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

  • landerf - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    so it's officially confirmed their AG coating is improved to samsung levels now? no more having to remove it to make a bearably unblurry image? Reply
  • khanov - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the review. I was wondering what options the scaler offers?

    I have a U2412M and an old 2709W. The 2709W offers proper scaling while maintaining aspect ratio.
    Strangely, the newer 2412M does not, it only stretches and is very annoying if you feed it a 16:9 signal.
  • Strulf - Friday, October 5, 2012 - link

    How many Hz does it do? I presume it's not 120, right? Reply
  • IceDread - Friday, October 5, 2012 - link

    The input lag makes the screen a deal breaker if you ever want to play a game where reaction time matters. Reply
  • swindmill - Saturday, October 6, 2012 - link

    We can sell these monitors for around $600 USD + shipping. Send an email to for more information. Reply
  • Wkstar - Saturday, October 6, 2012 - link

    I paid $300.oo delivered each for my Catleap 2703's. To me they are wonderful.
    I do not need USB builtin or OSD or pivot, rotate

    They do get my Tea on the morning
    I guess if you want USB, OSD, Pivot, Rotate etc. Then it would be worth an extra $30.oo

    To pay anything more for a screen would be Crazy ! !
  • Wellsoul2 - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    I also bought a Catleap 2703 for $295 shipped.

    No bad pixels I can see.

    The base isn't great but I don't move it anyway.

    It doesn't look cheap.

    It has glossy gorilla glass in front.

    It only has DVI-D and no OSD . Just adjust backlight basically.

    Colors and Contrast (Black) is awesome.

    So many people have bought these and had great luck.
  • surgex - Monday, October 8, 2012 - link

    I don't understand why Dell is doing this.
    I've had a U2410 for years now -- I'm STILL waiting for an UPGRADE to it!

    They keep releasing these awesome budget monitors but they are actually worse in tech specs than the previous model -- oh it's got USB3 but the color isn't as good and the resolution is the same as the model that came out 2 years ago.. what the fuck!?

    Why is Apple the only one who actually cares about display quality?
    Dell keeps sending me emails saying to use my buying power (dell account) to upgrade -- and I awlays reply to their customer service team, I'll upgrade when you come out with a product thats WORTH UPGRADING TO.

    How about 120hz, higher resolution \ pixel density!? All we get is a shitty USB 3 hub and a lower quality display compared to the U2711. BOO!
  • serons - Thursday, October 11, 2012 - link

    There's a thread in a Swedish forum about units suffering from severe backlight bleed. Another common problem is a yellow color cast in the lower left corner. It seems to be quite common, but the Dell representative I've been in contact with says that they've only had complaints from Sweden. I have two of these monitors and both suffer from yellow color cast in the lower left corner. What you make of this? The posts in the forum are in swedish but there are images: Reply
  • jacknhut - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    I would love to see a direct comparison between this and the recently released ASUS PB278Q 27'' 2560-1440 monitor. The Asus seems to be a decent monitor that is geared toward gaming. Thoughts? Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now