If you’re thinking about getting something to replace your dual 24-inch monitor setup, the Dell UltraSharp U2913WM ultrawide monitor is a good candidate. It’s not the latest of the bunch, but it’s still a fascinating monitor that performs well for a plethora of tasks you can throw at it. What makes it such a good monitor? Well, read on to find out.
Dell UltraSharp U2913WM – Specifications
The UltraSharp U2913WM uses a 29-inch Advanced High-performance IPS (AH-IPS) panel with W-LED backlight. It features 2560×1080 resolution and 21:9 aspect ratio at 60Hz refresh rate. The screen measures 27.3 x 11.5-inches and is finished with non-reflective anti-glare coating. Without the stand, the display weighs a mere 12.8 pounds.
The AH-IPS panel used here is able to produce 16.7 million colors with 8-bit color depth. It supports more than 99% of the sRGB color gamut with delta-E smaller than 5. Static Contrast Ratio is rated at 1000:1 while the Dynamic Contrast Ratio is 2m:1
When it comes to connectivity, the UltraSharp is no less than generous. It has 1x Dual-link DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x VGA (yes, VGA), 1x DisplayPort in, 1x DisplayPort out, 1x Mini DisplayPort, 1x 3.5mm Audio Jack, 4x USB 3.0 downstream, and 1x USB 3.0 Upstream.
Weirdly enough, there are only DVI and Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cables included. It will be nice if Dell slips in HDMI and DVI cables in the lot.
This monitor has an internal power supply, so you don’t get a huge power brick in the package, just the power cable.
Due to its huge screen size and resolution, the U2913WM draws a good deal of electricity. On average it pulls 36 Watts of power, slightly increased to 42 Watts on max. It’s still a reasonable power draw and won’t kick up your electricity bill by much.
As with many Dell products, this monitor is also covered under Dell’s three-year warranty including labor, parts, and advanced exchange. The advanced exchange is something worthy of praise, allowing you to get a replacement when your panel has one bright dot or six dark pixels.
Dell UltraSharp U2913WM – Design and Build Quality
From the front, the design looks plain. All of it is colored black except for the silver Dell logo at the bottom bezel. The anti-glare coating is more matte instead of glossy. You can’t see any disruptive reflections when you put the monitor in a brightly lit room.
The top and side bezels are only 10mm thin. That’s less than half an inch. It looks sleek and makes the display seem borderless. The bottom bezel is a bit thicker at 0.75 inches. Five touch-sensitive buttons are located on the right-hand side of the bottom bezel. The five buttons are Preset, Brightness & Contrast, Menu, Exit, and Power button at the far right.
At the rear, you can see the rounded black plastic cover. It mimics the plain and simple design of the front panel without any kind of texturing to make it more appealing. The rear is where you’ll find the input ports, more precisely at the lower back. All of them are pointing downward. Dell put two of the USB downstream ports at the left edge of the panel, allowing easier access.
The dual-tone stand combines black matte plastic at the front and silver at the back. It’s sturdy and has tilt, swivel, and height adjustment. With these adjustments, you can easily set the display to the most comfortable viewing position, preventing neck cramps at the end of the day.
The monitor can tilt 4 degrees down and 22 degrees up. It swivels 30 degrees to the left and right. Dell is using a unique approach for the swiveling movement as the stand itself rotates along with the display. The height adjustment is not shabby too. You get a generous 130 mm or more than 6 inches of adjustment range. The adjustments are smooth and easy. The sturdy stand and wide base keep the monitor steady as you make any of those adjustments.
At the middle part of the stand, there’s a large hole to route all the cables. Dell also includes a small Velcro strap to keep the cables tidy. It’s always nice to see a built-in cable management such as this.
With the power supply built into the monitor casing, you may wonder if it has that audible and annoying capacitor whine. Well, you’ll be glad to know that no such thing can be heard when you work this monitor for hours every day.
Dell shows meticulous quality control with this monitor. Even though the bezels, back cover, stand, and base are plastic, they are aesthetically pleasing and feel like a high-quality piece of engineering. It’s not something that will embarrass you when your friends come over and check out your rig.
Dell UltraSharp U2913WM – Setup
Before you plug in any cables, you need to attach the stand first. Just slide and clip the stand on the back of the monitor. It’s easy. Wall-mounting is also possible using standard 100x100mm VESA attachment. And since the monitor itself is lightweight, you don’t need a heavy-duty wall-mount for it. Moving it around your desk to set it on the right spot won’t take much muscle power too.
With almost all video port available at the rear, you have total freedom on what kind of system you want to connect to the monitor. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can plug in your old PlayStation 3. You have to tone the resolution down to Full HD, but your old games will still look awesome on the U2913WM.
Anyone with a MacBook Pro will have no problem hooking it up to the monitor. The provided cables work flawlessly. A Mini DisplayPort is basically the same as a Thunderbolt port. Plugging in a Mini DisplayPort cable to a Thunderbolt port won’t pose a problem.
One more thing, the addition of a DisplayPort out means you can daisy chain the monitor to build a multi-monitor setup. With the side bezels so thin, having two or three of this monitor in line will be stupendous.
Once you get all the cables hooked up, you may want to tinker with the settings. Pressing the touch-sensitive buttons will bring the following OSD menus: Brightness/Contrast, Auto Adjust, Input Source, Color Settings, Display Settings, PBP Settings, Other Settings, and Personalize.
The first thing you need to do when you get to the menus is to shut off that annoying beeping when you push any of the buttons. Go to Other Settings and set Button Sound to Off — Good riddance.
The UltraSharp produces crisp images with accurate colors straight right out of the factory. Still, there’s room for improvement. One way to improve the picture quality is to select sRGB from the available presets. Set Brightness to 36 and Contrast to 75. These simple adjustments provide the best overall picture quality.
Feel free to tinker with the rest of the settings afterward. The menus are intuitive and easy to understand so that you can adjust any setting is a snap.
To make things easier for you, set the two control buttons as shortcuts for whatever setting you use frequently. If you are constantly needing to switch between inputs or adjust the PBP settings, using shortcuts eliminates the need to dig into the menus.
Dell UltraSharp U2913WM – Image Quality
Using an IPS panel has it’s pros and cons. The good thing about it is that IPS panel has excellent viewing angle. As you move your gaze left to right, top to bottom, you’ll see the colors and brightness remain uniform. Everything on the far right and left still has accurate colors with low decrease in brightness.
The bad thing about IPS panel is backlight bleed or IPS glow. Thankfully, there isn’t much of backlight bleed on the UltraSharp U2913WM. You have to purposely look for it to notice they faint white glow on the corners. On daily use, such faint glow will not give you any problem at all.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, the UltraSharp U2913WM can give you stunning images and colors whether you go with the factory calibration or your own sRGB preset. The high Contrast Ratio can give you deep blacks and brilliant whites that make pictures and videos just pop. Skin tones look excellent too, and you can see the details very well both in dark and bright images and scenes. The light anti-glare coating contributes to the smoothness of bright images. They don’t look grainy like what you’ll find on monitors with thicker screen coating.
The image quality you get remains excellent even when you hook up a gaming console using HDMI instead of DisplayPort. Using HDMI limits the refresh rate, but everything still looks sharp.
An ultrawide monitor such as the UltraSharp is also known as super widescreen or panoramic. As the name suggests, it offers a panoramic view of the content shown on it. Those extra pixels on the left and right fill up your peripheral vision. This panoramic view is what makes gaming and watching movies so immersive.
The U2913WM is a capable monitor for gaming. It can handle a high number of games pretty well. Games that support 21:9 resolution natively just look marvelous. Your old games that still uses 16:9 can still look awesome on this too.
With the UltraSharp, you won’t encounter screen tearing or input lag that makes you want to pull your hair off. The 8ms pixel response time is not the best in class, but it still enables for fast image transitions. With motion blur at bay, fast-paced games are more than enjoyable using this monitor.
The extra field of view you get also improves the gaming experience. First person shooters and racing are two types of games that benefit most from the extra pixels on the sides. Overall, the 29-inch ultrawide screen can provide hours of enjoyable and immersive gaming comparable to, or even better than, a dual-monitor setup.
Other than gaming, the U2913WM is also a stellar monitor for improving productivity. After all, its primary target markets are small businesses. With its 21:9 aspect ratio and 2560×1080 resolution you can get more work done quickly by arranging all your open applications right there on the screen.
Having all your windows in view at once is much more convenient than keep pressing Alt + Tab to switch between them. You can open three documents side by side to cross check numbers, and each document still has plenty of space for easy reading. With the sharp text, you don’t need to squint your eyes even when using the smallest font size. Whether you’re in software development, finance, multimedia works, or any other field that relies on multitasking, the extra screen real estate is golden.
Dell doesn’t use PWM to regulate the LED backlight. As a result, there’s no visible flickering. The lack of flickering makes the UltraSharp easy on your eyes. People who work more than five hours a day in front of their monitors know how important that is. Flickering can cause eye fatigue. Having to rest and massage your eyes every now and then is quite a hassle.
Dell UltraSharp U2913WM – Display Modes and Other Features
The U2913WM has eight display modes: Standard, Multimedia, Movie, Game, Paper, Color Temperature, sRGB, and Custom Color. We already mentioned the sRGB above and how it provides the best overall image quality. For specific works such as reading and editing document, you may want to try the Paper preset that makes the images darker. Other preset worth mentioning is the Color Temperature preset where you can set the white to your liking. For day to day use, it’s best to leave it at 6500K.
The UltraSharp comes with Dell’s Uniformity Compensation feature that adjusts the screen so that brightness and color are uniform throughout the whole screen area. Even when this feature is off, the monitor already shows great uniformity across the board. When you set it on Calibrated, though, the uniformity gets even better. It’s a great feature for those who do a lot of photo editing works where uniform brightness is important.
The U2913WM has no Picture In Picture (PIP) feature, only Picture By Picture (PBP). You can choose whatever input source for the left and right window. There are two exceptions; You cannot combine HDMI with DVI or mini DP with DP. Other configurations are okay, and they work flawlessly.
Now that we’ve discussed the features that U2913WM has, it’s time to talk about what it doesn’t have — built-in speakers.
The lack of built-in speakers on this monitor may seem like an inconvenience for those who want a simple, non-cluttered desk. We, however, agree with Dells’ decision. Built-in speakers never sound as good as a dedicated sound system anyway. Even a simple sound bar produces a much better audio quality. There are plenty of sub $50 sound bars up for grab. Just pick one, and you’ll know why the lack of built-in speakers was never a problem to begin with.
- Excellent colors and text straight out of the factory
- Very affordable
- Easy adjustments
- Excellent connectivity — DVI, HDMI, VGA, USB
- Ultrawide aspect ratio makes movies and games more immersive
- Control buttons give annoying sound when pressed
The Dell UltraSharp U21913WM has more than enough strong points to make it a very tempting upgrade for those looking replace their dual-monitor setup. Having a single ultrawide monitor is more convenient than two smaller monitors arranged side by side by a long shot. Yes, you lose a couple of inches vertically, but you get more inches horizontally as compensation. You also get a less cluttered desk ass fewer cables are involved for the setup.