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To read about our monitor tests in-depth, check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test PC Monitors. We cover Brightness and Contrast testing is covered on page two.
Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level
The Dell S2721DGF has a lot of competition in its class of 27-inch, 1440p monitors. For our comparison, we’ve pulled data from our reviews of the ViewSonic Elite XG270QC, Asus ROG Strix XG279Q, Pixio PX278, Pixio PX277 Prime, and Gigabyte G27QC. They are a mix of IPS, VA and TN panels all running at 144 Hz or faster.
The S2721DGF delivers just over 401 nits peak in SDR mode set to its Standard image preset. That’s plenty bright, though three other screens manage even more output. But in the average office, 401 nits would look pretty harsh. A backlight this bright does nothing good for black levels. When it comes to black levels, the Dell is on the bottom. Unfortunately, its contrast is also a tad below average at 921.9:1.
After Calibration to 200 nits
Equalizing all the monitors’ backlights to 200 nits (see our recommended settings on page 1) still left the S2721DGF in last place in our calibrated black level and contrast tests. Our adjustments did cost us some dynamic range, but in practice, this was somewhat mitigated by the Dell’s large and accurate color gamut. We do wish for better black levels though because this monitor makes SDR content look a little flat.
The ANSI contrast ratio is only slightly lower, which indicates a good quality panel with a precisely fitted grid polarizer and excellent screen uniformity.
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Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.
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