When I first saw a demo of the Dell UltraSharp 27" 4K PremierColor Monitor — the UP2720Q — I was delighted. Finally, someone had made it EASY to calibrate your monitor for color accuracy! Coupled with a crisp screen with a minimal bezel and sleep design, the UP2720Q really is a great option for anyone looking for a high-end photo or video monitor.
While it was originally announced with a price tag of $1999.99, it’s currently available for $1599.99. But is it worth the high price tag, and how does the built-in colorimeter compare to a third-party color calibrator?
Before I dive in too far, let’s look at the specs. Dell promotes this as the world’s first monitor to feature both a built-in colorimeter and Thunderbolt 3 in a 27-inch size and 4K resolution.
But beyond that, it offers a high-resolution 10-bit IPS display.
While Dell positions this as an upgrade from its previous UP2718Q monitor, the UP2720Q took away one feature — HDR10 support. Personally I never find myself watching (let alone editing) HDR content at my desk, but for those who do HDR video production, this is something to keep in mind.
Here’s some other specs:
- Display area: 23.49" x 13.21"
- Panel type: In-Plane switching technology (IPS)
- Display screen coating: Anti-glare treatment of the front, polarizer (3H) hard coating
- Maximum preset resolution: 3840×2160 @ 60Hz
- Viewing angle: 178° vertical and horizontal
- Pixel per inch (PPI): 163
- Contrast ratio: 1300 to 1
- Aspect ratio: 16:9
- Brightness: 250 cd/m2
- 100% Adobe RGB coverage
- 100% sRGB coverage (not advertised, but confirmed by Dell)
- 98% DCI-P3 coverage
- 80% BT2020 coverage
- 1 DisplayPort 1.4 port
- 2 HDMI 2.0 ports
- 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports (1 upstream, 1 downstream)
- 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 Downstream ports
- 2 USB 3.2 Gen1 Downstream ports
The monitor also comes with a built-in hood, and can tilt from -5 to 21 degrees, swivel from -45 to 45 degrees and pivot from -90 to 90 degrees.
I found setting up the monitor to be super easy. Seeing that I already had a USB-C capable monitor at my desk, I simply switched out the cables and put my other one on the floor.
Once I had the monitor connected to my computer, I could tell the color was off slightly, which I attributed mainly due to the fact that I hadn’t calibrated it yet for my environment. I’ll talk more about that down below, but outside of that, I found the monitor to be crisp and responsive.
I chose to not use the included hood, as I don’t have any natural light coming into my office. For those that do, I’d recommend it.
Using the built-in colorimeter
As a photographer, this was really the feature I was most excited about. I wanted to compare the monitor’s built-in colorimeter with my X-Rite i1Studio calibrator — which I found to give very accurate results on my other monitor and laptop.
Going through the colorimeter process was easy. Because most of my clients view my photos on an uncalibrated screen, I set my monitor to sRGB. I wanted to see exactly what they saw, but still be color accurate.
Then I just entered the monitor menu, chose my calibration target of sRGB and let it do its work. I chose Adobe RGB as a target too — which is great if you want to quickly switch back and forth between color spaces.
The colorimeter opened from the bottom of the screen, almost like an old-school CD or DVD drive. It then flipped up and started reading my screen.
The nice thing was I was able to continue using my laptop monitor as it worked — which is great, because the entire process takes up to 20 minutes to complete.
Express or Comprehensive?
When you use Dell’s built in colorimeter, you have two options — Express or Comprehensive. Express took roughly 5-7 minutes in my tests, whereas Comprehensive took up to 20 minutes to complete.
In my tests, I didn’t see any noticeable differences between the two. However, I’d recommend doing Comprehensive the first time you set it up, and then maybe Express for subsequent calibrations.
Comparing to an external calibrator
Once the process was finished, I found the colors to be much more accurate. But how did it compare to results from my i1Studio?
I saw some minor differences, specifically when comparing sRGB profiles. With this, the X-Rite gave me slightly more saturation. On Adobe RGB, these differences were very difficult to see.
I’m speculating here, but these differences might be due to the i1Studio hanging down from the top of your screen, whereas the Dell’s colorimeter flips up from the bottom. Because of this, the Dell has a much smaller reference point.
The only downside for me was the fact that I couldn’t rely on the Dell to calibrate my laptop screen. I typically have my laptop screen open next to my external monitor, meaning I had to use the i1Studio to calibrate my laptop. Not a huge deal, but it’s something to keep in mind should you not want to purchase a third-party device.
All in all, the Dell really offers an appealing monitor option to any professional that needs accurate color. If you do a lot of printing or high-production video, I’d maybe recommend getting a third-party calibration tool just in case. But for everyday usage, the Dell is pretty accurate.
Despite the high price tag, I was very impressed with Dell’s offering. I honestly didn’t want to send this monitor back! If you’re looking for a monitor where you need an easy calibration offering that allows you to quickly switch color profiles back and forth, this really is the perfect solution.