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Dell S2721HGF monitor review

The Dell S2721HGF is a solid gaming display for those on a tight budget

Dell S2721HGF Review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

If you’re strapped for cash, the Dell S2721HGF is more than satisfactory for your gaming needs. It boasts a vivid display, quick response times, a 144Hz refresh rate and a menu selection full of handy options to enhance your gaming experience.

For

  • Colorful display
  • High refresh rate
  • Fast response time
  • Easy installation
  • Fairly affordable

Against

  • Display could be brighter
  • RPG preset is too sharp
  • MPRT dims display

The Dell S2721HGF is a lovely 27-inch curved monitor that acts as a good entry point into vivid gaming displays for those on a tight budget. For $224.99, you get 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution, a 144Hz refresh rate and a 1 millisecond response time. It also has AMD FreeSync Premium capabilities, which can lower latency and reduce screen tearing.

Exploring the colorful worlds found in Doom Eternal and Crash Bandicoot 4 with the Dell S2721HGF was immersive and engaging. Sure, it’s not as vivid or as bright as some of the more expensive displays out there, but if you’re looking for a way into the hardcore gaming scene without spending tons of money, this monitor is a great investment. 

Dell S2721HGF design 

The Dell S2721HGF’s design isn’t particularly unique as it resembles a business monitor thanks to its all-black style and lack of distinct design features. However, this minimalistic aesthetic is still satisfying, especially if you don’t want to be distracted by something overly extravagant.

The stand resembles a baseball field diamond and takes up only 9 inches of space from side to side, giving you more room to fit it on small desks or in tight spots. The base of the stand is thick, which is a good thing as it makes the monitor feel sturdy.

The Dell S2721HGF boasts relatively thin bezels, although the bottom bezel is double the size of the others. This bottom bezel also features the standard Dell logo in the middle. There are no other buttons or symbols on the front of the monitor, although a power indicator sits beneath the bottom bezel towards the right. 

The display can be tilted upward by 21 degrees and very slightly downward by -5 degrees. The height can also be adjusted by 4 inches. However, the default position of the monitor is at its highest, so it can only go further down. The monitor cannot swivel or pivot, so if you’re looking for a vertical display, try something like the Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ.

Dell S2721HGF Review

(Image credit: Future)

When you turn the Dell S2721HGF around, you’ll be greeted by an arrangement of black vents that allow for the monitor to circulate air and disperse heat. Below these vents sits an arrangement of ports, and behind this looms a 13-inch stand slotted in the middle of the monitor. For a more organized setup, you can siphon wires through a diamond-shaped hole placed at the bottom of the stand.

At 19.5 pounds (the display itself is 9 pounds) and 24 x 19.5 x 7.5 inches, the 27-inch Dell S2721HGF's thickness will require a moderate amount of desk space to use comfortably. One of its competitors, the ViewSonic Elite XG270, comes in at 25.6 pounds and 24.2 x 22.5 x 10.4 inches. The Razer Raptor 27 is a bit lighter, coming in at 21 pounds and measuring 24.2 x 19 x 7.5 inches.

Dell S2721HGF installation and setup 

The Dell S2721HGF wasn’t too difficult to set up, although the monitor, stand and base are detached when you remove the monitor from the box. To assemble the stand, all you need to do is slot the bottom of the stand into the top of the base, then turn the knob at the bottom of the base to tighten it. Once that’s done, you can push the top of the stand into the back of the monitor and it will easily slide in. 

Dell S2721HGF ports, cabling and interface 

The Dell S2721HGF has two HDMI 1.4 ports, one DisplayPort 1.2 input, a headphone jack, a power connector, a security lock slot and a stand lock feature. Unfortunately, these ports are pretty difficult to access as they’re beneath the vents on the back. The monitor also comes packaged with an HDMI cable and power cable.

Dell S2721HGF Review

(Image credit: Future)

On the back of the monitor sits a joystick and four easily accessible buttons. Clicking the joystick launches the general menu screen, which includes options for game enhanced presets, brightness/contrast, changing the input source, display, audio, menu and personalization.

Dell S2721HGF performance 

The Dell S2721HGF features a 27-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel display with a 144Hz refresh rate and a 1 ms response time.

While playing Doom Eternal and exploring the frosted, alien world of The Holt, the Dell S2721HGF beautifully translated the white and misty sky filled with destroyed planets and bright, glowing stars. As I dashed through this bizarre environment, the orange-red tree leaves and foliage popped vividly as they wrapped around every structure. Building interiors were beautifully lit by scattered, bright purple lights. The swift motions of the blood-red demons were easy to dodge thanks to the display’s high refresh rate and swift response time.

As I hopped on Rocket League to truly put the monitor's speed to the test, I was wowed by the gorgeous presentation of the game's orange and blue glowing lights around the basic stadium. I booted up a match of Dropshot, and the black, void-like energy spiraling within the ball was accurately presented, down to the smallest static shock. Each time I drifted up to try and block the enemies from scoring, the display was fast  and responsive. It always felt like the monitor had me playing at my best.

Dell S2721HGF Review

(Image credit: Future)

When I booted up Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time and hopped into the Crash Landed level, it felt vibrant and electrifying. The monitor beautifully highlights the area’s dark-red blades of grass, pink and purple egg-like plants and neon-green, wing-shaped foliage. As this exotic collection of marine-life towered above the ground, the brightness of the world gripped me. The curved display especially helped getting immersed into the game, as it felt like the world wrapped around my sightlines. Now, whenever I return to a flat-screened monitor, it feels much less engaging.

The best settings for the Dell S2721HGF varied depending on what I was doing. I recommend using the Standard preset when gaming, as it looks the most natural. If you’re looking to experiment, the RPG preset makes the display slightly more colorful. However, it can give certain games an unpleasant jaggedness, so feel free to switch between Standard and RPG presets depending on what you’re playing. Text and desktop icons also have the same issue, so RPG mode isn't great when browsing the internet or working on your computer.

When I’m playing a graphics-heavy game, I’ll keep AMD FreeSync Premium on and Response Time at Extreme. However, when playing a very technical and skill-based game like Valorant, I sometimes set Response Time to MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time), which is not compatible with AMD FreeSync Premium and lowers the brightness of the monitor. It makes things pop a bit less, but it's a solid way to increase player performance by lowering response time and reducing motion blur.

Dell S2721HGF benchmarks 

The Dell S2721HGF did a decent job in our benchmark tests, proving that it’s a worthwhile monitor for its price. However, it hit nowhere near its advertised brightness of 350 nits.

The Dell S2721HGF managed an average of 234 nits of brightness. One of its competing gaming monitors, the ViewSonic Elite XG270, costs an additional $200 and hit an average of 277 nits. And for $699, you can get the Razer Raptor 27, which averaged 295 nits. The Dell S2721HGF may be the least bright of the bunch, but once again, it’s also the cheapest.

Dell S2721HGF Review

(Image credit: Future)

The Dell S2721HGF did a solid job on our color range test. When set at the RPG preset, it hit 110.3% of the sRGB color gamut. However, the ViewSonic Elite XG270 (130%) and Razer Raptor 27 (162%) have it beat.

When we tested for the DCI-P3 color gamut, the standard for movies and TV shows, the Dell S2721HGF did well with a rating of 78.1% on the RPG preset. Both the ViewSonic Elite XG270 (94%) and Razer Raptor 27 (114.8%) managed to do quite a bit better.

The Dell S2721HGF destroys its competition in color accuracy, with a Delta-E rating of 0.22 on the Standard preset (lower is better). The ViewSonic Elite XG270 (0.3) and Razer Raptor 27 (0.27) did worse, even though they’re both much more expensive.

Dell S2721HGF picture settings 

In the Game tab, users can swap between Standard, FPS, Moba/RTS, RPG, Sports, ComfortView, Warm and Cool presets. They can also create a custom color, which allows them to mess with response time, gain, offset, hue, saturation and dark stabilizer. Game Enhance Mode can display frame rates, create a timer or allow the user to change the display alignment. 

Dell S2721HGF Review

(Image credit: Future)

AMD FreeSync Premium, which lowers latency and reduces screen tearing, can also be turned on or off. Additionally, response time can be switched between Fast, Super Fast, Extreme and MPRT. Dark Stabilizer, which balances the darker parts of the screen to make them look natural, can also be switched from 0 to 3.

In the display settings, you can change aspect ratio, input color format and sharpness. In the menu tab, you can edit how long the settings remain when a button was last pressed, the transparency of the menu, and you can choose between eight languages for display text.

Bottom Line 

The Dell S2721HGF is a good gaming monitor for those on a tight budget. It boasts solid performance, a satisfying minimalist design, an incredibly simple installation, and a plethora of game-optimized menu options designed to enhance the player's experience. 

Unfortunately, the display could be brighter and its picture quality isn’t exceptional in general. That being sad, the monitor does well once you consider its $224.99 price tag. If you’re on the prowl for something incredibly bright, vivid and colorful, consider the Razer Raptor 27 or ViewSonic Elite XG270. However, be prepared to spend anywhere from $400 to $700 dollars.