Dell UltraSharp U2713HM review: Dell UltraSharp U2713HM

Dell's UltraSharp U2713HM does come in cheaper than Samsung's S27A850T, and offers USB 3.0 as well. It is quite power hungry, though, and a faint "criss-cross" pattern on light screens may irritate some. Ultimately, its biggest competitor is the monitor that came before it: the U2711.

Craig Simms

Craig Simms

Special to CNET News

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

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6 min read

The U2713HM is not the successor to the U2711. Despite the similar name, Dell continues to sell the U2711 alongside the U2713HM, just as it did the U2410 with the U2412M.


Dell UltraSharp U2713HM

The Good

USB 3.0 ports. Brings in IPS 27-inch at a cheaper price point. Straight-up 8-bit panel makes much more sense for non colour-critical environments. Stand supports vertical rotate. Less aggressive.

The Bad

Slight banding in gradients. Faint "criss-cross" pattern visible on light screens will annoy some. No HDMI processing. USB 3.0 ports do take a speed hit compared to direct connection. High power consumption, even in standby.

The Bottom Line

Dell's UltraSharp U2713HM does come in cheaper than Samsung's S27A850T, and offers USB 3.0 as well. It is quite power hungry, though, and a faint "criss-cross" pattern on light screens may irritate some. Ultimately, its biggest competitor is the monitor that came before it: the U2711.

You'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise, especially as the price makes things a little confusing — at only AU$100 less, the U2713HM makes enough omissions compared to its predecessor that you'll catch yourself wanting to spend a little more to get the extra features. At the time of writing, the U2711 is actually on sale for AU$120 less than the U2713HM, muddying the waters even further.

Ultimately, it comes down to the feature set that you desire: the older monitor supports a wider colour space, allows CMY adjustments, supports AdobeRGB, has more display inputs and comes with an eight-in-one card reader. The U2713HM uses a straight-up 8-bit panel for those who don't want to think about colour, has a less aggressive anti-glare coating, the stand supports 90° rotation and USB 3.0 is included over the U2711's USB 2.0.

We'd imagine that eventually, the U2713HM will come down in price, hopefully making the choice a little clearer for those on a budget.

Dell UltraSharp U2713HM front

Dell's newer designs are less aggressive and militaristic than its previous UltraSharps.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Specs at a glance

Size 27 inches
Resolution 2560x1440
Aspect ratio 16:9
Pixel pitch 0.2335
Panel technology IPS
Viewing angles
(10:1 contrast)
H: 178°
V: 178°
Response time 8ms GTG
Max vertical refresh 60Hz
Connections DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, 4xUSB 3.0 downstream, 1xUSB 3.0 upstream, VGA 3.5mm line out
Accessories DVI, VGA, USB 3.0, power cables

Stand and ergonomics

Dell's new-style stand passes on the aggressiveness of previous models and instead opts for simple curves and geometric shapes. It's still as adjustable as it ever was, offering tilt, swivel, height adjustment and even 90° rotation, which is a nice feature for such a big screen. A hole in the back provides for cable management.

Dell UltraSharp U2713HM stand

Just like Samsung, Dell offers 90° rotation on its 27-inch stand, among other ergonomic functions.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)


Dell UltraSharp U2713HM inputs

From the left: Power, Dell audio bar power jack, DisplayPort, VHA, DVI, HDMI, 3.5mm line out, USB 3.0 upstream, 2x USB 3.0 downstream.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Dell UltraSharp U2713HM inputs

Another two USB 3.0 ports are on the side.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

One thing should be said for Dell's USB 3.0 ports: there is a performance hit on speed. A hard drive that tested at 245MBps sequential reads attached directly to our test system dropped to 215MBps through the monitor. It's still significantly faster than any USB 2.0 port will give you, but it's something to be mindful of if you're seeking top speeds.

Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)

Dell UltraSharp U2713HM buttons

They don't light up like the more expensive UltraSharps, but they do the job.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

One of the giveaways that this is aimed for a more affordable market is the design of the buttons on the front. Previous premium models had capacitive buttons that lit up when your hand was near to guide the way; these are simply black push buttons. Hitting any of them will still bring up the menu, and Dell's context-sensitive OSD keeps things nice and simple.

Dell UltraSharp U2713HM OSD

Dell's OSD is well established and refined. Its context-sensitive nature and easy-to-use navigation is still industry leading.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

There's very little to surprise in Dell's menu on the U2713HM — in fact, it never really rises above standard offerings of various colour profiles, RGB customisation, sharpness, brightness and contrast settings. Scaling options are limited, offering 16:9, 4:3 and 5:4, all stretched to full screen. Interestingly, even when feeding it a 16:10 resolution, there's no ability to scale as such.

You can access the Service Menu by turning the monitor off, holding down the top two buttons, turning it back on, releasing both buttons when the power button flashes and then pressing the top button; but there's nothing particularly exotic there to improve your experience.


Text is sharp on the U2713HM, and the white takes on that usual Dell level of retina-searing brightness. Those who don't like Dell's "sparkling" anti-glare coating will likely also not like the U2713HM. The effect is more subtle than it has ever been, but is still there.

Perhaps it's a side effect of working on the MacBook Pro with Retina display all week, but we noticed a crisscrossing, faint diagonal lattice across the screen, which is either part of the anti-glare mechanism or potentially the framework for the pixels itself. It's one of those things that once you know it's there, it's hard to ignore.

Lagom.nl LCD tests
After calibrating to a target brightness of 140cd/m² with an
X-Rite i1Display 2, Eye-One Match 3 and tweaking with HCFR, the U2713HM was run through the Lagom.nl LCD tests.

Image tests
Contrast Sharpness Gamma Black level White saturation Gradient
Pass Not enough control Pass Pass Pass Slight banding, green and purple discolouration

There just wasn't enough granularity in the sharpness settings to get the performance right on the Lagom.nl tests; either the display was too sharp, or not sharp enough. Greyscale gradients tended to band evenly, and fringing of purple and green crept in.

Inversion pixel walk tests
Test 1 Test 2a Test 2b Test 3 Test 4a Test 4b Test 5 Test 6a Test 6b Test 7a Test 7b
Pass Pass Very slight flicker Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass

Most monitors fail up to four of the pixel walk tests; the U2713HM only shows a weakness on one, happily passing even the harsh 4a and 4b tests.

Input lag
Measured against a Samsung SyncMaster 975p CRT, and using a Canon 40D set to a shutter speed of 1/320, an average of over 60 photographs were taken using StoppUhr. With a lag time of around 18ms, the Dell is faster than Samsung's 27-inch competitor, serving up images just over one frame behind the CRT. In practice, we didn't pick up any issues.

HDMI performance
While a monitor might have an HDMI port, there's no guarantee that it'll display images as expected. We hooked up a PlayStation 3, and checked for 24p capability and judder, as well as running the HQV Blu-ray test to see how well it coped with an interlaced source and noise.

24p capable Understands YUV Mission Impossible III
scene 11 judder test
Mission Impossible III
scene 14 judder test
Yes Yes Judder Judder
HQV noise
HQV video
resolution loss
HQV jaggies
HQV film
resolution loss
HQV film
resolution loss —
stadium score
Total score
out of 100
0 0 0 0 0 0

Just like Samsung's 27-inch screen, there's nothing here in the way of noise reduction or interlaced performance, and panning in our Mission Impossible: III tests shows visible judder. Just like the Samsung, the U2713HM is better suited to gaming via console, as opposed to movie watching via a dedicated device.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles were taken with a Canon 40D in spot-metering mode, with only shutter time adjusted to obtain a good exposure.

Dell UltraSharp U2713HM viewing angles

IPS once again delivers on the viewing angles.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Light bleed
Uncommon for IPS screens, our review sample suffered from light bleed coming from the left and bottom left of the screen. As is usually the case with such things, it only became apparent during dark scenes. This will change from model to model, and other reviews we've seen of the unit didn't exhibit the same issue. IPS glow, of course, is in full effect.

Power consumption
We measured power consumption using a Jaycar mains digital power meter. It's important to note here that due to limitations of the meter, measurements are limited to values of 1W and greater, and are reported in 1W increments.

All measurements, screen brightness and contrast were set to 100 per cent, and a test image was displayed.

Juice Box
Maximum power draw 51W
Power-saving mode 12W
Off 12W

Unlike Samsung's 27-inch screen, the Dell pulls a lot of power, even in standby and off modes. We're not sure why it needs to pull 12W with no power on, especially since the USB hub disconnects once the power button is hit. The truly power frugal will need to turn off the U2713HM at the wall.


Dell covers the U2713HM with a three-year warranty, and provides a pick-up and return service. It has a zero dead-pixel guarantee.


Dell's UltraSharp U2713HM does come in cheaper than Samsung's S27A850T, and offers USB 3.0 as well. It is quite power hungry, though, and a faint "criss-cross" pattern on light screens may irritate some. Ultimately, its biggest competitor will be the better-featured, more strictly controlled U2711, which at the time of writing is on sale for AU$120 less.

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