Dell UP2718Q Review – 4K HDR Monitor

Dell UP2718Q Review – 4K HDR Monitor

Dell UP2718Q Review – 4K HDR Monitor. The Dell UP2718Q is a 27 inch professional 4K HDR10 monitor, and although it’s still early days for HDR monitors this one seems to be one of the better options currently available, so let’s take a look. As mentioned this is a 27 inch monitor with a 16 by 9 aspect ratio and runs with a 4K resolution, so 3840 by 2160. As it’s a panel for professional users, it doesn’t have a lot of gaming specific features like G-Sync or FreeSync.

The panel also runs at 60Hz, same as all the other current 4K monitors out there at the moment. The panel also has a 6ms response time, so again, not as fast as other gaming monitors I’ve reviewed but for a professional tool I think this is fine. It’s got a typical brightness of 400 nits and has a peak brightness of 1000 nits in order to support HDR content, if you manually put the brightness on full it gets seriously bright, way too bright. It achieves this with 384 separate dimming zones, and when viewing HDR content this is what allows different sections of the monitor to get brighter than darker content.

Dell UP2718Q Review
Dell UP2718Q Review

This does have the issue of displaying artifacts around brighter areas in dark scenes, for example just moving the mouse cursor on a black image we can see the dimming zones lighting up for it, but like I said this only happens in the HDR modes, and it’s not actually too bad while watching a movie, but it will depend on the content. It’s also an IPS panel, and to me the colours look amazing.

One of the first things I noticed when I turned it on was just how different colours looked from what I was used to. In terms of colour accuracy, Dell note that the monitor is capable of 100% sRGB, 100% AdobeRGB, 100% Rec. 709, 97.7% of DCI-P3 and 76.9% of Rec. 2020 with support for 1.07 billion different colours. In my own testing I can only really test sRGB and Adobe RGB with the Spyder 5 Pro, as that seems to be all the software supports, I don’t have a more professional tool, and these are my results while testing with the standard, adobergb, and srb presets.

The panel also has a 1000 to 1 typical contrast ratio, or a 20,000 to 1 contrast ratio in HDR. This was my first time with a HDR monitor and viewing HDR content, it seems like the software side has a bit of catching up to do. To watch 4K netflix HDR content I had to install the Netflix app as it’s not supported in the web browser, and then manually enable HDR in the Windows settings, and you can only really leave the HDR mode on when you’re going to view HDR content otherwise the colours will look washed out. There isn’t much HDR capable content available at the moment yet either, as it’s still early days, and just watching in HDR mode I didn’t easily notice a difference at first. It was only when I paused what I was watching, disabled HDR and compared the two together that I noticed the difference.

I chose a particularly dark scene, and without HDR it’s fairly difficult to make out much of the detail, but with HDR enabled a lot of the darker areas are boosted and easier to see and the colours seem a bit better too, so my first impressions were that it’s a nice extra but I wasn’t blown away by it, at least with the content on Netflix I was testing with, it’s possible the difference in other things is much greater. I didn’t notice any changes even when looking at the screen on sharp angles, Dell list that it’s capable of 178 degree viewing angles both vertically and horizontally.

I’ve also performed my usual backlight bleed test, which involves having the screen completely black in a dark room to help emphasize any bleeding. I then take a long exposure photo to display any bleed, so this is a worst case scenario test. As you can see it’s basically fine, to my eyes even in the dark room it looked perfectly fine. It’s not all just about the panel though, taking a look at the rest of the monitor it’s got a silver plastic stand with a circular hole for threading cables through.

The stand can also be removed, revealing a standard 100mm VESA mount if you want to attach it to something else. The bezels are fairly thin, just under a centimeter based on my own measurements, and down the bottom there’s a silver Dell logo. Both the stand and display together weigh in at around 11.5kg, while the panel itself weighs just under 6kg if you plan on mounting it.

The power button and 5 additional buttons for navigating the on screen display are found underneath the right hand side, and I found the OSD extremely easy to navigate through with these. There are a fair few options, and you can change through the 7 image presets, I spent most of my time using ColorSpace, which you can then use to swap between 5 colour calibrated presets, and even save two of your own.

This worked well for me as I mostly used the monitor to edit videos, but I also found movie mode to work well while watching some TV shows. There are quite a few options too, you can even choose if USB should be on or off during standby and disable the power button LED. You can also connect a second video input and use picture in picture or picture by picture modes, as I’m demonstrating here with a laptop. You can take this a step further too, and even use the monitor like a USB KVM, so one keyboard and mouse for two systems.

The back of the monitor is a matte plastic, silver for the most part and then darker towards the bottom, nothing fancy going on here as I’ve come to expect from Dell monitors, just a clean professional look. The IO is on the back toward the bottom and faces down. There’s an AC power input, two HDMI 2.0a ports, DisplayPort 1.4, Mini DisplayPort 1.4, 3.5mm audio out, 2 USB type-B connectors which plug into your computer and allow you to use the following two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and there’s two more USB 3.0 Type-A ports on the left hand side which are easier to access if you need more. As for the included cables you get a HDMI cable, DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable, and USB Type-B to Type-A cable for connecting the monitor to your computer, and the power cable, no external power bricks here.

The stand is fairly big and does a great job of preventing the thick panel from moving around, even while bumping my desk. As for the overall dimensions, the whole monitor, so panel attached to stand comes in at 62.7cm in width, 20cm in depth, and 41.3cm to 55.5cm in height depending on what you set it to. There’s a fair bit of adjustments available too, with -5 to 21 degrees of tilt, -45 to 45 degrees of swivel, 14.5cm of height adjustment with enough tension so that the screen actually stays where you leave it, and 90 degrees of clockwise pivot.

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So far the monitor looks pretty good, but how was it to actually use day to day? This was the first time I’ve used a 4K monitor for an extended period of time, overall I liked the extra screen real estate and it was useful in just about all tasks from browsing the Internet to editing videos. Especially as I work with 4K video now. I don’t personally do anything day to day that involves HDR content, so outside of specifically trying that out it wasn’t something I regularly used, but having the extra brightness options and high levels of colour accuracy was greatly appreciated, if you’re a content creator or someone who uses their monitor in a professional capacity this looks like a great option.

As for gaming, if you plan on playing games at 4K you’ll need a seriously powerful graphics card to actually push that many pixels, 4K at 60Hz equates to just under 500 million pixels being displayed every second, crazy stuff! I’ve previously compared the Nvidia 1080 against the 1080Ti and included 4K benchmarks in that video if you need to get an idea of which you need for 4K gaming, although it depends on your game the 1080Ti is currently the best, and of course most expensive option.

I’ve also used the monitor to edit my last few videos and that was excellent, this is by far the most colour accurate monitor I’ve ever used, and it’s made me realise how useful it would be to have for video editing going forward so I’ll be keeping that in mind when I look at upgrading my own monitors in the future. As for the price it’s going for about $2200 AUD here in Australia, or around $1,400 USD on Amazon for my international viewers, so although it might seem quite expensive it actually seems to be pretty well priced considering all of the professional features that it’s packing.

Professional Monitor Review

The UP2718Q is the latter. Rather than using a backlight with LEDs arrayed at the edges, it employs 384 discrete light sources placed directly behind the TFT layer. Each one is individually addressable which means power can be diverted to a subset of them producing the necessary 1000nit peak. Since the panel is a traditional IPS part, black levels are on par with other monitors. But it’s that high output and zone-dimming feature that allows it to properly reproduce HDR10 content.
The UP2718Q also features an extended color gamut. It can fully render both DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB, and accepts Rec.2020 encoded signals too, displaying about 70% of that enormous colorspace. Make no mistake, this is a professional-grade tool meant for post-production use, and it carries a price tag to match. Few consumers will be plunking down the approximately $1500 cost of entry. For those in need of its unique features, however, we suspect that cost is a secondary consideration.

Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories

Dell continues its tradition of no-foam packaging with the UP2718Q. Its carton is a clamshell-style made from double-corrugate. The interior is made from molded paper pulp that thoroughly protects the contents from shipping damage. Not only is it environmentally sound, it saves weight, which helps reduce transport costs. The panel, upright, and base are separately wrapped and must be assembled. No tools are required. Simply snap the upright on the panel’s back and attach the base with its captive bolt.
High-quality cables are included for HDMI, DisplayPort, USB, and IEC power. The enclosed CD has drivers, documentation, and software for the auto-calibration feature.

Product 360

The UP2718Q takes Dell’s no-nonsense approach to styling. Every surface and corner is either smooth or rounded. There are no attempts at texture or form other than what’s needed for function. Despite its plainness, you’ll recognize it instantly as a Dell product. The bezel is relatively narrow but not flush. It varies in width from 13mm at the top, to 14mm on the sides, and 15mm on the bottom. The anti-glare layer is of high quality and complements the Ultra HD image with its super-fine 200ppi density. There is no grain or softness in evidence. Control buttons are on the bottom right and click firmly with precision. While we’d prefer a joystick, this arrangement works well and is intuitive.

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The side profile is reasonably slim with a smooth taper across the back. On the left edge are two of the four USB 3.0 downstream ports. The stand is solid with firm, well-damped movements. Tilt is 21° back and 5° forward, with 90° swivel to either side, and 5.4” of height adjustment. You also get a portrait mode where the panel sits right on the desk surface which is very handy. Audio is supported only by a headphone output; there are no internal speakers.
The input panel has two DisplayPorts, version 1.4, along with two HDMI 2.0a inputs that include HDCP 2.2 copy-protection. The UP2718Q is KVM-capable with two upstream USB 3.0 ports along with four downstream connections. Signals can be routed in the OSD so you can connect one monitor to two computers.

So what did you guys think about the UP2718Q monitor from Dell? Overall I thought it was a great monitor for professional use, it’s got excellent colour accuracy and it looks great. If you’re after a gaming monitor you’ll probably want to look elsewhere though. With a lack of HDR support and content out there at the moment it’s difficult for me to really talk too much about it other than the experience was lacking, however it’s still pretty early days for HDR monitors and content, and it feels like the software side of things is also playing catch up, so things should improve in the future.

Be sure to let me know your thoughts down in the comments

Louise Martin

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