Dell U3818DW Curved Monitor Review

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OSD Setup & Calibration

The U3818DW has an extensive OSD with many calibration options and all the features you’d expect in a professional display. Bring it up by pressing the third control button twice.

Brightness and contrast are controlled by sliders in the first sub-menu. The U3818DW doesn’t have a ton of output, and we found after setting contrast correctly (it’s too high by default), brightness had to be maxed to achieve 200cd/m2. We’ll go into more detail about that on the next page. Next up is an input selector, which includes USB Type C in the list of choices. You can connect a compatible laptop to that port and mirror its video output.

The Color menu offers six picture modes. Standard is the default and displays decent accuracy, but we found a few gains by using Custom Color with its two-point grayscale, saturation, and hue sliders. You can also adjust the color temp by Kelvins in the Color Temp mode. ComfortView has a low blue-light feature that can reduce eye fatigue, though a proper grayscale calibration accomplishes the same thing. If you connect a Blu-ray player, the monitor supports YPbPr input formats. If you want to reset only the color controls, you can do that as well.

Display has aspect ratio options that can either stretch content to fill the screen or display it in a 1:1-pixel ratio. Obviously, it’s best to stick with the native 3840x1600 format. Sharpness is fine at the default setting. Anything higher and you’ll see clarity-robbing edge enhancement. Dynamic Contrast is available in some picture modes. It improves perceived contrast and clips some highlight and shadow detail. Response Time is a well-engineered overdrive that won’t ghost even at its highest setting. Uniformity Compensation is a toggle, either on or off. We found it has the most effect on higher brightness levels. It reduces output and contrast while providing no significant benefit.

Ultra-wide screens are great for viewing multiple sources. The U3818DW can show two signals in either a side-by-side format or PIP. There are two window sizes available.

USB Selection is where you can assign KVM functions to the three video inputs. This allows the monitor to support two PCs with individual input devices.

The U3818DW’s audio is a cut above the norm, and you can control the volume here. If you plan to use an external system or simply want silence, the speakers can be disabled.

The OSD is available in multiple languages, can be on-screen for up to 60 seconds, and be as transparent or solid as you’d like.

The first two control keys can be programmed for different functions to avoid a trip to the OSD for commonly-used items. There are eight possible options for things like luminance, picture modes, USB and video swap, PBP/PIP, and others. If the power LED is a distraction, you can turn it off. USB ports can be left powered in standby for charging purposes.

The Others menu has DDC/CI options, LCD Conditioning patterns, and signal info. If you want to return all settings to their defaults, select Factory Reset.


The U3818DW can be used in its Standard mode without further calibration. It delivers decent accuracy, though there is a little room for improvement. For that, select Custom Color and adjust the grayscale controls as we did. The only changes required by our sample were to the RGB Gain sliders. No other adjustments were necessary. If you want to tweak the color gamut, hue and saturation sliders are provided. The only problem we encountered was a too-high contrast setting. It manifested by clipping highlight detail and causing a red deficiency at 100% brightness. Lowering it enough to fix the issue meant we had to max the brightness slider for 200cd/m2. It also cost us some contrast. There is no gamma control, but our sample hit 2.2 right on the nose, so we didn’t miss it. Here are our recommended settings.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Dell U3818DW Calibration Settings
Preset ModeCustom
Brightness 200cd/m2100
Brightness 120cd/m253
Brightness 100cd/m241
Brightness 80cd/m230
Brightness 50cd/m214
GainRed 100, Green 96, Blue 98
OffsetRed 50, Green 50, Blue 50
Hue & SaturationUnchanged

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Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

  • Realist9
    I guess I give up on waiting for a 4k, 32" or greater G-sync monitor at >60hz.

    Even though the 1080 has been out 1.5 yrs and can handle it, the market must just be too small for manufacturers to make them. Bummer.
  • photonboy
    4K, 144Hz, GSYNC is coming in 2018...

    Break open your piggy bank though...
  • Lucky_SLS
    How does a curved screen benefit professional work? I thought it was just for the immersion. And this is 2300R instead of 1800R.
  • Tanquen
    37.5” = Yea!

    IPS = Yea!

    10-bit color = Yea!

    3840x1600-pixel resolution – Yea!

    USB 3.1 Type C = Yea!

    HDMI 2.0 = Still no 2.1?

    21:9 = Lame!

    Curved = Why?! Why do folks want their screen squished in the middle and the ISO graphics distorted?

    No FreeSync = God Dam it!
  • Tanquen
    20417912 said:
    How does a curved screen benefit professional work? I thought it was just for the immersion. And this is 2300R instead of 1800R.

    It doesn’t. It’s a gimmick that they think will help sell displays. This has mostly come and gone from the TV space but the computer monitors always seem to be a year or more behind.
  • lar33mo
    This looks like a really nice monitor. In July 2017, I purchased a Dell UltraSharp 32" Ultra HD 4K Monitor with PremierColor - UP3216Q. I paid $1,399.99 for the monitor,
    ( reduced in price by $400.00 ), $25.00 shipping, and $90.49 in taxes, ( which I doubt that my home state of Connecticut will see a penny of.. ;-) ). I ordered the monitor from Dell online, on a Sunday, and it was delivered via FedEx the following Tuesday!! :-) I purchased the 32" after my Dell 30" monitor died after a number of years. Regarding this 38" monitor, I believe my 32" Dell Monitor was intended for the same market. The very solid construction appears to be present in both models. While I usually have two 30" monitors on my desk, ( the new 32" monitor fits fine with my HP ZR30w 30" monitor). I do wish however, that this 38" monitor was available when I bought the Dell UltraSharp 32". I would have had a more modern monitor for about $350.00 less, tax included. :-| Maybe next time. ;-)
  • Kungpaoshizzi
    Enough with this 27" monitor crap :|
    35"+ please!
  • Nintendork
    More like enough with the idiotic curve, IPS is sh*t with that pathetic contrast.

    All monitors should be VA 1080/1440/1600 16:10/4k 3000-5000:1
  • gio2vanni86
    I have a curved TV and monitor. I honestly love it. Don't see why theres hate on curved. It give the tv and monitor a feel that cant be described, but it honestly is a nice touch. I don't buy flat anymore, it doesnt please my appetite anymore. To me i feel like i went back to the stone-age when i look at a flat screen. This is just my opinion. Still waiting on those 144-240hz 4k HDR curved g-sync displays :)
  • metathias
    I've ended up deciding i actually like my 1800r curved monitor. At 38'' you can't even notice it at about 20 inch's from the screen.