Resolution Support and OSD

While the ideal solution is to run your LCD at the native resolution, there are times when you might want to use something lower. With the fine 0.233mm dot pitch and 2560x1440 native resolution, running at something lower becomes even more likely. We tested the VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI connections to see how the U2711 would handle non-native resolutions (note that we didn't test component or composite video). The OSD provides three aspect ratio options: Fill (use the entire LCD, with stretching), Aspect (fill as much of the LCD as possible but avoid stretching), or 1:1 (no stretching at all).

The vast majority of resolutions work exactly as you would expect. 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x800, 1280x960, 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1440 showed no problems at all. Also, when using a VGA connection, every resolution we tried worked properly. Shift to the digital connections and we did encounter a few minor issues.

Starting with DVI, both 720p and 1080p filled the whole LCD regardless of the aspect ratio setting. This isn't terrible, since the image will still maintain the correct aspect ratio, but it does mean that the 1:1 setting failed to work in this instance. We also encountered some oddities with 720p and 1080p using an HDMI cable at times, but those problems appear to be more of a laptop driver issue than something in the U2711. On one laptop, 720p output always looked blurry, and the 1:1 setting didn't actually map to 1280x720 pixels as far as we could tell. In general, though, these common widescreen resolutions still worked well.

The resolutions where we had the most problems are all less common resolutions. On DVI, 1280x768 didn't have the correct aspect ratio, with black bars on all sides. 1360x768 stretched horizontally but not vertically on "Fill", making for a very skewed result, "Aspect" left borders on all four sides, but "1:1" worked properly. 1792x1344, 1800x1440, 1856x1392, and 1920x1440 all did an "aspect" stretch, regardless of OSD setting.

HDMI didn't show as many resolutions, probably because we had to use a different computer as the source (a laptop). Again, "odd" resolutions caused some incorrect behavior, but we don't really fault Dell. 1152x648 and 1776x1000 (underscanned 720p and 1080p, respectively) have a black border at all times, and like the DVI connection 1360x768 was squashed vertically unless you use the "1:1" setting. DisplayPort behavior was the same as HDMI. Note also that the HDMI connection didn't allow us to select resolutions above 2048x1152 (a 16:9 resolution). 2048x1152 was also the maximum resolution we could use on a VGA connection. We're not sure if the limitation was with our test laptop or if it's inherent with the U2711, as we don't have any HDMI connections that we're sure will properly handle 2560x1440.

In general, all but a few uncommon resolutions worked well. Something else we really liked was the "Sharpness" setting when we were using something other than the native resolution. The default setting of "50" appears to pass the signal on without molesting it, but as you move towards 0 the display becomes a bit blurrier and increasing towards 100 will apply a mild to moderate sharpening filter. Running at 1680x1050 with sharpness set at 70, you have to look very closely to notice that the LCD isn't running at its native resolution. Other LCDs have a similar feature, but on many displays the sharpness setting is only active if you use an analog connection (i.e. VGA).

The OSD

For the sake of completeness, here's a gallery of all the OSD settings. Yes, there are a ton of options. We like that Dell allows you to customize the "quick jump" buttons, but we wish they had allowed us to make one of the settings "Aspect Ratio" rather than limiting the choices to "Preset Modes", "Brightness/Contrast", "Input Source", or "Mode". There's really not much to say about the OSD: it works as expected.

Brightness, Contrast, and Power Most Impressive
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  • dszc - Tuesday, March 02, 2010 - link

    Jarred,

    Thank you for such great display reviews. I am an avid fan and have found no others as good.

    I have 2 questions/requests:

    1)Would you please do a review comparing good quality LCD and Plasma TVs to a "computer monitor" like the HP 3065.
    I am a pro photographer and spend most of my days processing images. I find it easiest to see artifacts and other processing problems on displays with bigger pixel pitches (like my Dad's 1080p 58" Panasonic Plasma). I guess I'm saying that I want to see my images at their worst, but accurately.
    I'm about to pull the trigger and move to a 35-45" LCD or Plasma TV as my prime editing monitor, but I'd like to see how they stack up in one of your top-notch reviews.

    2)Where can I get Monaco XR software. I have the DTP 94 colorimeter, but I need the software. I have used ColorEyes form many years, but have never been happy with it. And now I can't even get it installed on Windows 7.

    Thanks for any help you can give me. And keep those great display reviews coming!
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    Looking for a big screen, how do the 30 inch monitors from Dell compare? I wish there was a nice big chart with several of the monitors in this range.
    Would like to see how the u2410, 3007wfp, 3007wfp-hc, and 3008wfp compare with the reference HP 30" in processing lag.
    Reply
  • pjackson11 - Monday, February 08, 2010 - link

    Here's another review with calibration reports and such: http://www.flatpanelshd.com/review.php?subaction=s...">http://www.flatpanelshd.com/review.php?subaction=s... Reply
  • kasakka - Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - link

    The lag when turning on and switching resolutions is really annoying on the 3008WFP. I switch between my Macbook Pro and my desktop PC and the lag annoys me. Otherwise I haven't noticed any real input lag problems with the display.

    I was hoping that Dell had fixed that problem for the newer models but apparently they just crammed the same software and hardware in with a smaller panel.
    Reply
  • mikeyakame - Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - link

    I find the turning on lag to be the worst personally. Resolution switching lag isn't nearly as bad compared to that! Other than that there is no real input lag you are definitely right there. It behaves really well at native resolution on DVI-D. Reply
  • ochentay4 - Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - link

    Hi, how can I calibrate my crappy Dell S2409W without professional tools? Is there any way? Reply
  • mikeyakame - Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - link

    You could pick up one of these for personal use, they aren't all that expensive and the result is pretty good for the price.

    http://www.pantone.com/pages/products/product.aspx...">http://www.pantone.com/pages/products/product.aspx...

    I've got a Huey Pro myself, this model:

    http://www.pantone.com/pages/products/product.aspx...">http://www.pantone.com/pages/products/product.aspx...

    And the main difference is the software mostly, a few extra features on the Pro software, like being able to set gamma and cool/neutral/warm color temps through the tray tool.

    The results I've got with my Dell 3008WFP with the Huey Pro are quite good, while it doesn't detect reds all that perfectly, I don't mind the slight red tint, it makes it alot easier to sit 30cm away from the monitor and have it not hurt my eyes.

    Food for thought anyway.
    Reply
  • ochentay4 - Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - link

    Thanks man. I also read that AVIA Guide to Home Theater and Digital Video Essetials are very good DVDs to calibrate for videos. I supose that the calibration is worse than PANTONE products. I will test and see. Shame I really dont have money right now. Reply
  • jazzfreek - Monday, January 25, 2010 - link

    Very nice article. I enjoyed reading it as I am in the market for something like this. One thing that caught my eye was your comment regarding better results using Monaco Optix over Coloreyes Display Pro and remembered seeing Integrated Color recommending using the Spyder 3 calibration puck over the otherwise recommended DTP-94 when calibrating wide gamut displays. I believe the DTP-94 is the same colorimeter as the one you use. Perhaps the older puck isn't sensitive enough to the new wide gamut. (see link). Thought you might be interested in this. Thanks.
    http://www.integrated-color.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?S...">http://www.integrated-color.com/mm5/mer...&Cat...
    Reply
  • 10e - Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - link

    The Spyder3 is deficient in measuring black levels and color gamut, so I wouldn't recommend it. The Eye One D2 and DTP-94 are both better at this. Reply

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