CES saw the announcement of a new category in displays, monitors with curved screens. Since LG makes most of the parts for this category, it’s only fitting that the company should be the first to market with the 34UC97, which we reviewed in January. It’s a 21:9-aspect IPS panel with 3440x1440 resolution currently selling for around $1000.
Samsung, HP and Dell also announced curved monitors back in January and today we’re taking our first look at Dell’s entry, the U3415W. Coming in at the same price point, it sports professional credentials with factory calibration, a large and flexible OSD, high contrast from an IPS panel and premium build quality.
Reaction to the advent of curved monitors has been mainly centered on one question, “why?” When 21:9 screens first appeared in 2013, we wondered if they were the answer to a question no one had asked. Of course, that was a reference to the 29-inch AOC Q2963PM, which has a less-useful 2560x1080 pixel resolution. That panel tends to squeeze desktop height a little too much for our tastes.
Then LG shipped us its 34UM95. With 3440x1440 pixels, it offers the same 109ppi density and the same screen height as our favorite 27-inch QHD form factor, plus the added width. That makes for a truly versatile display that can redefine how you multi-task, and it easily accommodates dual-source picture-by-picture setups. And well-heeled gamers can set up two or three ultra-wide displays for an incredibly immersive experience.
By curving the screen just a little, the extra width fits better into the user’s peripheral vision, and reduces the amount of head-turning necessary to see the entire desktop. Product photos seem to exaggerate the curve somewhat. In reality, it’s fairly subtle — the image is not distorted in any way.
Dell has upped the ante just a bit with the U3415W. A factory calibration is the first major feature that leaps out, confirmed by a data sheet included with, and unique to, each display. You’ll see in our tests that this monitor is one of the most accurate we’ve ever tested, before and after calibration.
There are also four video inputs and two USB upstream ports, which makes it easy to connect two computers and have them share a single monitor, keyboard and mouse. MHL support allows the mirroring of smartphone and tablet content, as well as charging of those devices, and there’s even an HDMI 2.0 port which accepts a native 3440x1440 signal at 60Hz.
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