Dell S2718D HDR Monitor Review

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Grayscale, Gamma & Color

Grayscale Tracking

Two of the S2718D’s image modes will make the color temp warmer or cooler. And the remaining presets use variations that aren’t quite D65. Standard is the default setting, so that’s where we’ll begin our tests.

Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.

In the first chart, you can see that blue is clipped enough for most brightness levels to have a red/green tint that becomes more visible as output increases. The Cool setting goes too far in the other direction, making everything look blue. Switching to Custom Color produces a similar result, so the only way to maximize the S2718D’s potential is to adjust the RGB sliders. Calibration produces excellent tracking with errors well below the visible threshold. If you dial in our recommended settings, you’ll be able to duplicate our chart closely.


The S2718D makes quite a gain from its default to calibrated state. 5.41dE is one of the higher out-of-box errors we’ve seen of late. But the final .63dE average error is quite low. So, while it’s a bit weak at first, the potential for greatness is there in the Custom Color mode. And as you’ll see on page five, HDR accuracy is very good.

Gamma Response

Luminance tracking is a key component to proper HDR rendering, so it’s good to see the S2718D excelling in that area for SDR content. Tracking is nearly perfect by default and after calibration. There are a few tiny dips in the Custom Color mode pre-adjustment but our changes cleaned that up nicely. Gamma is perhaps the most important thing to get right on any monitor, so we’re glad to see Dell’s attention to detail in this area.


With a tight .14 value range and a slight .45% deviation from the 2.2 standard, the S2718D takes the gamma comparison over its non-HDR competition. There are no gamma adjustments available, so that’s a very good thing.

Color Gamut & Luminance

For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, please click here.

Thanks to accurate gamma tracking, saturation and luminance targets are mostly met even in the S2718D’s default Standard mode. We can see slight under-saturation in blue and a hue error in cyan, but other colors are fine. This is important, since Ultra HD/HDR content is usually mastered in the wider DCI-P3 color gamut. Because we’re working with an sRGB monitor, it must track accurately to properly render detail when the content’s colorspace is larger than the panel’s. You’ll see what we mean on the next page where we’ll show you the extended gamut test results.


We weren’t thrilled with the S2718D’s default grayscale numbers, but without calibration, its color gamut error averages just 3.66dE. Afterwards, that value drops to a very-respectable 1.59dE. The adjustments are clearly worth making, even if you just dial in our recommended settings.

Gamut volume is an almost perfect 99.34% of the sRGB space. You can use this monitor for color-critical applications if it’s properly adjusted. The native gamut is pretty much right on target.

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Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

    cant wait till they have 4k in hdr at affordable prices
  • daglesj
    I'll take the features but ditch the stand for a standard removable with VESA and the controls built in as normal.
  • GentlemanGreen
    stopped reading at 60 hz
  • LionD
    How could 8 bit/sRGB display, with contrast 1000 and no local dimming, deliver true HDR experience? Total nonsense.
  • CarbonBased

    Lots of people have plenty of use for 60hz screens. stop poo-pooing products that cleary arent aimed at you. I have a rig for gaming, and sure, 60hz isn't really enough anymore. However, I take and edit photos as a hobby, so IPS, 10-bit, HDR, all very attractive features. Add that i can mate it to my photo editing laptop with a USB-C cable and were really getting somewhere. I'll be looking for this one come holiday season.
  • cbliss
    NOT AN HDR MONITOR.. FALSE ADVERTISING.. BUYERS BEWARE!! (HDR requires 10bit panel, this is 8bit.. It also lacks any form of local dimming). Bogus product for hdr, otherwise simply an overpriced QHD monitor).
  • CarbonBased
    Fair enough, I didnt realize that it was 8 instead of 10 bit. But I will stand by my point that 60Hz is fine for many, if not most, computer users, even if they are gamers. the market for high refresh rates is specifically gamer-centric. Dissing product thats arent built to gamer spec because you are a gamer does not lend one to being an unbiased source of opinion.
  • Scott____67
    i like to wall mount my monitor anyways so the stand is non existent and in a condo it keeps areas and desk spaces clear plus having a little height with a downward pitch is perfect for the lean back in the chair gamer that i am
  • alextheblue
    19973045 said:
    Fair enough, I didnt realize that it was 8 instead of 10 bit. But I will stand by my point that 60Hz is fine for many, if not most, computer users, even if they are gamers. the market for high refresh rates is specifically gamer-centric. Dissing product thats arent built to gamer spec because you are a gamer does not lend one to being an unbiased source of opinion.
    Agreed. A 60hz monitor isn't great for gaming anymore, so for my personal needs and budget I'm better off with a halfway decent TN panel with high refresh rate, wide freesync range, and low input lag. That might change in the future, as advanced displays come down in price. But today that's what best fits my needs.

    But as you said most non-gaming applications don't need high refresh rates. Users who don't game will typically favor resolution, contrast, brightness, viewing angle, and color reproduction over refresh rate and input latency. If you have a sub-$300 budget like I do you often end up with a display that either favors gaming performance and features, or image quality and advanced colorspaces. Just because you favor a high-refresh gaming monitor doesn't mean you can't recognize uses for a non-gaming display.

    Granted if you spend enough money you can get a display that doesn't compromise much and is fairly good at everything. Way out of my price range at this point, though.
  • alextheblue
    To see HDR content, you’ll need a compatible player or computer with an HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 output. The latest Ultra HD Blu-ray players feature this interface. You can also connect with the right video card. Fortunately, there are quite a few choices. On the Nvidia side is the GTX 950 up to the Titan X (Maxwell), or the GTX 1050 to Titan X (Pascal). AMD users can employ an R9 390X or RX 460, 470, or 480.
    I thought anything with Polaris would support HDR10, such as Radeon 540/550 (Polaris 12). Maybe I'm misremembering. Also, on PC you have to have to use HDR10 compatible playback software to benefit.

    On the console side of things, Xbox One S has supported Ultra HD (4K HDR10) BDs for some time. If I was looking for a dedicated box, it's a good choice even if you don't play console games. It's not much more than a decent dedicated 4K HDR10 player, and it has better support for apps. You can add a Kinect if you want voice control. If you don't use physical discs but want a dedicated box for 4K HDR streams, then I'd recommend a Roku Premiere+ or Ultra.