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Dell P2815Q 28-Inch 4K Ultra HD Monitor Review

Putting a 4K monitor on your desktop means either spending four figures on a 32-inch IGZO screen or going on the cheap with one of the new 28-inch TN-based models. We already reviewed Asus’ PB287Q. Today we look at Dell’s version, the P2815Q.

Results: Brightness And Contrast

To read about our monitor tests in-depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. Brightness and Contrast testing is covered on page two.

Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

Today’s comparison group includes two 4K screens, Asus' PB287Q and Dell’s UP2414Q. Also in the mix are NEC’s EA274WMi, a business-class QHD IPS monitor. Finally, we have BenQ’s BL3200PT, a 32-inch QHD-res AMVA display, and LG’s 34UM95, an ultra-wide IPS screen with 3440x1440 pixels.

Dell exceeds its 300cd/m2 claim for the P2815Q with a measurement of 318.6618. That’s plenty of output for just about any application, productivity or entertainment. It also exceeds Asus' offering, which is based on the same panel part.

The maximum black level is right in the middle of the pack. While many TN-based monitors offer darker blacks than their IPS competitors, this new Chi Mei part does not have that advantage.

We look for at least 1000 to 1 contrast in the best displays. The P2815Q falls a bit short at 904.5:1. It’s not too bad, but there’s not much downward room if you plan to calibrate. Luckily, we found it to be very accurate at its default color settings. If you’re looking for even better contrast, AMVA is the hot ticket right now.

Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level

We like to see a minimum output level of around 50cd/m2. Lower values like those from the NEC are too dim to be practical. The P2815Q’s 42.5035cd/m2 result is pretty close, and just within the usability range if your room is completely dark.

The black level drops accordingly, but it’s still mid-pack in this group.

Overall contrast is slightly lower at 888.9 to 1. You’ll barely notice the difference as you change the backlight setting. I’d call this consistent performance. The image looks pretty good no matter what your chosen output setting is.

After Calibration to 200 cd/m2

Here’s what black levels and contrast look like after calibration with the white level set to 200cd/m2.

The black level suffers slightly because we had to reduce the Contrast control for better grayscale results. As you’ll see later, the gain is slight, so we would consider not calibrating in order to preserve the contrast ratio.

By calibrating, we lose 18 percent of the P2815Q’s on/off contrast. It’s a small reduction. However, the corresponding improvement in color accuracy is also small. Luckily, that accuracy is quite good with or without calibration.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

ANSI contrast holds up pretty well at 713 to 1. Even though this is a budget-priced monitor, its build quality is very good. As you’ll see later, it has superb screen uniformity, too. The only place we can see Dell cut corners is the refresh rate.

  • bak0n
    Or just go buy a 55" to 65" Samsung 4k TV instead.
    Reply
  • Avus
    "Or just go buy a 55" to 65" Samsung 4k TV instead. "

    So instead of buying a $430 monitor, you suggest people to buy a $2000+ TV. This is beyond stupid...
    Reply
  • larsoncc
    "you have to decide exactly what you want your 4K monitor to do"

    No I don't. I can always choose not to use the tech until they get it right, and if they never do, eh.. oh well!

    High input lag makes this a particularly poor choice. Input lag impacts every task, not just gaming. Forget it.

    Gamers are really in an "interesting" place this year. You can't get a video card to drive UHD even with the newest chips, and buying a monitor is a minefield. Sure, you can do SLI to get to UHD, that'll get you most of the way there... except certain games (AC), and immediately after any game's release (Titanfall), and sometimes you'll need lower settings to accommodate VRAM issues (Evil Within). This of course bodes poorly for games to be released in the upcoming year if you're buying now. It's the wait for proper support that's really disappointing (usually good support, but look at Titanfall and CoD Ghosts as long waits).

    On the monitor side, you can go to 1440p, and watch as your tech is outdated quickly (as 4K/UHD gets its act together...maybe) - and be permanently stuck with a resolution that doesn't scale 1:1 with 1080p (again, hope you're running good GPUs). In all monitor tech, you can get low response times, or great colors, or take a risk on a foreign vendor's product that MIGHT be tricked into doing both but will still have some blur/ghosting. You can get Variable Refresh tech that'll work with one brand of GPU but not the other. Lightboost/ULMB or 3D support is up for consideration, but can't be used with AS/GSync.

    I can't help but think it's all a gigantic mess right now.
    Reply
  • B4vB5
    Avus, a 50 inch UE50HU6900 is 750 euro and UHD@60Hz capable. A 55 inch is just 100 euros more in Europe and thus you should be able to find them for the same dollar amount in the US as right now, that pretty much goes for any HW since we Europeans gets charged more and it just happens to fit with the dollar vs slightly more expensive euro 1:1.
    -------
    I wouldn't be caught dead with this useless monitor in the article. Either go for
    - Quality UHD monitor: Dell IPS 32 inch quality, UP3214Q. 1400 usd isch.
    - Cheap UHD but not junk: Asus 287 for 28-590 Samsung performance but with a much better stand. If wallmounting get the Samsung and save some cash. 500 usd isch.
    - Quality Gaming: Asus 1440p 144Hz super gamer monitor. 1200 usd ish.
    - Desktop real estate and best overall choice: Samsung UE50HU6900 for 8ms B2B UHD@60Hz over HDMi 2.0(Require 970/980). 750 usd isch.

    I'd pick the TV.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    14383255 said:
    On the monitor side, you can go to 1440p, and watch as your tech is outdated quickly (as 4K/UHD gets its act together...maybe) - and be permanently stuck with a resolution that doesn't scale 1:1 with 1080p
    Outdated quickly? PC display resolution takes about a decade to step up between mainstream standards.

    Unless all you do with your PC is watch movies, not scaling 1:1 with 1080p is usually a "don't-care" item - people who are bothered by that would not buy into those sort of resolutions in the first place.
    Reply
  • CerianK
    I picked up the 39" Seiki 4K TV for use as a monitor, patched the BIOS to a modified version of the 50" BIOS that supports 1920x1080p@120Hz (verified and works fine for gaming) and connected it to a Sapphire Dual-X R9 270 using an HDMI to DisplayPort Active Adapter. Fit and finish could be better, but I can't complain about paying $340 (US) for having a giant hi-res 4K desktop and being able to watch 4K videos (what few there are).

    If my eyesight were perfect, I might be able to make use of 4K at 32" (or perhaps a little smaller), but the way mine is, 39" rocks!
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    14383255 said:
    On the monitor side, you can go to 1440p, and watch as your tech is outdated quickly

    What in the world are you talking about? The majority of households have only recently been running 1080p monitors (within the past few years), and the majority of gamers game on 1080p according to many gaming site polls, not QHD. It will be years before 1440p gets to be mainstream in households. They are still considered a luxury buy in the PC market and will be for some time. Further, when 1080p monitors were out after a couple of years, prices dropped sharply. That has not happened with QHD monitors outside of the cheap Korean Apple rejects.

    It's going to be several years before I feel the need or even want to plunk down cash for not only a decent 4K monitor when they actually come out and are reasonably affordable (<$800US) but the GPU(s) to power it at decent frame rate numbers.

    Reply
  • Xander Konrad
    30 hz?
    Reply
  • Avus
    14383401 said:
    Avus, a 50 inch UE50HU6900 is 750 euro and UHD@60Hz capable. A 55 inch is just 100 euros more in Europe and thus you should be able to find them for the same dollar amount in the US as right now, that pretty much goes for any HW since we Europeans gets charged more and it just happens to fit with the dollar vs slightly more expensive euro 1:1.

    Your American pricing ("price convertion") for UHD TV is wrong. The cheapest Samsung 50" 4k is around $1300USD. 2nd tier brand 50" 4k is around $1000USD. They are definitely not as cheap as you think.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    14383801 said:
    It will be years before 1440p gets to be mainstream in households. They are still considered a luxury buy in the PC market and will be for some time.
    The advent of dirt-cheap 1080p screen relegated practically all other resolutions to niche markets so I seriously doubt QHD will ever become a significant mainstream resolution - the same way inexpensive 1080p practically wiped out 1200p.

    About eight years ago, 1080p and 1200p were both available around $300 but today, 1080p is down to $100-150 while 1200p is still $300-500.

    4k will be the next major mainstream resolution about five years from now.
    Reply