For a manufacturer to enter the gaming display market as recently as Dell has, you'd expect a few compromises as it finds the right balance between features, quality, and price. Well, it seems that Dell doesn’t realize this sort of thing is hard because its initial efforts are pretty much a home run.
The S2417DG is clearly one of the very best gaming monitors we’ve tested. The category is relatively new, having been ushered in by the Asus VG248QE just a few years ago. Since then we’ve seen a whole slew of 120Hz and 144Hz screens, and now FreeSync and G-Sync further up the video processing ante. We’d have to say that this display has also upped the quality ante big time.
Obviously choosing G-Sync means paying a higher price, but Dell has included features here that make the additional cost worthwhile. QHD resolution is coming closer to becoming a deal-breaker now that mid-price video cards can drive the extra pixels at respectable framerates. Even though you can save a lot of money buying an FHD FreeSync screen, the added resolution is a temptation that’s hard to resist. By the way, Dell can satisfy lower budgets with the SE2717H, a 27" IPS screen with FHD and FreeSync that sells for less than $250. We hope to review it very soon.
For those already committed to Nvidia and G-Sync however, the S2417DG is a seriously compelling choice. It offers excellent out-of-box color accuracy, a reliable 165Hz refresh rate, and ULMB, in addition to its high 122ppi pixel density. And if you plan to run two or three of them, a 6mm bezel means the thinnest of lines between panels. Add to that Dell’s solid build quality and flexible OSD, and you have a display that should satisfy nearly everyone.
The only flaws we found in our sample were gamma tracking that wasn’t quite right and a little less contrast than the competition. The first issue can be mostly fixed by simply reducing the contrast control, which fortunately doesn’t reduce the actual measured contrast ratio. If you implement our suggested RGB values, grayscale accuracy approaches that of a professional display with color gamut and luminance results not too far behind.
Ultimately though, motion processing is the star of this show. Even if we were less impressed with its image accuracy, the super smooth, blur- and tear-free action we observed while gaming is something that borders on intoxicating. Color and contrast matter less if what you see on the screen takes you further into the gaming experience. That is something the S2417DG does better than nearly every other monitor we’ve tested. The only other panels in its league cost far more. Suddenly the G-Sync premium doesn’t seem so dear.
For its superb gaming performance, out-of-box accuracy, and comprehensive feature set, we’re giving the Dell S2417DG our Tom’s Hardware Editor Recommended Award.
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