Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD Monitor Review: UP3214Q At $3500

Results: Brightness And Contrast

Uncalibrated

Before calibrating any panel, we measure zero and 100 percent signals at both ends of the brightness control range. This shows us how contrast is affected at the extremes of a monitor's luminance capability. We do not increase the contrast control past the clipping point. While doing this would increase a monitor’s light output, the brightest signal levels would not be visible, resulting in crushed highlight detail. Our numbers show the maximum light level possible with no clipping of the signal.

Our comparison group is the last six monitors reviewed at Tom’s, including Asus' PQ321Q Ultra HD screen. Before we move on, all of the luminance measurements are taken with Uniformity Compensation turned off, except where noted. When it’s turned on, the monitor’s dynamic range is reduced by about 25 percent, mainly due to a higher black level.

While the UP32314Q isn’t quite as bright as Asus’ PQ321Q, it has more than enough light output for any productivity, graphics, or gaming application. While you can reach Dell’s 350 cd/m2 spec by upping the contrast control, this is at the expense of crushed highlight detail and a slightly green tint in the brightest whites.

The maximum black level runs mid-pack in our comparison group.

For a monitor with its backlight turned all the way up, this is decent performance. If you need to run your display this bright, you’ll need the higher black level to discern shadow detail in a well-lit work environment.

The resulting contrast ratio is pretty solid.

Only half of the monitors we’ve reviewed in the past year can top 1000 to 1 at maximum output. Our measured result means you’ll see an excellent image with plenty of depth and dimension, even if your work environment demands a high brightness setting.

We believe 50 cd/m2 is a practical minimum standard for screen brightness. Any lower and you risk eyestrain and fatigue. Some monitors, like the Dell UP3214Q, measure under that level. We recorded a minimum white level of 33.6211 cd/m2 with the backlight turned all the way down, which is a bit too dim for practical use. Raising the brightness setting to eight gets you 50 cd/m2.

The minimum black level, however, is quite good.

A reading of .0346 cd/m2 is very low. At that level, the monitor looks like it’s powered off. Even when you raise the output to 50 cd/m2, the black level is an excellent .0512 cd/m2, yielding one of the better results we’ve recorded to date.

Here are the contrast values.

We’re starting to see more consistent contrast performance from the latest displays, which means their image looks the same no matter what output level you choose. Most monitors demonstrate varying contrast when the backlight level changes. Needless to say, this trend is a very good thing!

After Calibration

Since we consider 200 cd/m2 to be an ideal point for peak output, we calibrate all of our test monitors to that value. In a room with some ambient light (like an office), this brightness level provides a sharp, punchy image with maximum detail and minimum eye fatigue. It's also the sweet spot for gamma and grayscale tracking, which we'll look at on the next page. In a darkened room, many professionals prefer a 120 cd/m2 calibration, though we find that it makes little to no difference in the calibrated black level and contrast measurements.

The calibrated black level is still nice and low. Remember that the Uniformity Compensation is turned off for these tests. Turning it on boosts the black level about 25 percent. We’ll talk more about this on page nine. Bottom line: using the compensation improves uniformity slightly, but reduces contrast. We think it’s better to leave it off.

Here are the final calibrated contrast numbers.

The calibrated contrast remains very consistent at 1005.5 to 1; again, an excellent performance. And there is no tradeoff in dynamic range when calibrating the UP3214Q. Some monitors take a hit in contrast to achieve their best color and grayscale accuracy.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

Another important measure of contrast is ANSI. To perform this test, a checkerboard pattern of sixteen zero and 100 percent squares is measured, giving us a more real-world result than on/off measurements because it tests a display’s ability to simultaneously maintain both low black and full white levels, factoring in screen uniformity as well. The average of the eight full-white measurements is divided by the average of the eight full-black measurements to arrive at the ANSI result.

We can finally quantify the impact of Uniformity Compensation. While screen uniformity is improved, overall contrast drops by 25 percent. We think the screen looks quite good in its native state without help.

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42 comments
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    Top Comments
  • ubercake
    What I always find entertaining is how these monitor manufacturers will only back their $500+ (in this case $2000+) products for a maximum of 3 years, but my $250 power supply has a 7-year warranty and my $200 SSD has a 5-year warranty.
    10
  • Other Comments
  • 0217422356
    It's so expensive that I could buy more than twenty 1080p monitors.
    9
  • 0217422356
    It's so expensive that I could buy more than twenty 1080p monitors.
    -7
  • 0217422356
    I wish in 3 years the price of 4k monitors would come to $300.
    0
  • ubercake
    What I always find entertaining is how these monitor manufacturers will only back their $500+ (in this case $2000+) products for a maximum of 3 years, but my $250 power supply has a 7-year warranty and my $200 SSD has a 5-year warranty.
    10
  • panzerknacker
    Unacceptible input lag, display not suitable for gaming.
    -4
  • s3anister
    1445588 said:
    It's so expensive that I could buy more than twenty 1080p monitors.

    Yes, but you miss the point.
    1445588 said:
    I wish in 3 years the price of 4k monitors would come to $300.

    This is a reasonable expectation, with economies of scale the average consumer will eventually be able to buy a 4K display for $300-$500 USD.
    299576 said:
    What I always find entertaining is how these monitor manufacturers will only back their $500+ (in this case $2000+) products for a maximum of 3 years, but my $250 power supply has a 7-year warranty and my $200 SSD has a 5-year warranty.

    Agreed. I've owned a few Dell Ultrasharp monitors and have always been surprised at the short length of warranty compared to what I get from other premium components. Sadly the entire display industry is like this in terms of warranty coverage.
    794021 said:
    Unacceptible input lag, display not suitable for gaming.

    You also miss the point. I assume you didn't even read the article.

    Anyway, great article. I was hoping TH would get around do doing a proper review of this monitor as I'm expecting it to be the benchmark for future 4K panels.
    5
  • tttttc
    "The company also introduced a budget-oriented 28-inch model as well, the P2815Q. Gamers might favor it more, since it's a $700 screen with a faster-responding TN panel."P2815Q has only a refresh rate of 30Hz... gamers might not favor it more...
    1
  • ceberle
    1422415 said:
    "The company also introduced a budget-oriented 28-inch model as well, the P2815Q. Gamers might favor it more, since it's a $700 screen with a faster-responding TN panel."P2815Q has only a refresh rate of 30Hz... gamers might not favor it more...


    We hope to test the P2815Q very soon. In the meantime, we have the UP2414Q in the lab now. This is a 24-inch IPS screen for around $1200.

    -Christian-
    0
  • Tanquen
    Why is the bezel so F-ing big? When are desktop monitors (that weight less than a TV and people actually put two or more next to each other) going to have slim or nonexistent bezels?

    $3500 16:9?????? Good grief!
    1
  • burmese_dude
    "There’s no question that 4K is here."Good. Cuz I was questioning before I read that. Now I won't question anymore.
    0
  • bak0n
    Or you can go buy a 4k Samsung TV that's 55" for the same price and get a TV tuner and a bigger screen with it.
    -3
  • soldier44
    You get what you pay for people. Ive been gaming on a 30 inch 2506 x 1600 display for over 3 years now paid $1200 and been worth every cent. Will wait till next year to see more brands come out and prices drop to a better level like under $1500.
    1
  • ahnilated
    Hah! Look at the reviews on Newegg. This monitor has 2 stars and from what I read they have some serious issues with this thing.
    -1
  • milkod2001
    very expensive screen that's for sure. it'll take at least 3 years till price will drop into $1000. Even for $1000 it'll be unreachable for most users.I'd rather see SAMSUNG, DELL, LG pushing 27'' 1440p monitors into mainstream with price something like $300-350. At the moment for that price one can only get poxy Korean screens. I'm sure this would make more sales than 4k $3500 madness.
    1
  • Bondfc11
    First this isn't a true 4K panel although everyone seems to accept 3 different resolution numbers and call them all 4K. Silly. Second, 4K is not here. It is being pushed on consumers by companies still pissed we didn't all drink the 3D Koolaid and rush out and by those crappy sets and monitors. Third, there are some great 1440 1600 options out there that rock (Overlord IPS, ASUS although it is not a great panel - TN - which I hate, etc.) 4K is not going to be a realistic investment for MOST gamers in 2014 due to the tech being way too pricey. One day, sure, but definitely not this year.
    2
  • milkod2001
    very expensive screen that's for sure. it'll take at least 3 years till price will drop into $1000. Even for $1000 it'll be unreachable for most users.I'd rather see SAMSUNG, DELL, LG pushing 27'' 1440p monitors into mainstream with price something like $300-350. At the moment for that price one can only get poxy Korean screens. I'm sure this would make more sales than 4k $3500 madness.
    0
  • milkod2001
    very expensive screen that's for sure. it'll take at least 3 years till price will drop into $1000. Even for $1000 it'll be unreachable for most users.I'd rather see SAMSUNG, DELL, LG pushing 27'' 1440p monitors into mainstream with price something like $300-350. At the moment for that price one can only get poxy Korean screens. I'm sure this would make more sales than 4k $3500 madness.
    0
  • DisplayJunkie
    This is very clearly primarily a display for graphics professionals (good Adobe RGB mode, factory calibrated, uniformity compensation). Because for raw eye-popping image quality - which is what your average consumer is looking to improve - 1000:1 contrast ratio is pathetic. That's why display tech such as Plasma TVs and high-end Projectors with 10,000:1, 20,000:1 and even higher contrast ratio are truly stunning. The high pixel density here makes for nice sharpness but it doesn't really compensate for the lack of contrast, and I haven't even mentioned motion clarity...
    2
  • eriko
    I've added it to my Flea-Bay alerts, so as soon as someone is bored of one of these.... :)But to you all I have a simple question - is the latency too much for gaming, I mean really? I don't go around measuring latency, so you real-world opinions, I seek.Thanks.
    0
  • wiinippongamer
    Overpriced garbage with shit contrast and input lag. Wake me up when we wave 20"+ OLED in the 1k range.
    -1