Dell U2722DE and U2722D

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This is a shorter format review but we have included as much of our normal testing and results as we can, especially in relevant areas for this screen. We will of course still be carrying out our normal full, detailed reviews for the most interesting, complex and exciting new screens, but using this short format helps us cover a few additional models in the meantime. An explanation of the results and figures discussed in this short format review can be found at the bottom of the page.

Key Specs and Features

  • 27″ IPS panel with 2560 x 1440 resolution
  • Wide colour gamut backlight with 100% sRGB, 95% DCI-P3 coverage
  • Factory calibrated sRGB and Rec.709 modes
  • ComfortView Plus low blue light filter
  • 5ms G2G response time (fast mode) and 60Hz refresh rate only
  • 4-side borderless panel
  • PiP and PbP modes (both models)
  • Fully adjustable stand
  • Built in KVM and RJ45 along with USB type-C hub (inc DP Alt mode and 90W power delivery) – DE model only
Check pricing and availability in your region
U2722DE
U2722D
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Introduction

The U2722DE is the latest 27″ sized model in the popular UltraSharp line-up from Dell, well known for their solid all round performance and impressive feature set over the years. There are actually two very similar new 27″ models, the U2722D and the U2722DE, with the only difference being that the latter DE model includes a USB type-C hub (including DP Alt mode and 90W power delivery), and some additional features like KVM capability and RJ45. You can find full specs on Dell’s website for both. All results from our testing will apply to both versions, but obviously if you are considering the D version, you’d need to ignore parts about USB type-C, KVM, RJ45 etc that are only included in the DE model. These screens are aimed at general and office users who want a modestly sized screen (by today’s standards) with a 1440p resolution and comfortable font size, giving a nice boost in space and desktop area compared with common smaller 1080p models. It has a good range of features an attractive minimalist design, as well as a wide range of connections, especially on the DE model.

The U2722D/DE use an IPS technology panel (panel part LG.Display LM270WQ8-SSA1) and offers a 2560 x 1440 (Quad HD) resolution. There is a wide colour gamut promoted which offers a 95% DCI-P3 coverage, along with 100% of the sRGB space. The screen also comes factory calibrated, with a report provided in the box confirming it has been calibrated in the sRGB and Rec.709 preset modes. In other specs there are typical IPS performance metrics like a 5ms G2G response time (in ‘fast’ mode), 1000:1 contrast ratio, 350 cd/m2 brightness, 178/178 viewing angles and 10-bit colour depth.

Ports shown from the DE model, some are not included in the lower cost D model

For video connectivity there are 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0 on both models, while the DE also includes 1x USB type-C provided (including DP Alt mode, 90W power delivery, 10Gbps data transfer). There is also a DisplayPort Daisy Chaining output and then several USB data ports on both versions. This includes 1x USB type-C data only port on the back of the screen (10Gbps), and another on the bottom left hand area of the screen for quick access (10Gbps + 15W power delivery). There are also 3x USB 3.2 ports (10Gbps speed) on the back (only 2x on the D model) and an additional quick access port on the bottom left hand area which includes fast power charging. Finally on the back of the screen there is an RJ45 Ethernet connection (DE model only) and an audio output. The RJ45 includes MAC address pass-through, PXE Boot, and Wake-on-LAN conveniently built in.

We liked the quick access additional USB connections on the bottom edge. Cables are provided in the box for DisplayPort , USB-A to USB-C and USB-C to USB-C.

KVM, USB type-C and Low Blue Light Panel

On the DE model the built-in ‘Auto KVM’ feature detects the second connected PC and seamlessly switches controls over. You can view content from both PC sources with Picture-by-Picture (PbP) and Picture-in-Picture (PiP), and use KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) to control both PCs with a single keyboard and mouse. Another potentially useful feature for Dell laptop owners is the power on behaviour of the screen. You can simply press the monitor power button and the power sync feature seamlessly starts your monitor and connected Dell PC, even when the laptop lid is closed. This is only compatible with select Dell PCs and laptops though.

There is a 4-side borderless design on the display with a thin 1mm black plastic edge, and an additional thin ~6.5mm black panel border before the image starts on all sides. This would make it a decent option for multi-screen set ups. The stand is very versatile and flexible on this screen and has an attractive but simple silver coloured design. It provides a pretty sturdy base with only a small amount of screen wobble when re-positioning it or altering the OSD. The stand adjustments were all easy to move around and provided a very wide range of positions. We liked the overall aesthetics of the display for an office environment.

The OSD is controlled through a single joystick on the back right hand side of the screen. If we are being picky, we felt this controller was perhaps a little too far away from the edge of the screen so it wasn’t always intuitive and easy to find where it was as you reach behind the back of screen. The controller is easy to use though once you do find it, and there’s a reasonable range of options to play with in the OSD. A lot of them do relate to the inputs, and settings like PiP and PbP, USB behaviour and customisation of names and quick access options. There are lots of preset modes and colour modes available but no gamma settings. Navigation is quick and easy though thanks to the joystick control. Picture In Picture and Picture by Picture could be useful for multi-tasking and viewing multiple inputs at once, although keep in mind the screen is still only 27″ which is fairly small by today’s standards.

The IPS technology panel provides solid all-round performance for general and office use. There is a stable image with very wide viewing angles and the picture quality is very good thanks to the 2560 x 1440 resolution and comfortable, sharp font size on a 27″ sized screen. This gives a nice boost in screen area compared with common smaller screens that are typical in office environments. Those are typically 22 – 24″ sized with a low 1080p resolution, and the jump up to 27″ 1440p should not be under-estimated.

Spectral output at calibrated 6500k white point, with blue light peak at 455nW/nm

There is a focus from this screen on low blue light capabilities, but not in the usual way you see from many displays. There are no specific low blue light modes or settings from the screen which are usually just ways to make the image warmer and reduce the peak of the blue light as a result. The problem with that method is that of course the overall image is affected, and you get a warmer image as a result. Instead the focus is on providing a backlight where the blue light spectral peak has been shifted to a reportedly less harmful frequency, away 415 – 455nm area. We are in the process of looking in to this situation in more detail for a future article on blue light, but if you want more information then Eyesafe provide some background thinking on why they believe this is important on their website.

Note that the U2722D/DE doesn’t seem to have been certified under the Eyesafe program, but there is talk about the ‘ComfortView Plus’ low blue light capabilities on the product page. On the U2722DE the blue light peak was measured at 455 nW/nm which is on the edge of the claimed problem area but avoids the lower 415 – 454nm range nicely, without impacting the colour temperature or any other aspects of the image.

Default Setup and Colours

While the U2722D/DE does carry a factory calibration, that is applicable only for the sRGB and Rec.709 preset modes, and the screen comes out of the box in the ‘standard’ preset mode. We tested this for completeness to show the default performance as normal.

Default setup was moderate overall. There was a reasonable gamma, being measured at 2.10 average overall and being a bit too low from our target of 2.2. This was lowest in the darker tones (2.07 average) which could lead to a little loss in shadow detail. The RGB balance wasn’t very good and some of the grey shades looked a little green in colour. You can see the green balance was relatively too high in the middle graph. There was a reasonable overall greyscale colour temp with 6241k measured, being a little too warm but nothing too severe. The white point was very accurate at 6527k though (0% deviance).

The greyscale accuracy was poor though, and as we said some of the shades looked a little green in colour. We had a greyscale average dE of 4.7 here which isn’t very good. For an average office user there is probably no major problem here, the screen still looks good visually. It is bright out of the box at the default 75% brightness setting (255 cd/m2 measured), so that will need to be turned down. We had a decent contrast ratio for an IPS panel of 980:1 by default too which was close to the spec.

The default ‘standard’ mode carries the screen’s full native colour gamut and we measured a wide coverage here as suggested by the spec. You can see from the CIE diagram that the coverage extends quite a long way beyond the sRGB reference space in red shades, and a little in greens. This can lead to some over-saturation in content that is designed for SDR / standard gamut, but it’s not too drastic. Overall we had a 99.7% absolute coverage of sRGB which was very good, and a corresponding 125.9% relative coverage because of that wide gamut. This equated to 96.6% of the DCI-P3 reference space and 92.5% of Adobe RGB too. The default colours were poor relative to the sRGB reference space, which is to be expected given the use of a wide gamut backlight. If you want to work with standard sRGB gamut / SDR content then you will need a way to reduce this colour space either through the provided sRGB emulation mode (tested in a moment) or through calibration and profiling. This is typical of all wide gamut screens keep in mind.

sRGB Emulation Mode

The sRGB emulation mode is available through the OSD in the ‘color space > sRGB’ preset mode. This carries a factory calibration and a report is provided in the box specific to your unit. A copy of the report provided with our sample is included below. You can see that according to this report the sRGB mode has been calibrated to 2.2 gamma, a 6500k greyscale colour temp and for colour accuracy of dE2000 under 2.

Factory calibration report from our unit shown. Use the arrows to scroll to page 2

Factory calibration report from our unit shown. Use the arrows to scroll to page 2

We measured the sRGB mode as well:

The default brightness was now a bit more modest at 203.5 cd/m2, and thankfully you do have control over the brightness control still within the OSD so you can customise this to your liking. The gamma curve looked to be delivering something closer to sRGB gamma as opposed to the specified 2.2 on the factory calibration report. Below we have re-measured relative to the sRGB gamma curve where you can see this is a closer match. Fair enough, but odd that Dell would specifically list 2.2 on the calibration report hen that isn’t what has been used seemingly.

The greyscale colour temp was very good at 6554k, being only 1% out from the target. White point was basically spot on at 6505k, and you can see a much better balance of RGB channels in the graph above which was great news. The resulting greyscale was far more accurate than the default ‘standard’ preset mode, with an average dE of 1.0 now. The contrast ratio remained very close to the spec, measured at 974:1 here.

Gamma curve compared with sRGB gamma

The colour gamut had been nicely reduced now and we had a 97.1% sRGB coverage which was very good. This removed all the over-coverage from the wide gamut backlight, especially in the red shades which were over-saturated before and left only a small under-coverage which is not going to be an issue for most users. The colour accuracy of sRGB shades was now very good thanks to the smaller emulated colour space and the factory calibration, and we had a dE average of only 1.2 which was great. This sRGB factory calibrated mode was very good overall, the only oddity being the gamma set to sRGB even though the provided report said it was set to 2.2.

Calibration

Calibration and profiling can of course produce excellent results if you have a suitable calibration device and appropriate software. Our results are included above. You can see the recommended OSD settings above, and then further corrections are taken care of at the profile level. If you want you can also try our calibrated ICC profile out.

Gaming

The Dell U2722D/DE is not aimed at gaming at all, and in today’s market of high refresh rates, VRR, blur reduction modes and HDR it can’t compete at all. It has a standard 60Hz refresh rate only for a start which is very limiting for gaming nowadays. It is probably still ok for slower some paced strategy and RPG games, but certainly not for any serious fast-paced FPS or racing games. The motion clarity of 60Hz is the main limiting factor here with far higher levels of perceived motion blur than you will see on decent high refresh rate 120Hz+ screens.

There is no Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) support on this screen so it cannot support FreeSync or G-sync at all. Not that it would add much as you would hopefully be able to power the pretty low 1440p @ 60Hz requirements nicely if you did want to do a bit of gaming without the frame rates fluctuating much. Still it might have been useful to include adaptive sync to avoid the need to use vsync at all. As we said, its not really suitable for fast paced FPS-type games anyway so the absence of VRR probably isn’t a major issue.

There are only two overdrive settings available in the menu via the ‘Response Time’ option. These are for ‘normal’ (8ms G2G spec from Dell) and ‘Fast’ (5ms G2G from Dell) modes. We tested both of these and it was immediately obvious that the ‘Fast’ mode was like many other aggressive overdrive settings in the market and not usable in practice. The ‘normal’ mode looked far better.

Normal mode delivered pretty slow response times though, with a 10.4ms G2G average but thankfully very low levels of overshoot that were not visible in practice at all. Given the screen is only 60Hz, while these response times were slow for sure relative to modern gaming screens, they were still fast enough to keep up with the low 60fps frame rate. There’s no real problems with the response times here for what is an office and general use monitor. They can probably handle some light gaming if you wanted to, and are fine for multimedia and certainly for static office-type content of course.

The ‘Fast’ mode did boost the response times down to 6.7ms G2G but at the cost of some very high levels of overshoot that were distracting and problematic in practice. There were noticeable pale halos on moving content, and this mode should be avoided. We measured the input lag as pretty high as well, with a total 14.1ms display lag, and about ~9ms of that coming from signal processing lag. Another reason why it’s not suited to fast paced games.

Conclusion

The Dell U2722D/DE is another solid general-use / office monitor in the UltraSharp range and Dell’s refresh for 2022. There is a very impressive range of connections offered here with plenty of choices for video and data provided. The addition of USB type-C on the DE model is going to be useful for many people looking for USB hub integration, and we also liked the KVM capability, RJ45 connection and all the extra high speed USB ports on the back, and particularly as easy access on the bottom edge. The 4-side borderless design, sleek appearance and versatile stand are also very good and it looks the part in an office environment for sure.

Performance wise the default out of the box standard mode was reasonable although doesn’t carry any factory calibration. We expect many users might want to switch to the sRGB mode which emulates that smaller colour space nicely and carries a very accurate factory calibration. This is going to be suitable for those who want to work with SDR / standard gamut content and Dell have done a nice job with the setup here and it’s very good. If you want accuracy for wider gamut colours the screen is a little bit more limiting, as the main wider gamut space you would probably want to consider here would be Adobe RGB (commonly used for photo editing), but the backlight can’t cover enough of this space unfortunately at only 92.5%. In wide gamut mode you’d also need some way to calibrate and profile the screen for colour aware applications to improve the accuracy. So, the U2722D/DE is solid in SDR/sRGB mode, but needs further user configuration and consideration for wide gamut usage. That is of course unless you just want to use the screen generally for non-colour critical work and like the boosted, more vivid colours for home use, multimedia etc. Plenty of people do.

Contrast ratio was decent enough for an IPS panel too, and there were a wide range of preset modes to play with in the menu for different uses. The IPS panel provides the usual all-round benefits with great picture quality and wide viewing angles, and we welcomed as ever the flicker free backlight and the attempts to reduce the blue light too. Gaming we should probably ignore as that’s in no way a target usage and if you’re wanting something for a fair bit of gaming as well as office/general use then there are better choices around.

Check pricing and availability in your region
U2722DE
U2722D

The Dell U2722DE with USB type-C added is available in most European regions from Amazon. The U2722D without USB-C is also available in most regions from Amazon for about £70 less (at the time of writing) if you want to check out that slightly lower cost model too. If you enjoy our work and want to say thanks, donations to the site are very welcome. If you would like to get early access to future reviews please consider becoming a TFT Central supporter.

TFTCentral is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.ca and other Amazon stores worldwide. We also participate in a similar scheme for Overclockers.co.uk.

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Testing and Results Explained

We will test and measure a range of aspects of these displays. By way of a brief explanation of what some of the results mean we thought we’d include this short guide:

Results Round-up section

  • Maximum and minimum brightness – the full range in which the backlight can be adjusted using the monitor’s brightness control. At the upper end this can be important for gaming from a further distance, especially in brighter rooms and the daytime. At the lower end this can be important if you are using the screen up close for more general office-type work, especially in darker room conditions or at night.
  • Recommended brightness setting – to achieve approx 120 cd/m2, which is the recommended luminance for LCD monitors in normal lighting conditions
  • Flicker free – independently tested and confirmed whether the screen is flicker free or not and without PWM at all brightness settings

Setup and Measurements Section

Performance is measured and evaluated with a high degree of accuracy using a range of testing devices and software. The results are carefully selected to provide the most useful and relevant information that can help evaluate the display while filtering out the wide range of information and figures that will be unnecessary. For measurement we use a UPRtek MK550T spectroradiometer which is particularly good for colour gamut and spectrum measurements. We also use an X-rite i1 Pro 2 Spectrophotometer and a X-rite i1 Display Pro Plus for measurements in various ways. Various software packages are incorporated including Portrait Displays Calman Ultimate package. We measure the screen at default settings (with all ICC profiles deactivated and factory settings used), and any other modes that are of interest such as sRGB emulation presets. We then calibrate and profile the screen.

The results presented can be interpreted as follows:

  • Greyscale dE – this graph tracks the accuracy of each greyscale shade measured from 0 (black) to 100 (white). The accuracy of each grey shade will be impacted by the colour temperature and gamma of the display. The lower the dE the better with differences of <1 being imperceptible (marked by the green line on the graph), and differences between 1 and 3 being small (below the yellow line). Anything over dE 3 needs correcting and causes more obvious differences in appearance relative to what should be shown. In the table beneath the graph we provide the average dE across all grey shades, as well as the white point dE (important when considering using the screen for lots of white background and office content), and the max greyscale dE as well.
  • RGB Balance and colour temperature – the RGB balance graph shows the relative balance between red, green and blue primaries at each grey shade, from 0 (black) to 100 (white). Ideally all 3 lines should be flat at the 100% level which would represent a balanced 6500k average colour temperature. This is the target colour temperature for desktop monitors and the temperature of daylight. Where the lines deviate from this 100% flat level the image may become too warm or cool. Beneath this RGB balance graph we provide the average correlated colour temperature for all grey shades measured, along with its deviance from the 6500k target. We also provide the white point colour temperature and its deviance from 6500k, as this is particularly important when viewing lots of white background and office content.
  • Gamma – we aim for 2.2 gamma which is the default for computer monitors. A graph is provided tracking the 2.2 gamma across different grey shades and ideally the grey line representing the monitor measurements should be horizontal and flat at the 2.2 level. Depending on where the gamma is too low or too high, it can have an impact on the image in certain ways. You can see our gamma explanation graph to help understand that more. Beneath the gamma graph we include the average overall gamma achieved along with the average for dark shades (0 – 50) and for lighter shades (50 – 100).
  • Luminance, black depth and Contrast ratio – measuring the brightness, black depth and resulting contrast ratio of the mode being tested, whether that is at default settings or later after calibration and profiling. 
  • Gamut coverage – we provide measurements of the screens colour gamut relative to various reference spaces including sRGB, DCI-P3, Adobe RGB and Rec.2020. Coverage is shown in absolute numbers as well as relative, which helps identify where the coverage extends beyond a given reference space. A CIE-1976 chromaticity diagram (which provides improved accuracy compared with older CIE-1931 methods) is included which provides a visual representation of the monitors colour gamut as compared with sRGB, and if appropriate also relative to a wide gamut reference space such as DCI-P3.
  • dE colour accuracy – a wide range of colours are tested and the colour accuracy dE measured. We compare these produced colours to the sRGB reference space, and if applicable when measuring a wide gamut screen we also provide the accuracy relative to a specific wide gamut reference such as DCI-P3. An average dE and maximum dE is provided along with an overall screen rating. The lower the dE the better with differences of <1 being imperceptible (marked by the green area on the graph), and differences between 1 and 3 being small (yellow areas). Anything over dE 3 needs correcting and causes more obvious differences in appearance relative to what should be shown
     

Gaming Performance Section

We first of all test the screen visually in each of its available overdrive modes and at a range of refresh rates from 60Hz, all the way up to the maximum supported. This allows us to identify what appears to be optimal setting for each refresh rate and we can then measure the response times across a range of grey to grey (G2G) transitions using our oscilloscope setup, including correcting for gamma to improve accuracy as we described in our detailed article. This helps provide measurements for response times and overshoot that are even more representative of what you see in real use. In the summary section the small table included shows the average G2G response time measured at several refresh rates (where supported), along with the optimal overdrive setting we found. The overshoot level is then also rated in the table at each refresh rate. We will explain in the commentary if there are any considerations when using variable refresh rates (VRR) as well as talking about the overall performance our findings during all these tests.

At the maximum refresh rate of the screen we will also include our familiar more detailed response time measurements, which includes a wider range of transition measurements as well as some analysis of things like the refresh rate compliance. This identifies how many of the measured pixel transitions were fast enough to keep up with the frame rate of the screen. Ideally you’d want pixel response times to be consistently and reliably shorter than this refresh rate cycle, otherwise if they are slower it can lead to additional smearing and blurring on moving content.

In this section we will also include the measured input lag and look at any blur reduction backlight feature if it’s available. The commentary in each section will provide more information if a blur reduction mode is available and how it operates.


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