Digital Life

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Toss-up: HD computer screens

Today's widescreen computer monitors rival the size and picture quality of a mid-sized television, making them a tempting option if your computer is for both work and play. A range of video inputs let you hook up a games console, personal video recorder or Blu-ray player alongside your computer. These Dell and Asus offerings are both 27-inch high-def monitors offering razor-sharp 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, which is sharper than a Blu-ray movie. Such a large screen and high resolution also lets you fit more on the screen at once, displaying two A4 pages side-by-side with plenty of room to spare.

Both monitors will accept a 2560 x 1440 video signal via an HDMI, DisplayPort or Dual-link DVI cable, or else a 1920 x 1080 signal via the D-sub input. Even if your computer only offers up to 1920 x 1200 or 1440 x 900 resolution, these super-sharp monitors will happily upscale a smaller picture to fill the screen.

In terms of image quality, the Dell is the winner here, thanks to a slightly brighter screen, greater contrast and improved colour accuracy. The Dell also features a more flexible stand and has a built-in four-port USB 3.0 hub for connecting to desktop devices.

The Asus still looks good, but the Dell looks better. The Dell's big drawback is that it doesn't have built-in speakers. Dell does sell an optional sound bar, plus you'll find a 3.5-millimetre audio line-out for running the audio from HDMI to external speakers.

The verdict

If you're a photographer primarily concerned about image quality then lean towards the Dell, but if you're looking for an all-round entertainment display then the Asus's built-in speakers probably make it a better choice.

Asus PB278Q

Dell U2713HM