Dell S2318NX, S2418NX and S2718NX IPS models with Dell HDR
HDR (High Dynamic Range) is something of a buzzword (or ‘buzz phrase’) at the moment, with a promise of a richer and more engaging visual experience. The Dell S2318NX, S2418NX and S2718NX combine Dell’s recent ‘InfinityEdge’ design with support for ‘Dell HDR’, giving the user something of a soup of buzzwords to swim in. The ‘InfinityEdge’ name describes models from the manufacturer which currently have the slenderest bezels, comprising a very thin hard outer component and a very slim panel border. The panel border blends seamlessly into the display when it’s switched off, but even when switched on it’s unobtrusive. The slim bezels at all four sides are combined with a minimalistic ‘wireframe’ style stand and a very slim side-profile as well. The power LED is an unobtrusive white slit running vertically down the power button, beside OSD (On Screen Display Controls) that appear to be illuminated, at least in current press shots.
The monitors feature 23” (S23), 23.8” (S24) and 27” (S27) IPS (In Plane Switching) panels, which we believe specifically to be LG Display AH-IPS panels. The 23” and 27” models have a ‘Low Haze’ treatment, with 1% haze specified. This means they are essentially glossy, but still have a very mild anti-glare treatment to cut back on reflections a bit whilst delivering excellent clarity and vibrant ‘pop’. Current specifications suggest the 23.8” model uses a regular matte anti-glare surface. The resolution for all models is 1920 x 1080 (Full HD), refresh rate 60Hz and viewing angles of 178° specified both horizontally and vertically. The 27” model also supports AMD FreeSync via HDMI, although the refresh rate range of that is currently unknown but believed to be either 40 – 75Hz or 48 – 75Hz. A 1000:1 static contrast ratio is specified alongside a 6ms grey to grey response time – but note that Dell typically give a higher but more representative value than most manufacturers for this, and specified values should always be taken with a pinch of salt anyway. A flicker-free WLED backlight is used on all models with a 99% sRGB colour gamut. A ‘Low Blue Light’ setting also exists for relaxing viewing, particularly useful before bed when blue light should be cut out as much as possible to avoid disrupting sleep hormones.
The 27” model also supports AMD FreeSync via HDMI, although the refresh rate range of that is currently unknown but believed to be either 40 – 75Hz or 48 – 75Hz.For a true HDR experience you need a backlight with many ‘dimming zones’ that can simultaneously display very bright and very dim content (naturally giving it a very high static contrast ratio). You also need an expansive colour gamut, expanding way beyond sRGB. Given the specifications, then, it seems a little confusing to then say that ‘this is an HDR monitor’. It would be more accurate to say that the monitor features ‘Dell HDR’, which is an intelligent processing algorithm used to ‘enhance’ the image where HDR10 content is being displayed. We have not yet had any hands-on experience with this technology so can’t say at this stage exactly how it works, but we feel it may ‘enhance’ content which supports it without really blowing users away in the sense that ‘real HDR’ might.
The included stand is tilt-only with the slender and self-contained monitors lacking VESA holes for alternative mounting. The ports include; VGA, HDMI (1.4a with Adaptive-Sync on 27” model only) and 3.5mm audio output. Further information on the S23, S24 and S27 can be found on Dell’s website. Note that similar models with the suffix ‘HX’ also exist (S2318HX, S2318HX and S2718HX) with a Waves Maxx Audio speaker integrated into the stand base. The models are now available in the US from the manufacturer, with wider retailer available there and in other regions expected shortly. If there is sufficient demand, we’ll consider reviewing at least one of these models.