Dell U2913WM
Simon Baker, 22 January 2013

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Above: Dell U2913WM


Introduction

This year we've seen the arrival of something pretty different in the desktop monitor market. Widescreen monitors have been around for many years, with 16:10 formats gradually now being phased out in favour of new 16:9 format screens. Large 24" and 27" screens are becoming the norm, but now a few manufacturers have decided to experiment with a new option for widescreen experiences. Dell are one of the first to release a new 21:9 aspect ratio screen in a pretty massive 29" size. The screen is classified as super-widescreen or panoramic, but offers a 2560 x 1080 resolution and a big area in which to work. This seems to be an interesting new idea, providing an attractive option for movies and gaming, and also for side by side multi-tasking, perhaps being a decent replacement for some dual-screen setups.

The U2913WM forms part of Dell's new 2013 line-up of UltraSharp screens and is the first 29" model they have released, and also the first super-widescreen offering. The "W" suffix signifies this Widescreen nature, while the "M" signifies it is a standard 16.7 million colour screen (like the U2312HM, U2412M, U2713HM etc). The screen even carries some of Dell's new high-end features including an AH-IPS panel, factory calibration and a uniformity compensation feature. We've also reviewed the new 27" U2713H (16:9 aspect) screen recently.

The Dell marketing states: "Experience the panoramic 29" (73cm) Dell  UltraSharp U2913WM, featuring 2560 x 1080 Full HD, versatile connectivity and innovative productivity features. Enjoy precise colours calibrated at the factory to support more than 99 percent sRGB colour space at a delta-E of less than 5."


Specifications and Features

The following table gives detailed information about the specs of the screen:

Monitor Specifications

Size

29"WS (73.02 cm)

Panel Coating

Light Anti-glare (matte)

Aspect Ratio

21:9

Interfaces

1x Dual-link DVI (HDCP), 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x Mini DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI, 1x D-sub

Resolution

2560 x 1080

Pixel Pitch

0.265 mm

Design colour

Matte black bezel and stand

Response Time

8ms G2G

Ergonomics

Tilt, swivel, 130mm height

Static Contrast Ratio

1000:1

Dynamic Contrast Ratio

2 million:1

VESA Compatible

Yes, 100mm

Brightness

50 to 300

Accessories

DL-DVI cable, Power cord, USB 3.0 upstream cable, Mini DP to DisplayPort cable, Cable Tie, Factory Calibration Report

Viewing Angles

178/178

Panel Technology

AH-IPS

Weight

With stand and cables: 8.34 Kg

Backlight Technology

W-LED

Physical Dimensions

(WxHxD with stand - max height)
699.8 x 487.0 x 194.2 mm

Colour Depth

16.7m (8-bit)

Refresh Rate

60Hz

Special Features

4x USB 3.0 ports, Audio out, Factory calibration sRGB mode, uniformity correction, touch sensitive controls, PbP

Colour Gamut

Standard Gamut
72% NTSC (CIE 1931), >99% sRGB coverage

Manufacturers website link: Dell

The U2913WM offers a very good range of video connections which is great to see and something which Dell have always done a good job with on their UltraSharp models. There are D-sub, HDMI, Dual-link DVI, DisplayPort and now Mini DisplayPort provided for video interfaces. It's nice to see HDMI provided for users who want to connect other devices, particularly external Blu-ray and DVD players. The digital interfaces are HDCP certified for encrypted content as well. There is also an audio out connection for connecting headphones / external speakers if you wish to take the sound from the HDMI or DisplayPort inputs. There are no integrated stereo speakers on this model although the screen is compatible with Dell's SoundBar if you wish.

The screen comes packaged with a dual-link DVI and DisplayPort >  Mini DisplayPort cables which is useful although there is no normal DisplayPort or HDMI cable provided with the screen unfortunately, presumably due to cost saving measures. The screen has an internal power supply and so you only need a standard kettle lead (provided) to power the screen. There is a 4-port USB 3.0 hub provided as well, with 2 ports on the back and 2 ports on the left hand side of the screen. The USB cable to connect back to your PC to power these ports is provided in the box. Unlike some of the other Dell models (U2713H and U2711 for instance) there is no card reader on this model unfortunately which personally I find useful. The screen also has Dell's new uniformity correction technology which we will test later on as well. This didn't seem to do much at all on the U2713H so it will be interesting to see if it helps on the U2913WM.

Below is a summary of the features and connections of the screen:

Feature

Yes / No

Feature

Yes / No

Tilt adjust

DVI

Height adjust

HDMI

Swivel adjust

D-sub

Rotate adjust

DisplayPort

VESA compliant

Component

USB Ports

Composite

Card Reader

Audio connection

Ambient Light Sensor

HDCP Support

Touch Screen

MHL Support

Hardware calibration

Integrated Speakers

Uniformity correction

PiP / PbP

/



Design and Ergonomics

 


Above: front views of the screen. Click for larger version (bottom only)

The U2913WM looks like a horizontally stretched version of the other recent Dell screens like the U2713HM. It comes in an all-black coloured design with matte plastics used for the bezel and stand. The lower bezel features a shiny silver coloured Dell logo in the centre as you can see from the above images. There is no other writing on the bezel at all.


Above: borderless design of top and side edges. Click for larger version

The bezel actually only protrudes along the bottom edge and it measures ~20mm thickness. On the sides and top edge the screen features a "borderless" design where the screen edge is flat to the panel. It's like some of the other "edge to edge" and "frameless" displays we've seen in recent months. Of course there is still an edge to where the image reaches, measuring ~11mm thickness along the sides and top. With its thin edges the screen looks pretty sleek although the aspect ratio and width are quite unusual at first. You soon get used to it though after a few days of use.



Above: views of the base and stand. Click for larger versions

The base of the stand is fairly large, measuring 288mm width and is made from a matte black plastic. It provides a decent balance for the screen and it remains sturdy when positioned on the desk.

 
 
Above: views of the back of the screen. Click for larger versions

The back of the screen is again a matte black plastic and is nicely rounded and enclosed well. There is a round matte silver Dell logo at the top as shown above. The interface connections are located in the lower portion which you can see from the above image. Since the screen does not offer a rotate adjustment from the stand it can be a little tricky to connect the cables in some cases, but that shouldn't be something you need to change regularly anyway. While the front of the monitor arm / stand is a matte black colour, the back of the stand is a silver coloured plastic which looks nice and provides a good contrast to the black plastics elsewhere. The same style as we've become used to with other recent Dell screens.


The stand comes packages disconnected from the screen in the box. It is incredibly easy to connection and you simply slot it into the panel and it clips in to place. You are able to VESA 100mm wall-mount the screen if you wish as well, and thanks to its very thin profile and relatively light weight (5.76Kg without the stand) it is an interesting option to consider.


Above: view of the base and stand and cable tidy hole. Click for larger version

There is a useful cable tidy hole as you can see from the images above.

The screen is also provided with a small Velcro cable tidy clip to help keep everything neat.
 


Above: views of the top of the screen

 
Above: bottom view of the screen. Click for larger version
 


Above: OSD operational buttons and power button

The OSD operational buttons and power on/off are located in the bottom right hand corner and are situated on the front of the screen as shown, along the right hand side. All buttons including the power are touch sensitive. These only light up when you use them and so are very well hidden during normal use. When the screen is turned on the power LED glows a subtle white colour, and it pulsates on and off in the same white colour when the screen is in standby.



Above: side view of the screen showing profile

The screen has a fairly thin profile from the side thanks to the use of a W-LED backlighting unit. It measures only 194.2 mm deep with the stand. Without the stand it is only 61.2mm.

    



Above: Side view showing 2x USB 3.0 ports. Click for larger version

The screen offers 2x USB 3.0 ports on the left hand edge of the screen as shown above, for easy access and connection of peripherals. There are a further 2 ports on the back of the screen too.

The U2913WM comes with the usual very good range of ergonomic adjustments from the stand which is great news. The only thing not featured here is a rotate adjustment, but with its very large screen size and wide format that would be very impractical anyway.


Above: side views showing full range of tilt adjustment. Click for larger versions

There is wide tilt range, allowing you to move the screen forward 4 and back by 21. This affords you a good range for a wide variety of angles. The movement is easy and smooth.

 
Above: front views showing full range of height adjustment. Click for larger versions

The height adjustment range is also very good. At the lowest setting the bottom of the lower bezel is approximately 35mm from the desk so you can get a nice low height if you require. At its highest setting the bottom of the bezel sits 165mm from the desk giving you a total adjustment range of 130mm. The movement is again easy and smooth, but a little stiffer than the tilt.


Above: Side to side swivel range of the screen. Click for larger versions

The swivel adjustment is smooth and easy as well, and the screen stays firm on the desk while the stand swivels from side to side.  It's good to see the wide range of adjustments available and all are easy to use really, offering a decent range of adjustments and an overall sturdy feel. There is no real wobble from the screen while it's sat on the desk which is good.

A summary of the screens ergonomic adjustments is shown below:

Function

Range

Smoothness

Ease of Use

Tilt

-21 to +4

Smooth

Easy

Height

130mm

Smooth

A little stiff

Swivel

45 +/-

Smooth

Easy

Rotate

n/a

-

-

Overall

Good range of adjustments and mostly easy to use. Sturdy design and feel.

The screen materials  are of a good quality and the design is attractive in my opinion. There is no audible noise from the screen during use, even if you listen very closely. The screen also doesn't seem to suffer from the buzzing issue of the U2713HM and U2713H when displaying certain content with a lot of text. This was only a minor issue on the other screens and very rare to reproduce in day to day uses, but it's good to see the U2913WM does not appear to be affected anyway. The screen stays nice and cool during use thanks to its W-LED backlighting unit.


Above: interface connections on back of the screen. Click for larger version

The back of the screen features video input connections for D-sub, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, DL-DVI and, HDMI. The digital connections are HDCP certified. To the right of the HDMI is the DisplayPort out connection, allowing you to daisy chain several screens if you want. There is also a standard kettle lead power connection as the screen has an integrated power supply. This does make it a little thicker than some of the ultra-thin profile screens you can find which offer an external power brick. There is a single connection for Dell's sound bar if you want to add some speakers to the screen and there's an audio-out socket if you'd rather connect headphones or an external speaker system to listen to the sound from the HDMI and DisplayPort connections. There is also 1x USB upstream for connecting to your PC (cable provided) and 2x USB 3.0 downstream ports available for connecting external devices. Note these are the new generation USB 3.0 ports providing faster transfer rates for compatible devices.


Above: Comparison of the U2913WM, U2713H and U2413 screens side by side. Click for larger version

For interest, we've provided a side by side picture of the U2913WM, U2713H and U2413 screens to give you an idea of the size variations.


Note: some of the above images courtesy of Dell



OSD Menu



Above: OSD operational buttons and power button

Like the new Dell U2713H the U2913WM has touch-sensitive OSD buttons. These 4 buttons are located on the right hand side of the screen next to the power button (also touch sensitive here). The sensitivity works well in practice. Pressing any of the buttons brings up the 4 options available from the 4 touch sensitive buttons as shown below. All the buttons light up in a white colour to show they are now available to use. The power LED glows white by the way during normal use, and pulses on / off white when the screen is in standby. At first these buttons all make a loud beep noise when being used but thankfully that can be turned off within the OSD menu as it's pretty annoying.

From here there is quick access to preset mode selection, brightness / contrast controls and access to the main menu itself. You can in fact personalise the three quick launch options from within the main menu should you wish to.

      

Within the preset modes menu there are options for standard, multimedia, movie, game, paper, colour temperature, sRGB and custom colour. The paper preset is new and replaces the 'text' mode which used to feature instead on Dell UltraSharp monitors. The sRGB mode here carries the factory calibration which we will test later on. If you enter the 'custom color' mode you have access to adjustments for the RGB channels. The second button gives you access to the brightness and contrast controls as shown above as well.

If the screen is in standby or detects no input signal, pressing the OSD buttons brings up quick access to the input selection as shown above.

Bringing up the main menu presents you with various sub-sections down the left hand side as shown. At the top right there is the now familiar "energy use" bar which gives you a visual indication of the power consumption at any given time. This is based on the OSD brightness setting which controls the backlight intensity, and therefore has a direct correlation to the power consumption. The brightness/contrast section is self explanatory of course and is shown above. The 'auto adjust' section is only applicable when using the analogue VGA (D-sub) input.

The input source section allows you to manually select which interface is in use.

Colour settings allows you to change a couple of settings relating to colour format and gamma, but perhaps more useful here is access to the preset colour modes.

The preset modes listed here are the same as those accessed via the quick launch menu.

 

The display settings section allows you to change the monitors aspect ratio for external devices and games. There are options for wide 21:9, wide 16:9, auto resize and 1:1 here. You can also turn the dynamic contrast ratio control on and off in this section of the menu, if you are in a suitable preset mode where it can be activated. Of other note is the new 'Uniformity Compensation' option which we will test later on as well.

The PbP settings section allows you to control various options related to Picture By Picture (PbP). The following configurations are available according to the manual.

 

The other settings section has some controls over the OSD itself. The 'Energy Smart' feature can be turned on and off here as well.

The personalize section allows you to change the quick launch keys if you wish.

Overall the OSD menu offers a decent range of options and it is intuitive and well structured. The touch sensitive buttons worked well on the most part although we did find it a little tricky to click and hold a button sometimes (e.g. when scrolling rapidly between brightness settings). Sometimes they didn't respond as hoped but on the whole they were useable.

 


Power Consumption

In terms of power consumption the manufacturers spec states typical usage of 32W and 90W maximum (with luminance max, USB connected and SoundBar connected). In standby the screen apparently uses <0.5W.

State and Brightness Setting

Manufacturer Spec (W)

Measured Power Usage (W)

Factory Default (75%)

32.0

34.0

Calibrated (33%)

-

23.6

Maximum Brightness (100%)

90.0

42.1

Minimum Brightness (0%)

-

19.3

Standby

<0.5

0.8

We tested this ourselves and found that out of the box the screen used 34W of power while at its default brightness setting. At the maximum brightness level the screen used 42.1W of power (this was without USB / SoundBar connected), and at the lowest setting this was measured at 19.3W. Once calibrated we had reached a power consumption of 23.6W which had been once the screen had been set to achieve a luminance of 120 cd/m2. During standby the screen uses 0.8W of power. We have plotted the results of these measurements on the graph below:

 


Panel and Backlighting

Panel Manufacturer

LG.Display

Colour Palette

16.7 million

Panel Technology

AH-IPS

Colour Depth

8-bit

Panel Module

LM290WW1-SSA1

Colour space

Standard Gamut

Backlighting Type

W-LED

Colour space coverage (%)

~72% NTSC, >99% sRGB

Panel and Colour Depth

The Dell U2913WM utilises an LG.Display LM290WW1-SSA1 AH-IPS panel which is capable of producing 16.7 million colours with an 8-bit colour depth. Dell refer to the panel as being "AH-IPS" (Advanced High Performance IPS) in some of their marketing material, and it is a name which is starting to become more common in today's IPS market. We have started to see other screens emerge with these so-called AH-IPS panels in their specs, and indeed LG.Display themselves made the same distinction when discussing their forthcoming panels earlier in the year, although this new 29" panel wasn't specifically mentioned in the road-map.

The panel is confirmed when dismantling the screen as shown below.




Above: view of the panel used and dismantled screen.
 

Panel Coating

The screen coating on the U2913WM is much like that featured on the recent U2713HM / U2713H models which has been a positive change. It is a normal anti-glare (AG) offering as opposed to any kind of glossy coating. However, this is contrary to a lot of other older IPS based screens which usually feature a grainy and aggressive solution. Dell seem to have toned down the AG coating on recent models including the U2913WM which is great news. It retains its anti-glare properties to avoid unwanted reflections, but does not produce an overly grainy or dirty image that some AG coatings can. This is a light AG coating type.

As a side note, some users reported a "cross hatching" appearance on the recent U2713HM screen, where on very close inspection you could detect a small grid like effect as part of the coating. This didn't affect everyone of course but it was something some people complained about or became sensitive to. Having seen this so-called cross hatching on the U2713HM we're pleased to report that the U2913WM is free from this and does not show any sign of it, even when looking very closely for it.
 

Backlighting and Colour Gamut

The U2913WM uses White-LED (W-LED) backlighting. The colour space of this screen is approximately equal to the sRGB reference and is considered a 'standard gamut' backlight type. The screen covers 72% of the NTSC reference and >99% of the sRGB space according to Dell's specs. A wide gamut screen would need to be considered by those wanting to work outside of the sRGB colour space of course.
 

PWM Flicker Tests at Various Backlight Brightness Settings

100%                                                     50%                                                    0%

Pulse Width Modulation Used

No

Cycling Frequency

n/a

Possible Flicker at

 

Maximum Brightness

No

Middle Brightness

No

Minimum Brightness

No

We tested the screen to establish the methods used to control backlight dimming. Our recent article talks in more details about a common method used for this which is called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). A series of photos was taken using the method outlined in the article. These were taken at maximum 100%, medium 50% and minimum 0% brightness settings. These tests allow us to establish 1) whether PWM is being used to control the backlight, 2) the approximate frequency at which this operates, and 3) whether a flicker may be introduced or potentially noticeable at certain settings.

A thin white line was shown on an all-black background and a photograph was taken at a slow shutter speed of 1/8 second (in this example) as the camera was scanned left to right in front of the screen. This produces a series of white lines which can be used to identify the frequency of the PWM and how quickly the backlight is cycled on and off. The higher this frequency, the less likely you are to see artefacts and flicker. The duty cycle (the time for which the backlight is on) is also important and the shorter the duty cycle, the more potential there is that you may see flicker. Please remember that not every user would notice a flicker from the backlight but it is something to be wary of. It is also a hard thing to quantify as it is very subjective when talking about whether a user may or may not experience the side effects. We are able to at least measure the frequency of the backlight using this method and tell you whether the duty cycle is sufficiently short at certain settings that it may introduce a flicker to those sensitive to it.

We can confirm that the U2913WM does not use PWM at all for dimming of the backlight, which is the same as the recent U2713HM and U2713H in fact. Even at 0% brightness there was no sign of the usual splitting of the white line that you'd expect to see in these tests. We carried out the checks at an even slower shutter speed which returned the same result. This is great news for those who are affected by flickering backlights and suffer from eye fatigue and eye strain. It seems we have seen quite a few new monitors recently which don't use PWM for backlight dimming which is very welcome.

 


Testing Methodology

An important thing to consider for most users is how a screen will perform out of the box and with some basic manual adjustments. Since most users won't have access to hardware colorimeter tools, it is important to understand how the screen is going to perform in terms of colour accuracy for the average user.

I restored my graphics card to default settings and disabled any previously active ICC profiles and gamma corrections. The screen was tested at default factory settings using the DVI interface, and analysed using an X-rite i1 Pro Spectrophotometer (not to be confused with the new i1 Display Pro colorimeter) combined with LaCie's Blue Eye Pro software suite. An NEC branded and customised X-rite i1 Display 2 colorimeter was also used to verify the black point and contrast ratio since the i1 Pro is less reliable at the darker end.


Targets for these tests are as follows:



Default Performance and Setup

Default settings of the screen were as follows:

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

75%

Contrast

75%

Preset Mode

Standard

RGB

n/a


Dell U2913WM - Default Factory Settings, Standard Mode

 


 

Default Settings
Standard Mode

luminance (cd/m2)

239

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.21

Contrast Ratio

1123:1

 

The screen comes out of the box in the 'standard' preset mode, although there is an additional sRGB preset mode which carries a factory calibration which we will test shortly. Default setup of the screen felt too bright which is pretty standard for modern screens but can be easily controlled of course via the brightness control. Apart from that the colours felt well balanced on the whole and you could tell that the colour space was a standard sRGB. We could notice the difference easily when coming from a wide gamut screen like the U2713H we'd just finished testing.

 

Out of the box the performance of the screen was pretty good in this standard mode. The CIE diagram on the left of the image confirms that the monitors colour gamut (black triangle) matches the sRGB colour space (orange triangle) pretty closely, extending a little beyond the sRGB reference in some shades (greens mainly) and falling slightly short in some others (reds).

 

 

Default gamma was recorded at 2.3 average, leaving it only a small 3% out from the target of 2.2 which was good overall. However the  gamma curve was a little off as it was too low in dark shades and too high in light shades as you can see from the table above. White point was a little off the target as well, being a little too warm and recorded at 5960k (8% out). Note that we are using a spectrophotometer to make these measurements which is not sensitive to the LED backlight as some colorimeter devices can be. When using a standard gamut colorimeter not designed to work with modern backlighting units like W-LED, WCG-CCFL and GB-LED there can be a typical deviance of 300 - 600k in the white point measurement which is why some sources may refer to a different white point in this test incorrectly.

 

Luminance was recorded at a high, but not too bright 239 cd/m2 which is still too high for prolonged general use. The screen was set at a default 75% brightness in the OSD menu but that is easy to change of course to reach a more comfortable setting. The black depth was a very good 0.21 cd/m2, giving us an excellent static contrast ratio for an IPS panel of 1123:1. Colour accuracy was also very good out of the box which was great news, even in this standard preset mode which doesn't carry a specific factory calibration as such. DeltaE was recorded at 1.9 average, with maximum of 3.6 and so overall colour accuracy was very good. Testing the screen with various gradients showed smooth transitions with no sign of any banding thankfully. There was some noticeable gradation, particularly in darker tones as you will see from most monitors. Perhaps a little more obvious though than some other screens we've tested.

 

 

 

 

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

75

Contrast

75

Preset mode

Custom Color

RGB

100, 100, 100


Dell U2913WM - Default Settings, Custom Color Mode

  
 

 

Default Settings, Custom Color mode

luminance (cd/m2)

238

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.21

Contrast Ratio

1124:1

 

We also tested the default performance in the 'custom color' preset. This mode allows you access to the individual RGB channels which will give you more control over the hardware when it comes to calibration. The performance in this mode was pretty much identical to the standard preset mode as you can see from the report above. No real difference at all here, but this mode would provide more flexibility with adjustments to the hardware when it comes to calibration.

 

 

Factory Calibration

 

 

Like some of the other recent Dell UltraSharp screens the U2913WM comes factory calibrated to some extent, and the box even includes a calibration report from Dell specific to the unit you have. It states that every unit is shipped incorporating pre-tuned sRGB mode which offers an average DeltaE of <5. In addition to this, they have tweaked gamma and grey-scale to help to ensure smooth gradients and an accurate initial setup. As a new extra they have also apparently adjusted luminance and colour uniformity across the screen to meet dE <5 and uniformity of 97 - 102%, which is available from within the OSD as an option we will test later on. I've included a copy of the calibration report from the Dell factory below for you to review. Note that this report is only relevant to our specific test unit and they do state that results may vary with each setup and different test equipment.

 

I was interested to see if this factory calibration helped at all with default settings. Note that this is only relevant for the sRGB preset mode available through the OSD menu. You will need to change from the default 'Standard' profile to benefit from these factory calibrated settings.
 


Dell U2913WM - Default Factory Calibration, sRGB mode

  
 

 

Default Factory Calibration, sRGB mode

luminance (cd/m2)

227

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.21

Contrast Ratio

1094:1

 

The factory calibration of the sRGB preset mode was also very pleasing on the most part. This mode actually offered a slight reduction in the monitors native gamut to provide an even more reliable emulation of the sRGB colour space. This might be useful for colour critical work in the sRGB colour space and for those who need to more precisely match this reference. A comparison of the gamut in the sRGB mode compared with the native gamut of the screen (from the standard mode) is shown below:

 

Comparison of monitor colour space coverage in standard mode (left) vs. sRGB mode (right)

 

 

 

The gamma was still a little out from the target of 2.2, being measured at 2.3 average (5% deviance) and with some variation across the range of grey shades. The white point was measured at 6075k leaving it 7% out from our target. To be fair though, if you look at the factory calibration report you will see the screen has been deliberately set up to ~6000k white point and so this factory calibration is actually very reliable. We aim for a target of 6500k in our tests which is why it shows as being a little out.

 

Luminance was still too high, but easy enough to adjust through the OSD menu and not something Dell have bothered to adjust out of the box as it's very easy for the user to change to their taste, without any significant impact on other areas. The contrast ratio was excellent still, and very similar to before at 1094:1. The colour accuracy was a little better than the other preset modes with dE 1.3 average and maximum of only 2.8. Overall the factory calibration was very good although the gamma curve was a little off.

 

 

 


Testing Colour Temperatures

 

 

The U2913WM features a range of colour temperature presets within the OSD 'color settings' menu as shown above. You have to choose the specific 'color temp' preset mode first but you are then asked to define your target colour temp from the 6 presets available. We measured the screen with the X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer in each of the preset modes to establish their colour temperature / white point. All other settings were left at factory defaults and no ICC profile was active. The results are recorded below:

 

Selected Preset Mode (k)

Measured Colour Temperature (k)

Deviance from target (k)

Deviance %

10,000

10230

230

2.3%

9300

9339

39

0.4%

7500

7450

-50

-0.7%

6500

5998

-502

-7.7%

5700

5782

82

1.4%

5000

5055

55

1.1%

 

 

The colour temperature modes offered reasonable levels of accuracy overall with a maximum deviance from the target of only 7.7%. The coolest setting of 10,000k was a little off, being 230k too cool (2.3% deviance). The 9300, 7500, 5700 and 5000k modes were all very close to their desired white points with <100k deviance in each case which was great. The setting with the most deviance however was the 6500k mode which sadly is the one many users may wish to use day to day. This seemed to be set up at closer to 6000k for some reason (5988k measured) and so showed the largest deviance of 7.7%. Overall the preset colour temp modes were reasonable really although not as accurate as you might see on some other high end pro grade screens from the likes of Samsung, NEC and Eizo.

 

 

 

Calibration Results

 

The U2913WM may well have a decent default and factory setup but some users may still want to calibrate the screen personally to obtain even higher levels of accuracy and allow profiling and matching between different devices.  Remember, you need to ensure you have a device capable of measuring and reading the spectra from the W-LED backlight unit properly. Many older colorimeter devices are designed to work with standard gamut CCFL units only and so they can often have difficulty reading LED (and wide gamut CCFL) units properly. A spectrophotometer does not have this problem and there are also some decent modern colorimeters like the X-rite i1 Display Pro which should be able to read LED without issue. While you can use other devices and various software packages to complete software profiling of the screen, you may come across issues if the device is not designed to work with an LED backlight unit.

 

We used the X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer combined with the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software package to achieve these results and reports. An NEC branded and customised X-rite i1 Display 2 was used to validate the black depth and contrast ratios due to lower end limitations of the i1 Pro device.

 

 

Monitor OSD Option

Calibrated Settings

Brightness

33

Contrast

75

Preset mode

Custom Color

RGB (Gain)

96, 98, 100


Dell U2913WM - Calibrated Settings, Custom Color Mode

  
 

 

Calibrated Settings, Custom Color mode

luminance (cd/m2)

120

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.12

Contrast Ratio

1011:1

 

I first of all reverted to the 'custom color' mode in the preset section of the OSD menu which would allow me access to the individual RGB channels. Adjustments were made during the process to the brightness control, and to the RGB channels as shown in the table above. This allowed me to obtain an optimum hardware starting point and setup before software level changes would be made at the graphics card level which would help preserve tonal values. After this I let the software carry out the LUT adjustments and create an ICC profile.

 

 

Average gamma had been corrected to 2.2 with a small 1% deviance according to the initial test, correcting the large default 4% deviance we'd found in this preset. Checking the more detailed table shown above, the gamma curve was now improved across the range of grey shades which was good news. The 8% deviance in the white point from our target of 6500k had also been corrected here and the colour temperature was now pretty much spot on at 6544k (1% out). Luminance had also been corrected thanks to the adjustment to the brightness control, now being measured at 120 cd/m2 spot on. This also gave us a calibrated black depth of 0.12 cd/m2, and a static contrast ratio of 1011:1 which was excellent for an IPS panel. Colour accuracy had also been corrected nicely, with dE average of 0.4 and maximum of 1.1. LaCie would consider colour fidelity to be excellent.

 

Testing the screen with various colour gradients showed reasonably smooth transitions. There was some gradation in darker tones and some slight banding introduced due to the adjustments to the graphics card LUT from the profilation of the screen. Nothing too major at all though. It's worth also commenting on the screen coating in this section of the review. Unlike many other IPS panels, this screen does not feature the usual heavy and aggressive Anti-glare (AG) coating which can sometimes lead to grainy and dirty looking images. Instead it uses a light AG screen coating and as a result the colours look more clean and crisp, the image quality is sharp and whites in particular look more pure than they do on heavy AG coated screens. It isn't a full glossy solution which adds another level of clarity and changes the overall feel of the screen, but it is an improvement over the heavy AG coating of some other IPS screens, including some of Dell's old models like the U2410 and U2711 (but improved on modern screens like the U2713HM and U2713H). A positive change and hopefully something we will start to see more of with future IPS screens.

 

You can use our settings and try our calibrated ICC profile if you wish, which are available in our ICC profile database. Keep in mind that results will vary from one screen to another and from one computer / graphics card to another.

 

 


Dell U2913WM - Calibrated Settings, sRGB Mode

Monitor OSD Option

Calibrated Settings

Brightness

36

Contrast

75

RGB Channels

n/a

Preset Mode

sRGB

 

Calibrated Settings, sRGB mode

luminance (cd/m2)

120

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.12

Contrast Ratio

1012:1

 

I also carried out the calibration in the monitors 'sRGB' mode where the colour space was more tightly matched compared with the backlights native gamut. Here you do not have access to the RGB channels at all, and so the only hardware changes being made are to the brightness control. The other corrections would be carried out at a graphics card LUT level through the profiling process. The results were again very pleasing. Targets for gamma and white point had all been met nicely, correcting the 5% and 7% deviations respectively we had seen out of the box in this mode. The luminance had been corrected to the desired level with the change in the brightness control, and the static contrast ratio was still an excellent 1012:1 after calibration. Colour accuracy had been improved from the already very good dE 1.3 average we had seen out of the box thanks to the factory calibration, now down to 0.5 dE average. Testing the screen with various colour gradients showed mostly smooth transitions on the whole, with some gradation and some very slight banding in some darker shades due to the graphics card corrections made. You can use our settings and try our calibrated ICC profile if you wish, which are available in our ICC profile database.

 

 

 

Calibration Performance Comparisons


 

The comparisons made in this section try to give you a better view of how each screen performs, particularly out of the box which is what is going to matter to most consumers. When comparing the default factory settings for each monitor it is important to take into account several measurement areas - gamma, white point and colour accuracy. There's no point having a low dE colour accuracy figure if the gamma curve is way off for instance. A good factory calibration requires all 3 to be well set up. We have deliberately not included luminance in this comparison since this is normally far too high by default on every screen. However, that is very easily controlled through the brightness setting (on most screens) and should not impact the other areas being measured anyway. It is easy enough to obtain a suitable luminance for your working conditions and individual preferences, but a reliable factory setup in gamma, white point and colour accuracy is important and not as easy to change accurately without a calibration tool.

 

From these comparisons we can also compare the calibrated colour accuracy, black depth and contrast ratio. After a calibration the gamma, white point and luminance should all be at their desired targets.

 

Default setup of the U2913WM in the non-factory calibrated "standard" mode was pretty good really. There was a small 3% deviance in the gamma, being measured at 2.3 average. The white point was a little further adrift, being measured at 5960k and with an 8% deviance from our target. To be fair the screen seems to have been deliberately set up for a 6000k white point so this isn't "inaccurate" as such, but is not as near to our desired white point as we'd like. Default colour accuracy was very good with a very low 1.9 dE average out of the box.
 

 

Default colour accuracy is compared again on the above graph, with the U2913WM having a very reliable default setup which is pleasing.

 

 

Once calibrated the dE average was reduced to 0.4. This would be classified as excellent colour fidelity by LaCie. It was not quite as low as some of the other screens here which reached down to 0.2 average, but in practice you would not notice any difference here at all. The professional range models from NEC and Eizo are even more accurate than other models shown here. Professional grade monitors like those offer other high end features which separate them from some of these other models, including extended internal processing, 3D LUT's and hardware calibration. These comparisons are based on a small selection of tests, so it should be remembered that other factors do come into play when you start talking about professional use.

 


 

 

The calibrated black depth and contrast ratio of the U2913WM were excellent for an IPS panel. At 1011:1, the contrast ratio was the highest we'd seen after calibration from an IPS panel, even outdoing some other strong contenders from Dell like the U2412M (947:1) and the U2713HM (869:1). This was a great result and we were impressed. Those needing an even higher CR may want to consider other technologies like AMVA as at the moment the U2913WM is about as good as you can hope for from a modern IPS panel.

 

 


Contrast Stability

I wanted to see how much variance there was in the screens contrast as we adjusted the monitor setting for brightness. In theory, brightness and contrast are two independent parameters, and good contrast is a requirement regardless of the brightness adjustment. Unfortunately, such is not always the case in practice. We recorded the screens luminance and black depth at various OSD brightness settings, and calculated the contrast ratio from there. Graphics card settings were left at default with no ICC profile or calibration active. Tests were made using an NEC branded and customised X-rite i1 Display 2 colorimeter. It should be noted that we used the BasICColor calibration software here to record these, and so luminance at default settings may vary a little from the LaCie Blue Eye Pro report.

OSD Brightness

Luminance
(cd/m2)

Black Point (cd/m2)

Contrast Ratio
( x:1)

100

312.95

0.28

1118

90

281.00

0.25

1124

80

250.37

0.22

1138

70

222.12

0.20

1111

60

199.68

0.18

1109

50

175.25

0.16

1095

40

150.46

0.13

1157

30

126.89

0.11

1154

20

101.50

0.09

1128

10

75.26

0.07

1075

0

50.39

0.05

1008

 

Total Luminance Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

262.56

Brightness OSD setting controls backlight?

Total Black Point Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

0.23

Average Static Contrast Ratio

1111:1

PWM Free?

Recommended OSD setting for 120 cd/m2

27%

 

The luminance range of the screen was excellent. At the top end the panel reached a high 312.95 cd/m2 which was actually a little higher than the specified maximum luminance of 300 cd/m2. This should still be more than most users would ever need as an upper limit of course. At the lower adjustment end it could reach down to a very low 50.39 cd/m2 which was good news and meant the screen should be perfectly fine even in darkened room conditions, and for those who like to run at a lower luminance setting. A brightness setting of ~27% should return you a default luminance of around 120 cd/m2 as well out of the box. Black point ranged from 0.28 cd/m2 down to 0.05 cd/m2 with the backlight adjustments.

We have plotted the luminance trend on the graph above. The screen behaves as it should, with a reduction in the backlight intensity controlled by the reduction in the OSD brightness setting. This was pretty much a linear relationship and is all achieved without the use of Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) as well which is positive news.

Average contrast ratio in the standard default preset mode was measured was 1111:1 which was excellent for an IPS panel. It was pretty stable across the adjustment range with a small drop at the lower end of the brightness scale below about 25%.

 


Dynamic Contrast

The Dell U2913WM features a dynamic contrast ratio (DCR) control, which boasts a spec of 2,000,000:1 (2 million:1). Dynamic contrast ratio involves controlling the backlight of the screen automatically, depending on the content shown on the screen. In bright images, the backlight is increased, and in darker images, it is decreased. We have come to learn that DCR figures are greatly exaggerated and what is useable in reality is often very different to what is written on paper or on a manufacturers website.

For this test I would use the colorimeter to record the luminance and black depths at the two extremes. Max brightness would be recorded on an almost all white screen. Black depth would be recorded on an almost all black screen. In real use you are very unlikely to ever see a full black or full white screen, and even our tests are an extreme case to be honest. Carrying out the tests in this way does give you a good indication of the screens dynamic contrast ratio in real life situations however.

The DCR feature is available in only the movie and game preset modes, and for some reason not in the multimedia preset. It has a simple setting for on or off available from within the 'display settings' section of the menu, and once enabled you cannot control the brightness setting manually. If you do try to change it you are given the above warning and the option to turn the DCR feature off.

 

Dynamic Contrast

Specified DCR Range

2 million: 1

Available in Presets

Movie, Game

Setting Identification / Menu option

Dynamic Contrast

Settings

On / Off

Measured Results

Movie mode

Game mode

Default Static Contrast Ratio

710:1

1061:1

Max luminance DCR (cd/m2)

203.27

304.96

Min Black Point DCR (cd/m2)

0.11

0.11

Max Dynamic Contrast Ratio (DCR)

1848:1

2772:1

Useable DCR in practice

Yes

Yes

Backlight turned off for 100% black

Yes

Yes

We tested the DCR feature in both the movie and game preset modes. On these Dell screens you can observe the changes being made in the OSD by looking at the energy meter in the top right hand corner as well which is useful. When switching to an almost all-white screen you could see the brightness change and the energy bar moved up to 1 bar away from the top setting. The screen took about 1.5 seconds to change up each step in the energy bar until it reached this maximum point. If we then switch to an almost all-black screen the changes are far more subtle. At first there is no change to the brightness but after ~20 seconds the energy bar drops down a step. This continues every 20 seconds or so until the energy meter is only full up by 5 bars. So the transitions of the backlight when moving to bright content are pretty fast, but when moving to dark content they are very slow.

In the game preset mode we had measured a static contrast ratio of 1061:1 which is pretty much what we'd seen in the standard and custom preset modes before. With the DCR feature turned on, the backlight is controlled up to 304.96 cd/m2 and down to a black depth of 0.11 cd/m2. This gave us a useable DCR of 2772:1 which was pretty good really, although its practical use may be questionable given the very slow transitions when moving to darker content.

In the movie preset mode for some reason the static contrast ratio was much lower by default at 710:1. In fact the maximum luminance adjustment from the DCR feature only took the brightness to 203.27 cd/m2 which suggests a digital white level adjustment is made in this preset, accounting for the reduced static contrast ratio. The DCR worked again to a similar degree giving us a useable DCR of 1848:1. This was lower than in the game mode since the static contrast ratio was not as good here.

We tested the screen with a completely black screen as well which resulted in the backlight being turned off after about 5 seconds. This would in theory give you a better DCR than those recorded above but it should be noted that it would be extremely rare to ever see a 100% black image in real use, especially for the required amount of time, and so this is more of a theoretical DCR than a realistic, practical DCR. Our tests of an almost all-black image are more realistic for actual use. It is the turning of the backlight off that allows for exaggerated laboratory testing and their resulting crazy specs of 2 million:1, but in real use you would never see the benefit of this. Overall due to the slow transitions when moving to darker content, I'm not sure how useful the DCR is on this model, even though it does work to a degree. Worth experimenting with perhaps if you're a fan of this type of feature.

 


Viewing Angles


Above: Viewing angles shown from front and side, and  from above and below. Click for larger image

Viewing angles of the U2913WM were very good as you would expect from an IPS based panel. Horizontally there was very little colour tone shift until wide angles past about 45. The contrast changed a little and the colour went slightly pink-ish at wide horizontal angles. Contrast shifts were slightly more noticeable in the vertical field but overall they were very good. The screen offered the wide viewing angles of IPS technology and was free from the very restrictive fields of view of TN Film panels, especially in the vertical plane. It was also free of the off-centre contrast shift you see from VA panels and a lot of the quite obvious gamma and colour tone shift you see from some of the modern AMVA and PVA offerings. All as expected really from a modern IPS panel.


Above: View of an all black screen from the side. Click for larger version

On a black image there is a characteristics IPS white glow, but in normal working conditions this shouldn't present much problem. In fact it was not as obvious as on some other IPS screens we've tested. The above image was taken in a darkened room to demonstrate the white wide angle glow when viewing a black screen. There is no A-TW polarizer on this panel which is rarely used now in the market but was implemented on some older screens to improve the off centre black viewing.

If you are viewing dark content from a close position to the screen you can sometimes see this pale glow on parts of the screen towards the sides and corners because of your proximity to the screen and your line of sight. The edges of the screen are at an angle from your line of sight which means you pick up this white glow to a smaller degree. This disappears as you move backwards away from the screen where the line of sight does not result in a wide angle view of parts of the screen and you can see the screen largely from head on. This glow should not be mistaken for backlight bleeding which would not disappear as you changed your line of sight or angle of viewing.



Panel Uniformity

We wanted to test here how uniform the brightness and colour was across the screen, as well as identify any leakage from the backlight in dark lighting conditions. First of all measurements of the luminance were taken at 36 points across the panel on a pure white background. The measurements were taken using BasICColor's calibration software package, combined with the NEC customised X-rite i1 Display 2 colorimeter. The below uniformity diagram shows the difference, as a percentage, between the luminance recorded at each point on the screen, as compared with the reference point of a calibrated 120 cd/m2. This is the desired level of luminance for an LCD screen in normal lighting conditions, and  the below shows the variance in the luminance across the screen compared with this point. It is worth noting that panel uniformity can vary from one screen to another, and can depend on manufacturing lines, screen transport and other local factors. This is only a guide of the uniformity of the sample screen we have for review.

The U2913WM features a uniformity compensation feature which we will test here as well, but first of all we left this setting off.


Luminance Uniformity

Uniformity of Luminance
Uniformity Compensation = Off

The luminance uniformity of the U2913WM was very good on the whole, even without any uniformity compensation feature active. The screen showed some deviance in the four corners. The top corners were a little darker, down to 105 cd/m2 with a -14.3% deviance from the central point in the top left as the most extreme example. In the bottom corners the screen was a little brighter, ranging up to 134 cd/m2 maximum in the bottom left (+10.5% deviance). Overall ~90% of the screen was within 10% deviance of the central 120 cd/m2 point which was very good really.



Uniformity Compensation Feature

The U2913WM features a uniformity compensation feature within the OSD menu as shown above. This isn't something Dell have made much fuss of oddly, but it's a feature normally reserved for pro-grade screens. We've seen similar technologies used on NEC and Eizo screens in the past with some positive results. The Dell manual states: "Uniformity Compensation adjusts different areas of the screen with respect to the centre to achieve uniform brightness and colour over the entire screen. For optimal screen performance, Brightness and Contrast for some preset modes (Standard, Color Temp, sRGB) will be disabled when Uniformity Compensation is turned On. When Uniformity Compensation is turned On, Energy Smart cannot be activated. NOTE: Screen Uniformity performance is optimized at default out of factory luminance setting."

There are options available for "calibrated" and "user" as well as an off setting. The calibrated option is supposed to represent a factory setup and as per the manual this is apparently optimised when in the screens default setup and at the default 50% luminance. The user mode isn't really talked about in the U2913WM manual but we know from the U2713H manual that it was supposed to be "reserved for Dell approved user calibration software settings". When we tested the U2713H we couldn't see any options within the calibration software of Dell Display Manager software to do anything related to panel uniformity. We concluded that perhaps this was a feature not yet available but to be released in a future software update. In fact we have since confirmed with Dell engineers that the user feature was abandoned late in development on these new UltraSharp screens and is not available, with no plans to make it available. It should be removed really from the manuals and OSD menu which Dell are looking at for future revisions.

Although the manual states that the factory calibrated uniformity compensation mode is optimised for use at the default 50% brightness, it should also offer improvements in theory at other brightness settings. After all, who is going to operate their screen at the high default luminance day to day? To start with we left the screen set at our calibrated 120 cd/m2 setting and measured the luminance uniformity again while in the "calibrated" mode:

Uniformity of Luminance
Uniformity Compensation = Calibrated

When we had tested the feature on the U2713H we had found that it seemed to do nothing at all, and didn't help to correct the fairly disappointing uniformity variations for a screen of that type and market segment. However, on the U2913WM we are pleased to say it really did help. As you can see from the above, the uniformity, although pretty good really at default settings, was improved quite a lot when the compensation feature was turned on. 100% of the screen was within only 5% deviance of the central point which was excellent. Certainly a very useful option here for anyone doing colour critical work or wanting to ensure the most uniform luminance setup they can. The only slight downside of this feature is that it impacts the static contrast ratio a little, dropping from the default of ~1100:1 (when switched off) to 830:1 when switched on. This is a similar trade-off seen on other competing technologies like NEC's ColorComp so is to be expected.
 

Uniformity of Luminance
Uniformity Compensation = User

While we know this "user" mode was abandoned late in development and shouldn't really be available as an option, we thought we'd test the screen again to see what it did. The static contrast ratio remains as it was in the calibrated mode at 830:1. As you can see from the above, the picture was pretty much identical to the calibrated setting, providing a very good luminance uniformity as before. It seems like this user mode has just been set up to be the same as the "calibrated" mode, so you can choose either really, it doesn't matter. Eventually on future revisions of the screen I suspect it will be removed as an option from the OSD firmware.

 

Colour Temperature / White Point Uniformity

We also extended our tests in this area to establish how uniform the colour was across the screen. We measured the white point (colour temperature) deviance compared with a central point calibrated to our 6500k target. First of all we carried out this test with the uniformity compensation feature turned "off".



Uniformity of White Point / Colour Temperature
Uniformity Compensation = Off

As you can see, the colour temperature was very uniform across the panel with only small deviations across the screen. There were a couple of areas where the white point was a little cooler including the lower right hand region (7073k, 8.82% deviance) and bottom left hand corner (6897k, 6% deviance). The rest of the screen was within 1 - 2% deviance which was great. There should be no issues with differing colours across the screen as a result.



Uniformity of White Point / Colour Temperature
Uniformity Compensation = Calibrated

We then turned the uniformity feature back on to 'calibrated' and ran the same tests. As you can see the results are even better and the feature had helped correct the slight variations we'd seen before. The whole screen was within only 2.5% deviance from the target 6500k point which was great news.

Unlike the U2713H where the feature seemed to do nothing, on the U2913WM it works well to correct the small differences we see without the feature turned on. You do lose about 180:1 worth of contrast ratio unfortunately, but that still leaves you with a useable static contrast ratio of ~830:1 which is still very respectable for an IPS panel anyway. If you're worried about uniformity of your luminance or colour temperature then this feature may well be useful.


Backlight Leakage

Above: All black screen in a darkened room. Click for larger version

As usual we also tested the screen with an all black image and in a darkened room. A camera was used to capture the result. There was no massively obvious backlight bleeding at all to the naked eye and the uniformity looked pretty good, even in a darkened room. There was some clouding noticeable in the corners, mostly the top left and the camera captured this as well. This is not something which you should notice in practice though.

 


General and Office Applications

The U2913WM feature a massive 2560 x 1080 resolution which offers something different which we haven't tested before. This gives you the same horizontal resolution as a 27" / 30" screen, but only the same vertical resolution as a smaller 24" model (or below). This means you don't get as much room vertically as the widely available 27" models, but the horizontal resolution is still more than enough for good side by side split-screen working. In fact the U2913WM is designed to try and replace the need for dual screens of a small size, so this would give you the same desktop resolution horizontally as two 1280 x 1024 res screens, with a little bit more vertically as well in fact. So resolution-wise, it does offer an interesting option, but personally I don't think it's as well suited to office applications as a 2560 x 1440 or 2560 x 1600 res monitor, as you do miss some of the vertical room.

The pixel pitch of 0.265mm is small but very similar to that of a 24" screen (0.270mm from a 16:10 format 24" screen). It is a little bigger than the popular 27" 2560 x 1440 res models which have a pixel pitch of only 0.231mm. As a result, text is a little bigger on the U2913WM and so may be more comfortable for prolonged use or for those with weaker eye-sight. Some users may still find the small text a little too small to read comfortably, and I'd advise caution if you are coming from a lower res 19" or 22" screen for instance where the pixel pitch and text are much larger. The image was very sharp and crisp and text was very clear.

The light AG coating is also a very positive move when it comes to these kind of uses and we had been pleased when Dell made this switch before with the U2713HM and U2713H models. The new lighter coating ensures that white backgrounds of office documents looked good, and did not suffer from the overly grainy and dirty feel of some other IPS panels featuring heavy, aggressive AG coating - including the old U2711. It also remained free from the reflections you might experience from a full glossy solution so seems to be a good half-way between the two. The wide viewing angles provided by the IPS panel technology on both horizontal and vertical planes, helps minimize on-screen colour shift when viewed from different angles. The default setup of the screen was very good really, even in the 'standard' mode, with decent gamma, contrast and colour accuracy out of the box. The factory calibrated sRGB mode was even better, and even provided a closer match to the specific sRGB reference colour space.

There is a specific 'paper' preset mode available within the OSD menu which makes the image darker and more yellow. This might be useful to some for certain reading conditions, but with the wide range of adjustments and modes available it should be easy enough to get an optimum setup for your uses.  Out of the box the luminance was too high and so you will want to turn this down a fair amount to obtain a setting comfortable to you in your lighting conditions. A setting of around 27% brightness should give you a luminance of ~120 cd/m2 out of the box. The brightness control affords you a good range of adjustments as well, allowing you to go up to ~313 cd/m2 and down as low as ~50 cd/m2. Even those wanting to use the screen in low light conditions should find the adjustment range more than adequate. Another thing to note while we are talking about the brightness control is that the screen does not use Pulse-Width modulation (PWM) to control backlight dimming and so those who suffer from eye fatigue or headaches associated with flickering backlights need not worry here. The screen is also free from the so-called "cross-hatching" issue which some users noticed on the 27" U2713HM. The screen does not suffer from the occasional buzzing issue either which is good news, something which some users complained about with the U2713HM and U2713H in some circumstances.

The screen offers a 4 port USB 3.0 hub which is useful, especially with 2 ports located on the left hand edge for easy and quick access. There is no card reader on this model though sadly, something personally I've found useful on previous Dell models and on the recent U2713H. There was a very good range of ergonomic adjustments available which were all pretty easy and smooth to use. The screen does not offer a rotation function though but that would be impractical at this size anyway. The VESA mounting support may also be useful to some people. With DisplayPort and DL-DVI both supporting the full 2560 x 1080 resolution you should have a decent choice for your PC connectivity.

 


Responsiveness and Gaming

The U2913WM is rated by Dell as having an 8ms G2G response time which implies the use of overdrive / response time compensation (RTC) technology, used to boost pixel transitions across grey to grey changes. There is no user control over the overdrive impulse within the OSD menu and so we are reliant once again on Dell's factory setup. The part being used is the LG.Display LM290WW1-SSA1 AH-IPS panel. Have a read about response time in our specs section if any of this is new to you.

Display Comparisons

The screen was tested using the chase test in PixPerAn for the following display comparisons. As a reminder, a series of pictures are taken on the highest shutter speed and compared, with the best case example shown on the left, and worst case example on the right. This should only be used as a rough guide to comparative responsiveness but is handy for a comparison between different screens and technologies.



29" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS

In practice the Dell U2913WM showed low levels of motion blur and there was no obvious ghosting which was good. Movement was pretty sharp although in some cases there was a slight dark overshoot introduced which you can see more clearly in the second image on the right above. This was nothing too severe but is caused where the overdrive impulse is applied too aggressively or not controlled sufficiently. On some other screens this is far more noticeable and it is only quite slight on the U2913WM thankfully.
 


29" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


27" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


27" 6ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


27" 6ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS


We have provided a comparison of the U2913WM above against the three 2560 x 1440 resolution 27" Dell screens we have tested. The U2913WM seemed to perform quite similarly to the Dell U2713HM as you can see from the above with low levels of motion blur. There was perhaps a little more noticeable overshoot on the U2913WM in practice but it was quite minimal. The U2713H showed slightly slower response times with a more noticeable blur, but freedom from any overshoot artefacts due to its less aggressive overdrive impulse. The overshoot was more pronounced on the Dell U2711 and took the form of a dark trail as you can see above. Overall a pleasing performance from the U2913WM and a decent response time suitable for its target audience.

 


29" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


27" 5ms G2G Samsung PLS (Trace Free = 40)


27" 5ms G2G Samsung PLS (Response Time = Faster)


27" 12ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS


We have provided a comparison of the U2913WM above against 3 other popular 2560 x 1440 resolution 27" screens we have tested which all use IPS (or the very similar PLS) panel technology. The U2913WM was quite comparable to the PLS-based Asus PB278Q and Samsung S27A850D which was a positive result, both showing no obvious ghosting and no obvious artefacts caused by the RTC impulse which was pleasing at certain optimum settings. The HP ZR2740w v2 was a little slower with a more noticeable blur to the image in practice.



29" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


24" 7ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


27" 5ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS (overdrive = medium)


27" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AMVA (AMA = Premium)

We can also compare the U2913WM  against a few other 27" models, this time with lower 1920 x 1080 resolutions. The AOC i2757Fm and Dell S2740L show a slightly slower performance in practice than the U913WM. In the case of the Dell S2740L, a dark overshoot is again introduced due to an aggressive overdrive impulse though. The BenQ GW2750HM is a little different as it is based on a 1920 x 1080 resolution AMVA panel and not IPS technology like the others here. It was again a little slower than the U2913WM and showed a dark overshoot again caused by the aggressive overdrive impulse.

 


29" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


30" 7ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS


24" 6ms G2G AU Optronics AMVA


24" 8ms G2G LG.Display e-IPS


24" 6ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS

We can also compare the U2913WM with some of the other Dell screens we've tested here, this time in other sizes including the 24" U2410 and U2412M and the 30" U3011 (soon to be replaced by the U3014 incidentally). The U2913WM is faster than the 30" U3011 with less blurring in practice. The S2440L and U2412M were as responsive as the U2913WM but while they may have fast pixel transitions, the dark trailing overshoot is quite apparent.

 


29" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


24" 2ms G2G AU Optronics TN Film + 120Hz (AMA = On)


27" 1ms G2G Chi Mei Innolux TN Film + 120Hz (Over Drive = 0)


22" 3ms G2G Samsung TN Film + 120Hz

We've also included a comparison above against three very fast 120Hz compatible screens we have tested. In all cases these other screens are using TN Film panels and are aimed primarily at gamers. Firstly there is a comparison against the BenQ XL2420T. This showed very low levels of motion blur, but some dark overshoot was introduced as a side-effect. The Iiyama G2773HS was very responsive and even has a quoted 1ms G2G response time. This showed very low levels of blur and had minimal issue with overshoot. The Samsung SM2233RZ performed very well in these tests and showed very low levels of motion blur also. When 120Hz mode was enabled the overdrive artefacts evident in 60Hz mode were almost completely eliminated, which is something we have seen with the BenQ XL2420T as well.

While these pixel response tests show the U2913WM to have fast transitions and low levels of motion blur with only slight overshoot, there is something else going on as well here which can't be picked out by the camera. All of these other TN Film models are running at 120Hz refresh rates, which allows for improved 120fps frame rates and the support of 3D stereoscopic content as well. This can really help improve smoothness and the overall gaming experience so these screens still have the edge when it comes to fast gaming. From a pixel response point of view the U2913WM performed very well, but there are some other areas you still need to think about when it comes to high end gaming. It couldn't keep up with the very fast TN Film models with 120Hz support.
 

The responsiveness of the U2913WM was very good overall and we were pleased with the results. It showed low levels of motion blur and only small amounts of RTC overshoot in certain transitions. It was at a similar performance to the U2713HM and offered a better gaming experience than some of Dell's other screens which were more affected by the dark overshoot. The ultra-widescreen format is also a very interesting option for gaming since it provides a very wide field of view if your game supports it. This can really add to immersion and your overall gaming experience if you play games which can handle this very wide 21:9 aspect ratio. If not, the screen still supports a decent range of aspect ratio options (discussed below) which is good news.



Additional Gaming Features

Aspect Ratio Control - The screen offers four options within the OSD menu for hardware level aspect ratio control. There are options to maintain the aspect ratio at 'wide 21:9' or 'wide 16:9' which users will hopefully be familiar with. These will help maintain those specific aspect ratios for certain sources, stretching the image to fill as much of the screen as possible and using black borders to cover the sides (for 16:9 mode). It was good to see this specific 16:9 option available as a lot of content is of course still based on this aspect ratio.

There is also then an option for 'auto resize' which retains the source aspect ratio no matter what it is, and fills as much of the screen as possible (black borders used where needed). This is particularly useful as it will automatically detect the aspect ratio and maintain it. This wasn't available on the U2713HM and so some aspect ratios such as 16:10 could not be maintained at a hardware level. The U2713HM only had options for 16:9, 5:4 and 4:3 so anything other than those would not be handled by the screen. In the case of the new U2913WM this is handled via the 'auto resize' option without problem. The last option is for 1:1 pixel mapping which directly maps the source resolution to fill only the required number of pixels. Again handy for those wanting to maintain any source resolution and aspect ratio, without stretching the image at all.
 

Preset Modes - There is a 'game' preset mode available from within the preset mode menu. This seems to look quite similar to the standard preset mode and it gives you access to the dynamic contrast ratio if you want to use it. This mode might be useful if you want to set up a specific mode to be different to your day to day normal use profile as well.

 



Input Lag

We have written an in depth article about input lag and the various measurement techniques which are used to evaluate this aspect of a display. We have improved our method by adopting the SMTT 2 (now version 2.5.1) tool which is used to generate the results below. Please see our full input lag testing article for all the details.

Input Lag Classification


To help in this section we will also introduce a broader classification system for these results to help categorise each screen as one of the following levels:

For the full reviews of the models compared here and the dates they were written (and when screens were approximately released to the market), please see our full reviews index.


Standard Mode


Game Mode

 Class 2


We have provided a comparison above against other models we have tested to give an indication between screens. In the default 'standard' preset mode the Dell U2913WM showed an average total display lag of 25.7ms during this test, ranging up to 27ms maximum. Remember, this represents a signal processing lag along with an element of pixel response time and gives you an idea of the overall delay of the image compared with a traditional CRT screen. This lag was not too severe, and at a similar level to what we'd experienced recently with the U2713H (25.3ms). It represented a lag of just over 1.5 frames.

This was slightly slower overall than the U2713HM (also tested using the same SMTT method). Prad.de have also tested the U2713HM with their oscilloscope based method and identified a signal processing lag of 15.5ms and a further 7.1ms of response time accounted for to give them an overall display lag of 22.6ms. We can probably assume that the U2913WM has a very similar signal processing lag (around 15.5ms) which is probably related to the internal scaler. The slightly higher overall display lag is probably down to slightly slower response times but it is within a few milliseconds so nothing massive.

We were pleasantly surprised though when we tested the display lag again in the 'game' preset mode. As you switch to this mode the screen seems to turn off for about 1 second as it makes the change. When in the game mode the display lag was reduced quite nicely and was now measured with an average of 17.7ms. This mode seems to be bypassing some of the internal electronics and so was helping to reduce the lag for gaming needs. It was still just over 1 frame delay but was a bit better than the standard mode at least. The lag of this screen has been categorised as CLASS 2 as detailed above and may be a little high for some very high end gaming. The game preset mode helps and should be used if you're playing fast games and need the absolute lowest lag you can get from the display.

For more information about the SMTT 2.0 tool, or to purchase a copy please visit:

http://smtt.thomasthiemann.com/index_en.html

 


Movies and Video

The following summarises the screens performance in video applications:


Conclusion

The Dell U2913WM was an interesting screen to test. At first I'll admit the screen size and aspect ratio felt strange but it's surprising how quickly you get used to it. Obviously this is going to be a key part of whether you consider purchasing this screen but it does provide some interesting benefits for side by side office working, movies and games. If you are going to use the screen for a lot of games or movies which run at this very wide aspect ratio then it really is an impressive solution. On the other hand, keep in mind that a lot of content is based on other aspect ratios, including the popular 16:9 format, and so you may have to live with borders in many cases.

We were pleased that Dell had kept many of the features which we've seen from other UltraSharp range screens and not trimmed it back into a more mainstream model. The wide range of adjustments from the stand and decent interface options were kept, and it was nice to see some of the extras like touch-sensitive buttons, USB 3.0 ports, factory calibration and uniformity compensation.

Out of the box the screen had a very decent set up, with a good gamma, contrast and colour accuracy. The sRGB mode was even better and this screen should be fine for most users even without the need for manual calibration. The contrast ratio was excellent from the screen as well, the best we have seen in fact from an IPS panel. Backlight range was very good and it was pleasing to see another Dell screen without Pulse Width Modulation use for dimming. The screen of course offered the overall performance benefits of the popular IPS technology, and we were pleased with the overall picture quality and viewing experience. The responsiveness was also very good and we were pleasantly surprised by the reduced input lag from the 'game' preset mode. This was still a little high for some very fast gaming but nothing too severe. The panel uniformity was another pleasant surprise, being actually pretty good by default and even having a uniformity compensation feature which worked very well. Glad to see it functioned properly here unlike what we'd seen from the U2713H recently. The DCR worked to a degree but is probably impractical in normal use due to the slow transitions. Something unfortunately very common with these DCR features.

Overall we were left impressed by the U2913WM. The performance was actually very impressive in most regards, and the main consideration really is whether you want the wide aspect ratio or not for your uses. The screen retails for 479 GBP (inc VAT) at the moment which puts it at the same price as the Dell U2713HM. Certainly an interesting alternative to consider.

 

Pros

Cons

Good default setup and factory calibration, including excellent contrast ratio for an IPS panel

Ultra-wide aspect ratio may not be ideal for some games / movies which are built for 16:9 or other aspect ratios

Good pixel response times

Dynamic contrast ratio probably impractical due to slow transitions

Uniformity compensation feature works well

Input lag perhaps still a little high for very fast gaming, even in 'game' preset

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