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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Gaming Performance

With its perfect out of the box color profile, excellent color gamut and amazingly good Anti-Glare coating, the U2713 is able to offer genre-defining performance in gaming scenarios. It really impressed us like no 27” monitor has before so forget it NVIDIA, this is ‘the way it's meant to be played’.

Even though the U2713 is rated at a somewhat lethargic 8ms, the amount of ghosting is minor and it appears Dell finally got the default panel overdrive settings correct. Obviously this is why the OSD doesn’t allow overdrive tweaking since any changes would have most likely resulted in reduced performance.

If we were to nitpick things, the only two issues we have with the U2713 and gaming is the resolution and lack of 120Hz abilities. An improved refresh rate is noticeable by its absence on a 2013 monitor but as it stands, there aren’t many graphics cards capable of driving this monitor synchronously at 120Hz anyways. Luckily, at this point the 120Hz vs 60Hz debate is a non-starter for all but a few consumers since adding higher refresh rates spectacularly increases costs. As it stands, the U2713’s high resolution, relatively affordable price, minimal input lag, large amount of screen real-estate and efficiency will surely win over many gamers.

One of the main reasons Dell’s newest entry is so impressive in these regards is its ability to multitask. This is one of the few monitors that can go from color-accurate Photoshop editing to gaming at the drop of a hat and with minimal (if any) adjustments.

While 2ms 120Hz TN monitors like the ASUS VG278H can outperform the U2713 in gaming scenarios, if we could only have one monitor for gaming we would reach for Dell’s option nearly every time. The rich and vibrant colors combined with a higher resolution – compared to the ASUS VG278H – makes for amazingly immersive gaming sessions. It is only the occasional craving for stereoscopic 3D which would force us to break out the VG278H.

We also liked the U2713's Game Mode which decreases input lag by minimizing the panel's post processing features. Unfortunately, the image does become overly saturated but this issue can be mostly overcome by some judicious color tweaking in the control panel of most graphics cards.

Movie Performance

Dell’s ability to properly factory calibrate the U2713 pays dividends when viewing movies. The out of box settings are absolutely perfect so there is simply no need to show a “before and after” set of shots like we normally do.

As with gaming, it bears mentioning that this massively large 27” monitor is not an ‘advanced’ retina display and uses a ‘mere’ 2560x1440 resolution. Unlike gaming, where we could technically see this being an issue –after all not many people use a GTX 690 or other high end configurations – the large amount of screen real estate does benefit multimedia scenarios in a large way. Plus, until “5K” or even “4K” media becomes readily available, most consumers are only going to have access to -at the most- 1080p formatted movies with 720p being much more common.

Putting aside the non-issue over lack of ‘advanced’ resolution, watching movies on the Dell U2713 is quite enjoyable. The rich, vibrant colors and excellent contrast abilities of this monitor do somewhat make up for the up-scaling which occurs with 1080p video. In many ways, using any 2560x1440 monitor to watch 1080p video is a less than optimal choice as it does result in imperfect pixel mapping. A higher bitrate 720P movie usually will look much improved over its 1080P counterpart as it will have perfect 2:1 pixel mapping. This is true for most monitors and it is true for the U2713. However, even the 1080P results were excellent and every bit as good as the Samsung PLS-based 850D.

Even the amount of ghosting the U2713 exhibits is all but unnoticeable in most movie scenarios, just as it is with the Samsung SycMaster 850D. Considering the Samsung does not come with a perfect out of the box color profile, we would once again opt for this new Dell U2713 over it and nearly any other monitor we have tested to date. The only other 27” monitor we could ever consider using for movies is the Asus VG278H with its 3D abilities and native 1080P resolution.

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