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For its $799 MSRP, the Dell U2713HM is asking a lot from consumers. Its design, while flexible, is borrowed from the much less expensive U2412M. You’re getting a design that’s identical to the one found on a $329 monitor, so clearly you’re paying for more than that aspect.
Considering that Dell’s pro graphics display, the U2711, is available for the same price as the U2713, you’re not paying for the best of the best in color accuracy either. Our tests revealed that the U2713—while decent—is not a powerhouse performer. Its contrast ratio is narrower than the average high-end monitor, but this may be a purposeful flaw to allow it a faster pixel response time for gaming.
The skinny is that it certainly feels like Dell is asking for $470 in exchange for three more inches of screen space a USB hub, based on what they ask for the U2412M. Granted, the array of 3.0 upstream and downstream USB ports promises users the potential to multi-task and function smoothly in a wide variety of professions and tasks—USB 3.0 hubs may be hard to come by on the current market, but that’s still a lot of money. We feel, at the end of the day, we can’t tell anyone to definitely buy or avoid this monitor—it’s highly generalized, which might be just what you need.
The Dell UltraSharp U2713 is a high-end business/general use monitor, and thus includes a high variety of connectivity options—complementing its flexible design and feature set. Like its graphic design counterpart, the U2711, the U2713’s ports are located within a port cutout on its back side.
The U2713 allows users to connect a display source via DVI-D, VGA, DisplayPort, or HDMI (one of each). Connecting can be a tricky reach around due to the rear placement of the ports, and is much easier if the user first raises the U2713 to its full height and rotates it to portrait.
There are also inputs for the power cable, and a dedicated port for connecting a Dell Soundbar (to provide an audio source). The most useful connectivity feature is one you won’t find often on low-end or mid-range monitors: a USB hub. The U2713’s USB hub features four USB 3.0 inputs—one upstream input hosting four downstream ports. This allows for a wide array of high-speed USB connections that bypass any sort of source limitations, adding even more flexibility to this already versatile monitor.
The U2713 tested with a respectable contrast ratio of 648:1. While this isn’t the largest ratio we’ve tested, we think it’s good enough to cover most general use. The U2713’s peak brightness of 222.10 cd/m2 will provide enough luminance to compete with most home and office ambient lighting situations, and its black level of 0.343 cd/m2 , while not terribly dark, will still provide the contrast necessary to make text, spreadsheets, and most general content easily legible.
This isn’t a $799 contrast ratio, though. It offers a few advantages—a smaller contrast ratio means faster pixel response time—but we’re not sure this is the kind of result a monitor in this price range should be producing. Though as a high-end jack-of-all-trades, it makes sense: enough contrast ratio for respectable brightness and picture quality, but not so much that gamers will be unable to play fast-motion titles.
The real value of this result is sort of down to the user and their intended use. More on how we test contrast.
The design of the U2713 is almost identical to Dell’s U2412. In fact, looking closer, it is the exact same design, down to coloration and bezel width. Fortunately for Dell, it’s a smart and easy to use build, and we liked it the first time around too. The U2713 is capable of tilting, raising and lowering its height, swiveling upon its base, and rotating to portrait position: standard and welcome adjustment options.
Like most monitors in this design schema, the U2713 adheres to standard degrees of adjustment: it tilts forward by 5° and back by 20°, swivels about 50° (25° right or left), and raises and lowers a little under five inches. Like the U2412M, it must be raised to full height and tilted back in order to rotate to portrait comfortably. The U2713 manages to be lightweight in addition to its flexibility, and its small platform stand takes up a minimum amount of space on a desktop. It’s not an innovative or exciting design, but it works, and Dell seems to know that.
What truly matters is if the U2713’s design is worthy of its $799 MSRP. We think it is, but recommend you try and play with one of these in a retail store before committing to purchase.
The Dell U2713 (MSRP $799) is currently being sold alongside the popular, older U2711—albeit with some changes to features and specs. Rather than an upgrade to the U2711, like we expected, the U2713 is something of a hybrid. Both are quite expensive for 27-inch displays: the U2711 carries an MSRP of $999, and the U2713 an MSRP of $799. Both, however, are available for $800 at the time of this review, so it’s clear that they are meant to fulfill separate roles within the monitor market.
Dell touts the accuracy and spectrum of the colors that the U2711 can display; it is allegedly capable of a color gamut that is ≥99% of the NTSC gamut, which means it displays in both sRGB and AdobeRGB formats. No such claim is made for the U2713: we can thus safely assume that color accuracy is not its greatest strength.
Based on Dell’s marketing for the U2713, it looks to be a high-end consumer monitor with flexibility—rather than color accuracy—as its selling point. We assume Dell means to offer the U2711 as an ideal high-end display for graphics-intensive professional work, and the U2713 as a high-end catch-all for everyone else. At least, for $800, that’s what it ought to be.
Overall, the U2713 gets the job done: it’s versatile in terms of design flexibility and port options, and its high-speed 3.0 hub and slick menu interface make for comfortable multi-tasking across a wide range of interests. While its performance specs didn’t blow us away, they didn’t bar any kind of general use either. This monitor is very open-ended, but we’re still not sure who it specifically benefits.
Controls & Menus
The U2713 makes use of the same control schema and menu software as the Dell S2440L. The button controls are located along the display’s right bezel; there are five total, including the power button. The other four controls work as contextual commands depending on the menu selected.
The menus are very easy to use: the contextual commands only provide four options at a time, meaning that you’re either using the controls to select a menu function, or using the controls to go forward or backward. The context is displayed onscreen all the time, so it’s a breeze to get used to the U2713’s menu system.
Uniformity refers to the evenness of lighting provided by a monitor’s backlight. While uniformity isn’t a test that makes or breaks a monitor in terms of its overall performance, glaring problems (or superb adherence) often reveal the product’s overall quality. We test uniformity subjectively, viewing an all white and all black screen and checking the backlight for transition errors or obvious problems.
For an $800 monitor, the U2713HM could have done better on this test. Its full white screen was without problem, even from center to corners, with minimal bezel shadowing. However, the calibrated monitor showed strange cloudiness and flashlighting during an all black screen, something we frown upon when dealing with high-end displays of any kind. This result should be noted by consumers considering purchase, but taken within the grand scheme of the whole product is not a huge drawback. More on how we test uniformity.
The Dell UltraSharp U2713HM tested with terrific color temperature adherence. Whether than determining actual temperature, our color temperature test reveals how well a monitor maintains its input color temperature from its brightest white down the greyscale to its darkest black. The U2713 made short work of this test—it had a few spots of cooling along the 256-step input, but none of which even come close to being visible by human eyes. For all practical purposes, the U2713 is entirely free of color temperature error. More on how we test color temperature.
Though it makes no claims to super color integrity, we think the U2713HM should have slightly better color curves than those it tested with. The U2713’s red, green, and blue curves were notably choppy. We want to see even, smooth lines describing obtuse circles. This monitor’s curves start out well, ramping slowly, before moving at a consistent pace up towards their peak inputs. Green, red, and blue stayed close across the input signal spectrum, but blue is slower to ramp up, and noticeably more choppy than the other curves. This could result in visible banding amongst blue gradations, which consumers considering purchase should keep in mind. More on how we test color curves.
If our color gamut test was a math exam, the U2713HM would have gotten a 75%. The color gamut tests checks the accuracy of a display’s peak-level red, green, blue, and white against the sRGB standard color gamut, the ideal result for computer monitors internationally.
The U2713 did alright with its red and green points—they’re somewhat undersaturated, meaning they aren’t full of enough of their respective colors. Its white point was perfect, aligned exactly to the ideal, but its blue point was highly undersaturated, to the point that its blues lack the full extent of their vivacity, and will be notably duller than they ought to be. More on how we test color gamut.
The U2713HM tested with a contrast ratio of 264:1 at 45° from center, meaning its viewing angle meets and slightly exceeds a total of 90°, which is about an average result. A 27-inch monitor is large enough to allow for smaller group viewing, so this is definitely a plus. If you calculate the flexibility made possible by the U2713’s ability to swivel, change its height, and tilt forward and backward, the user’s viewing options are actually quite numerous.
In the Box
In the box, you’ll find the monitor and stand, power cable, DVI, USB, and VGA cables, a cable tie, drivers and documentation CD, Dell’s calibration report, a quick setup guide, and safety information. Assembling this monitor is as simple as sliding the stand into the back of the display panel and clicking it into place.
We calibrate each of our computer monitors prior to testing, using the iDisplay software to profile the display to two separate calibrations. The first calibration is for general use, and sets the monitor to its native luminance, which we then use to test for peak whites, blacks, viewing angle, and uniformity. The second focuses on color accuracy, and the monitor is calibrated to a light output of 140 cd/m2 . This second calibration is used to test color temperature, color curves, and color gamut.