Review: Dell Ultra HD S2817Q monitor, an affordable giant

The 4K 'revolution' is finally going mainstream. From smartphones like the Sony Xperia Z5 to regular LCD TVs, consumer devices with 4K screens are finally becoming affordable. The same trend is now being seen in the PC monitor space.
 
So how big is the 4K market? According to IHS Markit, the 4K market touched US $8.8 billion last year and will reach US $52 billion in 2020. A sizeable chunk of that will be accounted for by 4K PC monitors like the Dell Ultra HD S2817Q.
 
Design

Review: Dell Ultra HD S2817Q monitor, an affordable giant

The Dell Ultra HD S2817Q is a minor giant among regular PC monitors - not just in terms of resolution. At 28 inches wide, it dwarfs regular 21 and 22-inch monitors. Also, due to its 4K resolution, it packs four times as many pixels as a Full HD monitor. The monitor has a stated contrast ratio of 1000:1 and a 160 degree viewing angle. Neither can be called out as truly exceptional.
 
Dell's marketing material pitches the monitor as being ideal for both work and play. The S2817Q has a claimed 2ms response time. Unusually low for a regular PC monitor, the low response time makes it ideal for gaming and watching 4K videos.
 
The screen itself has very thin bezels and a matte finish. The monitor stand allows a tilt of five degrees forward and 21 degrees backward. Unfortunately, the screen cannot be rotated from landscape to portrait mode.
 
This monitor has 2 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, a single Display Port and a mini-Display Port. So there is nothing preventing you from connecting multiple devices at the same time such a PC, laptop and a game console.
 
Rather interestingly, the Dell S2817Q has two built-in 9W stereo speakers. There is also a built-in subwoofer. It seems Dell is keen for the monitor to be used for PC or console gaming without the need for an additional set of speakers.
 
Another two interesting features are the picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture modes. For picture-in-picture, you can link your smartphone to the HDMI port which supports MHL and display that image inside the regular PC display. You can also put the two images side by side - ideal for watching a security system video feed, a baby monitor video or another video source.
 
Performance
 
The first impression of the Dell S2817Q monitor is a bit jarring. On booting up Windows 10, all the colours appeared washed out. The S2817Q is definitely a 4K monitor that requires calibration. The default monitor settings are simply not adequate for a good PC experience.
 
Calibrating the S2817Q is easy. Dell has provided a set of discreet buttons on the bottom right corner of the monitor. I found that the ideal settings for Windows is brightness at about 50 percent and contrast turned up to 90 percent.
 
The monitor does include a series of presets for gaming, video and standard office work. But I found that none of these were truly satisfactory. The best results were achieved with custom settings.
 
So how does the display fare after all the calibrations. There is no question about it. The jump from Full HD to 4K has a definite impact on appearance and overall user satisfaction. This is particularly evident in videogames and design work using Photoshop. There is far less aliasing evident in both.
 
The included speakers are also surprisingly good. Although just nine watts on paper and not particularly loud, the audio is clear with a surprisingly rich bass.
 
But the S2817Q monitor does have one major weak point - colour reproduction. Even after all the calibrations, the colours appear slightly muted, particularly the darker shades. There are 4K monitors from other manufacturers which exhibit darker shades of black and red compared to the Dell S2817Q. But to be fair, after calibration, most users will be very satisfied with the performance of the S2817Q.
 
To conclude, at a price of RM 1,999, the Dell S2817Q monitor is well worth considering if you are planning an upgrade to 4K. Although it is not an outright champion in colour reproduction and contrast, it does provide a large screen at an affordable price.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: Dell Ultra HD S2817Q monitor, an affordable giant

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