My main complaint when reviewing the Dell 27 Ultrathin Monitor (S2719DM) earlier this year was its paucity of video inputs. (It was limited to just HDMI.) The $ 549.99 Dell 27 Ultrathin Monitor (S2719DC) remedies this with the addition of a USB Type-C port, as well as two USB 3.0 ports. Not only can you display content from a computer or other device from the USB-C port, but you can also charge the device—even a laptop—at the same time as you stream from it. These additions, along with the panel’s thin and nearly bezel-less design, lofty luminance and color accuracy, and good performance in our gaming and video testing, are enough earn it our Editors’ Choice as a midrange entertainment monitor.
About That USB-C Port…
Although the S2719DC drops one of the two HDMI ports that we saw on the Dell S2719DM, it more than makes up for this omission with its addition of two USB 3.0 ports and especially its USB-C port. All of these can be used to charge devices, while the USB-C can also transfer data over the cable.
My personal laptop is a Dell XPS 13; when I bought it in the summer of 2016, it was one of the few Windows laptops to include a USB-C port. When I misplaced the XPS 13’s power supply, I was surprised to find that I could just as easily charge it from a dock over a USB-C connection. I did so as well with the S2719DC, whose USB-C port supports the USB-PD (USB power delivery) protocol.
In this case, it allows for high-speed charging with power delivery of up to 45 watts while receiving data over a single cable. This is ironic, because the S2719DC display itself consumes only 25 watts in normal operation.
Anatomy of an Ultrathin Monitor
The panel has a very narrow bezel, which I measured at a quarter of an inch on each side, at the top, and on the bottom. This nicely maximizes screen area, and, combined with the panel’s thinness, gives the S2719DC a sleek and modern feel.
This is somewhat offset by the stand’s limited ergonomics. It, alas, provides tilt adjustment but not height, swivel, or pivot adjustments. Including the stand, the S2719DC measures 17.8 by 24 inches by 6.2 inches (HWD), while the panel portion alone measures 13.9 by 24 by a mere 1.1 inches.
The S2719DC’s 27-inch panel has a native WQHD resolution (2,560 by 1,440 pixels). You can think of WQHD as a happy medium between full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels, or 1080p) and UHD, a.k.a. 4K (3,840 by 2,160 pixels). Full HD/1080p can, for example, support high refresh rates for gamers, potentially at the cost of low pixel density on large screens, whereas 4K requires a powerful graphics card to keep frame rates at playable levels. (See our guide to the best graphics cards for 4K gaming.)
Nubbins and Menus: The Controls
The physical controls on the S2719DC consist of five tiny buttons—I think of them as nubbins—on the bottom right edge of the panel. They’re usable but a bit tricky to manipulate, and a far cry from the mini-joystick menu controller you often find on hardcore gaming monitors.
The nubbin furthest to the right is the on/off button. The other four let you navigate the onscreen display. You can change settings such as brightness and contrast, and from the Color setting, you can switch among preset modes such as Standard, Movie, Game, Warm, Cool, and ComfortView.
From Display, you can change the aspect ratio, tweak sharpness, and activate (or deactivate) HDR, for which there are several further settings, including Game HDR and Movie HDR. Getting a monitor to display HDR content in today’s environment under Windows can be a tricky process, though. For starters, both your computer’s graphics subsystem and your monitor must support HDR. HDR must also be turned on in Windows 10. The exact process of enabling HDR varies among monitor brands. With the S2719DC, you must switch the monitor itself into an HDR mode before the option to turn on HDR even appears in Windows 10. Once it does, you just move a slider to enable it, and you should be able to display HDR content.
Testing Says: High Brightness, Great Color
Luminance ratings—which measure brightness per unit area—for the S2719DC are 400cd/m2 (nits) for standard-definition (SDR) viewing and 600 nits for HDR. We measured its luminance using a Klein K10-A colorimeter and SpectraCal CalMAN 5 software for testing.
The readings worked out to 270.5 nits in Standard mode and 482.9 nits in Movie HDR mode. Although these are well short of the rated brightness, the SDR score is still respectable, and the HDR score is one of the best that we’ve seen from any monitor. (Few monitors come close to, let alone meet, their rated brightness in our testing.)
Given that this is an in-plane switching (IPS) monitor, color accuracy is one of the S2719DC’s strengths. According to Dell, this panel covers greater than 85 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut and more than 99 percent of the sRGB color spectrum. Above is a color fidelity, or chromaticity, chart, which was generated with an SDR (non-HDR, or standard dynamic range) signal in standard mode using the Klein colorimeter and CalMAN.
The area within the triangle represents all the colors that can be made by mixing the primary colors red, green, and blue. The circles, representing our measurements, are outside the triangle and fairly evenly spaced, indicating an expanded color gamut. Testing in Movie HDR mode produced a very similar chart.
Gray-to-gray pixel response in fast mode is 5 milliseconds, and input lag—as measured with a Leo Bodnar Lag Tester—came in at a very reasonable 11.2 milliseconds. (This is a bit short of our leader, the BenQ SW2700PT, which tallied a 9.5-millisecond reading for input lag.)
Also, the S2719DC performed well when I ran sequences from the game Far Cry 5 using our Windows 10 testbed equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition card. I noted crisp, smooth gameplay with minimal artifacts. Users with the proper AMD-chip-based graphics hardware, such as a Radeon RX Vega 64 card, can also take advantage of the panel’s AMD FreeSync adaptive sync technology, designed to reduce image tearing. It adjusts the panel refresh rate on the fly to match the frame-rate output of the card.
The panel’s refresh rate is a mortal 60Hz, respectable enough but well short of the rates we see on hardcore gaming monitors like the Editors’ Choice Asus ROG Strix XG32VQ. That display can be set as high as an overclocked, screaming 144Hz.
One solid trait that the S2719DC shares with the Dell S2719DM is an on-par warranty. Dell’s plan covers the monitor for three years, much like many manufacturers of premium monitors do, and it also offers advance exchange in the event your panel goes off the rails, sparing you some downtime. That’s especially important given that this is not a cheap unit.
A Flexible Member of the C-Suite
The S2719DC doesn’t have the blazing-fast refresh rate, gaudy LED cabinet highlights, or many other features you’d find in a hardcore gaming monitor, but its bright HDR signal and FreeSync adaptive sync technology still put in good stead for people who love gaming but don’t feel compelled to invest heavily in its hardware. It’s equally good for video watching, especially if your computer supports HDR and you have access to HDR content or the gumption to ferret it out.
For a $ 50 higher list price than the Dell S2719DM, the S2719DC adds two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C port. They can all be used to charge devices, but the USB-C port is really a godsend, able to transfer enough power to charge most so-equipped laptops with ease, as well as stream content or data over the same connection. This connectivity, combined with its slim and nearly bezel-less frame, on-the-mark color accuracy with a wide color gamut, and good gaming and video performance—all at at a decent price—are enough to make it our latest Editors’ Choice midrange monitor.
As such, it joins the ViewSonic VP2768 on the podium, which has advanced color settings and hardware calibration while adding two DisplayPort inputs and a fully adjustable stand. The VP2768 is a good choice for budding photo or video editors who can use it as a springboard to eventually getting a higher-end professional monitor. They’re both great monitors, each intended for a slightly different audience. If you love gaming and watching video, and particularly if you have a USB-C laptop that needs both charging and a second screen, the Dell 27 USB-C Ultrathin Monitor (S2719DC) should prove the more compelling of the pair.