Dell S2722QC Review: 4K Monitor for Budget Users

Increased demand gives rise to more and more new offers, Dell proves it by its speed in releasing monitors with a USB Type-C connection. Its monitors have time and again become one of the most economical in completely different segments, and now it’s the turn of the 27 inch 4K monitor Dell S2722QC with an IPS-type panel.

Dell S2722QC Review: 4K Monitor for Budget Users

Of these, the well-known S2722DZ from the already professional line in Dell’s product range, as well as the more advanced and previously released S2722DC with an expanded color gamut, but we cannot call them affordable for the mass buyer.

Now, we have decided to introduce you to another interesting representative of the same series – the Dell S2722QC 4K computer monitor. Like its smaller brother, it is primarily intended for users of portable electronics (laptops, tablets, phones) who wish to connect their devices to a larger screen.

With the increase in resolution, the price hasn’t increased much, a few more features have been added and so this monitor will be special for those who are eager to bring their laptop’s pixel density closer to the PPI on the monitor. And don’t spend a lot of money. Let’s get started with the Dell S2722QC review.

Design and Ergonomics

Immediately, we note that this monitor is a copy of the previously studied S2722DC (REVIEW). In appearance and plastic used in the “S” series monitors, Dell deliberately shows this is a budget line. And if you don’t find any striking differences from the older representatives at the front, there will be plenty behind them.

Dell S2722QC Review: 4K Monitor for Budget Users

White textured plastic with a semi-matte surface looks cheap, its thickness is obviously less than that of more expensive Dell models, there are no visible accents. Is this a flaw in the model? Of course not. But the impression is somewhat spoiled.

Meanwhile, the small felt stand is a little different from the ones you’ll find in the P and U lines. Yes, it is not made of brushed aluminum and does not have a large mass, but inside it is a metal one, like the frame of the central pillar.

You can literally remove the monitor from the stand in one motion by pressing the lock button, which is located just below the mounting plate and merges with the visual appearance of the case. If you are not satisfied with the standard ergonomics, a VESA-compatible 100 x 100 mm standard mount is supported for using the Dell S2722QC with an optional bracket.

The cable management system is made possible by the relatively small oval cutout in the B-pillar. The solution is simple and not very efficient. From an additional plastic element that hides the block with the interface, Dell designers refused because of the simplification of the design.

The 4K display stand has quite advanced ergonomic features. In the case of the S2722QC, you can change the tilt of the panel from -5 to +21 degrees, rotate left and right 30 degrees, change the height within 110mm.

Turning to portrait mode (pivot) is possible in both directions, while the center of the panel is four and a half points out of five. The body swaying on the stand is kept to a minimum. All fasteners, the inside of the stand, and the central pillar are made of metal.

The stand uses six rubber feet of various shapes to hold the work surface, which is good enough at holding the monitor in one position.

All parts of the monitor are interconnected with minimal gaps but, unfortunately, are not very uniform along the entire length of the joints. It’s almost impossible to turn the case, but crunches and creaks a bit when trying to squeeze and twist.

The painting of the elements is uniform, with the processing of the edges, there are minor complaints. The cooling of the electronic filing is due to the lines of ventilation holes located on the upper and lower faces of the case.

As a result, we can give the monitor a maximum score of 4 out of 5 for case quality, but we’ll make the reservation right away that many competitors will be better. If this is so important to you, you know what to do!

The main connectors are facing down on the cable connection block at the back of the monitor. Connection problems do not arise thanks to the ergonomic possibilities of the solution.

An additional USB 3.2 Gen1 port for connecting external peripherals is conveniently located on a separate block on the left side of the case on its bottom edge.

There is no built-in speaker system in the monitor, although the manufacturer definitely had all the possibilities for installing it. It affects the positioning of the model and its price segment.

Display

The Dell S2722QC uses an IPS-type panel, which is also used in the more expensive P2721Q model. Its main features, in general, do not differ from such solutions: 27-inch, 3840 x 2160 pixels, pixel density 163 PPI, aspect ratio 16: 9, brightness 350 nits, contrast ratio 1000:1, viewing angle 178 degrees in both planes, and response time of 4 ms when overdrive mode is set to peak.

The manufacturer declares the use of a conventional W-LED backlight (but the spectrum obtained above does not confirm this, so we will safely call it an “advanced” option) with 99% coverage of the sRGB standard, without flicker (flicker-free) and without any useful blue peak shift in the spectrum, and therefore the monitor was left without iSafe Display certification.

Among other features of the model, one can note the maximum vertical frequency of 75 Hz (only when the working resolution is reduced to 2560 x 1440 and below) and support for the AMD FreeSync Adaptive Sync Open standard, which however with the possibility of unofficial work with the S2722QC G-Sync compatible, did not provide (but it works…).

Based on Dell’s statements, it should be assumed that the installed panel works according to the 10-bit scheme (8-bit + FRC). But, for the available color palette of the model, it is certainly unnecessary (specially created for HDR pseudo support), and therefore the actual maximum, from our point of view, is honest 8 bits, but from nothing more.

The monitor is flat, using a “bezel-less” design with minimal internal bezels on only three sides and a medium-sized plastic bezel on the bottom.

Menu and Controls

The Dell S2722QC is controlled by five physical keys located on the bottom edge on the right side of the case. The largest of them (the power button) has a built-in blue and white LED. The manufacturer has removed everything from the front panel so that the user can focus only on what is happening on the screen.

The control system is quite convenient (though the button travel is short, and rough to press) and doesn’t require getting used to. When you press one of the four main keys, prompts appear on the screen. The only problem is the difficulty of working in the absence of external lighting when the keys are not visible. However, it is a matter of habit, and no one will adjust the monitor every day.

We press any key – a preliminary menu appears with a choice of four elements. Among the functions with quick access, the following were noticed: image mode selection (including two presets Color Temp. and Custom with RGB gain adjustment), brightness and contrast adjustment.

If desired, the user can select other functions for quick access through the appropriate section in the OSD Menu.

Now let’s move on to considering the structure of the main menu, hidden behind the corresponding button:

The menu structure hasn’t changed, and the color scheme has remained in the darker colors that characterize the good old part of the Dell monitor range.

The Dell S2722QC has nine partitions. In the first of them, you can change the backlight brightness and contrast. This is followed by the choice of the signal source, the ability to activate auto-selection of the main working interface, and auto-selection when using USB Type-C.

In the “Color” section, you can change the signal format, activate the desired picture mode (Preset Modes), and reset all color settings to default values.

Change the mode of operation of the built-in scaler, increase or decrease the sharpness (it is better to leave it as it is), select the matrix overclocking gain, and reset the settings to default values ​​again – all this is available in the “Display” section. The options for adjusting the visibility of deep shadows of the Dark Stabilizer, the choice of HDR modes (different color rendering options for the corresponding content), and the prioritization between speed for connected peripherals and image quality when using a USB Type-C connection were also added here.

When connecting external acoustics or headphones, the Audio section also becomes relevant in which you can adjust the volume level and use the PiP / PbP section to configure the “picture in picture” and “picture to picture” functions.

You can set the localization language, change the transparency, set a timer for the disappearance of the OSD screen, and reset the changes made in the “Menu” section.

The ability to change one of the two shortcut buttons is presented in the “Personalize” section. The list of available options has eight possible options, two of which are already used by default. Also available is a choice of options for the operation of the power indicator and the inclusion of charging via two different USB interfaces.

The “Others” section allows you to disable the DDC / CI interface, activate the LCD Conditioning function to check the screen for dead pixels without using a computer (handy when buying in a store), check the serial number, firmware version, and find out the service code. The factory reset option resets all settings to their default settings. Here you can also view the working information on the monitor in a separate tab “Display Info”.

Dell S2722QC specifications

  • Display: 27-inch IPS panel, Anti-glare 3H hardness
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160)
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Pixel Pitch: 0.1554 mm
  • Pixel Per Inch: 163
  • Brightness: 350 cd/m²
  • Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 / 1000:1 (dynamic)
  • Color Support: 1.07 billion colors
  • Response Time: 4 ms (gray-to-gray extreme)
  • Viewing Angle: 178 / 178
  • Features: AMD FreeSync, 99% sRGB color gamut, Mercury-free, arsenic-free glass, 3-sided bezeless
  • Audio: 3 Watt stereo speakers
  • Connectivity: 2 x HDMI, USB-C upstream/DisplayPort with Power Delivery (power up to 65W), USB 3.2 Gen 1 downstream, USB 3.2 Gen 1 downstream with Battery Charging 1.2, Audio line-out
  • Stand: Tilt (-5/+21), Swivel (60), Rotation (180), Height Adjustment (4.3 in)
  • VESA Mounting: 100 x 100 mm
  • Dimensions: 24.1 in x 6.9 in x 15.8 in (with stand)
  • Weight: 10.4 lbs

Dell S2722QC review test

Before proceeding to Dell S2722QC review test, we would like to note that this model has one unpleasant feature, which includes continuous automatic detection of working dynamic range thanks to the video card driver (at least this is the case with NVIDIA). The monitor displays a limited dynamic range after each reboot, which limits RGB from 0-255 to 16-235 available colors. Thus, you lose the deepest shadows and the lightest areas. Therefore, before doing critical work with color or making general complaints about the color reproduction of the monitor, you should make sure that the driver settings are set correctly and that the Dynamic Range is set to Full!

It remains to be believed that this problem will go away with new revisions of the model, and we would like to wish Dell to better conduct internal testing before launching new monitors for sale. And now let’s move on to Dell S2722QC review test, and we’ll start with the color gamut:

Color gamut

The Dell S2722QC monitor has an unknown 4K standard IPS matrix with an advanced version of W-LED backlighting. Let’s check its color gamut using the example of a novelty from Dell:

Initial testing was done with the display (standard mode) set to factory settings, with no emulation performed, and so the monitor shows its maximum available, which is slightly more than standard sRGB space in red, orange, and green tones.

In Comfort View Eye Strain mode, the color gamut narrows slightly and widens again when you switch to a Custom mode for manual adjustments.

Further tuning and profiling of the display slightly increase its capabilities, but you can not count on a serious increase.

The final results of the compliance and color gamut volume of the monitor relative to standardized spaces are as follows:

Standard settings:

  • sRGB – 99.6|115.1%
  • AdobeRGB – 73.1|79.3%
  • DCI-P3 – 81.5|81.5%

ComfortView Mode:

  • sRGB – 99.7|114.4%
  • AdobeRGB – 74.3|78.8%
  • DCI-P3 – 80.8|81.0%

Custom Mode:

  • sRGB – 97.7|112.6%
  • AdobeRGB – 71.5|77.6%
  • DCI-P3 – 79.7|79.8%

After setup and calibration (Custom):

  • sRGB – 99.7|118.0%
  • AdobeRGB – 74.9|81.3%
  • DCI-P3 – 83.6|83.6%

All values were obtained in absolute comparison mode, with colors and color clippings going beyond the bounds of the reference values. Dell’s new solution is excellent for working with color within the standard sRGB color space and can achieve high color fidelity once a color profile is applied.

Speaking of shades that exceed the studied standards, it can be noted that it is possible to deal with them by the method already known to you – using ICC / ICM profiles and software with normal support for the color management system (CMS). Among them: Adobe products, XnView, Windows Photo Viewer (7, 8, 10, 11), Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, etc.

Brightness, contrast, and color ratio

The monitor in question has three main modes, typical of most Dell models, three gaming modes (it is surprising to find them in the S series), two additional Color Temp modes, and a preset for manual Custom Mode settings. The default is Standard Mode with the following settings:

  • Brightness: 75
  • Contrast: 75
  • Response Time: Normal

Let’s study the results obtained in the most important modes, presented in the table below:

Dell S2722QC Review: 4K Monitor for Budget Users

The brightness in the three study modes turned out to be above average and as similar as possible, which is not surprising since each of them has the brightness value set to 75%, but this can be easily adjusted manually. The contrast ratio significantly exceeded the level declared by the manufacturer and reached the results of a high-quality IPS panel.

From the accuracy point of view of setting the white point on the monitor, there are obvious complaints and they apply to all modes except for Comfort View, in which the manufacturer focuses on reducing eye strain by reducing the blue component. As for the custom mode, we would like to note that the white point deviation is twice as large as the factory standard set. Consider this fact if you want to create a complete manual setup.

In terms of overall color accuracy, the monitor also shows an average level, similar between all modes, despite their different purposes. There is something to correct and clarify!

During manual adjustment and further calibration in Custom mode, we used the following settings to achieve a brightness of 100 nits and a color temperature of 6500K:

  • Brightness: 33
  • Contrast: 75
  • RGB Gain: 99/94/99
  • Response Time: Normal

In this case, the depth of the black field slightly decreased, the color gamut increased (we found out in the section above), and color deviations were significantly reduced due to the use of the created individual device profile and, of course, gamma correction. In this state, the monitor is perfect for working with color within a standard CO and can rightfully compete with more advanced solutions, in particular, the solution from the Dell P2721 Q itself with exactly the same color reproduction capabilities.

Gamma curves and grat balance

With the help of the HCFR Colormeter program and the “calibrated” X-Rite Display Pro Plus colorimeter, we studied the gamma curves in all the “modes” discussed above, both initially preset and especially “developed”. In addition, according to the measurements made, it is possible to evaluate the divergence of the gray wedge (points of the black-and-white gradient) on the CIE diagram and draw conclusions about the predominance of one or another spurious hue, or its absence.

According to the obtained gamma curves, we can talk about not the most accurate factory setting. RGB imbalance is visible, and the curves mostly run well below the reference curve, resulting in both an overall increase in image contrast and decrease invisibility in deep shadows. There are problems with the white point, but the stability of the CG grayscale is quite good.

In the mode designed to reduce eye strain, the manufacturer did nothing useful except lowering the color temperature to ~5100K with a slight greenish parasitic tint predominating.

The visibility of extreme dark hues remains low, the stability of CG hues in ComfortView is reduced, and the brightness must be adjusted manually since it is high by default and practically does not differ from that set in Standard mode.

As for the Custom Mode, the gamma curves are somewhat different from the Standard: the RGB imbalance is less, but the curves dip, even more, the contrast is raised, and the visibility of deep shadows is still low. Manual tuning and calibration are indispensable here.

To do this, we slightly adjusted the RGB gain levels, lowered the brightness, and the calibration program calculated the necessary changes in the LUTs of the video cards to obtain ideal gamma curves. Together with them, we also received a significantly improved gray wedge balance, which can be clearly seen on the CIE diagram.

Additional features and settings

The Dell S2722QC does not have any built-in sensors (light, proximity), but the menu has an additional parameter with three degrees of exposure, which is responsible for improving the visibility of extreme dark shades. Let’s take a look at his work:

The function works out in the optimal range of 5-40% and does it very carefully, without affecting the rest of the tonal transitions. Thus, Dark Stabilizer, which appeared from the brand’s gaming monitors, can be safely used when the need arises.

The Dell S2722QC monitor uses a “frameless” IPS panel with a classic pixel structure and a semi-matte protective surface. Consider the resulting macro:

Dell S2722QC Review: 4K Monitor for Budget Users

First of all, the classic pixel structure for modern IPS panels is visible. The picture on the screen is pleasing to the eye, but we cannot say that the crystalline effect is practically not expressed.

The model uses a film that is not as “smooth” as many other semi-matt options, and therefore you should definitely not count on a crystal clear picture. CE can be seen both under ideal conditions and when changing the viewing angle, in which case its visibility is enhanced.

Above are two additional photographs obtained by focusing with a digital microscope on the pixel structure and separately on the protective surface of the screen. You can draw your own conclusions.

Color temperature

Let’s continue our study of the Dell S2722QC monitor, evaluating the stability of the color temperature in standard and special picture modes.

Dell S2722QC Review: 4K Monitor for Budget Users

The results of this table are the deviations of the points of the gray wedge along the X-axis. They do not affect the vertical axis, and therefore it is possible to assess the presence of spurious shades only by the CIE diagram from the “Gamma curves and gray balance” subsection.

The level of color temperature stability at standard settings and in Custom mode turned out to be high. ComfortView and the monitor variant after calibration showed themselves significantly worse in terms of maximum deviation, and additional color temperature modes showed that the farther from the classic 6500K, the higher the deviations, both average and maximum.

The results are as follows: you should forget about additional factory DH modes (unless, of course, you have very specific lighting or a special passion for a “warm” or “cold” picture) and prefer Standard, in which the level of stability is maintained at an adequate level and serious RGB edits. If it is possible to adjust RGB in Custom mode using the appropriate measuring instruments, then this should be done first.

Response time

The Dell S2722QC claims a matrix with a response time of 4 ms, measured by the Gray-to-Gray method in the Response Time – Extreme overclocking mode. By default, the more familiar Normal value is set, in which the numbers will be different.

Dell S2722QC Review: 4K Monitor for Budget Users

By a strange coincidence, Dell engineers decided to add as many as three Response Time modes to their multimedia model, two of which demonstrate obvious image artifacts that can increase the discomfort of using the screen, so we see no point in using them. In terms of speed characteristics, in this case, the model does not take the lead and demonstrates the usual level for high-quality non-gaming IPS monitors with a refresh rate of 60 Hz. Again, you can forget about the declared 75 Hz – do not use a 4K monitor with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels for the sake of an additional 15 Hz.

And, of course, it’s not surprising that the monitor does without dropping frames – 60 Hz was stable throughout Dell S2722QC review testing. It has no problems in this matter.

Viewing angles

It is another 27-inch 4-inch IPS-type solution we tested. Let’s look at its viewing angles:

Dell S2722QC Review: 4K Monitor for Budget Users

The picture above shows everything perfectly. Viewing angles are at the level of other similar solutions. With slight changes in the viewing angle in the horizontal plane, the picture on the screen does not change at all. If you increase the angle to 30-45 degrees, then the image becomes less contrast, the saturation of some colors decreases, the shadows are slightly brightened, especially at the edges of the panel. With changes in the vertical plane, the picture on the screen deteriorates much faster and stronger.

Backlight

The backlight across the screen field was tested at 35 points with the monitor brightness set to 100 nits. All calculations (deviations) were based on data from the center point.

Dell S2722QC Review: 4K Monitor for Budget Users

With the brightness set, the average deviation from the center point was 13%, and the maximum deviation was 31%. For a monitor of such a diagonal and an IPS matrix, the result is frankly low, but it should be borne in mind that the zone with a high backlight level is large enough, which is good news.

Dell S2722QC Review: 4K Monitor for Budget Users

According to the presented surface diagram, you can clearly see how the brightness level is concentrated over the matrix field. The central part and the periphery closest to it turned out to be quite close in brightness, and only at the edges of the matrix does the brightness drop to 69-80 nits. It is most likely that a similar result will be characteristic of most S2722QC instances, which has already proved our close acquaintance with this new product over the past few months of sales.

Dell S2722QC Review: 4K Monitor for Budget Users

The photo above shows a white field with minimal corrections in a graphical editor to more visually represent what is happening on the screen in terms of bright field uniformity. Our Dell S2722QC review unit shows faint stray tints on both sides of the panel, as well as some darkening that has already been detected around the edges.

The difference in CG and brightness becomes even stronger on dark gray canvases, where all the problems of the monitor come out, more and more obvious spurious shades appear, which cannot be judged by the received numbers (they cannot say anything about them …).

Final line

With the update to the “S” line, Dell has created internal competition, as the S2722QC tested in this material uses the panel installed in the more expensive P2721Q, and the main differences are only the case finish and its design, as that as well as the lack of DisplayPort in the hero of the review, which is for this segment of monitors, does not matter, because any modern interface available on the market can reveal the model’s potential.

Against the backdrop of the previously reviewed S2722DC, the manufacturer added PbP, PiP, HDR support, and dark stabilizer gaming technology for its 4K version directly from the brand’s gaming line. The backlight system came out with a modified spectrum to reduce eye strain all the way, the black depth actually exceeded the declared level by 30%, and the working brightness range will allow you to use the monitor in almost any level of ambient light. All this is very important for long work behind the screen.

It is pleasant and surprising that the S2722QC, other things being equal, turned out to be the most economical in the segment studied, but unfortunately, it also has obvious drawbacks. We certainly do not expect to fix one of them (uniformity of backlighting on a bright area in terms of brightness), we just have to put up with the other when choosing a device (plastic used and design), but we hope the manufacturer works out a software error with a dynamic range soon.

We would also like to pay attention to the problems that often occur when connecting the Dell S2722QC to users of Apple technology. As of now, there is no official comment from both companies, and the issue may be specifically about the macOS operating system. After the latest update, complaints on the Internet about the flickering screen and the disappearance of the picture have greatly reduced, so there is a chance that the problem will be completely resolved soon.

Dell S2722QC price and availability

Dell S2722QC 4K monitor costs $379.99, but it is now available for $333.71 on Amazon.com with up to a 12% of discount.

About Ankeet Solanki

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