Dell Ultrasharp U2713HM 27” AH-IPS Monitor Review

Author: AkG
Date: September 17, 2012
Product Name: UltraSharp U2713HM
Part Number: U2713HM
Warranty: 3 Years
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A Closer Look at the Dell U2713

With its thin and light construction, the U2713 will surely be an attention grabber, especially considering it uses an IPS panel. This kind of design is typically reserved for TN based products and while Samsung’s new PLS technology gives TN some real competition in this regard, the Dell’s newest IPS monitor uses one of the thinnest cross sections we’ve seen. Based on experience, most consumers would expect a professional grade IPS monitor to be thick and heavy like the U2711 but not this time.

Other than the obviously minimalist proportions, Dell has continued to use their tried, tested and true understated color pallet. The chassis skillfully mixes a combination of black tones and silver to create something that will fit into any décor.

This new slim and trim profile is thanks to Dell shying away from CCFL backlighting and moving towards a W-LED edge backlight configuration. This newer technology allows the internal components to fit into a much smaller chassis. Moving to W-LED backlighting also allows the U2713 to run cooler and require less robust heatsinks, which helps explain its svelte 12lb weight. Not only does this result in a visually smaller exterior design but even during heavy, extended usage, heat won’t be an issue.

The real stand out feature of the U2713 can’t be seen until it’s actually put into use. While the new – for Dell – AH-IPS panel itself is actually a bit of a downgrade from the U2711’s P-IPS panel, the anti-reflective coating Dell has opted for is extremely impressive. This new AG coating is easily the best Dell has ever used on their larger UltraSharp lines since it strikes an almost perfect balance between color reproduction and maintaining contrast in high ambient light scenarios.

While there is no getting around the fact that Dell may have reduced the input options of the U2713, their engineers have made things a lot less cut and dry as they first appear. At first it seems like the U2711’s features are clearly superior. Instead of getting two dual-link DVI along with HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, component and composite ports, Dell has opted for ‘only’ one dual-link DVI, one HDMI, one VGA and one DisplayPort. In other words the input options are basically the same as the U2412 but with HDMI added in for good measure. With every one of the main HD bases covered, we doubt all but a minority of consumers will miss the component video, composite analog ports or second DVI port.

Further helping to make the U2713’s input selection more enticing is a substantial upgrade to the USB ports' abilities. Instead of rear and bezel mounted USB 2.0 connectors with a multi-card reader like the U2711, customers will be greeted with a pair of USB 3.0 enabled ports on the side bezel and another pair on the input panel. USB 3.0 adoption has certainly been slow, but the inclusion does make the UltraSharp U2713 future proof and more useful for many consumers. We do wish that the multi-card reader – upgraded to take advantage of USB 3.0 bandwidth- had been included but the dual bezel-mounted USB 3.0 connectors are more than enough to satisfy most consumers’ needs.

The Dell’s choice of stand is also much improved over the U2711. It may even look very familiar to anyone who has read our recent Dell 24” reviews as it is a slightly enhanced version of the U2412’s stand. While older U2711 had solid, adaptable base which offered height, swivel and tilt options it didn’t offer a portrait mode option. Since Dell has gone with basically the same – albeit slightly enhanced- stand found on the U2412, the U2713 offers 115mm of height adjustment, 25° of tilt (+4° to – 21°), excellent swivel capabilities and also adds in the sorely lacking portrait mode.

The only fault we can find with the U2713’s stand is a lack of adequate height adjustment. In its current configuration the monitor does have a tendency to scratch the base when moved into portrait mode unless the panel is first tilted back.

Much like the stand and input options, the control buttons bear a remarkable likeness to the U2412's. Like many older models, the U2711 relies upon less than optimal capacitive touch ‘buttons’ which are finicky at best. While sufficient and more than adequate they were always the weak link in configuring a U2711. Thankfully, they have been replaced with sensible, well designed physical buttons.

Like many other current generation UltraSharps, these buttons are well spaced, respond instantly to inputs and offer excellent tactile feedback. There’s no guessing, wasted time, or fiddling around involved when trying to change the settings.

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