Dell U2711 ReviewManufacturer: Dell
UK Price (as reviewed): £911.67
US Price (as reviewed): $1,072
We were massively impressed by the HP LP2475w
and its H-IPS panel. Indeed Harry went straight out and bought one, which should no doubt improve his Battlefield: Bad Company 2
prowess. The HP might have been pricey compared to similarly sized TN-based panels, but the image quality, particularly for games and photo editing, was sublime.
There's now a good selection of IPS-based monitors on the market, including the NEC MultiSync EA231WMi
, which is a little more affordable at a smidgen under £300
The Dell U2711 can only be described as a monster, with a monster spec and unfortunately a monster price tag. Then again, although it is cheaper than modern 30in monitors such as it's big brother, the Dell 3008WFP which retails for around £1,100
. However, 30in screens are quite unwieldy and large, even if the high resolution is hugely desirable. The U2711 offers a great compromise between physical size and screen space, and with its IPS panel should offer great visuals too.
The U2711 sports an unusual resolution of 2,560 x 1,440, which is 160 fewer pixels in the vertical plain than your average 30in monitor; this is due to the 16:9 ratio rather than the 16:10 ratio that would yield 2,560 x 1,600 pixels. Before the 16:10 vs 16:9 flame wars start, spare a thought for the fact you still have a height of 1,440 pixels, which is a substantial upgrade from the 1,080 or 1,200 of a 24in screen.
The generous resolution translates into some serious screen real-estate, which is devoid of any impression of height restriction, and which works brilliantly with Snap in Windows 7: two windows side by side have plenty of elbow room on the U2711. We got used to the 16:9 aspect ratio with the NEC MultiSync EA231WMi pretty quickly, and the U2711 is no exception. In fact the size and high resolution of the screen makes this process even more rapid.
Dell states that the panel uses IPS technology, however after digging a little deeper with our contact at the PC manufacturing giant, we uncovered that it's actually H-IPS, so we were expecting the same vibrancy and general awesomeness that we saw with the H-IPS-based HP LP2475. For those interested in colour gamuts, the U2711 has a typical colour gamut of 110 per cent based on CIE1976 test and 102 per cent based on CIE1931 test standards.
The base and stand of the screen aren't Dell's most visually appealing, but they're extremely sturdy, with a large one-piece rectangular base in which the stand is free to swivel. The panel can also tilt, and is height adjustable too.
In the box is the usual array of cables, including a dual-link DVI cable (the one with the full set of pins, allowing for increased bandwidth to cope with high resolutions), DisplayPort and D-Sub. It's worth noting that single-link DVI cables won't work with the high resolution U2711, so if you've forked out for a gold plated DVI cable make sure it's dual-link.
Around the back you’ll find pretty much every type of interface is catered for, with two HDCP-compatible dual-link DVI ports, a HDMI port (although no cable is included), DisplayPort, D-Sub, component and composite video. There's also one USB 2 upstream port and four USB 2 downstream ports - two on the left-hand side of the bezel and two on the underside. The U2711 also supports Dell's AX510/AY511 Soundbar speakers via the AC power and pair or 3.5mm mini-jacks visible above on the right.