Dell S2817Q Review – 28 inch 4K Ultra HD Monitor with Subwoofer
While not the best performing piece of 4K UHD PC display technology on the market at its retail price, the Dell S2817Q still has plenty to offer for home, gaming and office users who are looking for razor sharp visuals, great monitor control features and what is generally a solid 4K display at a fairly affordable price tag.
Featuring a roomy 28 inch screen, superbly sharp picture quality and great physical adjustability options in true Dell style, the S2817Q is nearly perfect as a middle-of-the-road 4K PC for more serious home or professional office users. In this particular range of uses, the S2817Q delivers the goods decently and offers a blend of very robust display specs for regular home computing and office related professional graphic editing work while also being designed with 4K and lower resolution gaming in mind. In fact, in this latter regard, the S2817Q is quite a superb monitor since it features several key technologies and specs for a great gaming experience. These include HDMI 2.0 connectivity (along with the more gaming-oriented DisplayPort 1.2) and some amazingly powerful built-in speakers and a TN display with a superb response time. Additionally, the level of display quality is generally more than good enough for most types of serious 4K or lower resolution gaming.
Fundamentally, the Dell S2817Q makes an excellent 4K PC monitor for all common gaming, office and casual home PC needs while looking good and coming in at a very decent price. Gamers in particular might really like this particular model thanks to its connectivity specs.
Overall, the S2817Q is a very robust performer with only a couple of notable defects, particularly in its visual specs. Color performance hovers at right around average, the TN display delivers some rather narrow viewing angles and this monitor’s overall contrast rate could be improved still further. On the other hand, the black levels in the S2817Q look quite rich and the matte finish of the screen is excellent for glare resistance even in brightly lit spaces. Furthermore, the viewing angles are better than we’d have expected in a 4K monitor with TN panel design, though they still don’t quite match the sort of viewing angle performance you can expect from an IPS 4K monitor. We should also note that in terms of design performance, we always love the way in which Dell in particular designs most of their 4K PC monitors we’ve reviewed to-date so that they can be adjusted for tilt, height, pivot, swivel, and VESA mounting. The S2817Q however lacks these features and can only have its tilt modified. This is an unfortunate omission from Dell's otherwise broad range of display adjustment options.
Other aspects of the S2817Q’s performance we definitely like include the monitor’s ability to nail down 4K graphics at 60Hz while also being capable of 1440p and Full HD performance at the same refresh rate (no 144Hz performance in lower resolutions unfortunately). What further makes the experience of using the S2817Q nice is the generally good contrast, superb peak brightness and decent color performance (this last one only after some calibration work) during gaming, content viewing and visual design work.
We also loved the built-in speakers of the S2817Q. Many 4K PC monitors don’t even come with a speaker system of any kind at the price the S2817Q sells for so their presence alone is a bonus but even more pleasantly, aside from being present to begin with, the speakers of the S2817Q are also remarkably powerful. At 9 watts each, they come with an integrated subwoofer and deliver some of the best native monitor sound quality we’ve yet seen among the 4K monitors we’ve reviewed so far. Sounds come out deep and rich with finer details of the audio being played fully registered in a finely textured way that’s impressive for a pair of monitor speakers. Even without an external sound system, the S2817Q delivers enough sound power to fill a room nicely.
Finally, the connectivity array on the S2817Q is quite decent, with multiple HDMI, DisplayPort and USB 3.0 options in place to cover just about any situation or setup. We’d have liked to see at least one HDMI 2.0 port in the S2817Q but this is only now becoming a common feature of 4K PC monitors so we can let that slide.
4.4 - 210 Reviews
The main comment-worthy defect of the Dell S2817Q is its overall color performance. Colors, and particularly green, aren’t quite as accurate or vibrant as we’d like, even for a TN display panel. In fact, right out of the box, the whole color spectrum displayed on the S2817Q’s display looks decidedly washed out, with an unpleasantly high Delta E error rating and some serious inaccuracies. Calibration of courses fixes most of these problems but even after the S2817Q has been set to its best possible color settings, we continued to note problems with how its display shows red, blue and green hues in particular. This is all the more surprising considering that the S2817Q is a display with support for the much wider range of 1.07 billion colors instead of the more conventional 8-bit range of 16.7 million variations.
It’s also worth noting that, as is also common with TN (twisted nematic) display panels, the S2817Q offers less than stellar viewing angles, with color and contrast decreasing heavily at viewing angles of more than 65 degrees from center to either side or when the screen is looked at from above. However, this TN display problem isn’t nearly as bad in the S2817Q as we’ve seen it present itself in select other monitor models, so we can’t complain too much. 65 degree viewing angles from off center are more than enough for most users (who really wants to use their PC screen from way off to one side anyhow?) and compared to the more common range of 50 degree viewing angles we’ve seen in other 4K TN monitors, the S2817Q performs quite well for a display of this type.
Overall, we genuinely like the Dell S2817Q. It’s not a stunner of a 4K monitor and some of the newer an even more gamer-oriented 2016 models we’ve looked at, like the Acer Predator XB1 XB321HK or the Asus Swift PG27AQ but it deliver solid all-around performance, great display real estate, very good visuals and some excellent built-in audio power.
4.4 - 210 Reviews
• Screen Size: 28 inches.
• Resolution: 3840 x 2160
• Aspect Ratio: 16:9
• Pixel Response Time (Gray to Gray): 5 milliseconds
• Rated Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
• Pixel Refresh Rate Speed: 60Hz
• Panel Technology: Twisted Nematic (TN) Technology
• Brightness: 300 cd/m²
• Landscape/Portrait Pivot: Yes
• Built-In Speakers: No
• Stand: Height: Yes
• Stand: Tilt: Yes
• Stand: Swivel: Yes
• Weight: 11.13 pounds
• Connectivity: 2 HDMI/MHL connectors (One HDMI 2.0); 1 DP connector and 1 mini-DP connector; 2 USB 3.0 downstream connector; 1 USB 3.0 upstream connector; 1 Audio line-out port
• Dimensions: With stand: 18.53 x 25.9 x 7.3"
Without stand: 15.05 x 25.9 x 2.5"
The S2817Q is one relatively cool looking 4K monitor whose design lets it work as a gamer’s display or office monitor without looking at all out of place in either setting. The large 28 inch screen of the S2817Q is framed by a fairly narrow matte black bezel that looks good without creating a feeling of restricted display space and the supporting stand, while not the hardiest looking thing among monitor supports comes with a pleasantly small footprint and plenty of adjustability options (as we’ll cover shortly). Furthermore, all of the monitor’s main connectivity ports are located for unobtrusive availability at the back in a recessed space near the bottom of the monitor. The main display menu control buttons for picture calibration controls and so on are almost invisibly located to the right along the bottom of the monitor and while we appreciate how Dell has kept them unobtrusive, we also thought their location was a bit annoying because they’re also hard to see as they’re being used.
Furthermore, we like Dell’s habit of designing monitors with excellent adjustability options. In the S2817Q we get the same quality of physical design and flexibility as that of the pricier Dell UltraSharp monitors like the UP2414Q. Thus, the S2817Q comes with a sleek silver supporting stand which can be adjusted only for a tilt range of 28 degrees. VESA mount holes also allow for completely removing the S2817Q from its stand and placing it on a wall or other location with a VESA mounting kit (sold separately of course).
As for display features, the S2817Q offers up the particularly useful multi-tasker-friendly features of Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture for its display. With these and the monitor’s USB, HDMI and DisplayPort connections, users can hook together more than one PC or even mobile devices like smartphones directly to the monitor for the sake of displaying these other external units’ content on the S2817Q’s screen in HD resolution or higher.
Display-wise the S2817Q offers up some particularly good brightness and a very decent contrast ratio for a PC monitor. In maximum peak brightness, this monitor in fact delivers a level of performance that goes beyond even Dell’s own stated spec of 300 nits, maxing out at 319.2 nits, which is more than enough to leave most users happy under almost any display conditions to for gaming, videos or work projects in brightly lit rooms. Furthermore, this peak brightness means that the monitor performs quite nicely even in high levels of ambient lighting. What helps this along is the S2817Q’s contrast of just under 1000:1, which isn’t half bad for a PC monitor and also allows for a fairly nice, rich black level that we definitely liked, rated at 0.049 nits.
In terms of color performance the S2817Q is mostly accurate as far as basic content viewing, work, image viewing and web browsing go. However, the monitor does come with a few flaws in this area even with its support for 10-bit 1.07 billion color display performance. Most particularly, primary colors like red and blue both perform a bit off from ideal, with reds rendering in poor color saturation and blues doing the exact opposite and showing up as over-saturated much of the time. The hue of blue is also not very accurate for the S2817Q. On top of this, green looks almost uniformly off hue on the monitor’s display and even after calibration, this continues to be a problem, even though both red and blue do perform quite a bit better when calibrated a bit. Color gamut accuracy overall isn’t the best out of the box but improves considerably with a bit of tinkering, and calibrating colors in the monitor can reduce the Delta E error margin down from nearly 2.3 to a much more acceptable 1.7.
Furthermore, in overall sRGB and AdobeRGB color gamut performance, the S2817Q delivers some decent sRGB coverage at 98.7% while offering only modest Adobe coverage of just 66.2%, which might not be to the liking of photography professionals who really want to keep their photo color editing work precise.
Finally, as we’d already said, the S2817Q, as a TN monitor isn’t the best performer on either horizontal or vertical viewing angles, with notable reductions in both color accuracy and contrast at more than 45 to 50 degrees off center in either direction and very deep contrast and color distortions when viewing the screen at viewing angles of around 65 degrees from dead center. One other thing we did like in the S2817Q was its matte anti-glare display finish. This rally helps when using this model in brightly lit rooms and makes the monitor’s capacity for rendering black and bright spots both work all the more effectively.
Connectivity-wise, the S2817Q from Dell delivers all the essentials and quite robustly. There are three USB ports to choose from with two of them offering the powerful 3.0 variant of USB in a downstream format and one upstream USB 3.0 port added in for good measure. Along with this, the monitor offers the excellent [email protected] transfer power of one HDMI 2.0 port, 4k at 30Hz via its other HDMI 1.4 port and Dual DP 1.2 connectivity, with one of these two latter ports being a mini DisplayPort version. There is also a single Audio line-out port on the S2817Q. In basic terms, the S2817Q offers everything you’d need for 4K gaming, PC connectivity, watching movies from external devices, charging mobile devices and daisy-chaining more than one of these monitors together.
The Dell S2817Q 4K TN monitor is currently selling on Amazon.com for a relatively affordable price of $435.92, which is really quite rasonable compared to the average for most 4K UHD PC displays.
4.4 - 210 Reviews
• Great USB hub
• Solid contrast and brightness performance
• Rich deep blacks
• 4K looks great
• Excellent built-in speakers
• Less than stellar color performance
• narrow viewing angles
• no height adjustment or pivot