Dell UltraSharp U2711 (27" IPS)
The first monitor in our roundup is Dell's UltraSharp U2711. Although it's one step down, size-wise, from the flagship 30" U3011, this 27" screen is unquestionably a more price-conscious product. You can find the U2711 for as low as $900, while the U3011 costs another $200-300.
This LCD's design is much cleaner than what we saw from the previously-reviewed SR2220L and SR2320L. It gives up the piano black finish in favor of matte black with silver trim, which seems to work better in well-lit environments.
Dell covers all of the connectivity basics, including dual DVI-D, VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort, component video, and composite video inputs, along with a USB 2.0 hub and a smart card reader on the left side.
You'll also find a 3.5 mm audio input and an output. But you cannot attach speakers to the output and get sound piped in from the HDMI interface. The analog audio I/O is more specifically designed to accommodate Dell's AX510 SoundBar. Run audio up from the back of your PC, attach the SoundBar, and get control over the signal through the monitor itself.
Dell gets high points for its intuitive OSD (on-screen display) layout. Everything makes sense. The menu pops up right next to the capacitive touch buttons and it's incredibly easy to find and change settings.