GCN Lab Review: Dell UltraSharp 2709W LCD monitor

Pros: Perfect for video display, has a 6-millisecond response time and a 27-inch screen, great value.
Cons: Colors are vivid but not quite accurate, light bleeds in from upper corners of screen.
Image quality: B+
Features: A
Value: A
Price: $849

Dell’s UltraSharp 2709W is one of only two 27-inch displays in our roundup. All the problems that need to be conquered with a 24-inch screen are exaggerated in a 27-inch display, yet the 2709W doesn’t seem any worse for it. It matches the quality found in most of the 24-inch LCDs in this review, which is impressive given the low $849 price tag.


In this GCN Lab review:

LCD monitors go big, with mostly good results
ViewSonic VG2427wm LCD monitor
Eizo FlexScan EcoView EV2411W LCD monitor
Acer B273HU LCD monitor
NEC MultiSync EA241WM LCD monitor
Dell UltraSharp 2709W LCD monitor
HP LP2475w LCD monitor


For such a large widescreen display, we were surprised to find uniform light levels throughout the panel. At the center of the image, we recorded 362 lumens on a plain white screen. At the corners, that measurement only dropped to 340, so there was almost no difference and nothing noticeable to the naked eye. The 2709W was also nearly perfect with single-pixel display, so even detailed images looked good.

However, its color accuracy was mixed. Depending on what type of application you plan to use with the monitor, you might be impressed or disappointed. The 2709W uses a technology called Dell TrueColor, which sets up a 110 percent color gamut. It opens a wider color spectrum but decreases accuracy. Reds are rich and bright, like the shiny surface on a freshly polished fire truck, while blues look like the water beside a Caribbean resort. Colors pop off the screen, but they aren’t accurately rendered. So if you are trying to match a true red or a true blue to its color-wheel equivalent, as we do in our testing, it won’t happen.

We had a theory about why Dell chose that approach, and further testing seemed to prove the point: The 2709W is optimized for video. It did extremely well on our color registration test, which evaluates how well it can accurately display moving images. Given the 6-millisecond response time, the monitor’s performance wasn’t surprising. Its 3,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio also meant deeper blacks, a staple of good movie display. And yes, the movies we played on the 2709W were pretty darn amazing.

However, the monitor has some light-bleeding problems. The upper corners of light bleed toward the center of the screen, so in a dark room, it looks like two small flashlights are shining down diagonally from the corners. It’s not obviously noticeable, but it does exemplify the ongoing problems with accurately manufacturing large panels. And of course, the image quality degrades around those lights, though only slightly.

For more mundane tasks, such as text display, the 2709W was not as impressive, though it was adequate. Text looked good at 10 points.

If you want to watch a lot of video on a large screen, the 2709W is a good choice. However, if color accuracy or more mundane tasks hold sway, a smaller 24-inch panel might better suit your office needs. Then you could save your money to buy a 2709W for your desktop PC at home.

Dell, 800-999-3355, www.dell.com

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