Dell UltraSharp U2913WM review

19 Feb 2013

Dell goes ultra-wide with its UltraSharp U2913WM monitor, which combines sterling image quality with a novel 21:9 aspect ratio

Price when reviewed: 
481(£481 inc VAT)
Buy it now for 
5

While most widescreen monitors follow the standard 16:9 aspect ratio, the Dell UltraSharp U2913WM dares to be different – it’s the first PC monitor we’ve seen in the unusual 21:9 format.

The monitor uses an IPS panel with a matte anti-glare coating, and cuts an imposing figure on a desk. It’s no taller than a regular 23in widescreen monitor, nor any deeper, but it’s almost 7in wider, giving it a long 29in diagonal and an unfamiliar native resolution of 2,560 x 1,080.

At first, this ultra-wide aspect ratio is disconcerting. With only as much usable height as a Full HD monitor, the 2,560-pixel horizontal resolution makes the Windows desktop look oddly letterboxed. Soon, though, it simply comes to feel like having two 1,280 x 1,024 monitors placed side by side, with the bonus of no bezels to cut the desktop in half. The width makes it possible to spread a large browser window alongside a Word document, or to use the Windows Snap feature to quickly split the monitor down the middle for effective multitasking.

Dell UltraSharp U2913WM

For entertainment, the Dell’s eccentric proportions can be both a blessing and a curse. Games such as Battlefield 3 and Crysis 2 look fantastic, with the ultra-widescreen resolution giving a highly involving, almost cinematic experience. The shape of the screen is also perfect for widescreen movies shot in the 2.33:1 format: with no need for the black bars as seen on 16:9 monitors, the action stretches from corner to corner. With video recorded in a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio, however, the Dell’s extra width is wasted, with wide black bars appearing at the screen’s edges.

Image quality is excellent. At its default settings, the U2913WM reaches a maximum brightness of 349cd/m2, with an exemplary 1,170:1 contrast ratio. This out-of-the-box configuration is perhaps a little warmer than is ideal – we recorded a colour temperature of 5,920K – but overall colour accuracy is excellent, with an average Delta E of only 2.1.

Engage the Dell’s factory-calibrated sRGB mode and things get better still. Although the maximum brightness and contrast ratio drop slightly – to 325cd/m2 and 1,084:1 respectively – colour temperature edges upwards to 6,222K, closer to the ideal of 6,500K, and the average Delta E figure drops to only 1.1.

Dell UltraSharp U2913WM

In terms of physical design, the U2913WM has D-SUB, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort inputs, as well as a DisplayPort passthrough and a 3.5mm audio output. An integrated USB 3 hub provides two side-facing ports and another two at the rear. Adjustability is another strong point, with the Dell’s stand providing a height adjustment of 130mm, and ample forward and backward tilt.

The UltraSharp U2913WM’s great image quality and features are backed up by a three-year on-site warranty, and an immensely reassuring no-pixel-defect guarantee. Desktop users may prefer a conventional design that affords more vertical breathing room; our recommended ViewSonic VP2770-LED, for example, features a 27in 2,560 x 1,440 panel for not much more money. However, gamers and movie-buffs will revel in the superb visuals and generous screen width of this beautifully realised display.

Details

Price ex VAT £401
Price inc VAT £481
Overall rating 5
Image quality 6
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5

Main specifications

Screen size 29.0in
Aspect ratio 21:9
Resolution 2560 x 1080
Screen brightness 349cd/m2
Contrast ratio 1,162:1

Connections

DVI inputs 1
VGA inputs 1
HDMI inputs 1
DisplayPort inputs 1
HDCP support yes
Upstream USB ports 1
USB ports (downstream) 4
Headphone output no
Other audio connectors Audio pass-through

Accessories supplied

Internal power supply yes

Image adjustments

Brightness control? yes
Contrast control? yes

Ergonomics

Height adjustment 130mm
Pivot (portrait) mode? no

Dimensions

Dimensions 700 x 195 x 487mm (WDH)

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