At around £1,010, the 16:9, 27-inch Dell UltraSharp U2711 monitor will be prohibitively expensive for most people. But the U2711 justifies its high price with incredible performance, a plethora of connection options, and an impressive 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution. Dell has also fixed the static dithering issue that plagued the 24-inch UltraSharp U2410.
The U2711 looks like a larger version of the U2410. Like the U2410, the U2711 has a matte black chassis with a grey highlight running through the middle of the panel. The panel is 44mm deep, but the back of the display, which houses the backlight, connection options and ventilation system, extends another 38mm, bringing the full depth to about 82mm. The panel is 645mm wide and the surface of the matte screen is slightly frosted. The bezel measures 20mm wide on all sides.
The rectangular foot stand measures about 318mm wide by 198mm deep. When knocked from the sides, the U2711 wobbled more than the U2410. In the case of the U2410, wobble was nearly non-existent. With the U2711's screen height at its lowest setting, the distance from the bottom of the bezel to the desktop is 43mm, and, at its highest, it's 130mm. The panel swivels about 70 degrees left and right, and tilts back about 25 degrees. The panel can be unscrewed from the stand and mounted (VESA-style) on the wall. Unfortunately, there's no portrait mode, unlike with the U2410.
Use your connections
Dell includes a plethora of video-connection options with the U2711, all located on its back. The connections include VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort, component, composite and two DVI ports. S-Video is the only missing connection. Also included are two downstream USB ports, one upstream port, an audio-out port, and a speaker port. Accessing these connections is fairly easy -- we were only hampered by the lack of a pivot feature. On the left side of the panel are two additional USB downstream ports and one card-reader port that's compatible with xD-Picture Cards, MultiMediaCards, SD cards, and Sony Memory Sticks.
The on-screen display has the label-free design seen on many recent Dell monitors. Five buttons line the lower right-hand corner of the bezel. Pressing any of the buttons brings up the OSD, which pops up parallel to the button array, and each option corresponds to one of the four buttons. Once a new menu comes up, the function of the buttons changes dynamically, as the top two buttons become the up and down arrow buttons used to navigate through the new menu. Since any button labels for the OSD are actually on the screen instead of on the bezel, calibrating the display in a dark room is easy.
The U2410's OSD buttons have a low sensitivity, making it sometimes necessary to push them harder than we'd consider normal. The U2711 doesn't suffer from this problem, and the buttons are appropriately responsive.
The OSD menu options include the standard brightness, contrast and various colour options. The presets are separated into two categories: 'graphics' and 'video'. There are numerous graphics presets to choose from: 'standard', 'multimedia', 'game', 'warm', 'cool', 'Adobe RGB', 'sRGB' and 'custom'. The video presets are: 'movie', 'game' and 'nature'. The presets don't change anything other than the red, green and blue colour balance. Therefore, how well each setting works is subjective. There are options for adjusting the hue, sharpness and colour saturation, as well as additional options for setting the OSD to stay on-screen for up to a minute, which is useful for anyone who will spend a good amount of time calibrating.
We tested the U2711 with its DVI connection under the default standard preset. The display posted a composite score of 98 in our DisplayMate-based performance tests -- one of the highest scores we've seen yet. The U2711 scored well in all of our colour and uniformity tests, and avoided the colour-compressing issue that we saw with the U2410, as well as the slightly pink screen tint.