The Dell UltraSharp 25 USB-C Monitor (U2520D) is a 25-inch productivity panel that is best for workers who occasionally engage in color-critical tasks such as processing photos for a website but who do not require a full-fledged professional monitor. It has a wide range of ergonomic features, making for a comfortable user experience. It is pricier than a standard 25-inch business monitor, but for your creative workers, it is money well spent if they need a panel that fits in limited space but doesn’t stint on color quality.
Sharp Images and a ‘Beveled Bezel’
The 25-inch flat IPS panel packs in 2,560 by 1,440 pixels, which is QHD resolution, at a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. Pixel density is a healthy 117 pixels per inch (ppi). That’s well short of the 163ppi density that we have seen on several recent premium productivity monitors, such as the Lenovo ThinkVision P27u-10 and the Editors’ Choice Dell UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor (UP2720Q), both of which sport UHD or 4K resolution, though denser than the Dell 27 USB-C Monitor (P2720DC)’s 108ppi. That said, given the relatively small 25-inch screen size, that’s a perfectly adequate native resolution for fine work, relative to those first two mentioned panels. (All else being equal, the higher the pixel density, the sharper that the text and other fine detail in an image should show up.)
The U2520D has a typical look for a Dell business monitor, sleek but utilitarian. The panel is set in a cabinet that is black in front and gray in the back. It has very thin bezels at the top and sides, and on the bottom a bezel that hosts the control buttons at its right-hand edge. This bezel is beveled, which not only makes for a good tongue twister, but also tilts the tiny buttons up toward the user, enhancing their visibility.
Ergonomics are a strong point with the U2520D, which offers up to 5.1 inches of height adjustment, a tilt range from 5 degrees downward to 21 degrees upward, swivel control of up to 45 degrees to either side, and the ability to pivot 90 degrees, from landscape to portrait and back, in either direction. With its stand extended to its full height, the U2520D measures 20.2 by 22.3 by 7.3 inches (HWD) and weighs 9.3 pounds. Its rectangular base has a 9.5-by-7.4-inch footprint.
The vertical shaft that connects the base to the cabinet has a round hole about four inches from the bottom through which you can snake cables. If you want to wall-mount the monitor instead, there is a square array of VESA mounting holes spaced 100mm (3.9 inches) apart on the back of the cabinet.
Ports: Power Delivery and Daisy Chaining
The U2520D’s generous selection of ports includes one HDMI port, two DisplayPort connectors, two USB Type-C ports (one of which can deliver 90 watts of power to your laptop, even when you’re streaming content from it), three USB Type-A ports, and an audio-out jack. One USB-C and one USB-A port are on the left side, and even the downward-facing ports are not hard to reach—that’s because thanks to the monitor’s pivot control, you just rotate the monitor into portrait mode to easily access them.
The U2520D is a good choice for a multi-monitor array. You can use the DisplayPort-out connection to daisy-chain a second monitor, which will be automatically detected and configured using Dell Express Daisy Chaining, which I first tested in the Editors’ Choice Dell 27 USB-C Monitor (P2720DC) mentioned up top.
The OSD: Intuitive Navigation
Navigation through the U2520D’s onscreen display (OSD) is easy and intuitive. It is controlled by four small, physical buttons next to the power button on the right side of the monitor’s bottom bezel. When you press any of them, all four buttons become labeled by illuminated icons above them. Once you enter the menu system, they are identified by up, down, and right arrows, plus close.
The buttons make it easy to navigate through the OSD. You can change color space, input source, brightness, contrast, and a host of other parameters. Note that if you daisy-chain a second monitor, you will first want to enable the MST setting in the Display menu.
It Nails the sRGB Color Space
Dell claims color-gamut coverage of 99 percent of the sRGB color space, the standard color space used on the web and in many other applications, out of the box. The U2520D surpassed that, covering 99.9 percent of sRGB.
Below is a chromaticity chart of the sRGB color space, which was generated when testing in Standard mode. The area within the triangle represents all the colors that can be made by mixing the primary colors red, green, and blue. The circles, representing my measurements, mostly lie a bit outside the triangle and are fairly evenly spaced.
Rated luminance and contrast ratio are 350 nits (candelas per meter squared) and 1,000:1, respectively. In Standard mode, it turned in 280 nits, a bit shy of its Dell rating but still bright enough for its intended tasks, and an 1,141:1 contrast ratio, somewhat better than its rating. (See how we test monitors.)
The U2520D has a VESA DisplayHDR 400 rating, the most basic level of VESA’s HDR scale. It has several HDR settings: DisplayHDR, Movie HDR, and Game HDR. It’s worth experimenting with them to see which you find the most pleasing.
The U2520D handled both still and moving images well. Colors looked reasonably true and rich, and both contrast and dynamic range were spot-on. Our sample videos looked sharp and fluid, and showed a modest improvement in contrast with the Movie HDR setting enabled.
A Whiz at Image Handling
If you’re looking for a compact but elite productivity monitor that displays color well, the U2520D is well worth your consideration. It costs less than the Lenovo P27u-10, and it features much better OSD navigation. It has a similar feature set but a smaller screen than the Editors’ Choice Dell 27 USB-C Monitor (P2720DC). They both have very good color accuracy, a full range of ergonomic features, and a generous port selection, plus both support automatic daisy chaining of a second monitor.
For about the same money, you get two extra inches (measured diagonally) of screen real estate with the P2720DC, and for most folks otherwise onboard with this panel, that model will make more sense in terms of value. That said, the Dell UltraSharp 25 USB-C Monitor (U2520D) is a strong choice for workers who must occasionally perform color-critical tasks but don’t require a full-fledged professional monitor, and who also need to mind how much desk space their new panel (or daisy-chained panels) might take up.
Dell UltraSharp 25 USB-C Monitor (U2520D) Specs
|Panel Size (Corner-to-Corner)||25 inches|
|Native Resolution||2560 by 1440|
|Rated Screen Luminance||350 cd/m^2|
|Rated Contrast Ratio||1000:1|
|Pixel Refresh Rate||60 Hz|
|Video Inputs||HDMI, USB-C, DisplayPort|
|USB Ports (Excluding Upstream)||2|
|VESA DisplayHDR Level||DisplayHDR 400|
|Dimensions (HWD)||20.2 by 22.3 by 7.3 inches|
|Warranty (Parts/Labor)||3 years|