PCs

Dell's first 27-inch curved monitor is modest in price and features

The Dell SE2716H 27-inch curved monitor uses a vertical alignment screen that has decent colour accuracy for good, but not great, picture quality. PHOTO: DELL
The Dell SE2716H 27-inch curved monitor uses a vertical alignment screen that has decent colour accuracy for good, but not great, picture quality. PHOTO: DELL

Dell's first 27-inch curved monitor SE2716H is a modest affair in both features and price.

The $599 monitor, which uses a vertical alignment (VA) screen, loses out to more expensive monitors that use in-plane switching (IPS) screens.

The difference readily showed when I compared it to its IPS sibling, the 27-inch Dell U2715H ($819).

The curved SE2716H has a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel screen resolution with fewer pixels than the U2715H (2,560 x 1,440 pixels). The colour gamut of the SE2716H is lower than that of the U2715H.

VA displays, which are seen as a cheaper alternative to IPS ones, share the latter's wide viewing angles. However, they look less vibrant than IPS screens. This showed up in measurements with my colourimeter, although I found the SE2716H to have good colour accuracy.

In other words, you can expect good, but not great, picture quality from this monitor.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $599

    RESOLUTION: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    ASPECT RATIO: 16:9

    BRIGHTNESS: 300cd/m2

    RESPONSE TIME: 6ms

    PANEL TYPE: Vertical alignment

    CONNECTIVITY: 2 x HDMI/MHL, VGA, audio-in, headphone jack

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE: 3/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

Dell says that the curved screen draws you closer into the action, but I am not convinced that it creates a more immersive experience.

But I could change my mind if I had three of these monitors side by side. Such an arrangement would not be cheap (around $1,800), but it would create a proper wrap-around experience.

It will also have more screen real estate than an ultra-wide curved monitor like the 34-inch Acer XR341CK ($1,499).

The Dell has limited adjustment. It tilts five degrees forward and up to 21 degrees back, but it cannot swivel and its height is fixed.

I was also disappointed by the ports on the SE2716H. There are two HDMI outputs and a single VGA output. I was expecting at least one DisplayPort. There are no USB ports either, though the Dell does come with two bottom-firing 9W speakers that produce passable audio. If you need to use headphones, the jack is conveniently located at the side.

The monitor settings are accessible via four buttons at the bottom right-hand corner. These buttons feel tiny and stiff, and are not as easy to use as the joystick controls found on other monitors.

A button brings up a list of set profiles that adjust the colour temperature and screen brightness for certain uses, such as movie viewing and gaming. Another button lets you control the volume of the speakers, while a third opens a menu with more options, from adjusting the contrast to selecting a video input source.

Even though it is attractively priced, the Dell may have few takers because rival Samsung has a curved 27-inch display (SD590C) with very similar specifications. The Samsung is also cheaper at $549 and had a head start in the market, as it has been available since March.

While I am not sold on the curved display, the Dell is a decent option for watching videos, especially if you do not have a good pair of speakers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2015, with the headline 'Curved monitor that's modest in price, features'. Print Edition | Subscribe