Dell S2721HGF review

We investigate Dell's sub-£200 gaming display, one of the cheapest 27in displays we’ve seen, which has a 27in VA screen with a 144Hz refresh rate.

Dell S2721 gaming monitor on white background

Dell’s S2721HGF is one of the cheapest 27in displays we’ve seen for some time, and that makes it a tempting option for anyone who wants a sizeable gaming display without spending silly amounts of cash.

It’s kitted out with a 1080p VA panel that’s compatible with AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia G-Sync at 144Hz, and it has a 4ms response time. On paper, that means it’s good enough for tackling mainstream single-player games and esports titles without putting a huge amount of stress on your GPU to hit a sky-high refresh rate.

The Dell has a 1500R curve, too, which improves immersion. That said, twitchy esports players will benefit from a non-VA 240Hz display with a 1ms response time, and a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution would make games look crisper – the 1080p resolution across this 27in display results in a low pixel density and it doesn’t look particularly sharp.

On the outside, the Dell looks decent, and it has slim bezels, so affordable multi-monitor gaming is possible. It’s easy to assemble, the stand has a cable-routing hole and the on-screen display menu system is well organised, fast and managed by a snappy joystick control.

At this price, though, compromise is inevitable. Build quality is mediocre: the rear moves too much and the screen wobbles. The Dell has 100mm of height adjustment alongside tilt movement and 100mm VESA support, but there’s no swivelling, and the movement is stiff. This display has no USB ports or speakers either.

Dell’s display squares up against the AOC 27G2U, which is our favourite affordable 1080p 27″ panel. That screen has more adjustment, and it includes speakers and USB ports. The AOC isn’t curved, but it does have a 1ms response time.

The Dell delivered a stunning contrast ratio of 3,138:1, which is far higher than the AOC’s IPS panel. The black point of 0.08cd/m² is stellar, and those results create a bold, punchy display with impressive depth in darker areas. The active sync features provided tear and stutter-free gameplay, although there’s still a little blurring in the fastest situations at 144Hz.

There’s barely any inverse ghosting unless you use the toughest overdrive mode, but those options don’t create a significant improvement either.

Meanwhile, the Dell’s delta E of 2.16 is reasonable rather than outstanding, and its colour temperature of 6,359K is good. Its gamma average of 2.37 is wayward, though, and this display rendered 90.8 per cent of the sRGB gamut at 98.4 per cent volume, so it can’t display every shade properly. Everyday gaming won’t be significantly hindered by these middling figures, but the IPS-based AOC is better.

Dell S2721HGF pros and cons

Pros

  • Great contrast and deep blacks
  • Low price
  • Slim bezels and decent looks

Cons

  • Mediocre colour performance
  • Few extra features
  • Middling adjustability

Dell S2721HGF specs

  • Screen size: 27″
  • Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
  • Panel technology: VA
  • Maximum refresh rate: 144Hz
  • Response time: 4ms
  • Stated contrast ratio: 3,000:1
  • Active sync: AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia G-Sync compatible
  • Display inputs: 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 2 x HDMI 2
  • Audio: Headphone jack
  • Stand adjustment: Height, tilt
  • Extras: 100 x 100mm VESA mount

Dell S2721HGF price

Price: Expect to pay £199 GBP

Dell S2721HGF review conclusion

The Dell S2721HGF has huge contrast and a deep black point, and those attributes mean you get a punchy and vibrant experience. The colours are good enough to handle mainstream gameplay, and it has decent syncing options too.

The rival AOC display doesn’t match the Dell in contrast, but it still hits 1,447:1 there, and the AOC has superior colours and a more responsive IPS panel. The Dell also has mediocre adjustability and few extra features, and the AOC remains better in those areas too.

The Dell can handle mainstream gaming, and its contrast means it has loads of punch and depth, but there are also disappointing compromises in several other areas. With superior colours and more features, the AOC 27G2U remains our budget 27in display of choice.

Our Verdict

77

Impressive contrast results in a punchy image, but the Dell is too middling in too many other areas.