- Review Date: 02/14/2013
- Bottom line: The Dell UltraSharp U2913WM is s unique 29-inch ultra-widescreen monitor offering a 21:9 aspect ratio and solid IPS color and grayscale quality but it may not be the best choice for gamers.
- Pros: Great color quality.Very good grayscale performance. Generous port selection.
- Cons: Vertical viewing angle could be better. No speakers. Mediocre motion handling.
Design and Features
The U2913WM's AH-IPS (Advanced High Performance IPS) panel is the same panel technology used on the Dell UltraSharp U2713HM. It has a non-reflective anti-glare finish and measures 29-inches diagonally with a total display area of 11.5-inches (height) by 27.3-inches (width). The monitor uses a sleek bezel-less design similar to that of the AOC i2757fh and Viewsonic VX2770Smh. The top and side bezels are negligible and the matte black bottom bezel is only 0.75 inches high and sports a shiny Dell logo and five tiny touch-sensitive buttons (including the power switch).
The 12.8-pound cabinet sits atop an elegant stand consisting of a curved mounting arm with a two-tone matte black and silver finish and a black rectangular base with one curved side. The cabinet is attached to the arm with a sliding hinge that lets you adjust height and tilt the panel. The arm swivels at the base but there is no pivot adjustment, which is understandable given the cabinet's excessive dimensions. Granted, the U2913WM will require more desktop space than a traditional monitor but it's a bit easier to accommodate than a dual monitor setup in that it has a space-saving stand and requires only one power cable.
The U2913wm will handle every video signal you can throw at it. At the rear of the cabinet are a dual-link DVI input, DisplayPort and mini-DisplayPort inputs, HDMI and VGA inputs, and a DisplayPort output for Multi-Stream Transport (MST) functionality, which allows you to daisy-chain multiple monitors.There's also an upstream USB 3.0 port back there along with two downstream USB ports and an audio output for use with an optional Dell Soundbar ($34.99 direct). There are two more USB 3.0 ports conveniently located on the left side of the cabinet, but built-in speakers are not included on this model.
Dell's OSD (on screen display) is a breeze to use thanks to the on-screen labeling system which tells you which buttons to press for selecting options and navigating the menu and submenus. It offers seven picture presets (standard, movie, multimedia, paper, game, color temp, sRGB) and a custom setting where you can adjust red, green, and blue saturation levels. The color temp setting allows you to choose between six color temperature settings ranging from 5,000k to 10,000k.
In addition to brightness and contrast settings you can select a color format (RGB and YPbPr) and choose a PC or Mac gamma setting. Hue and saturation settings are only available when operating in Movie and Game modes. There's an aspect ratio menu offering the native 21:9 setting as well as 16:9, 1:1, and an auto mode that resizes based on content. Other Display settings include noise reduction, smart video enhance, uniformity compensation, and picture by picture, which allows you to view two images from different sources at the same time.
Dell covers the U2913WM with a three-year warranty including parts, labor, and advanced exchange. You can up that to four years for an additional $25 or spend $29 for a five-year plan. Included in the box are a dual-link DVI cable, a DisplayPort (mini to DP) cable, and a USB to PC cable. A resource/driver CD is also included.
The U2913WM handled color and grayscale reproduction with aplomb. It was able to cleanly display every shade of gray on the DisplayMate 64-Step Grayscale test and delivered crisp, uniform colors that scaled smoothly from dark to light. Skin tones from the blu-ray version of Men In Black 3 were realistic and image detail was superb.
The panel has a pixel response of 8 milliseconds (gray-to-gray), which is fine for movies and most video applications but produced a touch of smearing while playing Midnight Run: Los Angeles on my PS3 console. Assassin's Creed II on the PC also produced an occasional blur when the action heated up, but game play was still enjoyable. Chances are, only the most demanding gamers will notice these minor artifacts.
Horizontal viewing angle performance was excellent as there was no loss of luminance when viewed from an extreme side angle and colors remained vibrant and true. Vertical viewing was not as sharp though; color quality remained quite good but there was some dimming as you moved from top to bottom. That said, vertical viewing was still much better than what you can expect from most TN (twisted nematic) panels.
The big screen required 36 watts of power during testing with the Energy Smart feature disabled, which is about average for a large IPS panel. Energy Smart uses dynamic dimming to reduce brightness depending on the content shown on the screen. Enabling this feature can help reduce power depending on how much white area the image contains but it's difficult to measure because it is constantly changing.
The Dell UltraSharp U2913WM's ultra-wide panel makes it easy to view multiple windows on a single screen without the need for a dual-monitor setup. The IPS panel delivers solid color and grayscale performance, and the monitor is equipped with every video port under the sun as well as a four-port USB 3.0 hub and an ergonomic stand. You'll get some dimming when viewing the panel from the top or bottom, and you may notice a trace of smearing while playing fast action games, but both flaws are relatively minor. If you're more concerned with resolution than panel width, our Editors' Choice, the Dell UltraSharp U2713HM, gives you 2,560-by-1,440 pixels and can be pivoted for portrait mode viewing.
This review is in partnership with PCMag.com.