"The Dell P2720DC offers a superbly balanced monitor that is perfect for docking laptops via USB-C."
Excellent balanced range of functions
Good picture quality
Power supply is supported via USB-C
As a monitor shopper you can sometimes feel like goldilocks in front of three bowls of porridge. 1080p is boring and 4K is too expensive. A 21-inch is too small to be worth it, and 32-inches is too big for your desk.
The Dell 27 USB-C monitor (model number P2720DC) tries to be the happy medium. It's a 1440p, 27-inch IPS display that wants to impress you with its balance more than with its data sheet. Professional photographers or gamers are not blown away. Instead, it wants to be the monitor that most people like.
At $ 360 (compared to the original price of $ 480), however, it has to prove something. Fortunately, it has a trick up its sleeve that keeps it competitive: USB-C docking with power and chaining. Is that enough to make this monitor the monitor most people should buy?
After unpacking, you'll be greeted with one of Dell's superb stands that screw into the rectangular base from below. Then lower the monitor and tilt it forward to snap onto the stand. From there, you have a monitor with a range of settings ranging from height, tilt, pan, and rotate to portrait, so it can be set exactly as you see fit.
I can't imagine an office where the Dell P2720DC would be out of place.
This extensive range of customizations is particularly useful for people who work from home to ensure that their ergonomic requirements are met, to work at their desks for hours, and for companies that adhere to strict ergonomic guidelines for their work areas have to.
Most displays have some sort of tilt function, and it is expected that height adjustments will also be made in this price range. However, Dell always goes the full mile and also adds a twist to the portrait, unless the display is of such a wide format that it won't be able to.
But it's the design that Dell often catches the eye. The display looks very professional, looks incredibly clean and all around and I can't imagine an office where it would look out of place.
Care has also been taken in the details. While in older monitors the cable management cut-out in the neck was too low, which led to visible cables, the hole is higher in the latest displays from Dell, so that the cables are only visible when the display is in the highest position – a position that You will rarely use it in.
However, if you don't find the P2720DC fashionable enough, the Dell Ultrathin D2719DC may be just the thing for you. He has a slimmer profile.
Connections and controls
When it comes to connectivity, Dell has gone the extra mile with its P2720DC. As mentioned earlier, this display has USB-C docking, which is helpful in a number of situations.
The most notable thing is connecting laptops. The connector supports 65 watts of power, so it can send the video data from your laptop to the monitor while charging your laptop. This cable also handles data transfer between your laptop and the monitor's internal USB hub.
Here, however, I came across a blatant gap. When you look at the frame, you think the P2720DC has built-in speakers – but that's not the case. Dell reuses the frame from other displays for the P2720DC, but has no speakers built into it. Most competitors like Lenovo ThinkVision P27h-20 have speakers.
Of course, in a large office, you can't get away with listening to music through speakers, but they can be helpful for quickly showing a video to a colleague without fumbling with earplugs, or worse, finding external speakers. Office managers may like it, but the lack of built-in speakers seems an inappropriate place to cut costs.
For the rare situation where you need it, you can use the built-in speakers of a connected laptop with the P2720DC.
When it comes to other connectivity, the display has an HDMI port and two DisplayPort ports – one of these two DisplayPorts is an input and the other is an output for connecting a second monitor using the DisplayPort daisy chaining function, which also works with the USB -C connector.
The Dell P2720DC is best suited for modern laptops.
I found another gap: a USB-B port for upstream data. To use the display's internal USB hub, you must use the USB-C connection. This makes the display somewhat unsuitable for use with desktops, since USB-C ports are not yet widely used on desktops. Often, even if your desktop has one, you won't be able to view it, which will result in another cable.
If you want to use the hub with an older PC, you will also need to find the correct USB-A to USB-C cable as it is not included.
The buttons for the OSD (screen display) are located in the lower right corner of the monitor. This position makes them a little less ergonomically accessible than from the side, but it helps to place multiple displays side by side, which many buyers may do with the daisy chain function.
The OSD itself is easy to navigate and provides the basics for configuring the display, including brightness, contrast, and color options. It also has a handful of display modes, including Standard, Movie, Games, Comfort, and more.
Although the P2720DC may not offer the longest color range or fancy factory calibrations, eyes won't be missing. According to Dell, the IPS panel offers 1.07 billion colors as well as extremely large viewing angles, a contrast ratio of 1000: 1 and a maximum brightness of 350 nits.
The resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels is also the sweet spot at 27 inches and offers a lot of screen space and sharpness. It is possible to jump to 4K at this price, but may need to affect the image quality of the IPS panel as well as some of the peculiarities of this monitor.
If you want to keep these features, you need to easily check if you have to invest an additional $ 200 in your budget for the 2020 27-inch 4K UltraSharp monitor from Dell, the Dell U2720Q.
Dell has also coated the display with an excellent anti-glare layer, which is vital in an office environment. I used the monitor in a room with a window glowing directly on it and lights from everywhere, but the picture still looked vivid and I didn't need the highest brightness setting. Of course, I wouldn't recommend editing photos in such an environment, but the display was more than for office work, which is exactly the goal.
Subjectively, Dell built a wonderful monitor, but how does it work when I throw our Datacolor Spyder X Elite on it?
Long story short, surprisingly good. I measured a peak brightness of 395 nits, which is even higher than what the data sheet promises, and the best contrast ratio also occurs at peak brightness with a maximum of 1,090: 1. The color space coverage corresponds to the data sheet with 100% of the sRGB space, but decreases in AdobeRGB with 78%. The color accuracy was achieved with an average Delta-E (difference to real) of 2.08, which is not bad for a non-calibrated monitor. It's not as accurate as the Acer ConceptD CM2, but it's not a problem.
Professional editors may want to jump to a 4K display with a larger color space.
Against this background, the calibration of the monitor itself has brought no major changes. The brightness, contrast and color gamut remained the same, except that I pushed an additional percent more AdobeRGB color gamut out of the display. I managed to improve the color accuracy to an average Delta-E of 1.3.
To put this into context, a professionally calibrated monitor has a Delta-E of less than 2, so that after calibration, the P2720DC is technically accurate enough for professional machining work. However, professional editors probably want to switch to a 4K display with a wider screen color space for the AdobeRGB area.
However, for those who are not ready to invest in a colorimeter, the pre-calibration results of the Dell P2720DC are good enough for small daily changes of a non-professional caliber.
The P2720DC from Dell is a monitor that promises too little and delivers too much. If you're a laptop user who needs one or more displays, the P2720DC offers the flexibility in connectivity you could want, and the USB-C docking function for a cable makes switching between home and child's play child's play.
The lack of built-in speakers can put some people off, and the lack of a non-Type-C upstream USB port for the internal USB hub makes the display somewhat inconvenient for use with desktops. The P2720DC makes up for this with a professional appearance and an IPS panel that provides a pleasant and uniform picture. The excellent anti-glare coating is just a cherry on the top and is ideal for use in well-lit office environments.
Are there alternatives?
Dell competes in a crowded room with the P2720DC, so there are certainly alternatives. A small handful are the ViewSonic VX2785-2K, the Lenovo ThinkVision P27h-20 and, if you don't need a USB-C, last year's UltraSharp 27-inch QHD monitor from Dell, the U2719D, which costs about the same but smaller is steady rests and a factory calibration.
HP also has a competitor with almost identical specifications and prices, the HP Z27n, which only supports a power of 15 watts.
How long it will take?
Dell grants a 3-year warranty on the P2720DC for the exchange service. This means that a new one will be delivered to your office or home before the old one is picked up – and in my experience, this can be done very quickly.
Outside the warranty period, you shouldn't have to worry either. The P2720DC has LED backlighting that is usually not prone to failure, and there is no complexity that increases the likelihood of failure. Therefore, the P2720DC should last at least as long as a monitor: five years.
Should I buy it?
Yes. If you are looking for a home office monitor with excellent image quality and excellent laptop connectivity, the Dell P2720DC is the one for you.