Group Test: Eight Panels Beyond HD (Part 3) : DELL U2713H

4/11/2013 9:17:07 AM

A capable panel, but its features drive up the price

Prior to this month’s Labs test, the Dell U2711 has enjoyed an incredible two-and-a-half-year run a sour 27in monitor of choice on our Elite list, ever since we first cast our eyes over it way back in Issue 81. The Dell U2713H is its successor (the U2712 never saw the light of day) and looks set to continue the tradition of Dell’s high-quality panels with few compromises.

As with the other 27in screens on test, it boasts a 16:9, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, matching an AH-IPS (advanced high-performance in-plane switching) panel with an LED backlight.

There are plenty of extras hidden beneath the slim chassis

As we’ve come to expect from Dell monitors, the U2713H’s stand is excellent. Robust and sturdy without becoming a desktop colossus, it offers a large 114mm of vertical adjustment, alongside tilt and swivel features, plus the ability to rotate the panel into landscape mode. Meanwhile, the matt-black bezel means the screen remains discreet, while retaining a look of quality.

There are plenty of extras hidden beneath the slim chassis too, not least the inclusion of four USB 3 ports (four downstream, one upstream), effectively making the U2713H a handy desktop USB3 hub. A9-in-1 card reader is also integrated into the chassis.

The OSD is sensibly laid out too, with brightness and contrast controls easily accessible, alongside a variety of image presets.

The OSD is sensibly laid out too, with brightness and contrast controls easily accessible, alongside a variety of image presets.

There’s a change over its predecessor when it comes to inputs, though, with the increasingly redundant VGA port replaced with both Display Port and Mini Display Port inputs, alongside the requisite DVI-D and HDMI ports. There’s also a Display Port output, enabling you to daisy-chain the monitor to other Display Port devices.

Meanwhile, the OSD is operated using an array of touch-sensitive buttons on the right of the bezel. The OSD is displayed in the bottom-left corner, with the context of each button displayed alongside, ensuring you’re never left wondering about the purpose of any particular button. The OSD is sensibly laid out too, with brightness and contrast controls easily accessible, alongside a variety of image presets.


The panel itself, like the NEC PA271W and NEC PA301W, offers a wide color gamut capable of 100 per cent of sRGB color space and, unlike many of the other panels on test, 99 per cent of the larger Adobe RGB color space, which is principally used in professional image editing.

Despite these lofty credentials, though, out of the box and running at its standard preset, the U2713H was extremely disappointing when it came to color accuracy. While indeed more than capable of supporting the Adobe RGB color space, the average d E94 deviation of 7.1 was bettered by almost every other panel on test, while its maximum dE94 of 21.2 was again unacceptably high.

the NEC PA271W

The NEC PA271W

The average gamma was also well off the ideal value of 2.2, rising up to 2.89 for light greys, obliterating white details. Oversaturated, overly bright and crushing (making it hard to distinguish between different shades of black and white) both black and white detail, the Dell U2713H doesn’t impress when you first get it out of the box.

Thankfully, though, the U2713H comes pre-calibrated from the factory, including a color calibration report that goes over everything from color accuracy to gamma, and brightness uniformity. Switching it to its sRGB preset immediately improved its image quality tremendously. Average gamma levels of 2.3 were far closer to the ideal 2.2 (although the light grey gamma remained a little high at 2.32), while the average dE94 plummeted to a far more pleasing 1.4, delivering accurate and natural colors across the board.

Color temperature remained a little warm at 6.208K, but the overall result was very pleasing when paired with the U2713H’s 805:1 static contrast ratio at this preset. Usefully, it was also possible to adjust the brightness when using the sRGB preset, which isn’t always possible on other displays.

Software-calibrating the panel using our Xrite colorimeter and accompanying Blue Eye Pro software also saw any minor color inaccuracies disappear, as the average dE94 dropped to just 0.3. The color temperature of 6,524K was right on the money too, although the gamma levels at light grey continued to prove slightly problematic, this time dropping 0.06 below the ideal 2.2.

The contrast ratio also slipped down slightly to 700:1, but this remains highly competitive, and it’s helped by a very even backlight, resulting in an attractive display that’s capable in both games and video. However, the light anti-glare coating caused blacks to shift into greys at more acute angles, although this is by no means a problem only suffered by this panel.


The U2713H might be disappointing out of the box, but switching to the sRGB preset improves the situation tremendously, making for well-balanced image quality.

It’s also equipped with Dell’s excellent Premium Panel Guarantee, ensuring a swift replacement should even one bright pixel develop (although there remains a five-dead-pixel requirement). However, even with its sRGB preset, the U2713H is still incapable of matching the color accuracy possible with the slightly cheaperViewSonicVP2770-LED.

The U2713H

The U2713H

In comparison to its U2913WM stable mate, the U2713H also disappoints, with poorer color accuracy, contrast ratio and gamma levels, even when running at its improved sRGB preset. Considering that the budget-priced Digi mate I PS-2701 WPH is also able to comfortably compete with the U2713H in the sRGB color space, despite costing some $395 less, it’s really only the Dell’s excellent stand and Adobe RGB support that lifts it up. Unless the latter is essential for color-critical work, there are better sRGB displays available for less money


§  Price: $905

§  Manufacturer:


§  Screen size: 27in/68.5cm

§  Aspect ratio: 16:9

§  Screen area: 311.5in2/2,009cm2

§  Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440

§  Pixel density(ppi): 108

§  Size [W x H x D): 538.9 x 639.3 x 200.3 mm

§  Panel technology: IPS

§  Backlight type: LED

§  Stated static contrast ratio: 1000:1

§  Stated response time (grey to grey): 8ms

§  Inputs: DisplayPort, DVI-D, HDMI, VGA

§  USB: 4xUSB 3

§  Adjustment: Tilt, height, swivel, rotate

§  Warranty: 3 years

§  Dead pixel policy: Zero bright pixels, 5 dead pixels


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