With low resolution VGA and XGA monitors still more the norm than the exception at schools, there’s an opportunity to update what students and teachers look at by skipping HD and going right to next-generation Ultra-HD displays.
Dell’s S2817Q is a case in point that at $449 is only slightly more expensive than what a good HD monitor costs. Still, rather than putting 1,920 by 1,080 resolution on screen, the S2817Q display shows a full 3,840 by 2,160 resolution. That translates into images and video formed by a total of more than 8 million pixels, eight-times the detail of wide-XGA and four-items that of regular HD imaging.
At 17.6- by 25.9- by 7.3 inches, the all black S2817Q takes up a small amount of space considering that it provides nearly 28-inches (measured diagonally) of display space. It has slim 0.6-inch bezels that give it a trim look and a nice flat place on the stand to stash a phone or tablet; unfortunately, it doesn’t have a Qi inductive charging plate in it.
Its stand needs to be put together, but that takes about a minute. There’s a cable management hole for routing wires through the stand for a neat desktop. The stand allows you to tilt the screen back by 21-degrees or forward by up to 5-degrees,but you can’t swivel it right or left or rotate the screen between portrait and landscape modes. It also lacks VESA mounting holes that would allow it to be used with a wall mount or an off-the shelf stand.
The display comes with a pair of HDMI ports along with Displayport and audio connections. It has a built-in USB hub and two ports for anything from a thumb drive to a hard drive. It can work with older VGA-based inputs, but you’ll need to get an adapter.
While its on-screen configuration system is straight-forward, the control switches are stiff and the S2817Q lacks a remote control. You can’t lock out any subsequent configuration changes made by students.
In addition to full-screen imaging, you can view two inputs side by side or as picture-in-picture mode. There are display preset configurations for Standard, Multimedia, Movie, Game, Warm, Cool and a special paper mode that makes documents look paper-white. You can set your own custom mode by adjusting the red, green and blue levels.
The screen is rated with an ultra-fast 2 millisecond response rate that shows off HD and ultra-HD video clips well. It can show 82 percent of the S-rgb color gamut. It has a slightly bluish look, but delivers richly saturated colors and sharp edges. The S2817Q uses Twisted Nematic (TN) display technology rather than newer In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology and it shows with side-to-side viewing angles of about 165-degrees versus nearly 180-degrees for IPS.
Look closely and the S2817Q show details that were absent in viewing the same image or video on a w-XGA or HD screen. High-resolution items appear fuzzy or pixelated on lesser displays, but are pinpoint sharp on the S2817Q.
Using the Standard mode, the S2817Q delivered 226 cd/m2 of brightness, just enough for classrooms with the lights left on. Its anti-glare coating helps in rooms with overhead fluorescent lighting.
The S2817Q only uses 40.4 watts of power when in use and 0.5 watts in standby mode. This will help save money on electricity compared to a fluorescent lit screen or an antiquated tube monitor. In fact, if it’s used for 10 hours every school day and electricity costs the national average of 12 cents per kilowatt hour, expect that the display will cost $10 a year to operate. That’s likely a pessimistic estimate because the S2817Q can shut itself down after a short period of inactivity.
Its sound sets the S2817Q apart from the crowd. In addition to a pair of 3-watt downward-firing speakers, the display has two 6-watt subwoofers that add a lot of bass to the stream. Overall, everything sounds full and has more than enough volume for a small classroom but could be helped with a little more mid-range tones.
At $449, the S2817Q includes a three-year warranty and is a bargain display that doesn’t look or sound like one. Its color reproduction may not be perfect and I wish you could attach it to standard mounting hardware, but it can’t be beat for bringing a lot of pixels to the class.
+ Ultra-HD resolution
+ Side by side and picture in picture formats
+ Fast response rate
+ Excellent audio
+ Two USB 3.0 ports
- Stand doesn’t swivel or rotate
- No VESA mounting hardware