LCD monitors have taken over the market and CRTs have been replaced by them over the years. They were once considered to be expensive replacements, but as LCD technology has become mainstream, we’ve seen prices collapse. Full HD 22-inch monitors are priced under Rs. 10,000 and 24-inch models are just over that price mark. Of course, larger is better in many cases, so the only big monitor option users have is 27-inch models. Few brands have really focussed on this large format uptil now. There are brands putting efforts into better quality panels and then there are those offering larger screens. Price has been a concern for customers and keeping that in mind, Dell has recently launched the S2740L, a 27-inch full HD display.
The one thing that makes the Dell S2740L stand out is its very attractive design, especially the front, which has no bevel. This kind of design is typical of the large Apple displays that we’ve seen. It’s surrounded by a glossy black bezel, which can hardly be seen when the monitor is turned off. It makes the front of the monitor look like one big flat screen. There aren’t any physical buttons in the front - just touch-sensitive ones. Even the rear has quite the view – it’s made of solid plastic but it’s smooth and rounded, with no vents in sight. The smooth shape is only disturbed by the panel housing the connectors.
The unique stand design keeps the screen stable
The complete flat screen means more than just design – it means you won’t have dust collecting at the bottom of the screen, you won’t have malfunctioning physical buttons and, of course, it makes the entire screen very easy to clean. The downside to the glossy finish for the entire display is that it attracts smudges and fingerprints, which means you’re left cleaning it every time someone points out something on the screen by touching it.
The power adapter isn’t built into the screen, so there’s a big block that sits outside the monitor. It’s not too large and it’s similar in size to a laptop power adapter. The stand is also equally elegant and we were worried it wouldn’t be too stable, considering the large size of the screen, but surprisingly, it holds the screen in place pretty securely.
The Dell S2740 doesn’t belong to the Ultrasharp line of products. Still, the monitor runs a full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS panel and has a refresh rate of 60Hz, standard for most monitors these days. It’s lit up by an LED backlight, so it means that the monitor is slim.
Basic connectivity options
Connectivity options are important, considering that this is a slightly large 27-inch screen. You could very well use this as a gaming console, a PC monitor or even as a TV. The S2740L has a DVI port, a D-Sub port, an HDMI port as well as two USB ports for data transfer purposes. The HDMI and DVI port are most important and it means you can use two main HD inputs on the monitor with ease. Component connectors would’ve been nice, or maybe even an additional HDMI port. This is, of course, wishful thinking.
The user interface is controlled by four touchscreen buttons, which are easy to use and control the interface. Unlike some other touchscreen monitors we’ve seen, these touch buttons on the monitor worked consistently when we used them for setting up the monitor. The user interface has seven presets, but we prefer that users choose the standard one or customise one to their liking. The other menu has options to change the basic brightness characteristics of the display using the brightness and contrast controls. Finally, there’s a menu button that lets you tweak other finer settings. All in all, it’s very easy to tweak and use the monitor with simple button presses.
Design and ease of use are all but secondary, performance is what a user expects when he's paying close to Rs. 23,000 for a monitor. Thankfully, the Dell S2740L is pretty impressive even when it comes to performance. The IPS panel definitely helps with colours and viewing angles.
Rounded back of the S2740L
Like with other displays, we first calibrated the monitor using the Datacolor Spyder colorimeter before testing. We found the monitor to have a contrast ratio of 591:1, which isn’t too shabby. When it comes to evenness of the screen, there are some minor issues but they're hard to detect. Uniformity at different screen intensity levels goes up to 15 percent at 100 percent screen brightness and it’s as low as 13 percent at around 66 percent screen brightness.
We then ran Displaymate and found more proof of the monitor being good at rendering colours. After calibration, the screen tends to be a little bright, but this is helpful in showing darker gradients clearly. In the primary gradient test with several dark blocks, we were able to see each one clearly. Most displays tend to mess up in this test by only showing a few blocks or showing some discoloration.
No physical buttons to distort the excellent design of the S2740L
In other tests with fine patterns being displayed, there wasn’t any sign of any interference, which is a good thing. Monitors rarely have issues here, but we’ve seen TVs that do. Coloured text on different backgrounds aren’t too bad. It’s only that red and magenta against a darker shade of grey is slightly unreadable. Apart from those two colours, we noticed no major issues.
The screen in general renders colours evenly across the panel. There are no smudges and blobs of darker shades seen anywhere on the screen. When we set the screen to complete black, we expected to see some backlighting issues in the form of patches of grey. The screen doesn’t go too dark, but there are no such blobs or patches seen, which is a very good thing.
All of these tests translate to a very good looking display and it’s clear when you start playing back high-definition content on the screen. There’s no sign of trailing of videos at high frame rates, which is good for gaming as well. Colours are natural and gradients are smooth, without clear signs of banding. Upscaled content also looks pretty decent. There’s some fine noise that can be seen, but that again is mostly due to the sharpness, which is something you can tone down if you’d like. Text is flawless as are the images.
Verdict and Price in India
A pretty impressive performer, at a sweet price
The Dell S2740L is a very good monitor for a number of reasons, but we’d honestly liked to have a slightly higher resolution on a monitor this size—something like 2560 x 1440. Still, a 27-inch HD display offers a very good experience for gaming, movies and even photo editing. The screen size does improve the experience by quite a bit and we like the fact that this is an IPS panel. It’s priced at Rs. 23,000, which isn’t too bad if you’ve wanted a TV-sized display but always wanted the crispness and accuracy that you typically find on a good PC monitor.
Updated 22 May, 2013, 9:27 pm IST
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