If you’re looking to purchase a 1440p, 144+ Hz, 27-inch monitor to go with a new-generation Nvidia Ampere RTX 30 Series, or AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series GPU, then you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
As this resolution and framerate combination has become all the more popular, PC monitor manufacturers are scrambling to release models that fulfill these metrics in the best, or most marketable, way possible. It is for this reason we find monitors of almost every panel type for this category: Twisted Nematic (TN) panels, with excellent response times, low input lag, but poor color saturation, Vertical Alignment (VA) panels, with great contrast ratios but narrow viewing angles, and In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels, with excellent viewing angles, but low static contrast ratios. TN panels are slowly becoming obsolete, as both VA and IPS panels have been modified to also include almost equally fast response times and low input lag. VA panels are used mainly for curved monitors, and IPS panels are perhaps the most popular panel type for gaming screens.
Two such popular gaming monitors, with non-curved IPS panels, are the Dell S2721DGF and the Lenovo Legion Y27q-20. These two models offer very similar, almost identical, advertised specifications, making the choice between them a difficult one to make. To determine what differentiates the two will require us to look mainly into the actual benchmarked metrics, and find out whether or not the Dell S2721DGF is worth its slightly higher price.
|Monitor||Dell S2721DGF||Lenovo Legion Y27q-20|
|Screen Size||27 inches||27 inches|
|Resolution||2560 x 1440||2560 x 1440p|
|Refresh Rate||165 Hz||165 Hz|
|Bit Depth||10 bits (8 bits + FRC)||10 bits (8 bits + FRC)|
|Colors||1.07 billion||1.07 billion|
|Brightness||360 nits - 480 nits||320 nits - 340 nits|
|MPRT||1 ms||1 ms|
|Price (As of writing)||$499||$470|
Appearance – TIE
Since both monitors have a rather plain, all black exterior, there really isn’t one monitor that stands out over the other. The Dell S2721DGF does have a small lighting display behind the monitor – a thin accent running across the perimeter of the ventilation – but this is a blue monochrome non-RGB display; which hardly tips the comparison in its favor.
What’s great about the exterior design of these monitors is that they both have very thin, 0.3-inch (0.8 cm) borders, making them excellent choices for multi-monitor setups. They also have thin screens – 2.4-inch (20.5 cm) thickness without the stand for the Legion Y27q-20, and 2.6-inch (6.5 cm) thickness for the Dell S2721DGF – so they take up less space if you keep them on a desk, and are also good options for mounting on a wall as well.
Resolution & Refresh Rate – TIE
Their resolutions and refresh rates are identical, at 1440p 165 Hz, so once again we do have a tie. It must be noted that even the best consumer PC hardware available will struggle to reach framerates of 165 FPS at 1440p for all titles, as even the Radeon RX 6900 XT (the current best performing GPU at 1440p) has an 18-game average of 169 FPS; while the more popular Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 reaches an average of 153 FPS (Techspot). That being said, even if your setup cannot reach the framerate to fully take advantage of the monitor’s refresh rate, chances are that the monitor will still be there for your next upgrade, so it is always nice to have some extra performance leeway.
Display – TIE
IPS panels are generally known to have excellent viewing angles, which makes them ideal options for multi-monitor setups and consoles. These two non-curved monitors do live up to the panel’s reputation for horizontal viewing angles, with colors shifting between 51 degrees from the left to 55 from the right, but they do lack in vertical viewing angles, as the colors begin to shift at 30 to 34 degrees from below and above respectively. This vertical viewing angle will only become an issue if you plan to have the monitor above, or below, eye level.
Contrast & Brightness – Dell S2721DGF
Where IPS panels lack severely is in contrast ratios, and these monitors are no exception. With a 1,000:1 static contrast ratio advertised by their respective manufacturer, both monitors were found to have lower metrics when tested by rtings.com. The Dell S2721DGF had a contrast ratio of just 882:1, while the Legion Y27q-20 had a contrast ratio of only 851:1.
Where the Dell S2721DGF holds a slight advantage, is mainly in its HDR peak brightness levels. In SDR, it reaches a peak brightness of 341 to 368 nits, while the Legion Y27q-20 ranges between 319 to 323 nits, and in HDR, the difference is further pronounced, with the Dell S2721DGF reaching a peak brightness level between 328 to 490 nits, and the Legion Y27q-20 going only up to 339 nits – despite having a VESA DisaplayHDR400 certification.
Color Range – TIE
According to the advertised specifications, the Dell S2721DGF covers 144% of the sRGB color space, 85% of the Adobe RGB color space, and 98% of the DCI P3 gamut, while the Legion Y27q-20 can reproduce 99.8% of the sRGB color space, 87% of the Adobe RGB color space, 95% of the DCI P3 gamut, and 70% of the Rec. 2020 spectrum.
Real-world benchmarks show that these manufacturer metrics are actually surprisingly accurate, with a discrepancy of only up to 1% – which is within the margin of error. The big difference between the two monitors is their pre-calibration accuracy. The Dell S2721DGF is poorly calibrated out of the box, whereas the Legion Y27q-20 is almost perfectly calibrated, displaying colors to an incredibly accurate degree.
However, since the Dell S2721DGF is also capable of reaching exceptional accuracy with a bit of tweaking, and since their color coverage is very similar – both having an 8-bit panel depth with Frame Rate Control (FRC) to simulate a 10-bit depth, and thus reproduce over 1.07 billion 30-bit colors – a tie must be declared for this category.
Response Time & Input Lag – TIE
Definitely the most important metrics when it comes to competitive gaming, response times and input lag are paramount for avoiding motion blur and input lag.
For response times, these monitors have three overdrive settings. The Dell S2721DGF has Fast, Super Fast, and Extreme, while the Lenovo Legion Y27q-20 has Off, Normal, and Extreme. The higher the overdrive settings go, the lower the response time; with the downside being an increase in overshoot error (a measure of how much the pixels transition beyond their desired color). The Dell S2721DGF, on its lowest overdrive setting (Fast) and at its maximum refresh rate (165 Hz), reaches a total response time of just 6.3 ms – which increases to 9.6 ms at 60 Hz. This includes an overshoot error of just 0.9% and 1% respectively. The Legion Y27q-20, on its Normal setting and maximum refresh rate, has a total response time of 6.9 ms with an overshoot error of 3.3%. At 60 Hz, and the overdrive set to Off, it has a total 12.4 ms response time with no overshoot error.
The difference is just as minimal when it comes to input lag, with the S2721DGF having 3.7 ms of input lag at its native resolution and framerate, 11.1 ms at 60 Hz, and 12.4 ms at 60 Hz and Variable Refresh Rate enabled. The Legion Y27q-20 has 3.8 ms, 9.1 ms, and 10.1 ms in its respective metrics.
Overall, these variances will ultimately be unnoticeable, and are low enough to be considered within the margin of error, so neither model pulls ahead in this category.
Ergonomics – TIE
The Dell S2721DGF and the Legion Y27q-20 offer a full range of ergonomic versatility, with the ability to have their height adjusted by 130 mm, pivot to the left and right by 90 degrees (meaning they can operate in either landscape or portrait orientation), and tilt forwards by 5 degrees, or backwards by 21-22 degrees. The only difference between their ergonomic flexibility is that the Dell S2721DGF can swivel (to the left and right) by up to 45 degrees, while the Legion Y27q-20 can only swivel by up to 15 degrees – but you can always turn the screen together with the stand.
Both monitors are VESA mount compatible, with a 100 x 100 mm VESA Mounting Interface Standard (MIS).
Power Consumption– Dell S2721DGF
Despite having very similar levels of performance, the Dell S2721DGF consumes 36% less energy on average – which makes it a far more power efficient model.
To be more specific, the Dell S2721DGF consumes 32 watts on average, while the Legion Y27q-20 consumes 50 watts, and the Dell S2721DGF only consumes 0.3 watts on sleep mode, whereas the Legion Y27q-20 consumes 0.5 W. Both monitors can reach a maximum power consumption of 90 W.
Connectivity – Dell S2721DGF
As of late, monitors – and more specifically gaming monitors – have begun to include USB 3.0 ports, allowing users to plug peripherals directly to the monitor instead of to their PC; which can be very convenient depending on the setup.
The Dell S2721DGF includes an impressive total of five USB 3.0 ports: four of which are downstream Type-A, while one is upstream Type-B. In terms of display connectivity, it has two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4 socket, and two 3.5 mm audio jacks: one audio-in and one audio-out.
On the other hand, the Lenovo Legion Y27q-20 has four USB 3.0 ports (three downstream, one upstream), only one HDMI 2.0 port, one DisplayPort 1.4 socket, and just one 3.5 mm audio jack: the audio-out.
Both these models have their connectivity protected by High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP).
Because the Dell S2721DGF has an additional USB 3.0 downstream slot, an additional HDMI 2.0 slot, and an audio-in jack, it is only fair to declare it the victor of this category.
Features – TIE
Added features are rather barebone for both these models, as they only include a blue light filter, flicker-free technology, AMD FreeSync Premium Pro support, and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility.
The Dell S2721DGF does have a timer overlay, which can be useful for gaming (though no crosshair overlay), and the Lenovo Legion Y27q-20 has a Dynamic Contrast Ratio feature, in an attempt to improve its rather poor contrast ratio, as well as a Dark Boost feature to help make objects more visible in dark scenes. Nothing significant enough to make either monitor stand out.
After comparing these monitors in almost every aspect relating to their performance, it is safe to say they are just about equal.
The Dell S2721DGF has one additional USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, and audio jack, a slightly higher HDR peak brightness level, and is 36% more power efficient than the Lenovo Legion Y27q-20 – while costing $30 more. The price difference is rather low, and whether or not the Dell S2721DGF is worth its extra cost depends on how much you value those minor advantages.
The truth of the matter is that both these monitors are rather expensive for what they have to offer, as other monitors do exist that outperform them, and cost less while doing so. One such example is the Gigabyte M27Q, which costs $360 and offers everything from better contrast ratios, a wider color gamut coverage, less input lag, far superior features, and even better power efficiency. We have compared the Gigabyte M27Q to the Dell S2721DGF, and you can find the article here.
If you do find these monitors on sale, then the choice between the two should be based purely on their price and availability, as their performance is near-identical.