Few brands have as much renown when it comes to office and gaming peripherals as Dell. From keyboards and mice to monitors and full-blown desktop PCs, the Dell name – and Alienware sister-brand – exude quality from every seam. I jumped at the chance to undertake a Dell S2721DGF review – a 1440p monitor, with 165Hz refresh, and 1ms response time monitor built for gaming, on the brink of some of the biggest releases this year? Yes, please. It's no guarantee the monitor will perform and impress, but it certainly ticks all the boxes I look for in the best gaming monitors.
Design & Features
Kicking things off is taking this hot prospect out of the box. Despite Alienware being Dell's gaming-focused brand, the S2721DGF retains a design that feels a bit Alienware, coming across somewhat similar to what I saw in my Alienware AW2521HF review earlier this year. It's impressively simple to put together with the base, stand, and screen slotting together smoothly, propping up this 6kg+ beaut.
Even though the specs are geared towards being a top-performing gaming monitor, looks can be deceiving. Sticking with the Dell brand means there are no fancy LEDs or wacky design aspects, aside from a single blue stripe arching on the back, which you'll only notice when playing in almost pitch blackness. For the on-screen display and controls, reach around with your right hand to find a column of simple buttons, including a very useful joystick. The tiny bezel and otherwise lack of notable aesthetic features make this one of my favourite monitors I've ever used when it comes to appearance.
As is expected with gaming monitors by this point, both AMD's FreeSync and Nvidia's G-Sync are supported - immediately making this a contender to be one of the best G-Sync compatible FreeSync monitors - which helps to reduce screen tearing by pairing the on-screen refresh rate with the in-game frames-per-second. The S2721DGF does support HDR, although it's not particularly substantial, failing again in darker areas which is especially notable during cinematic movies and games.
Refresh Rate: 165Hz
Response Time: 1ms
Ports: 2x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 4x USB downstream, 1x USB upstream, headphones, audio line-out
How does the S2721DGF fare when put through the ringer with video games? Quite frankly, astonishingly well. Take this with a grain of salt, because it could simply be the upgrade from 1080p to 1440p, but in Valorant I was putting up more consistent numbers than I had in previous weeks, climbing the ranked ladder with some vague consistency.
I also spent considerable time playing both Watch Dogs Legion and Assassin's Creed Valhalla with the Dell S2721DGF monitor and while neither game flaunts the best graphics ever seen, they did allow me to test the fidelity and picture quality of the monitor. For the most part, it excels; colours are bold and bright, but the only aspect it stumbles on is contrast. Venturing down dark tunnels in Assassin's Creed left me struggling to see for a few seconds, even as I brought the in-game torch up, which is an unfortunate side effect of IPS panels. The positive on the other hand are the wide viewing angles and ultra-fast response rate. There is also almost no input lag whatsoever, which is essential for gaming, especially online multiplayer games.
There's very little to complain about with the Dell S2721DGF monitor. It offers everything I look for in a gaming monitor – 1440p resolution, high refresh rate, and low response time – while being a sleek, gorgeous device that would be at home in any set-up. The sub-par dark areas are a small hindrance which makes this monitor more suitable for competitive gamers rather than those who flourish in single-player experiences, but you can't go far wrong, especially at this price point.