Dell S2721QS Review: Affordable 4K IPS FreeSync Monitor

Bottom Line

The Dell S2721QS is an inexpensive 27″ 4K IPS monitor with the standard sRGB color gamut, AMD FreeSync support, and premium build quality with versatile ergonomics.

Design:
(5.0)
Display:
(4.6)
Performance:
(4.5)
Price/Value:
(4.6)
4.7

The Dell S2721QS is an affordable 27″ 4K IPS monitor yet it features Dell’s distinctive and well-built design with versatile ergonomics.

Image Quality

The monitor is based on a 27″ IPS (in-plane switching) panel which provides consistent colors and wide 178° viewing angles, ensuring flawless picture quality regardless of the angle you’re looking at the screen.

It supports 10-bit color depth via dithering providing 1.07 billion colors and covers the standard 99% sRGB color space for accurate color reproduction.

Just how precise and uniform the colors are will vary across different units of the monitor, but it will do just fine for entry-level color-critical work.

More serious and professional designers, editors, and photographers should opt for a bit more expensive 4K IPS model with a guaranteed factory-calibration at Delta E below 2 or 3, such as the Dell U2720Q from Dell’s UltraSharp series.

Of course, if you have a colorimeter, you can get excellent color accuracy out of the Dell S2721QS, too.

Moving on, the Dell S2721QS has a strong peak brightness of 350-nits and a static contrast ratio of 1,300:1, which is excellent for a 4K IPS monitor at this price range.

It will be more than bright enough under normal lighting conditions.

While the contrast ratio won’t provide you with as deep blacks as that of VA (Vertical Alignment) panels with a ~3,000:1 contrast ratio, the image quality is overall excellent with decent detail clarity in the shadows of the picture.

Besides, VA panels have their own disadvantages, such as gamma shifts, which make them unsuited for color-critical work.

4K resolution results in a high pixel-per-inch ratio of 163 PPI on the 27″ sized screen of the Dell S2721QS monitor.

This means that you get plenty of screen real estate as well as vivid details and sharp text, but you will need to use scaling in order to make small letters readable.

Lastly, note that the Dell S2721QS supports HDR (High Dynamic Range), but since it lacks proper display capabilities, including wide color gamut, HDR content will look washed out.

Some content might look slightly better, but you’ll mostly prefer it disabled.

Performance

While not advertised as a gaming monitor, the Dell S2721QS offers a rather decent gaming experience, provided that you have a good enough PC system to run games at 4K as it’s quite demanding.

Input lag amounts to only ~9ms, which makes for imperceptible delay at 60Hz.

Next, there are three response time overdrive modes: Normal, Fast, and Extreme.

We recommend using either the Normal or Fast mode as ‘Extreme’ pushes the pixels to change too fast thus creating inverse ghosting (i.e. pixel overshoot).

There’s no prominent trailing behind fast-moving objects, but for fluid gameplay, we highly recommend a higher refresh rate gaming monitor.

In case you mostly play more graphically-oriented games and prefer better graphics with 60 FPS to higher FPS at a lower resolution, the Dell S2721QS will do just fine.

It even supports AMD FreeSync with a 40-60Hz VRR (variable refresh rate) range. So, if you have a compatible graphics card, you can enable FreeSync and there’ll be no screen tearing or stuttering as long as your FPS (Frames Per Second) is between 40 and 60.

Further, while the monitor is not certified as G-SYNC Compatible by NVIDIA, FreeSync works with compatible NVIDIA GeForce cards without any issues. However, your mileage may vary here, depending on your particular unit.

Keep in mind that all IPS monitors suffer from IPS glow, which can be described as visible ‘glowing’ around the corners of the screen that changes in intensity depending on the angle you’re looking at the screen.

The amount of IPS glow varies across different units of monitors, just like backlight bleeding, but in most cases, it’s completely manageable.

Finally, note that the Dell S2721QS display uses a flicker-free backlight and that it has an integrated low-blue light filter (the ComfortView picture preset).

Features

dell s2721qs osd menu layout

The OSD (On-Screen Display) menu of the monitor is well-organized. To navigate it, you use four hotkeys placed at the right side of the monitor. Two of those hotkeys can be assigned to shortcuts of your choice under the ‘Personalize’ section.

Apart from the Standard and ComfortView picture presets, you’ll find FPS, RTS, RPG, Movie, Warm, Cool, and Custom Color (user configurable red, green, and blue color levels) modes.

Other picture adjustments tools include brightness, contrast, sharpness, and hue/saturation, but there are no gamma presets available.

For gaming, there’s the Dark Stabilizer feature, which improves visibility of objects in the dark.

Picture in Picture and Picture by Picture are supported as well.

Design & Connectivity

dell s2721qs monitor back

The design of the monitor features ultra-thin bezels and versatile ergonomics with up to 110mm height adjustment, 90° pivot, +/- 30° swivel, -5°/21° tilt, and VESA mount compatibility (100x100mm).

Further, the screen has a low-haze (25%) matte anti-glare coating, which eliminates reflections, but preserves the image quality as it doesn’t make it grainy.

Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.2, an audio line-out port, and dual 3W integrated speakers.

Price & Similar Monitors

The Dell S2721QS price ranges from $300 to $340.

There’s also the Dell S2721Q model with a tilt-only stand that goes for ~$315.

Now, we recommend checking out the ASUS VG289Q at this price range.

It has a slightly larger 28″ screen and offers a wider color gamut for more saturated colors and better HDR image quality, but it has a more gamery aesthetic.

If you’re looking for something similar but cheaper, check out the Philips 278E1A, which goes for ~$250, but it doesn’t have an ergonomic stand nor AMD FreeSync.

Visit our best 4K monitors buyer’s guide for more deals and information.

Conclusion

Overall, the Dell S2721QS is an excellent 4K IPS monitor.

While there are more cost-effective options, the Dell S2721QS is an ideal pick for those who are perfectly satisfied with a 4K IPS screen with FreeSync support and the standard sRGB color gamut – but also want a monitor with a premium and sleek design.

Specifications

Screen Size27-inch
Resolution3840×2160 (Ultra HD)
Panel TypeIPS
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate60Hz
Response Time4ms (GtG)
Adaptive-SyncFreeSync (40-60Hz)
Speakers2x3W
PortsDisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other PortsLine-out
Brightness350 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio1300:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
99% sRGB
HDRHDR10
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • Precise and consistent colors
  • Low input lag and quick response time
  • Wide viewing angles
  • AMD FreeSync up to 60Hz
  • Fully ergonomic stand

The Cons:

  • Inferior contrast ratio to VA panels
  • HDR is software-emulated only

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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.