Pros: 4K resolution at 60Hz, Good image quality, Solid built in speakers, Competitive price, Elegant design and build quality
Cons: Few display settings, No integrated VESA compatibility, Lacks position adjustment
Monitors have really come down in price recently. In terms of the features you get for the money, now is a great time to be looking for a display. There are tons of options to choose from when selecting your monitor. Most displays are typically focused on one aspect like accurate color reproduction, high resolution, gaming performance, or visual appeal. For example, a monitor with good color support typically isn't a good gaming monitor, and vice versa. Today I will be taking a look at Dell's S2817Q 4K 28" monitor to see how it performs and where it fits in the ever expanding market.
The packaging isn't too snazzy but it doesn't need to be; it's what on the inside that counts. The main things Dell is advertising this monitor with are the 4K resolution, low 2ms response time, and supposedly "rich and engaging" audio. Everything arrived in once piece with no scratches or damage at all. Included in the box we find the panel, the base and stand, a USB3.0 upstream cable, a DisplayPort to mini DisplayPort cable, an AC power cable, an HDMI2.0 cable, and a user's manual. Surprisingly though there was no standard DisplayPort cable, but the miniDP option should be just fine. All of the cables feel high quality and not like something they threw in at the last minute.
The included base was something I wasn't too fond of. Most monitors typically screw directly in to the base and have an integrated vertical stand. The S2817Q has a third piece in the middle. This piece screws in to the metal base and then the monitor slides on top. It was a rather loose fit and was finicky at first. The stand uses a flat metal plate that slides in to the corresponding grooves on the monitor. It didn't inspire much confidence, but it hasn't fallen off yet so I guess there's nothing to worry about. There is a locking mechanism that engages when everything is snug. To remove the monitor, use a small screwdriver to push the detachment button. The lock will disengage and you can then pull the monitor up and out of the base.
Mid way up on the stand is a cutout for cable management. I have seen this on many newer monitors and I really appreciate it. The entire stand is rather minimalistic and it helps make for a cleaner desk. The base is much smaller than you would expect, but it is still very stable. In terms of adjustment there aren't many options at all. It will tilt towards or away from you a few degrees and that's it. No rotation between portrait and landscape, no height adjustment, and no swivel. I would have been more alright with this if I could have mounted it to a dedicated VESA stand, but that isn't possible in the standard configuration. You need to purchase a $32 adapter to get VESA compatibility . The other Dell monitors in its class are VESA compatible, yet I don't know why this one isn't.
At its thickest part, the monitor is around 3" deep. With the stand it will take up just over 7" front to back. The screen dimensions are 18.5" x 26" with a total viewable image size of 27.9". The S2817Q also weighs in at 11lbs. There are no flashy accents or anything adventurous about the industrial design. It is just glossy black on the bezel and back with a matte silver base plate. Be careful as the bezel attracts fingerprints very easily. Build quality is overall pretty solid.
Here we have a bottom up view of the monitor. Starting from left to right there is an AC power plug, two USB 3.0 downlink ports, a USB 3.0 uplink port, audio out, two HDMI ports with one being HDMI 2.0, a DisplayPort 1.2, and finally a mini DisplayPort. I'm happy to see Dell finally got rid of the VGA port, but legacy users might miss the DVI port. DisplayPort is currently the way to go for 4K monitors. Some models have 4 or more USB ports but I personally have never used them, so 2 is plenty. They are situated on the back so you can't easily plug or unplug things. It is a perfect, out of the way spot to plug in a wireless mouse receiver though.
Let's talk about the physical buttons and the on screen display now. Considering the quality of the rest of the monitor, they seemed cheap and out of place. Located at the bottom right of the panel, they are tiny, difficult to press, and easy to mistake for the power button. Luckily they are hardly ever used to it's not too much of an issue. The S2817Q has some preset modes for color output but I just left it at a neutral color balance. Getting in to the main display settings, we find the rest of the options. There is brightness, contrast, and color balance and that's about it. Since it's not a content creation or gaming monitor, it doesn't need to do much and these features would be plenty for nearly all users. The monitor also supports picture in picture. From the menu you can change the volume of the dual integrated 9W speakers, but I found that impractical. I just set it to 100% and changed the volume from my desktop.
Speaking of the internal speakers, I was pleasantly surprised! I was actually expecting them to be feeble and harsh to listen to, but that certainly wasn't the case. They are way ahead of most built in monitor speakers. I noticed they lacked a strong low end and they were still a bit tinny at the top. That being said, they were still very enjoyable to listen to. The drivers point away from the user so some clarity is lost in that respect, but they definitely got loud enough for normal use. While they do sound good, if you are looking for a monitor in this class you should really just get some nice dedicated speakers or headphones.
The image quality is what you'd expect. It is a TN panel so like I said previously, it shouldn't be used for any professional color work. The S2817Q has a supported color range of 1.07 billion colors. That is much larger than the more standard 16.7 million. It was a bit washed out and bland at first, but after some minor tweaks it doesn't look too bad. The blacks are deep and sustained at slightly wider than normal viewing angles. Most similar TN monitors have acceptable viewing angles up to about 45 degrees off center. The S2817Q went a bit further to about 70 or 80 degrees before the image started to look bad. There was very little color shift along the way too. Moving up or down, the image starts to degrade much faster just like is typical with TN displays. Regularly viewing the monitor from such off angles isn't too common, so nothing to worry about here. The only issue I noticed was with the greens. On a pure white image, I detected a faint green / yellow tint at times. Unless you switch monitors or are regularly comparing it to a professional grade model, you won't notice this at all.
Finally, on to gaming performance. Dell makes the 2ms response time very prominent. Considering it isn't a "gaming monitor", this number is really impressive. Most 4K monitors in this price range are at 5-6ms or more. Gaming is still really enjoyable on this monitor. There is a built in "fast response time" mode that was probably designed for fast paced FPS or MMO games, but it really destroys the image and I wouldn't recommend it at all. The contrast in any section on screen with movement just gets blown up and looks terrible. Maybe I got a defective unit, but this should never ever be turned on in my opinion. Also worth noting is the full 60Hz refresh rate. Some 4K monitors only offer that high resolution at 30Hz, but the using the proper DisplayPort cable, the S2817Q is able to pump out the full 60Hz. This monitor doesn't have any Adaptive Sync feature like FreeSync or GSync, so image tearing can be an issue at low framerates. Note the tears in the second image. It was very hard to notice and reproduce, but it is there. The higher resolution makes it even more evident. Overall though, I was very happy with the gaming performance.
Dell's S2817Q isn't the cheapest 28" 4K monitor, it doesn't have the best image quality of monitors in this price range, and it isn't the best gaming monitor, but it certainly isn't the worst either. Some monitors do one thing really well but struggle at other aspects. That isn’t the case here. I'm a bit unsure of what market space Dell was trying to fill with the monitor, but nevertheless it's a great all around display for the average home user that wants to get into 4K. The monitor is enjoyable to watch and doesn't break the bank either. If you're looking for a solid 4K monitor, I think the S2817Q would be a really nice choice!
Here is a link to the forum post for discussion.