If you’re looking for a 27-inch gaming monitor, there are so many options to choose from that it can be hard to narrow it down. The most important aspects to consider are the resolution and framerate, as these need to be selected in accordance to what your PC is capable of processing. Currently, the resolution that fits both competitive and triple-A gaming is 2560 x 1440, as games can be played at upwards of 140 FPS with a good, high-end, current generation GPU, and the QHD resolution offers excellent, immersive, visuals.
Two monitors that provide high native framerates – without the need for overclocking the monitor – and that make the most of what some of best graphics cards are capable of processing, are the Gigabyte M27Q and the Dell S2721DGF. Not only do these monitors offer 1440p at 165-170 Hz, but they do so while keeping input lag to a minimum, and are capable of displaying a wide chromatic range that other monitors simply cannot.
The main difference between these two options lies in their panels. Though both make use of In Plane Switching (IPS) technology, they have different variants that offer enhancements to the existing, traditional, IPS panels.
The M27Q has what Gigabyte calls a Super Speed (SS) IPS panel, which makes use of thinner liquid crystal layers and higher driving voltage in order to achieve faster response times and lower inherent input lag. All in all, the SS IPS panel aims at having Twisted Nematic (TN) panel response times, while maintaining the superior image quality of the IPS panel.
On the other hand, the Dell S2721DGF uses a Fast Nano IPS panel, which utilizes 2 nm diameter light absorbing particles, situated on the backlight, that absorb excess light wavelengths in order to increase the color gamut that the panel is capable of displaying. In addition, the S2721DGF also makes use of FRC (Frame Rate Control), effectively increasing its panel depth from 8 to 10 bits by switching between color tones fast enough that it creates an illusion that intermediate color tones are also being displayed – allowing the Dell S2721DGF to display an excess of one billion different colors.
Now, the question is, does the Dell’s S2721DGF nano IPS panel, together with its other monitor specifications, offer enough to justify its $100 higher price tag; or does the Gigabyte M27Q hold much more value for its cost? To answer these questions, we will compare all aspects of both monitors, and determine which of the two is the better choice, for gaming and productivity alike.
|Monitor||Gigabyte M27Q||Dell S2721DGF|
|Screen Size||27 inches||27 inches|
|Resolution||2560 x 1440||2560 x 1440|
|Refresh Rate||170 Hz||165 Hz|
|Panel Type||Nano IPS||SS IPS|
|Bit Depth||8 bits||8 bits + FRC|
|Colors||1.67 million (24 bits)||1.07 billion (30 bits)|
|Brightness||350-400 nits||360-480 nits|
|Minimum MPRT||0.5 ms||1 ms|
Appearance – TIE
When it comes to looks, both monitors sport a somewhat similar design: with an all-black exterior, a wide base for their – rather simplistic – stands, and identically thin 0.3-inch (0.7 mm) borders that make these monitors excellent candidates for multi-monitor setups. They also both have a cutout in the stand for better cable management.
Where they somewhat differ, is that the Gigabyte M27Q has a thinner screen than the Dell S2721DGF, measuring only 1.7 inches (4.3 cm) without the stand, versus the 2.6-inch (6.5 cm) screen of the latter model. The S2721DGF, on the other hand, has a small lighting display in the back – a thin illuminated strip running across the perimeter of the ventilation – that is monochrome (blue) and can only be turned on or off.
Resolution & Refresh Rate – TIE
The QHD resolution is identical for both options, and the framerate differs only slightly, with the Gigabyte M27Q pulling ahead by just 5 Hz. Considering that a high-end PC build, with a new generation GPU – like Nvidia’s RTX 30 Series or AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 Series options – can process games at about 150-170 FPS on average at 1440p (TechSpot), these monitors are just right for what current hardware can handle.
Display – Gigabyte M27Q
Though we have two very similar options, with near identical IPS panels and screens with no curvature, it appears that the Gigabyte M27Q does pull ahead in this category, due to its more consistent viewing angles.
Now, viewing angles are generally a strong point of IPS monitors, especially when compared to VA or TN monitors. However, the Dell S2721DGF falls short in its vertical viewing angle. The colors hue shift from below at just 31 degrees, and from above at 34 degrees, as compared to the respective 65 and 70 degrees of the Gigabyte M27Q. Additionally, the black level raise (the angle at which dark shades begin to look washed out), as well as the gamma shift, begin to changes at 30 to 32 degrees, compared to the 47 to 70 degrees of the Gigabyte M27Q. This is especially unfortunate for the Dell S2721DGF, given that it has such excellent ergonomic versatility.
Contrast & Brightness – Gigabyte M27Q
As is the case with all IPS panel monitors, both the Gigabyte M27Q and the Dell S2721DGF have mediocre contrast ratios of 1,000:1; which means that blacks will not appear very accurate, especially in a dark or dimly lit environment. That being said, when tested, the Gigabyte M27Q appears to display a slightly higher contrast ratio than what it advertises, reaching 1,184:1; but the Dell S2721DGF, on the other hand, measures less than what is stated in its manufacturer specifications, at 882:1 (according to rtings.com).
This also appears to be the case when it comes to brightness, as the Gigabyte M27Q measured between 423 to 434 nits of SDR peak brightness, which is about 20% higher than its advertised brightness of 350 nits. In HDR, it averages between 432-443 nits, which is enough to earn its DisplayHDR 400 certification. The Dell S2721DGF once again falls short of its specifications, measuring between 341-368 nits of SDR peak brightness, and a high variance of HDR peak brightness which measures anywhere between 328-490 nits.
Color Range – Gigabyte M27Q
In terms of manufacturer listed specifications, the Gigabyte M27Q has an 8-bit panel depth that is capable of reproducing 140% of the sRGB color spectrum, and an impressive 92% of the DCI P3 color space. The Dell S2721DGF, with its Nano IPS panel, is advertised to be able to display 144% of the sRGB color spectrum, and an even higher 98% of the DCI P3 color space.
Though the Dell S2721DGF does have 4% and 6% better color coverage for sRGB and DCI P3, the Gigabyte M27Q is able to reproduce 97.3% of the Adobe RGB color gamut – whereas the Dell S2721DGF is only able to display 84.4% of this color gamut: a substantial 12.9% difference. There is also a considerable variance in the HDR color gamut, with the Gigabyte M27Q displaying 74.1% of the Rec 2020 color range, beating the 70.4% coverage of the Dell S2721DGF. It must also be mentioned that, when tested by rtings.com, the Gigabyte M27Q was able to recreate 85.8% of the DCI P3 color space, while the Dell S2721DGF only achieved 73.8% of DCI P3 – both much lower than their advertised specifications.
But, because the Gigabyte M27Q has such higher results in tested metrics, it is only reasonable to say that it has the edge over the Dell S2721DGF in this category, effectively outperforming the Nano IPS panel in its own element.
Response Time & Input Lag – Gigabyte M27Q
When it comes to response times, we must first mention that gaming monitors usually come with different overdrive settings, and the Gray to Gray, or MPRT, response times that manufacturers advertise are measured using the fastest overdrive setting the monitor is capable of.
For the Gigabyte M27Q we have: Picture Quality, Balanced, and Speed modes, and for the Dell S2721DGF we have Fast, Super Fast, and Extreme. The issue with going to the faster overdrive settings, is that doing so will cause overshoot error: a blur that can appear in moving particles, as pixels transition beyond their anticipated color. For both these monitors, in order to avoid overshoot error, the best overdrive setting is their default (Picture Quality for the M27Q and Fast for the S2721DGF). The Gigabyte M27Q has a total response time of 8.4 milliseconds at its maximum refresh rate, and 9.9 milliseconds at 60 Hz. Accordingly, the Dell S2721DGF has a total response time of 6.3 ms at 165 Hz, and 9.6 ms at 60 Hz – very minor and ultimately unnoticeable differences.
The aspect that competitive gamers are interested in the most when searching for a monitor, is its inherent input lag – and this is where the Gigabyte M27Q leads the Dell S2721DGF. At its native resolution the M27Q has just 3.2 ms of input lag, and at 60 Hz it only has 8.5 ms of input lag. Even with VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) at 60 Hz the input lag is below 10 ms (8.9 ms), so the SS IPS panel really does live up to its name. The Dell S2721DGF does not fall too far behind, however, as it only reaches 3.7 ms of input lag at its native resolution, which increases to 11.1 ms at 60 Hz, and 12.4 ms when VRR is active. Again only a few milliseconds of difference, but given that competitive gamers can now minimize end-to-end input lag drastically with GPU features like Nvidia’s Reflex and AMD’s Anti-Lag, it is always good to lessen input lag from as many sources as possible, and the Gigabyte M27Q does outperform its competition in this category.
Ergonomics – Dell S2721DGF
Where the Gigabyte M27Q disappoints – especially for a 27-inch monitor – is its ergonomic flexibility. The stand of the Gigabyte M27Q allows for its height to be adjusted by 130 mm, and it can tilt forward and backwards by 5 and 20 degrees respectively. The Dell S2721DGF can also have its height adjusted by 130 mm, and it can tilt forwards and backwards by 5 and 21 degrees respectively, but, in contrast to the Gigabyte M27Q, it can also pivot in both directions by 90 degrees – allowing it to shift into either a portrait or landscape orientation – and it can also swivel to the left and right by 45 degrees.
Both monitors can be removed from their respective stands, as they are VESA mount compatible via the MIS (Mounting Interface Standard) of 100 x 100 mm.
Power Consumption – Gigabyte M27Q
Despite its higher framerate, and overall higher level of performance, the Gigabyte M27Q is also more power efficient than the Dell S2721DGF by up to 36%. The former has a maximum power consumption of 58 Watts, whereas the latter has a maximum consumption of 90 Watts. Of course, power efficiency is hardly a critical aspect when it comes to monitors, but it is nice to have efficient electronic equipment, especially for a device that will be turned on for several hours a day.
Connectivity – Dell S2721DGF
Speaking of nice-to-haves, being able to connect PC peripherals directly to the monitor can be very convenient; both for freeing USB slots from the PC tower, but also for better cable management.
The Gigabyte M27Q features two USB 3.0 Type-A downstream slots – one of which has BC 1.2 fast charging at 5 Volts – and two USB 3.0 upstream slots: one Type-B, and one Type-C that is compatible with its KVM feature. In terms of display connectivity, it has two HDMI 2.0 ports and one DisplayPort 1.2 slot (quite odd, since a DP 1.4 slot would have been a better fit for its resolution and framerate). For audio, it has only one 3.5 mm audio out jack.
The Dell S2721DGF has four USB 3.0 Type-A downstream slots, as well as one Type-B upstream slot. For display connectivity, it has two HDMI 2.0 sockets, and one DisplayPort 1.4. It also has two audio jacks: one 3.5 mm audio in, and one 3.5 mm audio out. Additionally, all of its slots are protected by HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection).
Because of the two extra downstream slots, the faster DisplayPort, and the extra audio jack, the Dell S2721DGF does have the superior connectivity.
However, that extra upstream USB Type-C of the M27Q will work wonders for the monitor’s features, as KVM can also be incredibly useful.
Features – Gigabyte M27Q
Indeed, the Gigabyte M27Q has a plethora of features that can be game-changing, especially for a 27-inch monitor.
Firstly, what these two monitors have in common: Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync compatibility, flicker-free technology, a physical joystick to more easily navigate their manus, DisplayHDR 400, low blue light, and several gaming features, like a timer overlay, an FPS counter, a crosshair, and a dark/black equalizer. The Gigabyte M27Q has an aim stabilizer (feature that reduces motion blur) and an auto-update function to keep the monitor up to date, while the Dell S2721DGF has shortcut buttons to reach any desired setting quicker.
Now, where the M27Q excels, is its potential to connect and display multiple devices, and to switch between them with just a click of a button. It does so with three different features: KVM, Picture-in-Picture (PIP), and Picture-by-Picture (PBP).
The Gigabyte M27Q is the first monitor to make use of KVM technology, which allows you to control a second device that is connected to the monitor via the USB Type-C slot, with one keyboard and a mouse. In other words, you can type text messages on your smart phone with your keyboard, have your phone’s display switch to the M27Q’s display, or even connect your laptop and control it via the same keyboard/mouse interface that you use for your main computer. All this is done via the click of a built-in KVM button.
Additionally, with PIP and PBP, you can have two devices connected to the monitor simultaneously via any interface – be it USB, HDMI 2.0, or DP 1.2. PIP allows you to have one device as your main screen and the second device in an inlay window, while PBP splits the screen in two, each device occupying its respective half.
Overall, the Gigabyte M27Q holds a significant advantage in features over the Dell S2721DGF, and, quite frankly, over most other gaming monitors as well.
Usually, when it comes to comparing monitors, each option will hold value for different uses or preferences. However, in this case, one monitor is clearly the superior to its competition – in almost every way – and it also happens to be cheaper in price. That is the Gigabyte M27Q.
This monitor has better viewing angles, better contrast & brightness, is capable of reproducing a larger color gamut, has less input lag, is more power efficient, and has far more useful and convenient features. What’s more, it does all this while costing over 30% less than the Dell S2721DGF. Sure, the Gigabyte M27Q does have a couple less USB 3.0 downstream slots, and it does lack the ability to pivot or swivel, but these are hardly a tradeoff for what it offers in terms of essential monitor functions. Even if the monitors had equal prices, or even if the Dell S2721DGF was slightly cheaper, the M27Q would still be the better choice – no matter what it’s used for.
Hence, for competitive gaming, triple-A gaming, general use and productivity, the clear victor is the Gigabyte M27Q.