Dell UltraSharp U2913WM review: Dell UltraSharp U2913WM

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Games are incredibly immersive. Quite affordable. Great choice of inputs. Attractive design. Better than average HDMI performance.

The Bad USB 3.0 ports on side sometimes acted at USB 2.0 speeds. Dell's new menu buttons are less intuitive. If a movie isn't natively 21:9, it can look rather bad. Still drew power when switched off. Some inversion tests turned purple.

The Bottom Line Despite some technical flaws, the U2913WM is a good monitor with an excellent price. At AU$599, it's enough that people will be asking if they want a 27-inch with the extra 360 vertical pixels, or if 21:9 is in their future.

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There are a few things that strike you when you assemble the U2913WM. The first is the most obvious, its 21:9 aspect ratio, with the fascinating resolution of 2560x1080. The second is the fact that the panel is incredibly close to the surface and that the bezel is very thin, at just over 10mm, giving a more immediate feel to the monitor.

The third is that the screen seems to darken more quickly on the verticals than what we're used to with IPS — or perhaps it's just the relatively short height that makes us think we can get closer than usual. It's an LG panel, and LG itself has a monitor available with the same panel.

Dell's kept the stand from the rest of its 2013 financial-year range, but the panel design has changed for the U2913W, with a thicker bar at the base (like a chin) to house the buttons, while the rest of the monitor is flat and flush.

As a positive, unlike the U2713HM, we didn't notice a faint criss-cross pattern across the panel.

Dell's new industrial design is striking.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Specs at a glance

Size 29 inches
Resolution 2560x1080
Aspect ratio 21:9
Pixel pitch 0.265
Panel technology AH-IPS
Viewing angles
(10:1 contrast)
H: 178°
V: 178°
Response time 8ms G2G
Max vertical refresh 60Hz
Connections DVI, HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort in, Mini DisplayPort in, DisplayPort Out, 3.5mm line out, 1x USB upstream, 4x USB 3.0 downstream
Accessories DVI, Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort, power cables

Stand and ergonomics

Dell's stand is similar to the one used on the U2713HM — giving the user tilt, swivel and height adjustment; however, unlike the 27, the U2913WM won't rotate 90°. Given the extra length involved, this isn't surprising.

No 90° rotate due to the size of the monitor, but otherwise, the full range of movements have been included.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Connections

Power, power for an optional sound bar, VGA, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort out, 3.5mm line out, USB 3.0 upstream, 2x USB 3.0 downstream.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Another two USB 3.0 ports, which often acted only like USB 2.0 ports.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

DisplayPort out is an interesting addition, allowing you to daisy chain another monitor from the U2913WM.

Just like the U2713HM, Dell's USB 3.0 ports are under-performers. A USB stick that gained 245MBps sequential read speeds when connected directly to the system only achieved 214MBps when connected to the monitor.

Weirdly, despite the side ports being marked SuperSpeed (USB 3.0), they would only perform at USB 2.0 speeds on two out of three of our USB 3.0 flash drives. We requested another U2913WM sample to see if it was a one-off issue, but received another engineering sample, rather than a retail product. We'd be curious to hear if your retail-bought U2913WM suffers from the same issue.

Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)

Dell has taken a step back in terms of usability with the buttons on the U2913WM — rather than the user pressing any button and the menu coming up, they now have to specifically press the menu button, which is not the best for low light situations. At least it's placed next to the power button, which is always lit.

Not as usable as previous iterations, but they do the job.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Each of the buttons makes a completely unnecessary and annoying beep, which can thankfully be turned off. The buttons otherwise remain context sensitive to the task at hand, making interaction easy.

The factory menu can be brought up by turning the monitor off, then holding the menu button, the button two across from it and the power button until the screen turns on. Then press the button on the far left to bring up the menu. A word of warning, there's no context sensitive overlays for the buttons in the factory menu — from the left, you have up, down and OK.

The proper OSD offers the usual spread of features that you'd expect to see on a monitor, plus aspect ratios in 21:9, 16:9, auto scaling and 1:1. There's also Smart Video Enhance (basically a user-customisable preset), and Uniformity Compensation, which attempts to provide an even backlight and consistent colours across the whole screen, but does tend to dim it significantly in the process.

Picture by picture mode is enabled, and when hooked up over DVI, we were able to use VGA or either DisplayPort for a separate image. We assume that HDMI uses the same circuitry, as putting DVI and HDMI side by side is not an option.

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Where to Buy

Dell UltraSharp U2913WM

Part Number: 210-41199

Typical Price: $599.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

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