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Dell U4021QW Overview: The Premiere Extremely-Extensive Monitor for Picture Modifying

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The Dell U4021QW is, fairly actually, considered one of a sort. It’s the world’s first 40-inch curved ultra-wide WUHD 5K2K monitor — a 21:9 facet ratio monster that boasts a color-accurate 10-bit panel. In our testing, it has carried out fantastically. However whereas it’s undoubtedly the premiere ultra-wide monitor for photograph enhancing, it’s not one of the best photograph enhancing monitor total.

In comparison with many different ultra-wide screens available on the market, 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. Although many photograph and video editors discover it downright essential to work on a number of screens side-by-side, there are treasured few color-accurate panels within the 21:9 facet ratio, which interprets into treasured few color-accurate ultra-wide screens.

Greater than anything we’ll speak about, that’s what makes the Dell U4021QW particular. Not solely is it giant 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 concerning the Dell U4021QW is that it exists in any respect, and with a value of $1,700, it’s fairly a bit cheaper than selecting up two equally correct 4K screens and putting them side-by-side.

Design and Construct High quality

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

You possibly can comfortably arrange three home windows side-by-side-by-side with out something feeling cramped. In the event you’re feeling particularly masochistic, you might 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 everything 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 slightly 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 dwell 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 possibly can tilt, swivel, and alter 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 get rid of any off-axis coloration shift on the edges whenever you’re sitting proper in the midst of the display screen.

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 complete settings of your show. The complete menu is intensive, however the quick-access menus are all you’ll want more often than not. That features Brightness/Distinction, Enter, Quantity, Preset Shade Modes, and the Image-in-Image (PIP) and Image-by-Image (PBP) modes which can be out there solely when you might have two gadgets related on the identical 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 prefer 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 might switch knowledge at 10Gbps. Two of those ports — the USB Kind-C downstream and a type of USB Kind-A ports — are discovered below the show for straightforward entry, and these two ports additionally characteristic 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.

Total, the Dell U4021QW delivered all the options that I need from a monitor like this. The primary issues I search for are Thunderbolt connectivity in order that I can use a single cable for audio/video/knowledge, enough energy supply to cost most laptops (90W is loads), and some easy-access comfort ports once I must 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 actually hasn’t modified a lot over the previous a number of years.

In the event you like Dell’s screens, you’ll like this one. In the event you hate them, Dell hasn’t given you any compelling cause 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. Until 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 tough to evenly illuminate this a lot display screen. The space from the nook of the display screen to the middle is roughly 20-inches, and I suspected that uniformity can be a problem.

Spoiler: I used to be proper.

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

This turned out to be vital as a result of not one of the presets had been significantly good out of the field. In an effort to get my white level to D65, I needed to change the monitor to “Customized Shade,” flip down the acquire on the Inexperienced channel to 95% and quit slightly little bit of total 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 do not forget that Dell claims 98% DCI-P3 protection, so it was slightly bit disappointing to see the monitor fall in need of the spec sheet. We’ve requested Dell why this could be, and can replace the overview if and once 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 just lately rebranded…), is identical we’ve used to judge each different show reviewed on PetaPixel thus far, so we’ve got no cause to imagine it’s gone wonky now.

Nonetheless, a couple of 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 problem as anticipated with a panel this dimension. Once 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 dangerous patches showing on the left-hand facet of the show. It solely handed “Really useful” 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 complete decision picture), which makes me assume this monitor could 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, but it surely’s unlucky whenever you’re coping with such a pleasant panel. True 10-bit screens (versus 8-bit + FRC) are nonetheless considerably uncommon below $2,000, and we’ve by no means seen a 40-inch, 21:9 ultra-wide choice.

In the end, we’d classify the Dell U4021QW’s coloration efficiency as “enthusiast-grade,” with enough coloration accuracy, coloration depth, and gamut protection to fulfill most photograph 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 Might 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 remains to be an iPad, and one of the best ultra-wide monitor remains to be an ultra-wide monitor, with all of the challenges inherent to that type issue.

There’s a cause why most ultra-wide shows give attention to productiveness and never coloration efficiency.

Let’s be clear: the Dell U4021QW is an outstanding ultra-wide. It is without doubt one of the finest available on the market and the premiere ultra-wide monitor for photograph enhancing because of its dynamite mixture of dimension, facet ratio, decision, coloration accuracy, and gamut protection. Nevertheless it falls in need of the efficiency of smaller, extra targeted “creator” screens that don’t have fairly a lot display screen with which to contend.

Professionals

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

Cons

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

The cons listing is kind of brief, however the few issues that the Dell U4021QW misses are going to be significantly necessary to you all: top-shelf gamut protection, good uniformity, and help for {hardware} calibration are all necessary options that photograph and video editors search for of their shows. The Dell principally checks the primary field, however misses the second and third completely.

That places severe fanatics in a good spot, the place they should determine what they would like. 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 wonderful, or would you quite spend slightly extra to buy two ultra-accurate 4K screens and set them side-by-side? There is no such thing as a apparent proper reply, simply the proper reply for you.

Are There Options?

As I mentioned on the prime, the Dell U4021QW is kind of actually “considered one of a sort.” There are different ultra-wide screens on the market, there are even color-accurate ultra-wide screens which can 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 comparable 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 photograph enhancing?” There isn’t. The proper query, due to this fact, is: “what might I purchase as a substitute?”

In the event you’re keen to spend extra, you’ll be able to outperform the Dell by way of 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 characteristic 10-bit panels, AdobeRGB protection over 98%, help for {hardware} calibration and, in case you go along with the Dell, you even get a built-in colorimeter.

To save lots of 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 selection, or you might 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 suggest the Dell U4021QW. At 40-inches with a 5K2K 10-bit panel with 95% protection of DCI-P3, it may well deal with all however probably 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 an expert 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 supply higher total gamut protection, higher uniformity, and different key options like {hardware} calibration or perhaps a built-in colorimeter. These aren’t an absolute necessity for all customers, however execs trying to spend over $1,500 on a high-end photograph and video enhancing monitor can anticipate (and will demand) them.



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