Artist Review: Dell U3219Q 4K IPS monitor

Thanks to Dell Singapore for sending over this review unit

I've had the pleasure of using the Dell U3219Q intensively for two weeks so here's my review. As usual, my review will be that from the perspective of a visual content creator, more specifically someone writes, edits photos and videos on a daily basis.

The Dell U3219Q is one of several 4K resolution monitors offered by Dell, and one of many Dell monitors that I've reviewed.

The current Dell monitors that support 4K resolutions from Dell are as follows:

Dell UP3216Q: This 4K monitor supports up to 99% AdobeRGB and is the one to get where critical colour accuracy is a must. Input connectors are HDMI, DisplayPort and mini DisplayPort.

Dell U3219Q: This 4K monitor supports up to 99% sRGB and is good for general purpose graphic design, visual content production. Input connectors are HDMI, DisplayPort and USB type C.

Build quality


The build quality is excellent as you would expect from Dell.

This is my first time using a 32-inch 4K monitor for work and I've got to say that this monitor is huge! The stand is almost the same size as my wireless Logitech keyboard (with no numpad). If you want more space on your table, you can choose to VESA-mount the display.

The anti-glare coating on the matte display is quite noticeable but not very different from other monitors I've used. I only noticed the anti-glare coating because the BenQ SW2700 that I use comes with a shading hood. Now that I'm using a monitor without a shading hood, I could see the effect of the anti-glare coating more clearly. It doesn't affect my work but any monitor with anti-glare coating is best used further away from a strong light source, e.g window, to minimise the effect of the white haze created by the anti glare.


The thin 6mm bezels makes the screen look and feel really immersive, especially when you're watching a movie.


There is adjustment for height, tilt and swivel.

Using the monitor in vertical orientation is a way for page designers to view their vertical pages larger. I work in a newspaper industry and new pages are long with plenty of text. It's useful to work on news pages on this screen in the vertical orientation.


However, because this screen is so large. even if you view a vertical page in horizontal orientation, you can still see a lot of the page. The display's height in vertical orientation is so much higher that I find myself having to tilt my head up, rather than my eyes up, to see the top of the screen.


Dell monitors are factory calibrated so colours should look good out of the box without the need to do any more calibration. Since I use many displays, I need to calibrator all my displays so that the colours are consistent across all. The colour gamut that this monitor supports as measured by a Spyder5Pro colour calibrator are 97% sRGB, 67% NTSC and 73% AdobeRGB.

This level of colour support is good for visual content creators who don't AdobeRGB. The display is more than good enough for photo and video editing.

Connections

  1. AC Power Connector
  2. Stand Lock
  3. HDMI 2.0
  4. DisplayPort 1.4 (HDCP 2.2)
  5. USB-C (90W charging)
  6. Audio Line Out
  7. USB Upstream
  8. USB Downstream
  9. USB Downstream(with Power Charging)
  10. USB Downstream
  11. USB Downstream (with Power Charging)

The cables included are

  • 1 x DisplayPort cable - DisplayPort to DisplayPort
  • 1 x USB-C cable
  • 1 x SuperSpeed USB cable - USB Type A to B
  • 1 x Power cable

If you still use those small Thunderbolt 3 or mini DisplayPorts, you'll need to get your own cable. I recommend the Accell mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort 1.2 cable. I'm using the white coloured one. Or just get a HDMI cable.

I actually have three cables coming out from the monitor. The HDMI connects to my Mac Pro, the mini DisplayPort goes to my Surface Pro and the USB type C with my iPad Pro. I noticed as I connect a DisplayPort cable to the monitor which already has HDMI connection, it would switch straightaway to getting signal from the DisplayPort.


And when I connect a USB type C cable, a pop-up dialogue box will appear at the bottom right, above the monitor's physical menu button, to ask if I want to switch to the USB C connection. This is way more convenient compared to pressing the menu buttons to switch inputs.


If connect an iPad or iPad Pro to the monitor using the USB C connection, iOS is not going fill the whole screen.

So what's it like working with 4K resolution

4K has 2.25 times more resolution than a monitor with 2560 by 1440 resolution. That is a lot of pixels and extra screen real estate to work with.


Shown in the graphic above, the light gray area represents the resolution of 2560 x 1440. The dark gray area represents 4K resolution. In the screenshot on the right, it shows the extra desktop area that is now available with 4K resolution.

There are a few things to note with 4K.

This monitor only runs at a maximum of 60Hz. OS animation such as moving of windows, mouse cursor, scrolling webpages will not be as smooth compared to a 1440P monitor running at 60Hz. Because of the size of the display and the 60Hz refresh rate, input lag is now more noticeable.

When I used the Dell UP2718Q 4K monitor, I didn't notice any input lag -- maybe there is but it's not noticeable unless you're looking for it. Input lag is less noticeable on smaller screen. When I connected the iPad Pro to the U3219Q, input lag was less noticeable because now the observable size of the screen is smaller.

Input lag does not affect my work. For gamers, the 60Hz refresh rate could be an issue, but that's why there are gaming monitors with more than twice the refresh rate.

Below are comparison of 2560 x 1440 (left) vs 4K (right) resolution.


The pixel density of a 27-inch 1440P monitor is 108 PPI, and that of a 32-inch 4K monitor is 137 PPI. The increase in pixel density can result in the difference in sizes for certain on-screen elements.

See those Youtube thumbnails and Instagram pictures above? They are similar in pixel dimensions on both monitors, but because the pixel density of 4K is much higher, everything appears smaller. Web pages are also rendered smaller on 4K so you can now have more desktop space. Unfortunately on Mac OS and Windows (without scaling turn on), text on web pages are a bit small to my liking.


On Mac OS, you can change the resolution to make things bigger, but that means you are dropping down from 4K resolution. There does not seem to be a way to do scaling within the 4K environment. User interface elements like menu bars, icons, system fonts are also small but still fine since I don't really spend too much time looking at time. Anyway on Mac OS, you can adjust certain UI elements, such as icon size, fonts. With Mac OS, I always need to increase the font size of my web browser.

With Windows 10, you can apply system wide scaling and it would affect everything. After 150% or 200% scaling, text from web pages are bigger and easier to read.

By the way, if you know of anyway to do Windows 10 type of scaling in Mac OS, let me know.


Those photo thumbnails in Lightroom are of the same pixel dimensions. On the 4K monitor, you can see more thumbnails because there are more pixels. Sometimes when looking at so many thumbnails, it may actually take me longer to find the photo I want. This sounds like it may affect productivity, but if you're using a low resolution screen, you see less and have to spend more time scrolling.

Anyway with a 4K display, you have the option to increase the thumbnail size to that of the 1440P monitor, but you cannot increase the number of thumbnails you see to match that of a 4K display.


Shown above is a 16MP photo opened in Affinity Photo. Once again, you can see more of the photo on the 4K (right) vs the 1440P screen (left).

The higher pixel density of 4K also makes everything look sharper. Individual pixels are now almost indiscernible. You may need to use a magnifying glass to look for dead or stuck pixels. The higher pixel density makes everything look sharper, except for old software that hasn't been updated to take advantage of high resolution screens. More on that later.


Both pictures above are from the Dell U3219Q. On the left is a photo scaled down to fit. On the right is a 100% zoom of the 16MP photo. Because there are 8,294,400 pixels in 4K, you can see almost half (surface area) of the photo.

Editing photos on this display is great because you can see your photos real sharp.


Editing videos with this screen really increases productivity. 4K software like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere has lots of panels and windows. With more pixels, you can now have panels that show a lot more content without the need to scroll - that's time saved. For example, you can now see more thumbnails, more of the timeline, and you also have space to add more panels and still have space to see your video and user interface. Since the monitor is 4K, when editing 4K videos, you can watch your videos at the native resolution. You can also watch Youtube videos in 4K now. The level of sharpness and detail you can see is now on another level.


Left photo: User interface with Adobe CS6 or older software on Windows will be very small in 4K resolution as shown on the left photo.
Right photo: Proper scaling with Adobe CC on Windows.

There's a workaround that involves creating manifest files, but the scaled up user interface will make everything look a bit pixelated. For example, when you scale up Adobe Illustrator's user interface, those smooth vector lines are going to appear pixelated. The other workaround is to connect the Surface Pro to an external monitor and work from there.

Colour uniformity and backlight bleed


This photo has been edited to match what I actually see with my eyes in real life. There is some backlight bleeding and black colour uniformity issues.


This is the same photo edited to be brighter and have more contrast. The backlight bleed at the bottom seems to have wavering brightness across the display horizontally. Black uniformity isn't that good.


There's also noticeable magenta cast at the corners which is in part caused by the typical IPS glow. All IPS monitors have this glow. IPS glow is more obvious on larger screens because when you look straight on at the screen, and you look at the corners, you're actually looking at an angle and that's where the IPS glow is most obvious. On smaller screens, when you look at the corners, the angle is not very different from viewing the display straight on, so IPS glow is not that obvious.


When watching movies, the backlight bleed is not obvious.

In real life, when working with this monitor in the day or at night, I don't really noticed the issues with backlight bleed and colour uniformity.

HDR


Dell has VESA certified DisplayHDR 400.

From what I can see, this monitor is definitely HDR capable even though the brightness is just 400 nits. Contrast is 1300:1. In the photo above is a screenshot of from the movie Logan. On this Dell monitor, I was able to see highlights and details such as the individual strands of hair, on the side of the hair of the girl. On a monitor without HDR, the side of the hair would just be a patch of black. Highlights on the top of the hair would still be obvious of course.

I apologise if it's difficult to see what I was talking about in the photo above. In real life, it's also not easy to see. The difference between watching HDR videos on HDR vs non-HDR monitors in subtle.

The HDR capability of the Dell U3219Q is not as good as the Dell S2719DM that I've reviewed. With the Dell S2719DM, the highlight and contrast is more noticeable because the peak brightness can go up to 600 nits, much higher compared to the 400 nits of Dell S3219Q.

Conclusion

Overall, I'm quite satisfied with the performance of the Dell U3219Q. Build quality is fantastic. Design is functional.

Image quality and colours are great for a sRGB monitor at this price range (US retail US $879, Singapore retail S $1179). The price of a 32-inch 4K AdobeRGB screen from Dell is significantly higher at US $1399 or S$2139.

The size, resolution colour support and price makes this an accessible productivity workhorse for content creators and professionals who need these features.

HDR quality is alright but obviously can't compared with more capable HDR monitors. So consider that a bonus here.

The selection of ports, HDMI, DisplayPort and USB-C, is good. Maybe another HDMI would be great but I really have no complaints here.

The only downsides are the backlight bleed, black colour uniformity and the IPS glow. Yes there's backlight bleed but I don't really notice that during the two weeks that I've worked with the monitor. In the real world, the IPS glow and backlight bleed is not that noticeable even when playing movies with black bars at the top and bottom. What's more likely to affect the image you see is the anti-glare coating depending on where the external light sources in your environment.

Then there's the issue with input lag. Not a deal breaker though. This is not a gaming monitor after all.

Oh, the monitor comes with 3 years warranty.

If I'm in the market to get a 4K monitor, I would seriously consider the Dell U3219Q.

Availability

You can find the latest price and check out more reviews on Amazon via these direct links:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.com.au | Amazon.co.jp

More info

Visit the Dell U3219Q product page at
https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-ultrasharp-32-4k-usb-c-monitor-u321...

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