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Monday, September 14, 2020

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If you are looking for a general-purpose monitor, this is not the display to urge. Like most inexpensive, fast gaming monitors, it uses a Twisted Nematic panel, a technology which enables fast response times and high refresh rates, but has poor color and visibility characteristics. it isn't the worst TN display I've seen, but I would not even suggest it for love or money aside from gaming. The viewing-angle issues are terrible as is typical of TN -- you'll see, but the colors change significantly and text washes out. Streaming video looks washed out also, because of its limited dynamic range.


But for gaming, a minimum of for fast-paced games, you almost certainly won't notice any of these issues, unless you've it found out side-by-side with a far better display. I prefer a 27-inch monitor generally, and therefore the Dell S2417DG does seem to confine compared with one. the skinny bezel allows you to set them up for side-by-side operation (but, like most monitor designs, this setup blocks the 2 USB ports on the left side). you'll also rotate it vertically for side-by-side placement that way.

The display measures at only about 96 percent sRGB with a typical contrast of about 600:1 and a brightness of 356 nits, pretty normal for this sort of monitor, though it's measurably darker towards rock bottom of the display. Given the way what you see varies with the viewing angle, I do not think anyone will notice the nonuniformity. But the shortage of dynamic range means more tweaking than I prefer to urge the surreal pastels and bright flame highlights in Bioshock Infinite. it's fine, but not terrific.

You can set the monitor's refresh rate as high as 144Hz -- up to 165Hz if you enable the overclocking, which you'll tweak in 5Hz increments to fine-tune for any flickering you would possibly perceive. (I didn't see any flicker, but I'll not be sensitive enough thereto to gauge.) The high refresh and/or G-Sync should be ready to catch up on any frame-rate-induced artifacts that you simply may have when connected to a lower-power graphics card, which usually can't drive it at a frame rate above the utmost refresh, a minimum of with any decent quality.

Features and aesthetics

The monitor shares the understated aesthetics of its predecessor, distancing itself from many much more ostentatious gaming offerings. The front features slender ‘dual-stage’ bezels, with a really slim hard outer component and slender panel border visible at the highest and sides (and just a sliver at the bottom). the entire bezel width, including both components, is ~6.5mm (~0.26 inches) at the highest and sides, slightly slimmer than the already svelte bezels of the 27” model. At the front of the monitor rock bottom, the bezels are ~17.5mm (~0.69 inches) including a sliver of panel border, sloping diagonally downwards and backward slightly. The stand base is matte silver plastic, with black plastic used on the neck and semi-matte plastic used for rock bottom bezel. The screen surface is light matte anti-glare, as explored later.

Towards the proper of rock bottom bezel, facing downwards, are the pressable buttons that control the OSD (On Screen Display) and power state of the monitor. the facility LED is found on the facility button, a slit running from the center to front of the button. This glows a cool white when the monitor is on and flashes when it's on standby. Or more specifically when it's in an ‘active-off’ state, which occurs if the signal to the pc is lost with the monitor on and therefore the power button isn’t pressed. If the facility button is pressed to show the monitor ‘off’ then the facility LED goes out. the subsequent video gives a run-through of the OSD.

The monitor appears quite slender from the side, coming in at around 20mm (0.79 inches) at the thinnest point and lumping out more centrally. On the left side of the screen, there are 2 USB 3.0 ports (bottom one supports fast-charging) and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The included stand offers good adjustability; tilt (5° forwards, 21° backward), swivel (45° left, 45° right), height (130mm or 5.12 inches), and pivot (90° dextrorotation into portrait). the entire depth of the monitor including its stand is ~180mm (7.09 inches), which provides it a shallow footprint and allows it to be pushed quite far back albeit your desk isn’t particularly deep.

The screen itself is simply a touch bit back from the front stand edge, perhaps 20mm (0.79 inches) approximately. The width of the stand base is additionally faraway from excessive and again highlights that the planning is sort of minimalistic for a gaming monitor; ~244mm (~9.61 inches) wide. With the screen at the lowest height rock bottom of the screen clears the desk by ~49mm (~1.93 inches) with the highest of the screen ~365mm (14.37 inches) above the desk.

At the rear, the black glossy plastic is employed throughout, with the exception of the port area where matte black plastic is found and therefore the stand which incorporates matte black and silver plastic elements. The stand neck also features a loop towards rock bottom which may be used as a cable-tidy. A quick-release bracket mechanism is employed for stand attachment, allowing the stand to be easily removed. 100 x 100mm VESA holes are found beneath for alternative mounting. there's a Kensington Lock slot towards the left side of the screen, at the rear, whilst the ports found here face downwards. They are, from left to right; AC power input (internal power converter), 3.5mm audio output, DP 1.2a (supports G-SYNC), HDMI 1.4, USB 3.0 upstream, and a couple of further USB 3.0 downstream ports (4 total).

Calibration

The monitor uses a light-weight matte anti-glare screen surface with a comparatively smooth surface texture. this is often almost like the surface used on newer revisions of the Dell S2417DG and provides superior clarity and vibrancy potential compared to stronger matte screen surfaces, like that used on earlier S2716DG revisions and various other 144Hz+ monitors. The screen is free from obvious graininess, even when observing the brightest shades, whilst quite effective glare-handling characteristics are maintained.

The usual RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) stripe subpixel layout is employed, which is that the default layout for contemporary operating systems like Microsoft Windows and Apple’s macOS. Mac users, therefore, don’t get to worry about text fringing from non-standard subpixel layouts and Windows users don’t get to run ClearType. they'll still wish to run through the ClearType wizard and adjust consistency with preferences, however.

Testing the presets

The monitor offers ‘Preset Modes’; ‘Standard’, ‘FPS Game’, ‘RTS Game’, ‘RPG Game’, ‘Warm’, ‘Cool’, and ‘Custom Colour’. The ‘Custom Color’ preset is especially useful because it allows you to manually adjust the red, green, and blue color channels. The ‘Game’ presets are a replacement addition that wasn’t found on the S2716DG, but they’re of limited use really as all they appear to try to do is upset the image by causing varying degrees of oversaturation, crushing shade variety at the high-end. we'll not be dalliance watching these intimately, but are going to be that specialize in a number of the opposite ‘Preset Modes’ which we feel do have good utility. The table below shows key readings (central gamma and white point) taken employing a Datacolor Spyder5ELITE colorimeter and also general observations employing a range of settings.


The Dell S2417DG was left to run over 2 hours before these readings were taken and observations made, with the monitor in its ‘Plug and Play’ state. No additional drivers or ICC profiles were loaded, except where explicitly mentioned. An Nvidia GTX 1070 was used with Windows 10 installed on the system. Unless otherwise stated, assume default settings were used with the exceptions being the ‘Optimal OSD settings’, ‘Test Settings’, and ‘Relaxing evening settings’ where various adjustments were made. The monitor was set to 165Hz, although this didn't have a big impact on the observations made here. Where ULMB was tested (at 85Hz, 100Hz and 120Hz), brightness was set to ‘100’.

Optimal OSD settings

There are not any gamma settings within the OSD and no possible way to regulate the gamma curve of the monitor without significantly upsetting the image in other ways. it had been therefore impossible to urge any closer than ‘2.1’ on the average for the gamma, which isn’t bad really but also almost where you’d ideally want to be. The brightness was reduced to easier levels for our preferences and lighting environment and a few changes made to color channels within the ‘Custom Color’ preset, to realize on the brink of the 6500K target.

Note that individual units vary and these should only be used as a guide and should not necessarily be optimal for all units. Any setting not mentioned here, including contrast, was left at default. We’ve included the ‘Response Time’ setting and refresh rate utilized in Windows also, only for reference.

Test Settings (ICC profile)

We created an ICC profile with a Spyder5ELITE colorimeter, using the ‘Optimal OSD settings’ above as a base. The gamma adjustment is basically the key change made here, to assist slightly improve the richness of some shades. The ICC profile is restricted to our unit, but the gamma behavior of those monitors is usually quite predictable so it should a minimum of improving that aspect quite reliably. It also can be combined with whatever brightness or color channel adjustments you need – as long as they aren’t too extreme, the development to gamma should remain. to form use of our profile do the following:

Contrast and brightness

White and black luminance levels employing a range of settings on the monitor were accurately measured employing a BasICColor SQUID 3 (X-Rite i1DisplayPro). The table below shows this data, with blue highlights indicating results under the ‘Optimal OSD settings’, ‘Test Settings’, and ‘Relaxing evening viewing’ settings. Black highlights indicate the very best white luminance, lowest black luminance, and the maximum contrast ratio recorded. Assume that any setting not mentioned here was left at default, with exceptions mentioned within the calibration section.

The average static contrast was 821:1, with only brightness adjusted. This falls a touch in need of the required 1000:1, but the difference in perceived contrast is hardly profound. the utmost contrast was obtained in ‘Custom Color’ with all color channels in their neutral position of ‘100’ – at 940:1, it’s fairly on the brink of the required 1000:1. With the adjustments made to our ‘Optimal OSD settings’ and for our ‘Test Settings’ (ICC profile applied on top) static contrast was 850:1 which is cheap. This dropped to 600:1 following application of our ‘Relaxing evening viewing’ profile, which made significant color channel adjustments.

The contrast dropped touch with ULMB active also, although a smaller drop to around 750:1. the very best luminance recorded on this table was a bright 398 cd/² and therefore the lowest white luminance a rather dim 35 cd/m². This yielded a powerful luminance adjustment range of 363 cd/m².

PWM (Pulse Width Modulation)

The monitor doesn't use PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) and instead uses DC (Direct Current) dimming in the least brightness settings. this suggests the backlight is classed as ‘flicker-free’, which can come as welcome news to those sensitive to flickering or other side-effects from PWM usage. The monitor isn't ‘flicker-free’ when ULMB is active, because the whole operating principle of strobe backlight solutions like this involves flickering. the character of this flickering is different thereto induced by PWM, though, so sensitivity to PWM flickering doesn’t necessarily mean ULMB is going to be considered problematic.

Luminance uniformity

Whilst observing a black screen during a dark room we observed slight backlight bleed and a touch little bit of clouding, towards rock bottom of the monitor. this is often shown within the image below, crazy the monitor running our ‘Test Settings’. Note that individual units vary when it involves backlight bleed. If you view the monitor ‘off-angle’, whilst observing dark content during a dimly lit environment, you'll see a golden sheen in places.IPS glow’ neither is it visible from a traditional viewing position.

The contrast in games and films

On Battlefield 1 (BF1) the contrast performance was reasonable overall. Dark areas, like building interiors and shadowy exterior locations, had well-defined detail. There was some detail loss towards the very top of the screen, with some extra detail revealed centrally and to a greater extent lower down the screen. the additional detail towards rock bottom of the screen was primarily thanks to the viewing angle weaknesses (perceived gamma shifts) mentioned earlier and related to the TN panel.

This variation comparing to the highest to bottom of the screen wasn't as noticeable from a traditional viewing position as on the larger S2716DG where the viewing angle difference is more significant comparing the highest to bottom regions of the screen. There was no ‘IPS glow’ or anything like that to sap away detail towards the corners of the screen, either. Bright elements like explosions and gunfire in contrasted well with darker surroundings, whilst brighter shades appeared fairly smooth (free from obvious graininess) thanks to the screen surface.


Dirt Rally provided an identical contrast experience. This game has some particularly dark night environments and again illustrated the decent dark scene representation of the monitor overall. There was again some loss of detail further up the screen and additional unintended detail elsewhere. Particularly near rock bottom. Bright elements like car headlights contrasted nightly and didn’t appear overly grainy, as they might on some matte screen surfaces. This helped give them a purer look with superior ‘pop’ also. There were no ‘IPS glow’ to impede detail levels near rock bottom corners of the screen or elsewhere either, which was a pleasant bonus in dark scenes.

We also assessed the Blu-ray of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This film may be a good test for contrast and benefits greatly from strong performance during this area, with many scenes involving bright objects or computer graphics lighting up very dark environments. The monitor put during a decent performance, obviously not capturing the contrast experience seen on models with much stronger contrast (decent VA LCDs, for instance) but still representing things quite well. the general level of detail in dark scenes was respectable and bright elements stood out very nicely, again appearing relatively smooth thanks to the screen surface.

Lagom contrast tests

We used Lagom’s tests for contrast to more closely analyze specific strengths and weaknesses in contrast performance. the subsequent observations were made.

  • Performance on the contrast gradients was strong with all blocks appearing distinct from their neighbors.
  • Performance on the black level test was good therein all blocks were distinct against the background. the primary few blocks appeared more distinct than they ideally would for ‘2.2 gammas’, but the visibility of all blocks was suffering from viewing angle. If you progress the blocks further up the screen or lower your head, they subsided visibly. There was no noticeable dithering.
  • The results of the white saturation test was reasonable. the ultimate three patterns weren't as distinct as they ought to be unless you lowered your head a good bit. this is often thanks to the viewing angle weaknesses associated with the TN panel.
  • The greyscale gradient appeared quite smooth, although there was some banding that was slightly more noticeable with the ICC profile applied. There was no noticeable dithering and therefore the upper end appeared fairly smooth because of the screen surface avoiding an excessively grainy or smeary look.

Colour reproduction

The color gamut of the S2417DG (red triangle) is compared with the sRGB color space (green triangle) using the Spyder5ELITE within the image below. the color gamut is extremely almost like the 27” monitor, offering quite comprehensive sRGB coverage. There’s just a touch little bit of under-coverage in places and a touch of over-coverage, particularly within the green and red corners of this particular gamut representation. this provides the monitor a touch of additional vibrancy potential which suits its intended uses.

Colour in games and films

On BF1 shades had an upscale and natural look, with good variety. As explored earlier, some shades did lose saturation lower down the screen and gain slightly excessive depth further up the screen albeit represented correctly centrally (from a traditional viewing position). Forested areas, for instance, have a broad range of green and brown shades within the game and these tend to seem lusher than intended near the highest of the screen and more muted near rock bottom. this suggests the excellence between closely matching shades isn’t there to an equivalent degree as on panels with stronger viewing angle performance, particularly IPS-type panels.

Having said that, the general representation was good and positively rich instead of ‘washed out’ overall. there have been many nice rich earth brown shades and plush green shades, giving the environments a believable look. there have been some nice vivid oranges and reds displayed, making explosions and gunfire appear suitably lively also. Overall the color reproduction, although bound by the standard TN restrictions, provided an upscale and interesting experience on this title.

Dirt Rally showcased an honest range of rich shades, with an honest sort of racing environments to point out these off. These environments appeared natural and largely as they ought to, although the aforementioned saturation shifts did still apply. There were a pleasant depth and richness to varied green shades whilst more muted dusty khaki shades were also well represented. a number of the more vibrant and crowd-pleasing colors during this title come from the car paint jobs.

There were some rather striking neon greens, bright yellows, and bright pinks showcased here. These again lost touch of pizazz towards rock bottom of the screen, where saturation was weaker, but never really went as far as looking ‘washed out’ even here. The intended look was captured on this title quite well, be in natural-looking racing environments or vibrant reminder paint designed to catch the attention.

We also tested the Blu-ray of Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder, to assess color reproduction. With its large areas of individual shade, this is often one among our favorite tests for color reproduction – it's rather unforgiving. This title highlighted the TN-related color consistency weaknesses. The skin tone of a given character, for example, appeared an equivalent as another character should at certain points of the screen.

 This ‘shade-crossover’ applied more broadly and meant that subtle shade variety and identity were diminished. the general grouping of shades was correct, though, therein vibrant neon colors lived up to their name, deep colors appeared deep and full overall, and more muted shades appeared suitably pastel overall. Although we hate to generalize an excessive amount of, we’d say that this title also looked more on the ‘vibrant’ than ‘washed out’ end of the spectrum – but in a great way, not an oversaturated way.

Viewing angles

Lagom’s viewing angle tests were wont to more closely analyze the color consistency and viewing angle limitations. the subsequent observations were made up of a traditional viewing position, eyes around 70cm from the screen.

The purple block appeared a mix of lilac and pink, with the more solid lilac area appearing within the top central region surrounded by a pink hue. This pink hue shifted readily consistent with head movement.

  • The red block appeared quite rich red at the highest third approximately of the screen, becoming increasingly pink-looking further down the screen.
  • The green block appeared lime green with some extra yellowing near rock bottom of the screen.
  • The blue block appeared deep blue throughout.
  • The Lagom text had red alternate striping for many of the screens, with just the very top of the screen (especially centrally) appearing with green striping. The striping color shifted consistently with head movement. this means strong viewing angle dependency to the gamma curve of the monitor, typical for a TN model of this size. The photo below gives a rough representation of how this looked from a traditional viewing position.

Responsiveness

As covered within the OSD video earlier, there's an ‘Overclock’ feature within the ‘Display’ section of the OSD. This overclocks the refresh rate of the panel, which is natively 144Hz, to 165Hz. you'll alternatively select an overclocked refresh rate of 150Hz, 155Hz, or 160Hz. Even at 165Hz, we didn't observe any issues on our unit with continuous running at this refresh rate, which is why we settled on this for many of our testings. Most users should find it works without issue on their system, but remember that the DisplayPort cable you’re using could potentially cause issues – specifically an extended or poor quality cable could cause signal dropouts.

 Although DP may be a digital signal and there's no such thing as ‘revisions’ of a cable (DP 1.1, DP 1.2, etc.) it's proven itself to be a somewhat sensitive signal at elevated bandwidths (i.e. 2560 x 1440 @ 165Hz). We used both the DP cable included within the box and a ‘Cable Matters’ 6ft cable which we had handy and had no issues with this feature with either cable.

Input lag

We used a little tool called SMTT 2.0 alongside a sensitive camera and a variety of displays of known latency, to calculate the input lag of the Dell S2417DG. Over 30 repeat readings were taken to assist maximize accuracy. Using this method, we calculated 3.51ms (a little over half a frame at 165Hz) of input lag. This value reflects both the element of input lag you ‘see’ (pixel responsiveness) which you ‘feel’ (signal delay). It indicates a really low signal delay, which shouldn’t be bothersome even to sensitive users. We don’t have the means to accurately measure latency with G-SYNC doing its thing, but to us, it felt considerably light a coffee latency high refresh rate monitor should with this technology active.

Perceived blur (pursuit photography)

In this article, we explore key factors that affect a monitor’s responsiveness. an idea called ‘perceived blur’ is introduced, which is contributed to not only by the pixel responsiveness of the monitor but also the movement of your eyes as you track motion on a screen. for contemporary monitors, this second factor is really the foremost significant. A special photography technique called ‘pursuit photography’ is additionally introduced, which uses a moving camera to capture the perceived blur on a monitor during a way that reflects both pixel responsiveness and eye (camera) movement.

The images below are pursuit photographs taken using the UFO Motion Test for ghosting, with the center row (medium cyan background) used. The test was run at its default speed of 960 pixels per second, which may be a good practical speed for such photographs and highlights both elements of perceived blur nicely. The UFO moves across the screen from left to right at a frame rate matching the refresh rate of the monitor. The monitor was set to a variety of refresh rates – 60Hz, 100Hz, 144Hz, and 165Hz. it had been also set to 85Hz, 100Hz, and 120Hz with its ULMB feature active and therefore the ‘Pulse Width’ set to its default value of ‘100’.

The ‘Fast’ reaction time setting is merely shown at 144Hz because the nature of the trailing (or more specifically, overshoot) is that the same no matter the refresh rate. the ultimate column shows a ‘Reference Screen’ running at 60Hz and 144Hz plus all of the refresh rates tested with ULMB. This reference screen maybe a Dell S2716DG set to its optimal ‘Normal’ reaction time setting (where applicable), which provides a useful comparison as a highly responsive 144Hz monitor that this model will naturally be compared with. Note that any interlacing in these photographs is moirĂ© from the camera and not observed on the monitor itself.

At 60Hz the UFO appears noticeably blurry, with a scarcity of fine detail. this is often caused almost entirely by eye movement – there's little or no trailing or overshoot (inverse ghosting) visible behind the UFO. it's largely like the 60Hz reference (S2716DG) with a rather ‘cleaner’ performance if anything thanks to a scarcity of dark trailing (overshoot) behind it. this is often faint on the reference display, which is sweet, but absent on the S2417DG, which is best. At 100Hz the UFO becomes more sharply focused, indicating a big decrease in a perceived blur thanks to eye movement.

There's no obvious trailing behind the thing, either – just a really faint whiff of overshoot. At 144Hz the thing becomes even more sharply focused, with a number of the diner detail like the segments of the UFO becoming more distinctive. there's a touch little bit of overshoot, but this is often very faint – more so compared to the reference shot. This contrasts with the apparent inky trail of inverse ghosting (strong overshoot) behind the thing using the ‘Fast’ setting. At 165Hz the fine details become even more distinctive and therefore the object a touch more sharply focused again. This signifies another improvement in a perceived blur – and there's no obvious trailing or overshoot to talk of, either.

With ULMB active you'll see that the UFO is significantly sharper with the segments of the UFO body and therefore the Alien’s face appearing more distinctive. the extent of detail improves further at 100Hz and again at 120Hz – note the clarity of the white dots on the UFO body at 120Hz especially. The perceived blur thanks to eye movement is extremely low, which accounts for the clarity of the thing itself. ULMB does involve a robust overdrive impulse to be used, though, to stop frame overlap. you'll see the effect of that within the sort of inverse ghosting behind the thing. this is often not as strong as using the ‘Fast’ reaction time setting with ULMB disabled – note again that the ‘Response Time’ setting can’t be adjusted with ULMB active.

The performance here is extremely almost like the reference S2716DG, which is probably unsurprising given the general similarities between the displays. Note that these images don't show the flickering which may be observed with ULMB active – this is often mentioned earlier within the review and can be touched upon within the dedicated ULMB section also.


It is quite clear from this analysis and indeed analyzing the monitor more broadly that the ‘Normal’ setting is perfect. Even at 165Hz, the monitor is in a position to supply a really ‘clean’ performance that's finely optimized – free from obvious trailing or overshoot. this may become even clearer during the subjective analysis that follows. that's an improvement over the 27” model, which had some more noticeable overshoot in places. it had been not particularly obnoxious in our view, as we noted within the review, but the performance here is superior therein respect. Another advantage of the 23.8” model is that we didn't observe interlace pattern artifacts (some people may call these ‘inversion artifacts’) either during motion or when observing static content.

Responsiveness in games and films

Where the frame rate kept pace with the 165Hz refresh rate (i.e. 165Hz) on BF1, the general fluidity was excellent. The ‘connected feel’ as you interact with the sports world was excellent, far superior to even rock bottom latency 60Hz displays. the very fact that the monitor was outputting 2.75 times the maximum amount of visual information every second not only improved the ‘connected feeling’, but also greatly reduced perceived blur. This was obvious whether moving the mouse around and changing the character’s viewpoint, sprinting about, or occupation a vehicle because the game world appeared more sharply focused. it had been easier to trace and have interaction ‘the bad guys’ as a result and for those sensitive, to motion blur, the experience was altogether less dizzying.

With 165Hz/165fps, there was a small advantage over even highly responsive 144Hz models (running at 144fps) like the Dell S2716DG. This was true both in terms of the connected feel and level of perceived blur. The difference was only slight and far more subtle than moving from 60Hz up to 100Hz or from 100Hz up to 144Hz. And indeed sensitivity to the present varies, so nobody will appreciate this quite the maximum amount as others anyway. One thing we feel could also be more broadly appreciated is that the complete lack of obvious overshoot, even during the transitions that troubled this model’s 27” counterpart. There was nothing quite the faintest hint during a little number of transitions, nothing eye-catching in the least. Despite this, there was no noticeable conventional trailing either.

We also enjoyed the high frame rate of 165Hz experience on Dirt Rally. it had been easier to admire the scenery whilst tearing through it during a fast car with the reduced level of perceived blur afforded by the 165Hz refresh rate. This was again a subtle difference coming from 144Hz, but more appreciable compared to LCDs with lower refresh rates. We also felt considerable ‘at one’ with our car thanks to the superior ‘connected feel’; nice though this was, it might be more of a plus to users who are literally experienced and competent in racing games. and doubtless more noticeable if a wheel were used instead of a keyboard also.

There was again no obvious overshoot and no noticeable trailing from slower than optimal pixel response times. Clearly, a superb balance had been struck with the grey to grey acceleration on this monitor, even at 165Hz.

To wrap up, we tested out Blu-ray movie titles. there have been no weaknesses caused by but optimal or stronger than optimal pixel overdrive; no trailing or overshoot was evident from the monitor. There were many perceived blur and an overall visual fluidity that was severely impacted by the 24fps approximately at which the titles run, however. There was a small advantage to running the monitor at a multiple of this 24fps, like 120Hz or 144Hz instead of 165Hz (or 60Hz) for movie watching. This reduces juddering thanks to the very fact the frame rate fits neatly into the refresh rate. The monitor also offers a 24Hz option for purists out there, and this appeared to work as intended without frame skipping or other issues.

G-SYNC – the technology and activating it

G-SYNC may be a variable refresh rate technology, available when compatible Nvidia GPUs are connected to compatible monitors like this one. In our article on the technology, we explore the mechanisms of this and appearance at the advantages it brings to the user. We don’t shall repeat this but will just reiterate the essential concept. ‘G-SYNC’ monitors have a proprietary chip inside the monitor that replaces the normal scaler and a few of the assistive electronics of the monitor. The monitor and GPU are ready to communicate with one another during a way that permits the monitor to dynamically adjust its refresh rate consistent with the frame rate of the content.

This synchronization eliminates the tearing and juddering (VSync off) or stuttering (VSync on) that happens where refresh rate and frame rate are misaligned. additionally, to the present, latency is reduced compared to VSync on (although we don’t need to mean to accurately measure this, as mentioned earlier).

The S2417DG supports Nvidia G-SYNC via DP 1.2a (the DisplayPort input of the monitor) when used alongside a compatible GPU with a variable refresh rate range of 30 – 165Hz. This automatically activated for use when the monitor was first connected, and this is often usual behavior. If G-SYNC is active you'll see ‘G-SYNC Mode’ listed at rock bottom of the OSD, next to the present resolution and refresh rate. to make sure things are found out correctly do the subsequent. Open Nvidia instrument panel and navigate to ‘Display – found out G-SYNC’.

Make sure that the checkbox for ‘Enable G-SYNC’ is checked then select your preferred operating mode. As shown within the image below, the technology will work both in ‘Full Screen’ and ‘Window’ modes, counting on the chosen option. If there doesn’t seem to be a G-SYNC section in your Nvidia instrument panel, try unplugging the monitor and plugging it into a special DP output on the GPU. Or failing that, reinstall the GPU driver.

The second setting of interest is VSync. this will be set to; ‘On’, ‘Use the 3D application setting’, ‘Off’, or ‘Fast’ (GPU dependent). If ‘On’ is chosen, VSync activates once the frame rate reaches the frame rate ceiling of the monitor (i.e. up to 165Hz / 165fps). If ‘Off’ is chosen, the frame rate will go as high because the system can manage – the frame rate may rise above 165fps, and tearing and juddering could also be visible. Nvidia initially advised that users select a particular VSync setting within the driver and disable any in-game implementation, just in case that implementation interfered with the graceful running of G-SYNC. In our experience, it doesn’t make any difference whether it's enforced via the driving force or the sport.

The ‘Fast’ setting is out there on certain newer GPUs, including the GTX 1070 utilized in our test system. this permits ‘Fast Sync’ which comes into play where the frame rate exceeds the G-SYNC ceiling (up to 165Hz / 165fps). G-SYNC operates as was common below this whilst a special version of VSync called ‘Fast Sync’ comes into play above this. ‘Fast Sync’ is specifically designed at very high frame rates, ones that comfortably exceed the refresh rate ceiling of the monitor by quite some margin. The technique is meant to mix the minimal latency of ‘VSync off’ without the extent of tearing related to that option. this is often a GPU feature instead of a monitor feature, so isn’t something we’ll be exploring through. We’d advise pertaining to this section of a video by Tom Petersen if you’re curious about the technology and the way it works alongside G-SYNC.


Regardless of which VSync setting you to decide on, the refresh rate of the monitor behaves in just an equivalent way where the frame rate dips below the ground of operation (lowest refresh rate/frame rate supported which is 30Hz / 30fps). The monitor will stick with multiples of the frame rate with its refresh rate, essentially eliminating stuttering and tearing from situations where the frame rate and refresh rate aren't perfectly matched or in neat multiples.

 If the sport dropped to 26fps, for instance, the monitor would run at 46Hz instead of simply staying at 30Hz or switching to a static 165Hz. Whilst this is often effective in combating stuttering and tearing, low frame rates are still low frame rates no matter G-SYNC and therefore the experience is way from the fluid. Also note that stuttering issues related that doesn't have anything to try to to with the refresh rate and frame rate mismatch (latency, low RAM, etc.) won't be rectified either.

G-SYNC – the experience

We tested G-SYNC on a variety of titles including Tom Clancy’s The Division, Star Wars Battlefront, and Dirt Rally. The technology worked flawlessly on titles we tested and did exactly what it began to try to to. rather than repeating observations over a variety of titles, which might be similar, we'll be that specialize in Battlefield 1 (BF1). This offers an appropriate range of graphics options to permit G-SYNC to be tested over its full range of frame rates and refresh rates. Using settings we are happy to use there was a good little bit of fluctuation in frame rate, but it generally kept to triple digits (between 100fps and 165fps).

Without G-SYNC active and a static 165Hz refresh rate used, these fluctuations and departures from the refresh rate would cause obvious (to us) tearing and juddering with VSync off and obvious (to us) stuttering with VSync on. With G-SYNC active these interruptions weren't present and therefore the overall experience was significantly smoother and more enjoyable. There was still a benefit where the framerate was at the upper end of the range, though, as this decreased perceived blur by a good bit. It also improved the ‘connected feel’ and as far as framerate goes it had been still a case of ‘the higher the better’ therein respect, no matter G-SYNC.

If we increased the attention candy by enabling the ‘Ultra’ preset, the frame rate dropped to around 80fps, with fluctuations typically between around 60 – 100fps. Without G-SYNC this again caused tearing and juddering (VSync off) or stuttering (VSync on), both of which were somewhat more noticeable at these reduced frame rates and something we found quite jarring. The perceived blur and connected feel were again impacted by these reduced frame rates in a negative way, but playability was certainly improved compared to with G-SYNC disabled. By increasing the ‘Resolution Scale’ beyond 100% the demand on the GPU was increased significantly and unsurprisingly framerate took a success.

 As the framerate fell away the ‘connected feel’ became more of a ‘disconnected feel’ and perceived blur increased to new levels, but the shortage of stuttering and tearing was maintained regardless. This was even the case below the 30fps minimum that G-SYNC could handle by direct refresh rate matching (30Hz), with the monitor keeping tearing and stuttering in restraint by settings its refresh rate to multiples of the frame rate.

We certainly felt that G-SYNC was beneficial to the gaming experience. Low frame rates were low frame rates regardless and that we preferred the frame rate to be as high as possible, but the slight mismatches that were just about inevitable on titles like BF1 were much more palatable with G-SYNC. It’s worth remembering that individual sensitivity to ripping and stuttering varies. Whilst some users are quite sensitive thereto and thus find it noticeable and bothersome, others don’t really mind it such a lot. In our experience most users do find a degree of enjoying G-SYNC, sometimes a big one, and find it difficult to travel back to gaming on monitors without such a variable refresh rate technology.

ULMB – the technology and activating it

ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur) is another proprietary Nvidia technology which may be enabled rather than G-SYNC on compatible models. this is often a strobe backlight technology specifically designed to scale back motion blur using the mechanism described here. Essentially the backlight rapidly pulses on (‘on phase’) and off’ (‘on phase’), with the ‘on’ phases being much briefer than the ‘off’ phases. This strobing behavior greatly reduces the quantity of your time that your eyes spend tracking motion on the screen. because it is eye movement that's the foremost significant contributor to perceived blur on a contemporary monitor, the perceived blur is greatly reduced. ULMB requires a compatible Nvidia GPU and that we would again wish to stress that this feature can’t be activated at an equivalent time as G-SYNC.

ULMB is often enabled by first setting the monitor to 85Hz, 100Hz, or 120Hz via Windows or the Nvidia instrument panel. the subsequent step is to navigate to ‘Manage 3D settings’ within the Nvidia instrument panel and choose ‘ULMB’ for ‘Monitor Technology’ as below. there's also a ‘ULMB’ setting within the ‘Display’ section of the OSD of the monitor, which should be set to ‘Enable’. a further setting called ‘Pulse Width’ is often configured within the OSD, which adjusts the length of the ‘on phase’. A lower setting reduces the length of the ‘on phase’, leading to a dimmer image but potentially offering further improvement in motion clarity. Most users will find the clarity to be excellent even with the default setting of ‘100’, however.


The first sign that ULMB has activated successfully is that the screen will begin to flicker at a frequency matching the refresh rate, very similar to an old CRT. The image may appear dimmer as explained earlier within the review. If you open up the most OSD menu of the monitor you'll also see ‘ULMB Mode’ at rock bottom instead of ‘Normal Mode’ or ‘G-SYNC Mode’, next to the present resolution and refresh rate.

ULMB – the experience

Upon activating ULMB you'll notice the aforementioned flickering, which is extremely obvious at 85Hz but still something we noticed quite easily at 100Hz or 120Hz. The image also appeared a touch dimmer (less so at 85Hz). Individual preferences for brightness and sensitivity to flickering do vary, so some users won't mind either the reduced potential brightness of the flickering. The motion clarity is superb with ULMB active, even at 85Hz, as demonstrated with the UFO Motion Test pursuit photographs earlier. The testing below focuses on experience at 120Hz, as this was best in terms of ‘connected feel’ and having the smallest amount of flicker.

We tested a broad number of titles with this mode and located it brought much equivalent advantages regardless. we'll be that specialize in BF1 for this section. as long as the frame rate matching the refresh rate perfectly (in this case, 120Hz), the extent of perceived blur was extremely low and hence the general motion-clarity was excellent. Whether diving and interesting enemies in an aircraft or zipping around on foot, the sharpness and focus retained within the game world even during rapid movement were exceptional. This was a big improvement over 165Hz with the technology disabled. For this to figure, though, the frame rate absolutely must match the refresh rate exactly. that's because there's little or no motion blur to mask stuttering (VSync on) or tearing and juddering (VSync off) and such imperfections stick out sort of a sore thumb. Things simply look wrong where the frame rate and refresh rate don’t match, with ULMB active.

Another issue related to ULMB is that the use of strong pixel overdrive, bringing with it inverse ghosting as shown earlier. This wasn’t really as obvious in-game because it is when watching static photographs specifically highlighting it, though. It generally appears as a faint partially transparent or slightly shadowy trail behind some objects. Because the backlight is strobing, it appears quite distinct from the thing – sort of a faint repetition of the thing instead of a smooth trail behind it. All monitors using ULMB have this to either an identical or more extreme degree and that we don’t feel it really detracts from the general benefits of the technology.

For many users, though, we feel G-SYNC is going to be preferred – note again that you simply can’t use both technologies at an equivalent time. the pliability it provides with frame rate, level of 165Hz ‘connected feel’ (which is best than the 120Hz maximum of ULMB), and lack of flicker will see a mass appeal that ULMB doesn’t. But it’s definitely a useful gizmo for a few users, particularly those that are wont to gaming on CRTs or play titles where consistently high frame rates and extreme paces of action are the norms.

3D Vision 2

This monitor supports Nvidia 3D Vision (1 and 2). An emitter isn't integrated into the monitor, but the technology will work provided you've got the complete kit (emitter + glasses). you'll set this up once the emitter is plugged in by opening the Nvidia instrument panel and navigating to ‘Stereoscopic 3D – found out stereoscopic 3D’. You then select the ‘Enable stereoscopic 3D’ checkbox and run through the setup procedure. The image below shows this section of the Nvidia instrument panel.

The 2560 x 1440 (WQHD) experience on a 23.8” screen

We have already shared some reasonably detailed thoughts on what kind of experience you'll expect when running the WQHD resolution on a 23.8” screen and the way this compares to a 27” WQHD screen and ~24” Full HD screen. Please ask the ‘2560 x 1440 (WQHD) experience on a 23.8” screen’ section of the Dell P2416D review, which is found just before the ‘Interpolation and upscaling’ section because it is here. we'll not be repeating an excessive amount of what has already been said, but will simply reiterate a couple of points and show the screen in action. we'll even be that specialize in a comparison with a 27″ WQHD screen instead of a ~24″ Full HD screen for the images.

The pixel density of a 23.8” screen just like the Dell S2417DG with 2560 x 1440 (WQHD) resolution is 123.41 PPI (Pixels Per Inch). this is often 13.4% above the 108.79 PPI of a 27” WQHD screen like the Dell S2716DG. Text and UI elements, therefore, appear somewhat smaller, although not drastically so, on the 23.8” vs. 27” WQHD screen. the pictures below show the desktop, an internet site, and a few Microsoft Office applications running side by side on both Dell models. The S24 is on the left and S27 is on the proper. We could very comfortably use either monitor without using any scaling, but which will depend upon preferences and eyesight also as preferred viewing distance.

Interpolation and upscaling

As is common with G-SYNC monitors, the G-SYNC module replaces the standard DisplayPort scaler. this suggests that if you've got the monitor connected to a system via DisplayPort, any scaling is handled by the GPU instead of the monitor. Non-native resolutions like 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) appear significantly softer than once they are run natively on a ~24” Full HD monitor. Alternatively, if ‘No Scaling’ (or the equivalent) is chosen within the graphics driver then only 1920 x 1080 pixels are illuminated. You get ~17.5” diagonal for the image itself and an outsized black border surrounding it.

The monitor does have a scaler that will be used when it's connected to a system (be it a PC, games console, or something else) via HDMI. This does a far better job than GPU scaling, so to form sure it's getting used navigate to ‘Display – Adjust desktop size and position’. make sure that ‘No Scaling’ is chosen and ‘Perform scaling on:’ is about to ‘Display’ as shown below. If you're a renegade and are using an AMD GPU or games console with the monitor, scaling will automatically be handled by the monitor via HDMI, when gaming.

Conclusion

We quite broadly praise the Dell S2716DG for its gaming performance, so it had been interesting to ascertain how its smaller brother performed during this role. The 23.8 screens, full of even as many pixels because the larger model (2560 x 1440), had a small edge up pixel density. Text and UI elements were slightly smaller on the desktop, but still perfectly readable in our view, whilst games benefited from a little edge up clarity and apparent detail. This was a reasonably subtle difference, certainly in comparison to UHD models of comparable size or larger (up to 32” or so). The features and aesthetics remained much an equivalent because of the larger model, with a good smaller stand footprint. Not that the S2716DG was problematic therein respect, of course. The ergonomic flexibility was maintained then was the range of ports.

Out of the box, the image quality was somewhat better than the 27” model in the maximum amount because the gamma tracked closer to the desirable ‘2.2’ curve. It wasn’t perfect and benefited from a touch of ‘neatening up’ with an ICC profile, but the general image was still quite rich and varied regardless. With the monitor found out to our liking, as per our ‘Test Settings’, the image was remarkably almost like the 27” model. Things appeared far closer to ‘rich’ than ‘washed out’ on the entire, although the standard TN caveats associated with viewing angle and perceived saturation changes comparing lower right down to further up the screen still applied. 

The screen surface was almost like new revisions, with a light-weight and smooth finish that kept the image free from obtrusive graininess. This was in stark contrast to earlier revisions of the 27” model which featured a noticeably grainier ‘medium’ matte anti-glare surface.

Speaking of contrast, this was decent but by no means amazing on the Dell S2417DG. Following setup as per our ‘Test Settings’, static contrast sat at around 850:1 – a touch weaker than the ~1000:1 of the 27” model but no obvious perceivable differences therein respect. There were no ‘IPS glow’ or anything of that nature, so good detail levels were maintained peripherally. There was some loss of detail towards the highest of the screen thanks to the perceived gamma changes related to TN viewing angle restrictions. There was also some extra unintended detail revealed centrally and moreover lower down the screen. The shifts comparing top to bottom were a touch more subtle than on the larger S2716DG.

Responsiveness was very impressive, with no obvious weaknesses in pixel responsiveness even up to the utmost 165Hz supported by the monitor and really low input lag. the marginally higher refresh rate (165Hz vs. 144Hz) also gave just a small edge up ‘connected feel’ and slightly lower perceived blur, but this was a few differences to write down home about. What we did find more noticeable, though, was the entire lack of obvious overshoot on the Dell S2417DG. The 27” model certainly had nippy pixel responses, but there was also some fairly obvious overshoot in places. This model maintained the nippy pixel responses with only a trace of overshoot here and there – nothing in the least bothersome or that the majority users could even detect. The Nvidia-specific features like G-SYNC and ULMB worked exactly as intended also, busting tearing/stuttering and reducing perceived blur, respectively.

Overall this monitor delivers much of what its larger brother does, during a smaller and lower-priced package. Overall image quality is decent, certainly the following calibration, whilst responsiveness is outstanding. The improvements to the pixel overdrive tuning (i.e. lower overshoot) are going to be considerably welcomed by some users, whilst the 165Hz capability provides a pleasant little bonus that some will admire. As far as gaming monitors go, you'll do far worse than this one.

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