and its greyscale performance, while not stellar, is a good deal better than most TN (twisted nematic) monitors. It's also one of the most energy efficient IPS monitors that we’ve seen, but there are downsides here, primarily the very reflective high-gloss screen.

Design and features

Taking a page out of the Apple Thunderbolt Display’s playbook, the S2740L uses glossy edge-to-edge glass to protect its 1,920 x 1,080 panel. The look is aesthetically pleasing, and the shiny coating helps deliver a more vibrant picture than you'll get with some matte coatings – but the screen tends to be very reflective when used in a brightly lit room. A Dell logo is embedded under the glass along the bottom border, and there are five touch buttons and a power LED positioned along the right side of the panel.

The curved matte black cabinet measures 38mm at its thickest point but slims down to 18mm around the perimeter. There's a silver Dell badge on the rear of the cabinet just above a recessed area that houses the I/O ports. Connections include DVI, VGA, and HDMI video inputs, two USB 2.0 downstream ports, a USB upstream port, and an audio line-out jack. All of the ports face downwards, which is not really an issue for the video inputs as they probably won't need to be accessed very often, but the downward USB port placement makes it difficult to plug in USB drives and other peripherals.

The 5.25kg cabinet sits atop a glossy black base and brushed silver mounting arm that keeps the panel steady and all of your cables neatly organised. It doesn't support the height, swivel, and pivot adjustments that you get with the Dell UltraSharp U2713HM, but it does allow forward and backward tilt adjustability. The stand can be removed if you decide to hang the S2740L on a wall using the VESA mounting holes.

Dell's implementation of the OSD (on-screen display) is among the best I've seen. Pressing any button brings up an on-screen sub-menu which includes choices for preset modes, brightness and contrast settings, and the main menu. Menu choices are positioned next to their corresponding buttons, making navigation foolproof.

There are seven picture presets, including Standard, Multimedia, Movie, Game, Text, Warm, and Cool picture modes. There's one User mode that you can customise using colour settings (RGB and YPbPr) and image enhancement, which smooths out rough edges on non-HD images. You can adjust RGB values while in the User preset mode and tweak hue and saturation levels while in the Movie or Game modes. The Display settings menu offers sharpness and aspect ratio settings when using a digital signal, and pixel clock, phase, and position adjustments while using an analogue signal.

The S2740L comes with a one year warranty. You get VGA and USB cables in the box but DVI and HDMI cables are not included.

Performance

Colour performance was typical of an IPS panel; primary colours were nicely saturated and progressed evenly from dark to light on the DisplayMate Colour Scales test. There were no noticeable tinting or colour tracking issues, and skin tones appeared balanced and natural while watching the Blu-ray of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. High definition image quality was sharp and noise-free as well.

The S2740L was able to reproduce every shade in the 64-step Greyscale test, but the extreme dark and light shades were a bit weak. Viewing angle performance was outstanding as the picture remained bright and colourful from the top, sides, and bottom.

The panel's 7 millisecond (grey-to-grey) pixel response rate did a reasonably good job of handling fast moving objects. I connected the S2740L to a PS3 console and played Midnight Run: Los Angeles, a graphics-intensive street racing game. There was no obvious lag or motion judder, but I did observe minor blurring in some of the darker scenes. However, it was barely noticeable, and most likely won't be noticed at all unless you're actively looking for it.

The S2740L used 21 Watts of power during testing with Energy Smart disabled. That's more energy efficient than the recently reviewed Viewsonic VX2770Smh-LED which used 30 Watts. What's more (pun not intended), enabling the S2740L's Energy Smart feature will further reduce power consumption depending on what you’re watching on the monitor. So the S2740L certainly gets a tick in the environment friendly box.

Verdict

If you're looking to move up to a big screen monitor and have an eye for style, the Dell S2740L is a compelling choice. Its IPS panel technology delivers excellent colour quality and bright, sharp HD imagery, and the picture looks great from any angle. Moreover, it won't strain your budget and can actually help save money on your utility bill.

Although the shiny edge-to-edge glass looks awesome, its reflective characteristics can be distracting, and the USB ports could be more conveniently located, say on the side of the monitor. But there isn’t much to moan about here, as long as you don’t detest glossy panels.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Product

Dell S2740L

PC Interfaces

VGA, Digital (DVI-D), HDMI

Diagonal Screen Size

27in

Native Resolution

1920 x 1080

Aspect Ratio

16:9

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