Dell S2721DGF Review: 1440p 165Hz 1ms IPS FreeSync Gaming Monitor

Bottom Line

The Dell S2721DGF is a 27″ 1440p 165Hz gaming monitor based on a Nano IPS panel with a wide color gamut and rapid 1ms GtG pixel response time speed. Additionally, it offers FreeSync Premium Pro, G-SYNC Compatible, and DisplayHDR 400 certifications. It has a fully ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options. Alas, it lacks an sRGB emulation mode.

Design:
(5.0)
Display:
(4.8)
Performance:
(5.0)
Price/Value:
(4.0)
4.7

The Dell S2721DGF is yet another 27″ 1440p 144Hz 1ms gaming monitor based on LG’s Nano IPS panel.

To make their model more unique, Dell offers a 165Hz factory-overclock, along with their characteristic well-built design and extensive connectivity options.

However, they omitted one thing – an sRGB emulation mode, which would provide accurate colors for sRGB content.

Regardless, the Dell S2721DGF will mostly attract Xbox console gamers as it’s one of the rare 1440p 144Hz gaming monitors that simultaneously supports the 1440p 120Hz mode and FreeSync on the Xbox One X/S and the Xbox Series X/S.

Image Quality

To start with, the monitor covers 98% of the DCI-P3 color space, which is equivalent to 135% sRGB. This results in vibrant and vivid colors, especially when it comes to reds and greens.

When watching sRGB content, however, the colors will appear over-saturated.

As there’s no sRGB clamp provided in the monitor’s OSD (On-Screen Display) settings, you won’t be able to restrict the color output to ~100% sRGB for a more accurate representation of sRGB content, unless you have a dedicated colorimeter.

Some users don’t mind this over-saturation, some actually prefer it, and some absolutely hate it, but it’s definitely something you should keep in mind.

Moving on, the Dell S2721DGF monitor features the WQHD resolution with 2560×1440 pixels, which results in a high pixel density of ~109 PPI (pixels per inch).

As a result, you get crisp details and text as well as plenty of screen real estate without any scaling necessary. For most users, it’s the pixel density sweet spot.

Related:What Is Pixel Density And Pixels Per Inch (PPI)?

Other panel-related specifications include the 178° wide viewing angles, dithered 10-bit color depth support for 1.07 billion colors, a peak brightness of 400-nits which is plenty, and a static contrast ratio of 1,000:1, which is standard for IPS displays.

Blacks won’t be as deep and vivid as those of VA panel displays with a contrast ratio of ~3,000:1, but these monitors have other disadvantages at this price range, such as a slower response time speed and inconsistent colors.

Keep in mind that some IPS glow and backlight bleeding will also be noticeable, which can further take away from the viewing experience in dark rooms as blacks appear somewhat grayish.

The amount of IPS glow and backlight bleeding varies across different units of the monitor. In all but most extreme cases though, it’s tolerable and manageable.

Lastly, the Dell S2721DGF display supports HDR (High Dynamic Range) and has VESA’s DisplayHDR 400 certification.

Thanks to its decent brightness and wide color gamut, some HDR content might look a bit better, but as the monitor lacks local dimming and has a rather low contrast ratio and brightness for the true HDR viewing experience, most HDR content won’t look much better.

This is expected from a monitor at this price range as implementing a decent local dimming solution would greatly increase its cost. So, some HDR content might look a bit better, some may not, but don’t buy this monitor solely for its HDR support.

Note that HDR cannot be enabled on the Xbox consoles on the Dell S2721DGF.

Performance

freesync and gsync

The Dell S2721DGF supports Adaptive-Sync via both AMD’s FreeSync Premium Pro and NVIDIA’s G-SYNC Compatible technologies.

FreeSync works over both DisplayPort (48-165Hz) and HDMI (48-144Hz) variable refresh rate (VRR) range. You can also use it with the Xbox consoles, in which case the VRR range is 48-120Hz at 1440p.

Video games compatible with FreeSync Premium Pro also get optimal HDR gamut and tone mapping as well as lower input lag.

If you have a compatible NVIDIA graphics card (GTX 10-series or newer), you can also use FreeSync/VRR, but only over DisplayPort (same 48-165Hz range). You’ll also need the 451.67 (at least) drivers for optimal performance.

Variable refresh rate allows the monitor to change its refresh rate according to GPU’s frame rate (Hz = FPS), which in turn entirely eliminates screen tearing and stuttering without noticeably affecting input lag as long as your FPS is within the VRR range. Below 48FPS, frames will be multiplied to keep tearing at bay (47FPS – 94Hz, etc).

Next, the Dell S2721DGF 165Hz gaming monitor offers a rapid 1ms GtG (gray to gray pixel transition) response time speed.

There are three overdrive modes: Fast, Super Fast, and Extreme.

The Extreme mode is too aggressive and introduces too much inverse ghosting (pixel overshoot). The Super Fast mode works much better as it prevents trailing behind fast-moving objects without adding overshoot across the entire refresh rate range.

Lastly, input lag amounts to only ~4ms, which is imperceptible.

Features

Dell S2721DGF Monitor On Screen Display Menu

To access the OSD menu, there’s a 4-way directional joystick at the rear of the monitor. Below the joystick, you’ll find four more hotkeys, three of which can be assigned to different shortcuts.

Noteworthy gaming features include Dark Stabilizer (improves visibility in darker games) and various pre-calibrated picture presets (FPS, MOBA/RTS, RPG, Sports, three customizable Game modes, and ComfortView with a low-blue light filter).

You can also place an on-screen timer and a frame/refresh rate tracker by using the Game Enhance Mode.

Other image adjustment tools include the standard brightness, contrast, sharpness, color temperature, and hue/saturation settings, but there are no gamma presets.

While the monitor doesn’t use PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation) to regulate brightness, there’s a 20kHz flicker, but it’s not noticeable and shouldn’t bother those sensitive to flickering.

Design & Connectivity

Dell S2721DGF Design 1

The stand of the monitor is sturdy and versatile with up to 130mm height adjustment, -5°/21° tilt, +/- 45° swivel, 90° pivot, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility. The Dell logo at the front and rear of the display is illuminated, and there are blue LEDs along the vent.

There’s a matte anti-glare coating which effectively eliminates reflections without making the picture appear grainy.

Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.4, a quad-USB 3.0 hub, a headphones jack, and an audio line-out port.

Price & Similar Monitors

The Dell S2721DGF price usually ranges from ~$450 to ~$550. It’s the best monitor for the Xbox Series X/Series S for competitive gaming thanks to its rapid response time speed, vibrant colors, and most importantly, 1440p 120Hz + FreeSync support.

For PC gamers, we recommend the LG 27GL850 instead as it offers an sRGB mode. Its HDMI port is limited to 100Hz when FreeSync is enabled. So, if you have an Xbox console, you must choose between 1440p 120Hz or 1440p 60Hz + FreeSync.

The LG 27GL850 doesn’t have a 165Hz factory-overclocked refresh rate, but the difference between 144Hz and 165Hz is not really noticeable. You could try manually overclocking it to 165Hz though.

Visit our comprehensive and always up-to-date best gaming monitor buyer’s guide for the best deals and more information.

Conclusion

The Dell S2721DGF is an excellent gaming monitor thanks to its high pixel density, vibrant colors, quick response time, and plethora of features including VRR up to 165Hz.

The main thing we hold against it is the lack of an sRGB mode, but if you don’t mind that, it will suit you perfectly fine.

Specifications

Screen Size27-inch
Resolution2560×1440 (QHD)
Panel TypeIPS
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate165Hz
Response Time (GtG)1ms (GtG)
Adaptive-SyncFreeSync Premium Pro (48-165Hz)
G-SYNC Compatible (48-165Hz)
PortsDisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other PortsHeadphone Jack, Audio-out, 4x USB 3.0
Brightness400 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
98% DCI-P3
HDRDisplayHDR 400
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • Wide color gamut
  • Quick response time speed
  • Plenty of features including FreeSync up to 165Hz
  • Fully ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options
  • Allows for 1440p 120Hz + FreeSync on Xbox

The Cons:

  • IPS glow and mediocre contrast ratio (as expected from this panel technology)
  • No sRGB gamut clamp

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Rob Shafer
Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.