Artist Review: Dell UP2716D Monitor (2560x1440)

Disclaimer #1: Dell loaned me the UP2716D for two weeks for review purposes.
Disclaimer #2: I'm not paid for this review.
Disclaimer #3: I have bought Dell monitors for personal use since 2005, starting with 2001FP -> 2405FPW -> 2709W -> U2711 (5-year-old currently, spoiled and replaced 2 times)

The Dell UP2716D

With the disclaimers out of the way, let's talk about the UP2716D.

The Dell UP2716D is one of three monitors released recently by Dell for 2016, the other two are UP2516D and UP3216Q (4K). They have specifications aimed at artists, graphic designers and video makers who place emphasis on colour accuracy.

Who am I?

I'm an artist who also does graphic design, photo, video editing and write a lot on my blog.

I'm reviewing this monitor from the perspective of someone into print production at a newspaper company. I cannot speak for professional video or photography work because I don't do those for a living. However, I do produce a lot of videos and photos for my Youtube channel and website.

Colour accuracy is something I respect. But I'm not obsessed to the point, nor does my work require me, to get a screen colour calibrator. Paper quality of newsprint is beyond my control. If your work is meant for screen, photography or video, or for magazines, then I highly recommend you get a screen calibrator like the Spyder.

Specifications that matter

My ideal monitor for production work is one with the following specifications:

  • IPS Panel
  • Widest gamut
  • Resolution higher than 1920 by 1080
  • Screen size larger than 24 inches
  • Matte non-glossy screen
  • Adjustability for tilt, height and swivel

After filtering out Dell monitors that do not meet the criteria, we are left with...

Main difference between UP2516D and UP2716D are screen size and resolution.

Colour accuracy is of utmost importance when it comes to production work. When I type in numbers for CMYK, the colours have to come out precisely the way I intend them to be. The colours also have to appear uniform across the entire panel. A good IPS panel meets all these criteria so having an IPS panel is a must. UP2716D uses a 10-bit IPS panel, capable of producing 1 billion colours, more than meets my specifications.

For TN panels (cheaper), their viewing angles are restricted in the sense that colours change depending on where you are viewing the screen. Colours like grey that appear at the top of the screen may look white when viewed from the centre. No kidding. Someone standing and sitting behind a TN panel will see different colour.

If you respect the work you do when it comes to print and video production, get an IPS panel. If you're working for magazines, or shooting for weddings, get the best monitor you can afford.

UP2716D Specifications

Below are the specifications for UP2516D and UP2716D. The only difference in screen size.

Viewing size 27-inch, 25-inch
Panel type IPS
Resolution 2560 x 1440 @ 60Hz
Contrast Ratio 1000 to 1 (typical), 2 Million to 1 (dynamic)
Brightness 300 cd/m2 (typical)
Response Time 6ms
Color Support 1.07 billion colors
Color Gamut 100% Adobe RGB, sRGB, REC709, 98% DCI-P3
Backlight LED
Coating Anti-Glare with 3H hardness
Adjustability Tilt, Swivel, Height Adjust
Ports DP, mDP, HDMI, 4 x USB3

What the monitor comes with

  • Monitor
  • Stand
  • Power Cable (varies by country)
  • mDP-DP Cable
  • USB 3.0 Cable
  • Drivers and Documentation Media (CD)
  • Quick Setup Guide
  • Safety and Regulatory Information
  • Factory Calibration Report

The stand and the mount are the latch on type, so you just slide the monitor onto the stand, hear a click and it's locked in place. To detach the screen, the press the release latch beneath the mount. No screwdriver is required for setup, unless you want to mount it on a VESA arm.

The monitor does not come with DVI or HDMI cables.

Design of the monitor

I'm currently using the U2711 monitor that I bought in 2010. Compared to my 5-year-old U2711, the new UP2716D is slightly smaller and compact. The front to back takes up less space on my small table so I really appreciate the compactness.


The bezel is 7mm thin except for the bottom. I use a Mac and the bezel is as thick as the Mac OS menu bar. At times when I move my mouse cursor towards the top, I get the impression my mouse cursor is going to fly out of the bezel. The bezel is even thinner that laptops bezels.

The screen is matte which is terrific. Screen surface is flushed with the bezel, making the front almost one seamless flat surface.

The backlight technology is LED. It uses less energy compared to CCFL backlight, After running the monitor for hours, it warms up only slightly. Overall, it uses less energy (45W vs my U2711's 113W).


All the controls are touch sensitive and the menus are pretty simple and straightforward. Anyway, after you've configured the settings, you'll never use the menus again.

Connectivity

  • DisplayPort
  • mini-DisplayPort
  • 2 x HDMI (MHL)
  • 4 x USB3 with one charging port
  • 2 x USB3 upstream


What's missing is the multi-memory card reader seen in some Dell high end monitors. I don't miss the memory card reader though. The current card reader on my old U2711 has broke. With the UP2716D, I've USB3 card reader plugged permanently into the USB port.

The USB 3 port is fast. I can transfer 10GB in less than 2 minutes. Transfer speed depends on your storage device, be it a memory card or external drive.

Performance

Phenomenal.


When it comes to colour accuracy, I configured the monitor to match what I see on my watercolour sketches and the colours are reproduced faithfully.


The 2560x1440 resolution is high enough for me. I can't see individual pixels at one arm's length away. You can open two 1024px wide browser windows and still see icons on the desktop. That's good for writing with research material in another browser window.

Backlight bleeding is not noticeable from what I can see. Black levels are exceptional. I filled a screen with 4C black (Total ink level at 400) and black screen is indistinguishable from the bezel.


Doing graphic design work on this monitor is more than satisfactory. You can lay out pages and still see much of the controls and palettes. The 27-inch can fit a physical sheet of A3 paper, so for most purposes like laying out a magazine or book, chances are you will be able to see your pages at 100% size. If you work for newspaper, the pages on screen will of course be scaled down, just like what you see in the photo above.

The advantages of working on a screen that can show your pages at 100% size is that you see fonts at the actual size that they will be printed.

The 2560x1440 resolution runs at a maximum of 60Hz. Gaming on consoles like the XBox or PS3/4 is not a problem as they top out at 60 FPS so the monitor can handle them with no problems. I've no experience with PC games so I can't comment on that. As the screen resolution is higher than 1080P, the graphics are upscaled with the unavoidable graininess but it's really not too bad when you look at it from far, like two arms length. For gaming on Windows machine at the native 2560x1440 resolution, you'll need to have a decent graphics card if you run at full resolution at high frame rates.

While on the topic of gaming, note that you can plug both Xbox and PS3/4 into the two HDMI ports provided. There's a 3.5mm audio jack out so you can get sound out from your gaming consoles with that.

For my purposes which deals with 2D work (including video editing), I've no problem running that resolution even with a 2012 Mac Mini with an integrated graphics card, Intel HD Graphics 4000. You just need a DisplayPort.

You'll get the best performance with the mini-DisplayPort cable provided. HDMI runs 1080P but it might not work at 2560x1440 with some systems. And there is not DVI port with the UP2716D.

Make sure your computer supports DisplayPort.

Video review

Would I buy this monitor?

If I'm choosing a monitor today for production work, I will consider the UP2716D and UP3216Q because of the larger screen size compared to the 25-inch UP2516D.

Here's who I think the various monitors are for

UP2516D: You want a more compact screen at high resolution. You get to save up to USD $200 from the UP2716D. Slightly better for those with limited table space.

UP2716D: You want a larger screen for production work but do not produce 4K videos.

UP3216Q: You produce 4K videos. Note that monitor's DCI-P3 support is at 87% (down from 98% of the 27-inch).

Overall, I find the UP2716D to be an excellent monitor in terms of price, value and performance. If you don't produce 4K video, this is the monitor I would recommend over the UP2516D.

Why I've used Dell monitors over the years?

The Dell Ultrasharp series of monitors provide good value for money. Prices are very competitive with other brands. Warranty coverage is quite good too as you have the option to extend it up to 5 years. My U2711 was actually exchanged twice because the original unit's LCD screen leaked, and the second unit had a yellow cast. After two exchanges, the monitor I'm using is now 3 years old and still going strong. However, the spring mechanism in my multi-card reader has broken, which is the reason why I don't miss the lack of card reader in the UP2716D.

Availability

You can read more reviews on Amazon links (below), or read the full specifications on Dell's website.

Dell UP2716D: US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP

Dell UP2516D: US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP

Dell UP3216Q: US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP

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