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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.

Our Verdict

The P2815Q is a well-built and solid performing monitor that is hampered by a 30Hz refresh rate and high input lag at its native resolution. For business apps, it works well. But for gaming and entertainment, the 60Hz option at 3840x2160 is missed. If you can live with 30Hz, this monitor represents a good value.

For

  • Good build quality, accurate color without calibration, decent contrast, clear bright image

Against

  • 30Hz maximum refresh rate, slow input lag

Dell P2815Q 28-Inch Ultra HD Monitor Review

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 & BacklightTNW-LED, edge array
Screen Size & Aspect Ratio28-inch / 16:9
Max Resolution & Refresh3840x2160 @ 30Hz1920x1080 @ 60Hz
Native Color Depth & Gamut10-bit (8-bit w/FRC) / sRGB
Response Time (GTG)5ms
Brightness300cd/m2
Speakers-
Video Inputs2 x DisplayPort in, 1 x DisplayPort out,1 x HDMI/MHL
Audio1 x 3.5mm output
USBv3.0 - 1 x up, 4 x down
Media Card Reader-
Panel DimensionsWxHxD w/ base26 x 17.1-21.7 x 8in661 x 435-550 x 204mm
Panel Thickness2.1in / 53mm
Bezel Width.8in / 19mm
Weight24.5lbs / 11.1kg
WarrantyThree 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.

  • 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