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Dell U4021QW Evaluation: The Premiere Extremely-Vast Monitor for Picture Modifying


The Dell U4021QW is, fairly actually, one in every of a sort. It’s the world’s first 40-inch curved ultra-wide WUHD 5K2K monitor — a 21:9 side ratio monster that boasts a color-accurate 10-bit panel. In our testing, it has carried out superbly. However whereas it’s positively the premiere ultra-wide monitor for picture enhancing, it’s not the very best picture enhancing monitor general.

In comparison with many different ultra-wide screens in the marketplace, the Dell delivers a extra well-rounded expertise. Most ultra-wides focus all of their consideration on both productiveness or gaming, placing little-to-no emphasis on coloration accuracy. Even supposing many picture and video editors discover it downright essential to work on a number of screens side-by-side, there are valuable few color-accurate panels within the 21:9 side ratio, which interprets into valuable few color-accurate ultra-wide screens.

Greater than the rest we’ll discuss, that’s what makes the Dell U4021QW particular. Not solely is it massive and excessive decision — 40-inches and 5K2K decision is nothing to scoff at — it makes use of a real 10-bit panel with a (claimed) DCI-P3 gamut protection of 98% and a Delta E of lower than 2. What’s particular in regards to the Dell U4021QW is that it exists in any respect, and with a worth of $1,700, it’s fairly a bit cheaper than selecting up two equally correct 4K screens and inserting them side-by-side.

Design and Construct High quality

My first impression upon unboxing and establishing the Dell U4021QW was, ” I’m overwhelmed.” I sometimes work off of 1 32-inch or 27-inch 16:9 monitor (relying on what we’re at present reviewing at PetaPixel) and the change to an ultra-wide was a bit staggering at first.

You’ll be able to comfortably arrange three home windows side-by-side-by-side with out something feeling cramped. Should you’re feeling particularly masochistic, you could possibly break the monitor into 6 sections and put a window in every — there actually is sufficient decision to accommodate it. However personally, it took me a few day of standard use earlier than I crammed up the whole thing to do something in any respect.

Setup was a breeze. The monitor “clicks in” to the stand whereas it’s nonetheless within the field, and then you definately use the stand to elevate it out and set it in your desk. Ideally, you’d have a little bit assist with this, as a result of it’s not a small monitor, however this easy-to-unbox setup is appreciated by these of us who reside alone… or, in my case, with a canine who actually wasn’t a lot assist in any respect.

The stand itself is sturdy, with a fairly small footprint and plenty of positioning management. You’ll be able to tilt, swivel, and regulate the peak of the monitor with a single hand no downside, and the little gap for cable administration is a pleasant contact. Bezels are minimal, about 0.4 inches (1cm), and the 2500R curve is simply sufficient to eradicate any off-axis coloration shift on the edges whenever you’re sitting proper in the course of the display.

By way of controls, there’s solely an influence button and a joystick, the latter of which you press to entry each the quick-access menus and the total settings of your show. The total menu is intensive, however the quick-access menus are all you’ll want more often than not. That features Brightness/Distinction, Enter, Quantity, Preset Coloration Modes, and the Image-in-Image (PIP) and Image-by-Image (PBP) modes which might be out there solely when you’ve got two gadgets related on the similar time.

The U4021QW features a USB-A and USB-C port on the underside of the monitor, permitting you to cost small electronics like headphones or a smartphone.

Talking of connectivity, the monitor comes with loads of ports to go well with no matter laptop computer or desktop you’d wish to hook up. There are two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4, one Thunderbolt 3 USB Kind-C with 90W energy supply, an Ethernet port, a headphone jack, and a USB Kind-B upstream port that powers 4 USB Kind-A ports and one USB Kind-C downstream, all of which may switch information at 10Gbps. Two of those ports — the USB Kind-C downstream and a kind of USB Kind-A ports — are discovered beneath the show for simple entry, and these two ports additionally function energy supply.

It’s value mentioning the built-in twin 9W audio system, which had been surprisingly highly effective and a pleasant contact for customers who don’t have a set of screens or pc audio system helpful. They actually made the built-in speaker on my Mac mini sound like trash, which it’s, though they clearly can’t compete with even an inexpensive set of correct desktop audio system.

General, the Dell U4021QW delivered the entire options that I would like from a monitor like this. The principle issues I search for are Thunderbolt connectivity in order that I can use a single cable for audio/video/information, adequate energy supply to cost most laptops (90W is loads), and some easy-access comfort ports after I have to plug in a telephone or cost my wi-fi keyboard and mouse. The Dell delivers all of this and extra, wrapped up in basic Dell styling that basically hasn’t modified a lot over the previous a number of years.

Should you like Dell’s screens, you’ll like this one. Should you hate them, Dell hasn’t given you any compelling purpose to love the U4021QW’s design and construct high quality any higher.

Gamut Protection and Uniformity

In our testing, the Dell U4021QW managed to cowl 95% of DCI-P3 (left) and 88.5% of AdobeRGB (proper).

When it got here time to check the Dell’s coloration accuracy, I got here in with a wholesome dose of skepticism. Except you’re going to make use of a direct backlight and cost an exorbitant quantity for particular in-monitor sensors that may assist with uniformity (see our NEC PA311D overview), it’s very troublesome to evenly illuminate this a lot display. The gap from the nook of the display to the middle is roughly 20-inches, and I suspected that uniformity can be a difficulty.

Spoiler: I used to be proper.

However first, let’s discuss coloration accuracy and gamut protection. Whereas the Dell U4021QW does NOT have a built-in LUT or any assist for {hardware} calibration, it does let you regulate the Achieve and Offset of your RGB primaries, in addition to the Hue and Saturation in six axes: Pink, Inexperienced, Blue, Cyan, Yellow, and Magenta.

This turned out to be mandatory as a result of not one of the presets had been notably good out of the field. So as to get my white level to D65, I needed to change the monitor to “Customized Coloration,” flip down the achieve on the Inexperienced channel to 95% and quit a little bit little bit of general brightness. As soon as I did, the monitor carried out admirably, clocking in 99.9% protection of sRGB, 95% protection of DCI-P3, and 88.5% protection of AdobeRGB, at a Delta E 2000 of simply 1.23.

That’s strong protection at a superb Delta E, however you’ll keep in mind that Dell claims 98% DCI-P3 protection, so it was a little bit bit disappointing to see the monitor fall wanting the spec sheet. We’ve requested Dell why this may be, and can replace the overview if and after we hear again. Till then, we’ll simply assume it’s a matter of variation from panel to panel. The colorimeter I used, an i1Display Professional Plus (that was lately rebranded…), is similar we’ve used to judge each different show reviewed on PetaPixel to this point, so we have now no purpose to consider it’s gone wonky now.

Nonetheless, just a few proportion factors right here or there are inside an affordable margin of error, and we had been very proud of the monitor’s Delta E.

What was much less spectacular was the uniformity, which is certainly a difficulty as anticipated with a panel this dimension. After we ran our 9 x 5 patch check in DisplayCAL, the monitor failed “Nominal” tolerance on 9 of the 44 patches (the middle patch is used for reference), with a lot of the unhealthy patches showing on the left-hand facet of the show. It solely handed “Advisable” tolerance on 10 of the patches, leaving us with 25 patches that solely handed “Nominal” tolerance.

From the outcomes beneath, you’ll be able to see that we’re principally fading in brightness as we transfer up and out to the perimeters of the show (click on to open the total decision picture), which makes me assume this monitor may be edge-lit from the underside, however that’s pure hypothesis:

This sort of uniformity (or lack thereof) is fairly regular for screens that don’t explicitly appropriate for it with some type of built-in sensor, nevertheless it’s unlucky whenever you’re coping with such a pleasant panel. True 10-bit screens (versus 8-bit + FRC) are nonetheless considerably uncommon beneath $2,000, and we’ve by no means seen a 40-inch, 21:9 ultra-wide possibility.

Finally, we’d classify the Dell U4021QW’s coloration efficiency as “enthusiast-grade,” with adequate coloration accuracy, coloration depth, and gamut protection to fulfill most picture and video editors. However for inventive professionals searching for an ultra-wide with true professional-grade efficiency, Dell hasn’t fairly cracked it. You’ll have to attend a short time longer.

Greatest in Its Class, However May Nonetheless Be Higher

My ideas on the Dell U4021QW are much like my ideas on the M1 iPad we reviewed a few months in the past. The most effective iPad continues to be an iPad, and the very best ultra-wide monitor continues to be an ultra-wide monitor, with all of the challenges inherent to that type issue.

There’s a purpose why most ultra-wide shows concentrate on productiveness and never coloration efficiency.

Let’s be clear: the Dell U4021QW is an outstanding ultra-wide. It is likely one of the greatest in the marketplace and the premiere ultra-wide monitor for picture enhancing because of its dynamite mixture of dimension, side ratio, decision, coloration accuracy, and gamut protection. Nevertheless it falls wanting the efficiency of smaller, extra centered “creator” screens that don’t have fairly a lot display with which to contend.

Professionals

  • True 10-bit panel
  • 5K2K decision makes 21:9 side ratio way more usable
  • 95% DCI-P3 and 99.9%% sRGB protection is sweet sufficient for the overwhelming majority of individuals
  • Good coloration management by means of on-screen menus
  • Single-cable connectivity by means of USB-C with 90W energy supply
  • Further ports beneath the show are tremendous handy
  • Good built-in audio system
  • Comparatively reasonably priced ($1,700) for what you get

Cons

  • Gamut protection falls barely wanting producer claims
  • Uniformity is poor on the edges
  • No assist for {hardware} calibration
  • Peak brightness isn’t appropriate for HDR workflows

The cons record is kind of quick, however the few issues that the Dell U4021QW misses are going to be notably essential to you all: top-shelf gamut protection, good uniformity, and assist for {hardware} calibration are all essential options that picture and video editors search for of their shows. The Dell principally checks the primary field, however misses the second and third totally.

That places severe fanatics in a good spot, the place they should determine what they would favor. Do you wish to prioritize the seamless productiveness expertise of an ultra-wide and content material your self with coloration efficiency that’s adequate, however not glorious, or would you fairly spend a little bit extra to buy two ultra-accurate 4K screens and set them side-by-side? There isn’t a apparent proper reply, simply the proper reply for you.

Are There Options?

As I stated on the high, the Dell U4021QW is kind of actually “one in every of a sort.” There are different ultra-wide screens on the market, there are even color-accurate ultra-wide screens which might be geared toward creatives, however none match Dell’s mixture of dimension, decision, coloration depth, and coloration accuracy. The closest you’ll get is a 34-inch 5K2K ultra-wide with related coloration accuracy out of a less expensive 8-bit + FRC panel, just like the MSI Status PS341WU.

The query, then, isn’t: “is there a greater ultra-wide for picture enhancing?” There isn’t. The proper query, due to this fact, is: “what may I purchase as an alternative?”

Should you’re prepared to spend extra, you’ll be able to outperform the Dell when it comes to each decision and coloration accuracy by selecting up two 27-inch or 32-inch 4K screens. Each the ASUS ProArt PA329C and Dell’s personal UP2720Q function 10-bit panels, AdobeRGB protection over 98%, assist for {hardware} calibration and, in case you go together with the Dell, you even get a built-in colorimeter.

To avoid wasting a bit of cash, prioritize coloration over decision and choose up two 27-inch QHD (2K decision) color-accurate screens. BenQ’s SW270C is a well-liked alternative, or you could possibly attempt to choose up a few used NEC MultiSync PA271Q‘s, which can be found for a steal at $750.

Ought to You Purchase It?

As typical, the reply isn’t a clear-cut “sure” or “no.” There may be nuance to think about.

If you’re an fanatic who needs to commerce in a dual-monitor setup for an ultra-wide that can give you sufficient decision and coloration accuracy to make that change worthwhile, I can wholeheartedly advocate the Dell U4021QW. At 40-inches with a 5K2K 10-bit panel with 95% protection of DCI-P3, it might probably sort out all however essentially the most demanding color-critical workflows. For me, it’s been a productiveness dream, and I’m not trying ahead to sending it again.

Nevertheless, in case you’re knowledgeable whose livelihood fairly actually revolves round coloration accuracy otherwise you’re trying to spend money on a monitor for HDR video enhancing, look elsewhere.

For much less cash, you’ll be able to choose up a 32-inch monitor with a 4K 10-bit panel that can provide higher general gamut protection, higher uniformity, and different key options like {hardware} calibration or perhaps a built-in colorimeter. These will not be an absolute necessity for all customers, however professionals trying to spend over $1,500 on a high-end picture and video enhancing monitor can count on (and may demand) them.



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