Calibrating Your DELL U2711 Display

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Carrotkid, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. Carrotkid macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2010
    Hello everyone,

    I have recently spent several evenings re-calibrating my Dell U2711 display and have finally come up with a fantastic image so I thought I'd share my results for those having trouble calibrating this display (given the low quality AG coating this display comes with, calibration can be quite tough). Plus, during my Google search, trying to find some calibration tips, I was surprised at how little I found. Most of the forums I went to are discussions about the AG coating with hardly any talk about calibration. So, because of that, I figured I should share my calibration steps.

    I edit video so I managed to come up with a calibration that shows great shadow detail (without crushing the blacks) yet still gives a deep, rich look for the graphics as well. Everything from the highs to the lows look great! And parts of the screen such as the dock look so vivid it's hard to distinguish from an Apple Display in terms of richness and clarity (without the shine, of course). You can still see the grain of the AG coating on bright areas of the screen but it's hardly distracting at all. On a side note: this is a great display for editing video even with the AG coating but if you edit still photography I would stay away from the U2711 entirely: still image + still grain = disaster!

    Unfortunately I don't know much about internal computer system settings or if all displays that Dell ships are identical, so I can't say for sure that the calibration I did will work for everyone. However, if all Dell Displays and Apple computers (I use a 2010 MacPro) are 100% identical when shipped, then, if you follow my steps exactly, you should be able to come up with something similar to what I got. But I can't say for sure:

    Step 1: Setting up the display.
    Set the contrast to 100% and the brightness to 80%. Set the Gamma to (Mac), the Mode Selection to (Graphics), and the Preset Mode to (Custom Color). Now, in custom color leave the green at 100% and set both the Red and Blue to 98%.

    Step 2: Setting up the Mac.
    Run your Mac's Display Calibration Assistant (located in the Display section of System Preferences). Select the checkbox for Expert Mode and keep clicking continue till you get to the section with the lined boxes with the Apple logo in the middle.

    Now, for all 5 'lined box' steps, make the Apple logo disappear using only the left slider (do not touch the right slider at all). To make the Apple logo disappear (blend into the box) you must squint your eyes until the lines that make up the box itself become one solid color (my eyes were about 75% closed). Take your time and make sure you are confident that the Logo is gone.

    Then, when you come to the gamma screen either select 2.2 or 2.15 - the proper setting should be 2.2, however, I found the blacks to be not as deep as I'd like them to be (most likely because of the AG coating) so I choose 2.15 which I found to be the key to giving the display the richness it needs to look great.

    When you get to the 'Target White Point' screen, select the checkbox 'use native white point'.

    Then save you calibration profile and exit the assistant. Now go back to your Dell display settings and set the brightness to 100% and you should be good to go! Note: if you find your screen to be a little too dark, re-calibrate but try selecting 70% or 60% for the brightness during step one. That way, when you raise the brightness to 100% at the end, it should be somewhat brighter.

    I hope this works as great for you as it did me! And even if it doesn't, hopefully you will end up with something half decent. But either way, please do share your results - I know there are a lot of people out there struggling with this display because of it's AG coating and some are even attempting to remove the AG coating with bad results. I even considered removing mine but now I am glad I didn't take the risk (I suck at doing those type of mods, haha). Now, my display looks almost as good as an Apple display (and without any glare!
  2. digitalhen macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    This seems to have done a nice job here, Carrotkid. Thanks!

    How do you find the AG coating on yours? I'm really tempted to return it (I'm returning this one any way for stuck pixels) and get an Apple Cinema Display instead.
  3. jenzjen macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2010
    We brought home a 27 ACD to try instead of our Dell 27. While i still miss that display, it was too bright for me since we had to crank up the brightness to offset the glare in the room.
  4. Black107 macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2009
    I've had a hell of a time trying to get this thing looking good. I can get pretty close, but one of the three primaries always seems way out of wack, usually blues.

    I'm trying to get used to the AG coating...I'm going to be counting down the days left on the Dell return policy, might have to go for an ACD if I can't get this thing dialed in good enough.
  5. ironruby macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2008
    I just bought a U2711 and was considering returning it (because I'm not sure I want to deal with the wide gamut color space). I've heard we have 21-days to return... but I can't find anything on Dell's site about this. Did you see this mentioned on their site?
  6. Black107 macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2009
    I sent mine back. I do believe it is a 21 day return window. They will refund me the full purchase price and the return shipping is covered by them as well. Its a shame because I really wanted to like that monitor, but the color space, lamp buzzing (correlated to brightness), and above all the Anti-glare coating which made anything above a medium gray "frosty/sparkly" made me send it back.

    I'm going to be looking long and hard at ACD 27's before I buy one. Just quick tests with a glossy macbook on my desk at approx monitor position showed a fair amount of glare behind me. I'm not sure if I was making a bigger deal out of it because I was "looking for it", but needless to say apple wont be as forgiving as Dell should I decide I need to return an ACD. Therefore, I need to be as thorough as possible beforehand.
  7. netnothing macrumors 68040


    Mar 13, 2007
    Can I ask, what exactly bothered both of you with the wide color space? Just trying to understand the color space issue.

    I just got a 27 ACD, and so far it's very nice.....I'm moving up from a 23 ACD.


  8. ironruby macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2008
    I finally decided to return my U2711 (shipped it off this morning; the return window was indeed 21 days). It was a hard decision since the display was crystal clear and beautifully bright. Mine did have a slight greenish tint along the right edge about 1-2 inches wide, but it was hard to notice unless you were looking for it (and only noticeable on white or gray backgrounds/windows). I could have lived with that.

    However, in the end it was the anti-glare coating which made me return it. I think it's similar to the coating on other Dell monitors I've owned/used, but the small pixel pitch of the U2711 makes the shimmer/sparkle effect more noticeable.

    I also tried holding my MacBook Pro up in front of the U2711 while the sun was shining on a small patch of the wall behind me. What I found is that the anti-glare coating spreads the light over a large area, but the brightest spot is still unusable. The glossy screen however has a really focused bright spot which becomes unusable, while everything immediately around it is fine. In my case, I think the glossy finish of the 27" ACD would perform just as well as the U2711 in terms of glare... so I'm considering getting one eventually.
  9. ironruby macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2008
    Originally, I thought I'd have to deal with color management in software which would have been a real headache, but the U2711 has a built in sRGB emulation mode. So I ended up leaving it in sRGB mode... and if/when I needed the full Adobe RGB gamut I could always switch it back into aRGB mode. (In any case, I ended up returning the U2711 because I didn't like the anti-glare coat.)
  10. Sharky II macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Jan 6, 2004
    United Kingdom
    Is the antiglare coating any different to what is on, say, my 'old' Dell 2405FPW?
  11. netnothing macrumors 68040


    Mar 13, 2007
    Thanks for the info. I got the 27" ACD for Christmas and am loving it. I do web development and anything image wise I do needs to be sRGB anyway, so I didn't need a wide-gamut display.

    Only complaint so far is that the white LEDs that Apple used give a blue tint. I managed to grab a profile from a forum member that makes it much better. Need to break down at some point and get a calibrator. The default or default sRGB is way to blue.

  12. DELTAsnake macrumors 6502


    Jul 18, 2008
    Thanks for that, I just got my U2711 along with my new Mac Pro and I'll be calibrating it as soon as my new copy of DVE turns up.
  13. ironruby macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2008
    I'm using a Dell 2405FPW at work and I would say the anti-glare coating is very similar. However, for some reason it seemed to bother me more on the U2711. So it's either a little more aggressive on the U2711 or there's something else about the U2711 that made the anti-glare coating more noticeable to me.

    Some people say that having the brightness too high can make the 'sparkle' effect worse, but I only had my brightness on 20-30%. I think the screen's small pixel pitch had something to do with it (i.e., if the pixels are smaller and the distance between them is smaller, then the 'sparkles' would stand out more).

    I would still say it's a beautiful monitor, though. So if you've never had an issue with the 2405FPW, then you'll probably love the U2711.
  14. ndpitch macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2010
    I just got my U2711 today.

    I wasn't sure what to expect with all this anti-glare talk. But, now I see what people mean. I was wondering what that grainy look on whites was all about, but it turns out it's the anti-glare.

    I did your calibration, and that seems to have helped out! It's not as noticeable now.

    I don't think the AG is bad enough to consider a return. It would be nice to remove it, but I don't want to ruin my 1000 dollar display. I was going to get the ACD, but I chose the U2711 for its better input selection. I have a work laptop that I'd like to hook up to this from time to time, and with the ACD, that just wouldn't be possible.

    Thanks for the calibration! I'll try it out over the next few days and see how it settles in.

  15. chesbrougha macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2009

    I have been trying to use the spyder3 pro to calibrate the monitor with my 2010 macbook pro. The screen looks excellent after your instructions with the exception that things seem to be a bit green, especially the greys. Any updates from your post from last year? Any more tips/tricks
  16. jryan727 macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    Hey guys, I just came across this thread and was wondering if you ever got your U2711's calibrated, and how the ACD is compared to the U2711 for those of you who returned the Dell in favor of the ACD?

    I just bought two U2711's and was really excited for the upgrade, but have been pretty disappointed so far. The colors seem really nice, and the display is very sharp, but this AG coating is really annoying and seems to be leading to really quick eye fatigue/headaches if I read too long. I've only had these for a day, so did any of you who kept your Dell end up getting used to this?

    I'm considering the 27" ACD, but have a Hackintosh, so it's a bit more work, and I love the connectivity options on the Dell, but the display on my MBA still seems much sharper and the colors seem far more vibrant than on the U2711. I really, really want to love these displays, but they're making it really hard to!

    Any suggestions?

  17. chesbrougha macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2009
    I haven't experienced any eye fatigue but have found more success calibrating the display with the ColorEyes Display Pro software in conjunction with the SpyderPro3. The main issue with the display in my opinion is the anti glare coating while trying to edit photos; when the photos are not at 1:1 there seems to be grain in the photos when there is in fact not.
  18. Black107 macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2009
    As someone who returned a U2711 due to the horrible coating for a 27" ACD, I haven't looked back. I work all day on a 27" iMac (same panel) and have the 27" ACD at home and love it. Are there reflections? Sometimes, depending on whats behind/beside you. However I find that my eyes are able to ignore reflections at lot easier than the horrible coating on the U2711. It wasn't just that the panel was really hard to calibrate, but the "sparkle" the whites had. ACD is a million times better, IMO.
  19. jryan727 macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    Yeah I haven't calibrated it yet, but don't want to invest in purchasing a calibrator if I'm going to be returning these. Does the AG coating appear better after calibration? I really can't imagine any amount of calibration helping this, no matter how hard I try, I just can't stop seeing this damned coating.

    Yeah I'm strongly considering it. I'd need to buy two, and need to hook it up to my Hackintosh, which I think would entail me purchasing the previous generation displays (not the new Thunderbolt displays, which haven't even shipped yet), and an ATI card that Apple sells that has DP ports on it. I haven't done much research on that side of things, yet, but it's looking more and more like I'll be getting an ACD. I feel like I'd rather deal with reflections more than this sparkle, it really is unbearable.
  20. volodymyrqa macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine

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