Hands On with Dell's 27-inch P2714T Touch Monitor

Calibration and Controls

Though the focus here is on Windows 8, Dell's panel comes with a generous amount of preset modes. They include Standard, Multimedia, Movie, Game, Text, Warm, Cool, and a Custom Color profile.

Somewhat surprising (in a good way) for a touch-oriented monitor is Dell's decision to forgo touch controls in favor of physical buttons. Pressing any of the buttons brings up the OSD, and from there navigating is an easy affair -- there are arrows and other corresponding commands that appear on the display next to each button. We didn't have any trouble hopping through the various options.
    There's not a ton to play with as far as fine tuning goes. In addition to Brightness and Contrast, you can adjust the display's Sharpness, Input Color Format, and a few other odds and ends. There's also a section for Energy Settings in case you want to earn some brownie points with Mother Nature.

    Calibration (DisplayMate)
    Menus and Options
    DisplayMate Test Screens

    We're now using DisplayMate for Windows (www.displaymate.com) as part of our monitor evaluation process. DisplayMate's smorgasbord of tests allow us to root out potential problems areas, such as geometry distortion and color inaccuracies, to name just two.

    Despite the reflective glass, we had no trouble using the P2714T in a brightly lit environment like any other monitor. What we really wanted to know, however, is how this panel compares to Dell's other high-end models, and professional level panels in general (the P2417T isn't marketed as a professional workhorse, but it does carry a pricing premium that raises performance expectations).

    Running our usual gamut of tests, we were impressed overall with the panel's color reproduction. We didn't notice any egregious flaws in displaying accurate colors, and in DisplayMate's video bandwidth test, the panel scored a 98.8 out of 100, with 100 being a perfect (and unattainable) score. Values over 100 are indicative of overpeaking and compensation, and can lead to ringing and overshooting images. That isn't a problem here.

    Where the P2417T starts to sweat is in black level performance. This is a monitor that likes to shine bright, and as a result, black levels just don't get dark enough. We also noticed a bit of temporary Moire interference, which DisplayMate says is usually due to pixel tracking and/or phase errors in LCD panels.

    Photo performance was very good on the P2417T, though not quite as crisps as some other high end panels like Dell's own U3011. Professional photographers will want to pony up for a higher end monitor, though if your job doesn't depend on pinpoint color accuracy, the P2417T is certainly a better option than any of those budget TFT panels floating around. In fact, if you've never viewed a panel like the U3011, the P2417T is very likely to be the best looking panel you've laid eyes on.

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