Wait until it’s on sale.
When people think of gaming monitors Dell isn’t usually the first name that comes to mind. For years the company has built some great color-accurate multipurpose monitors with all the features you ask for, but recently Dell has started to focus more on the gaming market specifically. The S2716DG (See it on Dell.com) / (See it on Amazon UK) is one of two gaming monitors the company is offering without the Alienware badge, and the only one that measures 27 inches diagonally. With a 144Hz refresh rate, a 1ms response time, and G-Sync, Dell is diving in feet first. So how does it measure up?
Design and Features
Over the past couple years Dell has really defined the ultra-thin bezel design. The outside of the bezel to the screen image is only 8mm. The badge bar along the bottom extends that to 15mm. There is nothing flashy about the monitor design as with some gaming monitors – no bright accents or extreme stands. The only visual indication that gaming is a focus is the nVidia G-Sync sticker on the gray base. Control panel buttons are located underneath the bottom bezel on the right side. The power button has a light that illuminates a white light when the monitor is on. In sleep mode this light pulses slowly. The buttons are a bit firm for my taste and need a solid press to register a response. I end up slightly pivoting the monitor each time I press one if I forget to brace it with my other hand along the top.
As alluded to the monitor is able to pivot 90 degrees in either direction. The monitor’s height can be adjusted up to 130mm, it can swivel 45 degrees left or right, and can tilt up to 5 degrees forward and 21 degrees back. Dell consistently has securely built stands and the S2716DG is no exception. Adjustments are smooth and easy to make and if you bump your desk it barely moves.
Connection options are more limited, unfortunately. For video there is only a DisplayPort and an HDMI input. There is no DisplayPort out for daisy chaining another monitor. Next to the DisplayPort is a Line-out port to connect your speakers (the S2716DG doesn’t have built-in speakers). There’s also a USB upstream port for the built-in USB hub. Something Dell does that I love is split the location of the USB downstream ports. There are two on the back panel next to the upstream port (where I plug in my keyboard and mouse) and two on the left edge of the monitor for easy access. One of the side connectors is a charging port that supports fast charging. Under that charging port is a headphone out jack. One small annoyance – when the monitor is turned off (or in deep sleep mode) the USB hub is deactivated, so your mouse and keyboard can’t wake the monitor up and if you have something charging in the side port it will stop.
The S2716DG has a TN panel and comes with all the virtues and vices that implies. Response time in its default Normal setting is 3ms. Changing that to Fast gets it down to a more desirable 1ms. A native 144Hz refresh rate and G-Sync anti-tearing technology solidify this as a gaming monitor. But the TN panel does have the expected viewing angle problems. Moving side-to-side adds a yellow coloration to the image and viewing from above or below washes out the picture. Some have complained of light leakage along the bottom bezel, but the unit I tested didn’t display any of that.
Putting the Dell S2716DG through the Lagom monitor tests led to some mixed results. Blue, red, and magenta are a little oversaturated after checking contrast. Gamma is little low at between 2.0 and 2.1. This leads to a somewhat washed out image that I was able to detect when playing games and doing work. The low gamma also affects the visibility of the dark boxes in the black level test and the white boxes in the white saturation test in negative ways. The monitor does ace the response time test showing minimal flicker in all of the test boxes.
When comparing color in test images it’s easy to see that the Dell has some color inaccuracies, especially in blues. The black levels aren’t great and because of that contrast ratio suffers. A lot of that could stem from the low gamma.
This is why the monitor was built. With a fast response time, a high frame rate, and G-Sync, gaming with the S2716DG is as wonderful for gaming as you’d guess.
I immediately opened Steam and fired up PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds to see how G-Sync would handle the frame rates and if that 1ms response time would help out my game (I’m usually playing on an IPS-type monitor). The game looked great running at 2560×1440 with no tearing whatsoever. There were also no issues with the response time, although it did solidify that my skill and not my regular IPS panel are what is holding me back.
When playing both Battlefront II and Skyrim I found myself getting frustrated with the high black level and washed out look. This was especially true while flying in space in Battlefront. The black depths of space were more of a dark gray and the colors of battle didn’t pop the way they do on monitors with a better contrast ratio. It’s not deal-breaking, but it is a bit disappointing.
The Dell S2716DG has an MSRP of $800 but is typically sold on Dell’s website for $599, and usually fluctuates between $400 and $500 on Amazon.