Dell U2713HM Color Quality

When testing the Dell U2713HM my standard way, using a 2010 Macbook Air, my initial performance numbers were not very good at all. Some investigation found that on the MacBook Air when using DisplayPort sends YCbCr color information instead of RGB color information, and so I was getting worse results. Using a StarTech MiniDP to DVI adapter let me drive the Dell at full resolution but in the RGB colorspace. This issue didn’t happen with an ATI or NVIDIA card, so I have to think it was something specific to the MacBook. When using this display, make sure to check the video signal format, as it handles RGB much better.

Dell includes a report for how the monitor should perform, and unlike other vendors that promise a certain dE, Dell shows what they tested and what the results are. These only apply to the included sRGB mode in the display, so you should make sure to use that, and reset your video card LUT, to achieve these results.

Our targets for calibration are D65 for the white point, 200 nits of light output, a gamma of 2.2, and a minimum black level. Once set up correctly, using the included profile and sRGB mode, the Dell provides the best out-of-box performance that I’ve measured so far. The average dE is only 3.15 and the maximum value is only 5.75, which is lower than the average of most displays. Dell includes a calibration report in the box and in this case it really seems to have paid off. For most people, this will likely be good enough performance as it is quite accurate and the errors should be mostly invisible to the naked eye.

Color Tracking -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

With such stellar out-of-the-box numbers I had really high hopes for how the Dell would perform after a calibration. For reference, in YCbCr mode I only managed to calibrate to a dE of around 3, which is far worse than the 1.62 from RGB mode. This outperforms almost all of the 27” displays seen to this point, and those that do out-perform it cost significantly more. There are no issues with the grayscale or anything else after calibration, and you wind up with a very nice, accurate image. It is significantly better than the pre-calibration one, but many users will be fine without the extra step.

Color Tracking -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

When targeting 100 nits of light output for print work, we see a dE of 1.85, which is good but not as excellent as the 200 nits numbers are. On this test the best monitors manage to do much better with those tricky shades of blue than the Dell does, but this doesn’t really worry me that much. Blue is the color we are least sensitive to, so errors in blue are more acceptable than errors in greens or reds. The Dell produces very accurate shades of green and well-rendered skin tones, making it a good choice for more color sensitive work. It isn’t as excellent as the NEC is, but it is around half the price.

Color Tracking -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Overall the Dell has very good results on the calibrated results, and the best results that I have seen by far on the pre-calibration numbers. If you want accurate color but don’t own equipment to do the calibration yourself, Dell provides results better than anything else I have seen and the included calibration report and testing hopefully means this isn’t just a random sample that happens to be excellent.

As with all the LED backlit 27” IPS displays, we see the sRGB gamut being covered but not AdobeRGB gamut coverage. The Dell manages to cover over 79% of the AdobeRGB gamut, which is pretty good for a panel without special backlighting, so for normal sRGB work it should do a very good job.

LCD Color Quality

Dell U2713HM Brightness and Contrast Dell U2713HM Display Uniformity


View All Comments

  • p05esto - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    One problem with the Ausus is they use that stupid PWM backlight flashing to set the brightness. It can tire your eyes and some people are sensitive to it. This Dell monitor is one of the very few that don't use that old backlight technology.

    Read more here:

    I wish I knew in real life how this felt. The PWM is supposed to be even more noticable with PED backlit monitors, so I'm leaning towards the Dell right now as a result.
  • johan05156150 - Friday, November 2, 2012 - link

    I had a major backlight bleeding:

    Fartunately I could retourn it.

    July 2012, Rev A00
  • anuprav - Saturday, November 10, 2012 - link

    On 07.11.2012 I have ordered DELL U2713HM after doing lots of survey over the net and found this Monitor to be good choice.

    Eagerly waiting for the delivery and will write comments about it.
  • Calon - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Expires Thursday, December 13, 2012 this sale, but it is now $630 at dell's site:

    with coupon code: GXGR7B6RJP354G

    And ironically on the sales page they quote this review of the product from this site, "Unbeatable performance out of the box", lol.
  • Calon - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    clicked the submit button too fast before edit Reply
  • jwardell - Monday, December 24, 2012 - link is selling it for 649.99 inc shipping Reply
  • andreas12941 - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    The YCbCr problem can be fixed by overriding the EDID data of the display:
  • Bodo - Sunday, February 3, 2013 - link

    I use the monitor with a macbook pro and in the sRGB mode. With the EDID override method I get RBG colors. So far so good.

    But it seems that some light grey colors are more yellow. I notice this first as I look at the Apple website. They use a lot of shadows and these shadows have a yellow tinge. So the shadow effect is looking really bad. WIth the MacBook display everything looks fine and grey is grey. On every other display I have tested the Apple website and the grey tones look normal.

    In the multimedia mode there is no yellow tinge.
    Is this normal for the sRGB mode?
    Or what could be the problem here?

    I have also tested the monitor with a windows laptop. The same problem. So it has nothing to do with
    the macbook pro and the RGB problem.
  • davidm71 - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    I just did my own unboxing and as impressive on how they packaged the monitor I suffers from some serious weaknesses such as IPS glow and backlight bleed that is out of control! Reply
  • alesgola - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Thank you for a great and very usefull review. I would like to make shure what " These only apply to the included sRGB mode in the display, so you should make sure to use that, and reset your video card LUT, to achieve these results." in case of my mac mini (late 2012). Do I understand i correctly, that I should go to Display/Profile menu of MacOs and select the option "Adobe sRGB ..."? Thank you in advance for your reply. Reply

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