As HD multimedia becomes a bigger part of computing, so too do the monitors designed to showcase it. This 27-inch widescreen monitor from Dell is slightly larger than the monitors I typically work with, but it’s something I could certainly get used to. The U2711 is capable of 2560x1440 (WQHD) resolution and it offers a range of connectivity options (specifically HDMI, DisplayPort with audio, two DVI-D ports, VGA, RCA and USB), making it an extremely versatile display. Set-up is simple, with the monitor auto-sizing to suit your computer’s output settings in most cases. In other cases, the U2711 comes with a DVD featuring comprehensive set-up PDF documentation that should help you to make the optimal settings. But, for the most part, it’s an automatic and hassle-free process.
There is a column of touch-sensitive buttons on the lower-right corner that brings up a clear, on-screen visual cue as to which key corresponds with which action when pressed. The menus offer a range of customisation options, including everything from colour, brightness and contrast settings to preset modes (multimedia, game, warm, cool etc) to the ability to set shortcut keys.
There’s a relatively versatile stand included with the U2711 that allows you to tilt the display to your desired viewing angle, and the height can be adjusted from roughly 6cm from your desk to approximately 15cm. However, we’re increasingly seeing monitors that support a portrait orientation, and that’s missing from this unit.
But the picture quality is arguably the most important consideration when it comes to picking up an HD monitor, and I can confirm that the U2711 delivers in this area too. Its 2560x1440 WQHD resolution is vibrant and exceptionally sharp. Display snobs will not be disappointed.
However, these days you can pick up some quite excellent HDTVs (which can also double as PC displays, don’t ya know?) for the same or even less than Dell is asking for this dedicated monitor. Of course, most HDTVs won’t cram in the number of pixels that this WQHD monitor does, but do you really need them? If you’re into some serious video and photo editing, the answer just might be “yes”. For the rest of us, I’m not so sure.
PROS: Excellent picture. Highly adjustable. Easy to set up and use. Intuitive and unobtrusive menu navigation. Virtually every input fathomable is supported.
CONS: The price. No ability to set the monitor to portrait orientation.
VERDICT: The U2711 is an excellent monitor that unfortunately doesn’t present a compelling value proposition at almost $2000. Only those with very specific needs could justify such an outlay for a display.