Dell is one of the first companies to release 4K HDR monitors to the market. The UP2718Q that I have been loaned to review is one of 2 models that have HDR and is the one with the best HDR credential, and price to match.
Costing an eye-watering £1,200 this is aimed squarely at professionals, but you get professional specs too. It is Ultra HD Premium certified offering a peak brightness of 1,000 nits high contrast ratio of 20,000:1, 384 local dimming zones and 100% sRGB. This is also a full 10-bit panel, so you get 1.07b colours. In comparison the cheaper U2718Q is a bit vague about its HDR specs instead stating 99.9% sRGB coverage, 1300:1 contrast ratio and a backlight of 350 cd/m² but no mention of the peak.
Design and Build
Being aimed at the professional market, this monitor skips out on some of the popular consumer stylings. Most noticeably there is no infinity edge here, which is a shame but understandable. This sticks to business looks, and you get a big monitor surrounded by reasonably sized bezels and a good quality black base/stand.
The stand provides an exceptional level of customisation, and you can switch it from landscape to portrait with ease, as well as extensive height options. There is a VESA mount for monitor arms and due to my desk layout, this how I have reviewed the monitor.
The monitor itself weighs about 6KG; I am not sure if that is unusually heavy for a monitor, but my monitor arm sagged a bit when I mounted it. My AOC Q2778VQE in comparison weighs 4.7KG. The declared total weight without the packaging is a hefty 11.55KG.
The OSD controls are quite easy to get used to, there are physical push buttons on the bottom right of the screen, and then you get some on-screen icons to guide you as to what they do. Switching between sources is quite simple, and it is something I regularly do.
There are plenty of inputs that cater for any scenario. You have 1 x DP(1.4), mDP(1,4) and 2xHDMI(2.2a) for your video options. Then 2 x USB 3.0 upstream, and 4 x USB 3.0 ports , including 2 x USB3.0 BC1.2 charging capability at 2A (max). The 1.4 certification on the Display Ports is important as this allows or HDR support from modern top-end graphics cards.
The screen uses an internal power supply, so you just need to plug a kettle lead into it.
Dell supply a lot of their screens factory calibrated and you get the calibration report within the packaging. As you would expect with the professional nature of this display, it is also fully calibrated for you, unfortunately, the calibration report inside my box appears to relate to the cheaper U2718Q model.
When Dell first contacted me about a monitor review, I was supposed to get the cheaper model just mentioned, so when I attached this to my computer and switched it on I was somewhat taken aback by the image.
Out of the box, the vibrancy of the colour and depths of the blacks are exceptional. Comfortably the best out of box image I have ever seen and most likely just the best quality image for a monitor I have seen.
The brightness was a little bit high for my sensitive eyes but considerably less so than most other monitors. In general, when I turn a screen on they often look washed out with white due to 100% brightness. At 75% this was way too bright for me for day to day office work, but there was not washed out nature to the image.
The screen has a light anti-glare coating to it, giving it a partially matte look. Usually, this degrades colour accuracy, but the application appears to be light enough that the image quality remains excellent.
With HDR being quite new on the PC platform, it is not enabled by default in Windows; you need to go into the display settings and switch it on there. If the monitor is HDR capable you will see a little toggle to enable it. Switching this on immediately shoots up the backlighting, again making it a bit harsh on my eyes. For day to day office work I prefer to keep it off, I don’t particularly need HDR for MS Word & Outlook.
This monitor was set up on my side screen, and I also have an Amazon 4K Fire TV plugged in which is HDR compatible, so I was able to test out the 4K HDR for media playback. Within Netflix, the Ultra HD menu option is enabled, and shows are listed as being HDR or 4K. Starting a show there is an immediate jump in brightness, but as you would hope the images remain vibrant and blacks remain at near pitch-black levels.
Affluent gamers may want to look elsewhere as response time is rated at 6ms and the refresh rate is the standard 60 Hz due to the 4K resolution. So while this may offer some of the best looking visuals on the market, it is not particularly suited for gaming., but if you do game, and in particular if a game supports HDR the visuals are impressive. Games like Destiny 2 and Mass Effect Andromeda looks particularly stunning, but at the same time suffer from tearing and stuttering. I only have a GTC 1070 which is not ideal for 4K gaming in the first place. As this is a professional monitor, you don’t even get AMD FreeSync or NVIDIA G-SYNC.
The 4K resolution allows for a massive amount of screen real estate; you can potentially snap 4 windows to each corner and have the equivalent of 4 1080p displays. This is fantastic for multi-tasking. I personally use a 40” 4K screen as my primary and having a browser and word snapped left and right improves productivity considerably. With it only being a 27” screen, you can’t really make the most of the 4K resolution, and Windows defaults to 150% scaling, so you get something more like a 2K monitor in reality. You can change to 100% scaling, and in this mode, I found the text to be quite readable, but it is not something I could live with permanently. At 125% I could just about cope with it, in contrast, my other 27” 4K is challenging to read at 125%. If you are using this solely for editing images, it could work perfectly well at 100%.
The Dell UP2718Q is an exceptional monitor for image quality, and my reviewing skills can’t do it justice as I am not a professional at designer so can’t appreciate the colour reproduction enough. It is comfortably the best monitor I have reviewed for day to day work or watching media, though it isn’t suited for serious gaming at all.
Its performance is matched by its price, at £1200 is the most expensive monitor I have reviewed and is at least 50% more expensive than the most costly consumer 4K gaming panels. If you are a professional in the design industry, then I am confident that this price is worth.