Dell UltraSharp U2713H 27” AH-IPS Monitor Review

Author: AkG
Date: April 11, 2013
Product Name: UltraSharp U2713H
Part Number: U2713H
Warranty: 3 Years Premier Panel + Advanced Exchange
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A Closer Look at the Dell U2713H

Like nearly all of Dell’s UltraSharp monitors, the U2713H follows a set of standardized design guidelines which can be traced back several years. With a two-tone black / silver color scheme it looks great without being overly garish and should effectively disappear into its surroundings. It should also be noted that Dell has equipped their latest high end 27” panel with extremely thin 20mm bezels which could make for one stunning multi monitor gaming setup.

We’re usually highly critical of stand choices since all too many manufacturers have chose to focus on aesthetics rather than actual stability. 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 U2713H 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 U2713H’s stand is –much like with the U2713HM –the 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.

The U2713H is deceptively thin and lightweight for a 27” monitor. This is mostly due to Dell’s move away from CCFL backlighting towards a W-LED edge backlight configuration. However unlike previous models we’ve seen, the U2713H uses an even more advanced version W-LED backlighting technology called “GB-LED”. GB-LED is based on W-LED but blends Green and Blue Light Emitting Diodes with a modified red phosphor coating to produce an even wider spectrum of light.

While both the U2713HM and U2713H utilize AH-IPS panels, they share very little in common from a specifications standpoint. The HM model uses an 8 bit panel with a reasonably wide color gamut that has a DeltaE of less than 5 while this newer H-series is part of Dell’s PremierColor line. As such, it uses a 10-bit AH-IPS panel which not only boasts over 1 billion colors but in this instance also has an amazing DeltaE of less than 2.

To put DeltaE into layman terms, if a program calls for a specific color to be displayed but the monitor is unable to display it, the U2713HM will be within 5 shades of the desired color. This is the industry standard and actually reflects the U2711’s rating. On the other hand, the new U2713H will be within 2 shades and in all likelihood will be only a single color shade off. For the average consumer this will mean very little – besides getting accurate colors but a minimal DeltaE could be a game changer if your job depends on color accuracy.

Even with enviable color reproduction and a 6ms grey to grey response time, the U2713H is still an expensive monitor. Dell softens the blow further by adding an interesting wrinkle to its feature set: true hardware calibration capabilities. To calibrate the U2713HM customers need to use software solutions to adjust the colors being transmitted to the monitor. On the U2713H, they can actually modify the monitor’s internal 14 bit Look Up Table. This results in a higher level of color accuracy which software calibration simply cannot match. Hardware color calibration is one of the main reasons many professionals have traditionally opted for ultra expensive NEC and similar manufactures over lower cost options like the UltraSharp line.

Dell has even included an excellent anti-glare coating which will ensure those accurate colors are a lot easier to see regardless of the environmental lighting conditions.

The outgoing U2711 was a well equipped monitor from an input perspective since it boasted two dual-link DVI outputs along with HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, component and composite ports but the new U2713H is no slouch either. Dell has opted for one dual-link DVI, one HDMI, one DisplayPort and one Mini-DisplayPort on the input side. With every one of the main HD bases covered, we doubt all but a minority of consumers will miss the analog ports. The mini DisplayPort is of particular interest since it will effectively eliminate the need for secondary adapters when using many current video cards.

Another interesting addition is the dedicated DisplayPort out connection which is used for Daisy Chaining several displays together. This may not interest to most consumers but it could keep cable clutter to a minimum when using the U2713H’s optional dual monitor stand.

Further helping to make the U2713H’s input selection more enticing is a substantial upgrade to the USB ports' abilities. Instead of U2711’s rear and bezel mounted USB 2.0 connectors with a multi-card reader, customers will be greeted to a multi-card reader and a pair of USB 3.0 enabled ports in an accessible area of the side bezel and another pair of USB 3.0 ports on the input panel. USB 3.0 adoption has certainly been slow, but the inclusion does make the UltraSharp U2713H future proof and more useful for many professional consumers.

Like the U2711, the U2713H relies upon less than optimal capacitive touch ‘buttons’ instead of the physical buttons found on the U2713HM. While sufficient and more than adequate, this could be the weak link in configuring a U2713H. Thankfully, these capacitive ‘buttons’ are more responsive than previous generations.

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