Reasonably priced. Sharp 4K picture. Good selection of I/O ports. Strong audio output.
Narrow viewing angles. Skewed greens. Tilt-only stand. Limited settings.
- Bottom Line
The moderately priced Dell 28 Ultra HD 4K Monitor (S2817Q) is a 28-inch Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) display that delivers razor-sharp imagery and is equipped with a solid selection of I/O ports.
If you're in the market for a large 4K monitor, but have limited funds, check out the Dell 28 Ultra HD 4K Monitor (S2817Q). At $329.99, it's a relatively affordable UHD display that delivers a highly detailed image and rich audio, and it's stocked with a generous array of connectivity ports. That said, its Twisted Nematic (TN) panel is prone to color shifting and other viewing-angle issues, and its color accuracy could be better.
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Design and Features
The 28-inch UHD (3,840-by-2,160) panel has a matte, non-reflective coating and is housed in a glossy-black cabinet with three-quarter-inch bezels. The screen has a peak brightness of 300 cd/m2, a 16:9 aspect ratio, a 1,000:1 native contrast ratio, a 60Hz refresh rate, and a 2-millisecond (gray-to-gray) pixel response. The 13-pound cabinet is supported by a silver base that gives you 26 degrees of tilt maneuverability, but lacks height, swivel, and pivot adjustments.
All of the S2817Q's ports are located around back, facing downward. They include two HDMI inputs with Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) support, a full-size DisplayPort input, a mini-DisplayPort input, an upstream USB 3.0 port, two USB 3.0 downstream ports, and an audio output. Embedded in the bottom of the cabinet are two 9-watt speakers that are loud and provide a decent amount of bass response. On the right side of the lower bezel are four function buttons for adjusting settings, and a power switch.
Image settings are limited to the basics. In addition to Brightness and Contrast, you can select one of eight picture presets (Standard, Multimedia, Movie, Game, Paper, Warm, Cool, and Custom), choose a color format (RGB or YPbPr), and adjust sharpness and Picture-in-Picture (PiP) settings. This monitor lacks the black-level and advanced six-axis color settings that you get with more expensive displays, like the Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 4K Monitor (UP3216Q).
Dell covers the S2817Q with a three-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight. Included in the box are HDMI, USB, and DisplayPort cables, a Quick Start Guide, and a resource CD containing drivers and a User's Guide.
The S2817Q turned in mixed results in our performance tests. It had no trouble correctly displaying the various shades of light gray in the DisplayMate 64-Step Grayscale test, but there was some compression at the dark end of the scale where the two darkest shades went from gray to black, rather than transitioning gradually from gray to black. There was some loss of shadow detail in my test images as a result, but blacks appeared nice and dark.
Color accuracy was also a bit off. As shown on the chromaticity chart below, red and blue color measurements (represented by the dots) are relatively close to their ideal CIE coordinates (represented by the boxes), although red is slightly off center. However, green is completely outside of its box. This is fairly common with low-end TN panels, and in this case doesn't result in oversaturated colors or tinting. Colors appeared uniform in the full-screen Color Purity and Uniformity test and while watching scenes from Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix. My 4K test photos looked stunning as well, with excellent image detail and rich colors against a dark background.
Although it's not designed for gaming, the S2817Q's 2-millisecond pixel response did a good job of eliminating most motion artifacts in our Crysis 3 (PC) and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Sony PlayStation 4) gaming tests. There was minor screen tearing, however. We measure input lag (the time it takes for the monitor to react to a controller command) using a Leo Bodnar Video Signal Lag Tester. The S2817Q produced a relatively short lag time of 10.6 milliseconds, which means that input lag will not be an issue. Our leader, the BenQ SW2700PT, measured 9.5 milliseconds.
The S2817Q consumed 33 watts of power while operating in Standard mode (it does not offer an ECO power-saving mode). That's right in line with the HP Envy 27 (37 watts), the ViewSonic XG2700-4K (35 watts), and the AOC Agon AG271QX (35 watts). The Dell S2718D is a bit more energy efficient (24 watts).
The Dell 28 Ultra HD 4K Monitor (S2817Q) gets you into a big-screen 4K monitor without having to part with a lot of cash, but its budget-friendly price means some sacrifices. In order to keep costs down, this monitor uses a TN panel, and thus, there's noticeable color shifting when viewed from an angle. Additionally, the display had trouble displaying the darkest shades of gray, and green color accuracy was slightly skewed in our tests. However, the UHD panel delivers a sharp, highly detailed picture while displaying 4K content, and colors appear rich and well saturated. And the speakers are more powerful than what you get with most monitors in this price range.
If wide viewing angles and accurate colors are a must, the similarly priced 27-inch Philips Brilliance Full HD Curved LCD Monitor (279X6QJSW), our Editors' Choice for affordable big-screen displays, has them, as well as a nice curved panel that is AMD FreeSync enabled. However, it's a 1080p monitor and doesn't provide the level of detail that you get with the S2817Q.
By John R. Delaney Contributing Editor
As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of the Labs technical staff, as well as evaluating and maintaining the integrity of the Labs testing machines and procedures. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, John spent six years in retail operations for… More »
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