Review: Dell S2817Q 4K monitor

Dell S2817Q is the new budget 4K monitor targeted at gamers, home and casual computer users.

The S2817Q is Dell's cheapest offering among other 4K options such as the P2415Q, P2715Q, P2815Q, UP3216Q, UP2715K, P4317Q.

Of all the 4K monitors mentioned above, the professional ones, those with better colour reproduction, are the P2415Q, P2715Q, UP2715K, UP3216Q and P4317Q. These are IPS monitors meant for work purposes, meant for people who care about colour reproduction.

S2817Q is targeted for home use such as gaming, watching videos and occasional office work.


The monitor I'm reviewing is actually a loan unit from Dell. I had previously review the UP2716D (Youtube | text) and U2717D (Youtube | text). I'm not paid for this review and have to return the monitor.

The other disclaimer is I'm probably not the most appropriate person to review this because the monitors I used are mainly for work, design, photo and video editing. This is not the type of monitor I would buy because it's targeted at people who want to buy this for entertainment purposes.

Alright, let's start.

Build quality

The build quality is slightly on the plasticky side because the plastic doesn't feel as hard when compared to other Dell monitors. But over, the build quality is good enough.

The bezel and the back are glossy. The unit I have has scratches on the glossy bezel so be careful not to scratch yours when fixing up the monitor.

Glossy surfaces are basically fingerprint magnets. However, it's not much of an issue because you don't really touch anything anymore after setting it up.

The screen is matte with an anti-glare filter. There are people online who says that this affects the text and makes them grainy but I've been using such matte screens for years and I have never found anything to be negative. I prefer matte over reflective glossy any day.

Fixing the stand

This monitor comes with a L-shape stand.

Before you fix the stand, spend some time to look at the slot behind monitor to see the hidden metal holders within. The metal part of the stand should go in between those holders in the slot. Push it in and you should head an audible click that signifies that the stand has locked onto the monitor.

To separate the stand from the monitor, just use a screw driver to push down the hole between the monitor and stand, and you should be able to pull out the stand slowly. There's a little screwdriver icon beside the hole.

I find that it's easiest to fix the stand and monitor is to sit down with your thighs horizontal, place the monitor face down on your thighs, and push the stand in slowly.

The monitor can only be adjusted for tilt, not for height or orientation.

And note that this monitor cannot be VESA mounted.

Cables included

The cables included are

  • Power cable
  • HDMI 2 cable
  • mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable
  • USB 3 cable

There are no DVI cables or ports included.

HDMI 2 supports 4K up to 60Hz.

Image quality

The S2817Q uses a TN panel so there's the usual downside of limited viewing angles. Because the screen is so huge, very subtle shifts in colour can be detected from different areas of the screen without even moving the head. In other words, the colours that are most accurate are those right in front of your eyes and colour shifts will appear, usually, near the edges.

The limited viewing angles means this monitor is not suitable for graphics, video and photography. IPS panels are more suitable although they are not that cheap when it comes to 4K resolution.

Dell listed the monitor to have 1.07 billion colours and supports a 72% NTSC (100% sRGB). While the monitor can produce that amount of colours, how the colours actually look will vary because of the viewing angles.

When it comes to gaming, watching movies, the issue with limited viewing angle is less critical because you don't expect solid areas of flat colours. With graphic design, when you want an area with flat colours, you don't want to see colour shifts. Same applies to photo and videography if you really want to the colours to come out the way you see them.

This monitor comes with integrated 9W speakers below. The speakers are downward facing so it does affect clarity. But overall, the sound quality is quite satisfactory to me. The sound comes from connecting either the HDMI or Mini DisplayPort to the computer.

On the Mac, there does not seem to be anyway to adjust the volume of the speakers. You can't use the volume buttons on the keyboard and there are no volume control buttons on the monitor. This to me is a significant downside. The alternative is to turn off the monitor speakers from the menu and use your own speakers.

On Windows, you can easily adjust the volume through any controls that you can find.

I did face some problems with the sound quality at times. On rare occasions, after listening for a few minutes, the sound will start to produce static. Changing display cables solves the problem for a while, but after a while that static will come back. This happens rarely but I thought I should bring it up. Anyway, I have my own speakers so I don't really use the monitor speakers.

Also at the bottom are the physical buttons for the menus. It's awkward to reach them but not a big deal as you won't need to use them much.

4K For gaming

I don't really play games although I did try playing Portal 2 on my Mac. I had the resolution up to 4K and it still runs very smoothly with no lag at all. I wasn't able to detect any screen tearing on the monitor.

The response time is a 2 ms typical (G to G). It runs 4K at 60Hz which is respectable for console gaming which will mostly be upscaled to that resolution anyway. At 1080P, it can handle 144Hz but strangely this information is mentioned on other websites but not on Dell's. So if you can run games at 4K and don't mind the frame rate, it's awesome.

4K for work, video

Running 4K resolution on a 28 inch screen makes the user interface and text look small. Buttons appear small in Final Cut Pro, Lightroom or Photoshop or any other software you'll be using. If you're using web apps like Google Docs, it's not a problem because you can zoom in.

While surfing the web, I find myself having to zoom in to webpages often, and to do that frequently is a hassle.

This is my first experience with a 4K monitor and I know for sure that if I were to get a 4K monitor on my own, I want it to be at least 30 inches or larger.

4K does give you more working space because you can squeeze more content into the same screen size. If you're into photography, you can see more of the photo without having to zoom in, and you get to see them really sharp because of the high density resolution. Same applies to video. Watching 4K videos is just amazing. If you regularly consume 4K content, whether games or video, viewing them on such high resolution is a treat, a pleasure. The sharpness is noticeable when compared to a 27-inch 1440P screen. However, because it's a TN panel, I won't recommend it for use with graphic design, photography or video. If you don't have the budget for a 4K IPS panel, perhaps you should get an IPS panel that runs 2560 by 1440 resolution for the time being.

See that window? That's 2560 by 1440 on a 4K screen.

Other features

There's the Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture feature that allows you to view content from two difference sources. Could be useful. I didn't have the need to do that though.


I would recommend this to gamers, home users who are looking to consume 4K content, such as games or blu-ray videos. Gamers should find the monitor's 2ms response time satisfactory.

For Mac users, note that you can't adjust the integrate speakers' volume.

I probably would not recommend this monitor for work purposes for the main reason that the user interface is small and not easy to see. It's still not as bad compared to those Retina 15-inch Macbook Pros or the Surface Pro 4 though. Even for things like using the cursor to select text, I find myself having to slow down so that I can select the text I want easily, the feeling I get when selecting text on a smartphone.

So overall, if you want to use this monitor to consume video content or games, go for it. You're not going to be affected by colour shifts from the limited viewing angle because they are difficult to detect when you're in the game or watching a show.

The monitor comes with 3 years warranty from Dell.


Check out more reviews of the Dell S2817Q on Amazon at | | | | | | |


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