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REVIEW: Dell U2913WM

Introduction

The Dell U2913WM is among the first 21:9 aspect ratio LCD monitors to hit the market and is actually the only one available at this point in time. Although this aspect ratio has been available for TVs for quite some time while still not being common, it is beginning to emerge for LCD monitors.

Considering the fact that most of today's movies are recorded in the extra wide 2.40:1 format, black horizontal bars would be visible even on a 16:9 display device. Featuring a 21:9 aspect ratio and a 2,560 x 1,080 pixel resolution allows content on the U2913WM to be displayed in a way that actually makes use of the entire screen. But the Dell U2913WM is not only aimed at cineastes.

Due to its extreme width several software programs can be run simultaneously and displayed next to each other, thus the Dell U2913WM unifies the display width of almost two screens in a single device. Its 8 ms (gray to gray) response time is likely to pique the interest of gamers, because in this sector too the Dell U2913WM's wide panorama offers a new gaming experience. If a given game supports such a plus size resolution, this may make for a crucial advantage.

For the U2913WM, Dell banked on the proven quality of AH-IPS panels, promising wide viewing angle, high color fidelity and high contrast ratio. Internal color control is based on 6 Bit + FRC per color channel. In addition, with each U2913WM Dell includes a calibration report guaranteeing that a DeltaE of 2 will not be exceeded in sRGB display mode and that the monitor is also suitable for image editing.

The backlight employs power saving LEDs. In terms of connectivity, the Dell U2913WM covers quite a wide range, including Mini-DisplayPort, DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, VGA, audio and a USB 3.0 hub.

Hands on Dell U2913WM

Without a doubt it can be said that the Dell U2913WM is an unusual monitor with very flexible capabilities. But instead of letting ourselves get carried away by outer appearance or mere numbers on a spec sheet, we are going to put this monitor through its paces in practice. How much of the initial enthusiasm will be left at the end remains to be seen.

We connected the Dell U2913WM to the PC using a DVI cable on the DVI output of a Gainward GTX 560 Ti. All colorimetric measurements were taken with a spectral photometer (EyeOne Pro) combined with the iColor Software by Quato and Colorimetre HCFR. For determining the minimum black level, we used a Colorimeter (X-Rite DTP94). For external feeds, we used the Blu-Ray player Sony BDP-S350, which we connected via a HDMI-DVI cable.

Scope of supply

The package the Dell U2913WM is delivered in is of rather bulky proportions. Cardboard padding in its interior makes sure that the display is securely separated from its stand and that both are firmly held in place. Both components are additionally wrapped in a soft plastic foam bag

As to accessories, Dell ships the U2913WM with a DVI-D cable, DisplayPort cable (Mini-DP to DP), USB hub and power cable, as well as a calibration report. The USB cable features a special connector which is why the U2913WM can only be used with this cable. According to the manufacturer's website there is also supposed to be a driver CD included. But this was missing --at least in the unit we reviewed--, and the power cable had a UK mains plug.

Accessories included along with the Dell U2913WM and proprietary USB hub cable.

Design and mechanics

What immediately strikes as the most prominent feature is the extremely wide screen of the Dell U2913WM. The for LCD screens uncommon 21:9 aspect ratio appears unusually wide. The plastic case of the Dell U2913WM is matte black throughout. Only the rear of the monitor's stand has a silver finish. The case of the U2913WM is only two cm thick at is outer edge.

Extra wide panorama: Dell U2913WM with 21:9 aspect ratio.

What is also unusual is the bezel around the screen: there is none. The display's protective glass extends almost to the very edges where it is enclosed only by the ca. 3 mm thick rear side of the case. However, the distance between the panel itself and the outer edge of the protective glass measures 9 mm, thus resulting in a thin 1.2 cm frame.

Very neat: frame less screen - the protective glass extends to the edges.

Regarding ergonomics the Dell U2913WM comes well equipped too, starting with the height adjustment. The display height can be adjusted from a minimum setting of 6 cm to maximum setting of 19 cm, for a total range of 13 cm. Moving it in height works smoothly and the force required for doing so seems pleasantly balanced.

Also featured is a swivel function. The Dell U2913WM allows 30 degrees swivel to the left and right side each. When being swiveled, the monitor's stand does not turn in the process. Here too, turning works smoothly and easily without it being too effortless.

Swivel function of the Dell U2913WM, turning 30 degrees to each side.

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