Dell U3818DW Curved Monitor Review

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Over the past three years, we’ve seen curved ultra-wide monitors evolve from mere curiosities into serious tools for enthusiasts and gamers. In the professional genre, large flat panels still rule, but Dell believes there are uses for a jumbo curved screen that delivers the accurate color and precise image quality graphic artists and photographers require.

Curved displays are available in a variety of sizes, radii, and resolutions. LG Display’s 38” 2300R AH-IPS part provides a great balance of pixel density, clarity, and usable screen area. We enjoyed playing games on the Acer XR382CQK and LG’s 38UC99. Now, users who need premium color accuracy can enjoy watching their projects take form on Dell’s UltraSharp U3818DW.

With a factory-certified calibration, color accuracy is guaranteed. Our tests show good out-of-box results and some nice gains available with a few simple adjustments. If you need more flexibility, Dell provides two-point grayscale controls plus hue and saturation sliders for all six colors. That’s something we don’t see very often. Auto-calibration is not supported, but frankly we didn’t miss the feature. All our test results were exemplary.

The only thing we wish were better is contrast. IPS technology is already at a disadvantage when compared to VA and its variants. Most of the former measure around 1000:1, while the latter technology is capable of 2500:1 and sometimes higher. The U3818DW is a little below average in this metric. Our sample’s initial result was a respectable 937:1 before calibration and most users will be satisfied with that. The Standard mode doesn’t need calibration, and you can just set brightness to taste. But for maximum color accuracy, the contrast slider must be lowered and that took our result down to just 655:1. Since gamma and screen uniformity are nearly perfect, the impact isn’t too great, but we’d prefer to see more dynamic range in a high-end monitor like this.

Other than that, we have no complaints. The U3818DW is built like a tank; even a bit more solidly than Dell’s normally high standard. It has every feature a professional user could need, and it looks ready for work with simple, understated styling and no-nonsense reliability. To that end, the three-year warranty includes Advanced Exchange Service, which provides a replacement screen delivered next-day.

Curved ultra-wide monitors aren’t just for gamers any more. Dell has positioned its U3818DW squarely in the professional realm and we think it has succeeded.

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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.