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.

We know from reading your feedback that enthusiasts can never have enough pixels on their desktop computer monitors. The extra density of a 4K screen means you’ll never see the dot structure; just smooth-toned detail that rivals a high-end photographic print.

Like any bleeding-edge technology, greatness does not come without cost, though. Last year’s first-generation models started out north of $3000 and are still selling for around $2000. We’ve reviewed two of those exotic 32-inch IGZO-based screens already: Asus’ PQ321Q and Dell’s UP3214Q.

Now that Ultra HD is more mature, what are the alternatives? Well, you could drop around $800 on one of the 24-inch IPS screens like the Dell UP2414Q. That gives you the extra pixels. But Windows' text is so small without DPI scaling that it’s almost unreadable unless you have the vision of a 12-year-old.

Thanks to Chi Mei Optoelectronics, we now have a 28-inch TN part available that brings the admission price of 4K down to around $500. We saw it first in Asus’ PB287Q. Today we’re checking out Dell’s version in the P2815Q

Panel Type & Backlight
TN
W-LED, edge array
Screen Size & Aspect Ratio
28-inch / 16:9
Max Resolution & Refresh
3840x2160 @ 30Hz
1920x1080 @ 60Hz
Native Color Depth & Gamut
10-bit (8-bit w/FRC) / sRGB
Response Time (GTG)
5ms
Brightness
300cd/m2
Speakers
-
Video Inputs
2 x DisplayPort in, 1 x DisplayPort out,
1 x HDMI/MHL
Audio
1 x 3.5mm output
USB
v3.0 - 1 x up, 4 x down
Media Card Reader
-
Panel Dimensions
WxHxD w/ base
26 x 17.1-21.7 x 8in
661 x 435-550 x 204mm
Panel Thickness
2.1in / 53mm
Bezel Width
.8in / 19mm
Weight
24.5lbs / 11.1kg
Warranty
Three years

The Internet is already buzzing about the 30Hz max refresh rate of this display. It is true that at 3840x2160, you are capped at 30Hz, even over a DisplayPort 1.2 interface. The only explanation for this is Dell must be using a different scaler chip because every other monitor based on this part can hit 60Hz at its native pixel count.

For gamers, we believe this will be a deal-breaker. Thirty frames per second might be fine for movie-watching, but when you need the fast motion and response that goes along with a modern first-person shooter, even 60Hz often comes up short. Of course, you can run the P2815Q at 60Hz if you switch to 1920x1080.

On the surface, this all sounds ridiculous. Consider, however, that a UHD screen only needs to map incoming pixels two-to-one to upscale FHD content. This means there won’t be any of the artifacts normally associated with image scaling. We quickly confirmed this with our own eyes. Using the P2815Q at 1920x1080 results in a super-clean image. You’ll see the difference in high-end games, but for every other task, it just becomes a really large FHD display without any screen-door effect.

The rest of the tech is quite familiar. The panel is TN-based with white-LED backlights arrayed at the top and bottom of the screen. Color depth is 8-bits with FRC for an effective 10-bit picture. There aren’t any built-in speakers. However, there is an analog audio output for use with headphones or an external sound system.

So why consider the P2815Q? As it turns out, it performs quite well in our color accuracy tests and has some of the best screen uniformity we’ve seen to date. And it’ll put 4K on your desktop for $500. Intrigued? Let’s take a look.

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91 comments
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  • bak0n
    Or just go buy a 55" to 65" Samsung 4k TV instead.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • InvalidError
    1465656 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.
  • 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!
  • 10tacle
    1465656 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.
  • Xander Konrad
    30 hz?
  • Avus
    1457539 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.
  • InvalidError
    202972 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.
  • ShawnT007
    Quote:
    "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.


    ...um... no... im playing 290x xfire, on Samsung 4k, liquid cooling and all games including Titanfall, BF4, ESO, etc are max settings between 60fps - 90fps. only game that has issues is Watch Dogs and we all know why that is happening. Call it what you want, once you go 4k (done right) you know it is the true PC gamer master race!
  • 1440p = 2560x1440 = 16x9. 1440p will display/scale 1080p just fine, also 720p and 1600x900. 1440p monitors are becoming very reasonable in price. If you shop around you can find them for around $300 and the price will continue to drop as they are out longer.
  • InvalidError
    725851 said:
    1440p monitors are becoming very reasonable in price. If you shop around you can find them for around $300 and the price will continue to drop as they are out longer.

    The only $300 1440p displays that are "available" are Asian imports, many of which coming with vague (if any) performance guarantees. For people who want to stick to something officially sold in North America, prices start in the neighborhood of $500. Some of the cheaper 4k displays are getting close to that.

    With 4k displays entering the $500-700 range, 1440p is going to get relegated exclusively to niche status and the price tag is going to rise due to low volume.
  • 10tacle
    125865 said:
    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.


    Hmmm. I'm not sure that's really the same comparison. I have both 1080p and 1200p monitors (two 24" 1080s, one 25.5" 1200). Both screens still share 1920 horizontal lines. The only difference is that a 1920x1200 monitor of course has a little more viewing height in display lines. Effectively otherwise to the eye they are the same resolution (same desktop screen icon sizes, no noticeable increase in game graphics resolution, etc.).

    Just my opinion of course, but I think that's a completely different situation than moving up to a completely new eye candy world of 2560x1440. I still love my 25.5" Samsung's extra viewing height. It is hard to beat without moving up entirely to a new screen size and resolution, which is what I did with a Dell U2713H. With HDTVs being 1080p, it was only logical that LCD screen manufacturers focus on 1080p monitor screens for the mainstream markets. Simply put, 1920x1200 monitors were not manufactured in high capacity and hence the higher pricing. But you probably are right though...QHD will not be mainstream ever like 1080p.
  • bimbam360
    Gaming at 1440p for the last twelve months highlights just how bad most games textures still are. Seeing as the market continues to be flooded with shoddy console ports or 'filler' indie titles, I can't see any reason to upgrade.

    Hell I almost regret going 1440p, only a handful of titles have put that to good use. For everything else, it just highlights how bad the texture res is. And yes I run the vast majority of games on Ultra presets.
  • kalijaga1
    Have of agree with Shawn, once bitten with 4k gaming at 28 inch, 1440p feels 'unrealistic'. 1080 is now being used as my work screen (in add to 900p) . For every privilege , price and sacrifice has to be made.
    Suggestion: try Sniper Elite 3, BF4, Thief and WatchDogs at 4k.
  • InvalidError
    202972 said:
    Effectively otherwise to the eye they are the same resolution (same desktop screen icon sizes, no noticeable increase in game graphics resolution, etc.).

    The point I was trying to make had absolutely nothing to do with "noticeable increase in resolution" but everything to do with which resolutions turn into commercial success - as in widely adopted and mass-manufactured mainstream resolution that ends up becoming the de-facto standard even for cheap displays.

    When 1080p became widely accepted, 1080p display prices dropped like like rocks all the way down to $100 while 1200p displays remained at $300+ despite having only marginally higher resolution. Vanishing demand made production vanish and without mass manufacturing, unit costs remain high.

    With 4k displays already starting to undercut 1440p before 1440p ever had a chance to reach mainstream-friendly price points, it looks like 4K is already set to win the race for next mainstream desktop resolution - by this time next year, 4K will probably be widely available for cheaper than most similar-quality 1440p.
  • tomfreak
    4K @ 30Hz, and TN panel = how about NO.
    I'll stick with my old IPS 60hz until 4K is IPS+60Hz and become affordable.
  • Jim90
    Being able to game at 4k is - and will be for a very long time - a luxury few people can afford, and we don't want to give false information to folk who don't know enough about these requirements.

    Additionally, developers have to start properly supporting this res with appropriate textures, etc - and not introduce compromises/cheating e.g. concentrating on only 'slow paced games' so they can force 30fps lock.
  • ohim
    725851 said:
    1440p = 2560x1440 = 16x9. 1440p will display/scale 1080p just fine, also 720p and 1600x900. 1440p monitors are becoming very reasonable in price. If you shop around you can find them for around $300 and the price will continue to drop as they are out longer.


    No it won`t scale ! Though the AR is still 16:9, the 2560 is 1.33 times larger than 1920 ... while 4k (3840x2160) is exactly 2 times as 1080p meaning you`ll have a parity on pixels on the screen thus making 1080 gaming on a 4k monitor just fine.
  • ubercake
    Pro=4K
    Con=30Hz (This is absolutely unacceptable. What is this? 1950?)

    I'm sure the colors on this thing are good, but with a TN monitor, you better bring the higher refresh rates or you have no market. Dell will be giving these things away with some PC packages before too long. Who is buying these 30Hz-refresh rate things?

    For now, they can take advantage of people that simply want to tell their friends they have a 4K monitor.
  • sea monkey
    Until movies are being widely released in a high bitrate 4K format, and I can afford a wall-sized OLED 4K screen, 1080p will be the only resolution I care about. I really do hope people start buying into the 4K hype, if only to drive down the prices of the remaining premium quality plasmas. I've got my eye on the Samsung PN60F8500. My S27A750D will do just fine if I still need something with low input lag and a high refresh rate.
  • InvalidError
    299576 said:
    Pro=4K Con=30Hz (This is absolutely unacceptable. What is this? 1950?) Who is buying these 30Hz-refresh rate things?

    If it were $300, I might buy one for photo editing and get a crapload of extra desktop space to dump stuff on. I might use it in portrait to read web pages, write code and other stuff but 28" is a bit of an extreme size for that.
  • Emanuel Elmo
    ShawnT007 what are you even talking about. Max setting between 60fps to 90fps? really? which samsung 4K UHD (not even close to 4k res but whatever) are you even using that if you are playing a pc game is able to give you over 60fps when V-sync is on?

    You speak of 4k being done right. Your 4k isn't even done right in the first place.