When push comes to shove, the most important element of any monitor is still its image quality, and generally the Dell S2740L holds up well.
Unfortunately, after reviewing so many tablets, phones and even monitors with far higher dpi (dots per inch), seeing 1,920 x 1,080 pixels stretched across 27 inches is a tad painful. Of course, this is hardly a fault with the monitor, and considering how many people will happily put up with that same resolution on a 50-inch telly, it won’t be a deal breaker for many.
Aside from the very visible pixels which can make text, icons and games look a little jaggy, and aforementioned reflections due to the S2740L’s glass front, we have few complaints with this display.
Viewing angles are good as you would expect from an affordable IPS panel; though at extreme angles they do suffer from the very minor contrast shift that affects some screens using this tech, in normal use you’re unlikely to notice much, and it’s better than what you’ll get from pretty much any TN-panel monitor.
This is helped by very even backlighting without noticeable bleed, along with deep blacks aided by the glass front. Thankfully this doesn’t go at the cost of dark detailing regardless of brightness setting, and you won’t miss a single detail no matter how gloomy the game or movie you’re watching. Speaking of gaming, Dell quotes a 7ms GTG response time and we noticed no ghosting during the course of our test.
Colours too are bright and punchy without being oversaturated. Accuracy is not as important on a consumer panel like this, but we were quite happy with the out-of-the-box settings. However, we would recommend staying away from the overly blue Movie and Cool presets no matter what kind of content you’re viewing. Again, covering just 84 percent of sRGB means the Dell S2740L isn’t for photographers, artists or other colour-critical work, but in most scenarios it’s good enough.
This is where the Dell S2740L stumbles just a little. Mind you, £277 for this stylish and well-made monitor is by no means excessive, but the AOC d2757Ph gives you a panel with similar qualities (IPS, 1080p) but throws in some form of height adjustment, speakers and passive 3D too, all for around £250. Mind you, it’s not as well-built and doesn’t integrate a USB hub, so if 3D is not your cup of tea, the S2740L might well be the better bet.
Of course, it’s also worth considering 27-inch IPS monitors with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution. While from a trusted name these will likely set you back around £500, if you’re happy importing from smaller brands, they can be found for around £300. There’s little guarantee that they’ll deliver the level of quality (no backlight bleed, no dead pixels, excellent build, etc) that we experienced with the Dell S2740L, but it’s certainly an option to keep in mind.
The Dell S2740L is an attractive, stylish and well-built 27-inch monitor which offers a quality, glass-fronted IPS panel at a reasonable price. It also enjoys excellent controls, an intuitive OSD and a few extras like a built-in USB 2.0 hub. However, its pretty stand lacks adjustability, its menus and panel quality don’t provide for colour-critical work, and its glass front causes annoying reflections. Most divisively, at this size, its 1,920 x 1,080 resolution can be a little painful if you’re sitting close or are used to better. It’s also worth keeping in mind that you can get similarly-specced rivals with 3D for less. So the S2740L is certainly not the monitor for everyone, but if you’re happy with its limitations, it’s a good choice.