Dell UP2718Q Ultra HD HDR Professional Monitor Review

Conclusion

When plasma televisions died out a couple of years ago, we lamented the loss of a truly high-contrast panel technology that delivered amazing picture quality from good-old hi-def with Rec.709 color and standard dynamic range. LCDs have tried various methods to improve upon their poor inherent dynamic range qualities but have always been limited by their light-valve method of controlling pixel brightness. That always-on backlight is a significant hurdle to overcome.

Zone backlights are nothing new, having appeared in the consumer TV market more than five years back, but until now, we’ve never seen a desktop computer monitor with one. Today, HDR is not only here, it’s in demand. Anyone shopping for an Ultra HD display should be ignoring products without it. And they should be looking at color capability as well. Without DCI-P3 or better, the viewer simply won’t be seeing everything Ultra HD can offer.

To create content with extended capabilities, professionals will need reference monitors that deliver precise color accuracy to multiple standards and the necessary chops for Ultra HD and HDR. Dell’s UP2718Q checks all the boxes on the list. With its 384-zone backlight and 1000nit peak output, it has the contrast chops to properly do HDR justice. Our tests revealed its ability to top 17,000:1 in the sequential contrast test. While not quite in OLED’s league, it crushes any LCD desktop monitor from our experience.

To this, it adds every color option required by the modern post-production editing bay. Not only does it support sRGB and Rec.709, it doubles down with full DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB gamut volume. A tool like this will find a home in many high-end systems. The $1500 price may cause a bit of sticker-shock for some shoppers, but when compared to the cost of high-end mastering screens—some of which go well into five figures for a similarly-sized panel—the UP2718Q is a pretty good deal.

We only missed a couple of things here. It’s great to see auto-calibration software included with any monitor, but considering its extended color features, we think three or four memories would be more useful rather than just two. Users also place a high priority on out-of-box accuracy and we thought the UP2718Q came up slightly short there. We’d deem it acceptable, but there is room for improvement.

HDR performance is the main attraction, and in that regard, it performs almost flawlessly. Aside from a few minor halo artifacts, we enjoyed the insane amount of additional contrast provided by the zone-dimming backlight and HDR10 support. Integrators will appreciate the wide variety of inputs, all of which support HDCP 2.2, and multi-computer KVM capability. The UP2718Q is also the first monitor we’ve seen with DisplayPort 1.4.

Surprisingly, even to us, we consider the UP2718Q a good value. While $1500 may seem excessive for a 27” monitor, it can do things no other screen can do at this price point. Most high-end mastering displays cost far more, as much as 10 times more in fact. For that reason, we’re giving it our Tom’s Hardware Editor Recommended Award.

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  • idontrememberit
    About the anti-glare, can you confirm if the graininess is visible on black text with white background?
  • gmayol
    Do you think this features imply the same increment in the total bill of materials than in price or engineering expenses ? should we see this technology on cheaper models ?
  • samer.forums
    $1500 is too much for this. its 27 inch only .. there are 43-55 inch TVs at the same price with the same specs , 10bit , HDR10 and wide color gamut.
  • hannibal
    The point is They have not the same nits as this device!
    If you read there Are Many monitors that claim hdr but can not actually show it. Same with cheap tv sets.
  • samer.forums
    60597 said:
    The point is They have not the same nits as this device! If you read there Are Many monitors that claim hdr but can not actually show it. Same with cheap tv sets.


    Latest Sony TVs are VERY BRIGHT .. check them out the 2017 models.
  • TheDane
    HDR is not about nits only. OLED TVs are superior to even the best LCD HDR TVs even though they currently max out at aroung 700 nits. I'd rather have a 500 nits "only" OLED TV than a 500 zone +1000 nits LCD TV. The per-pixel black level are important for maximum detail.
  • trevor_dennis
    Nice, but I'll never trust a Dell monitor again. My admittedly aging 2709W has had the very common vertical line issue for a few years now, and Google tells me I am far from alone. Checking the user reviews on Amazon shows an appallingly low satisfaction with new Dell screens indicating a roughly one in five chance of getting a lemon, and huge problems getting it fixed if you do. You end up with a refurbished screen (second hand) which may or may not develop the same issue. If you get a good one, they are great value, but I am just not prepared to risk it.
  • jn77
    I have 3 Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP's and they were premium monitors at the time and 1 month after the warranty expired I got the vertical line issue on all of them. I am also done with Dell Monitor's also.
  • somebodyspecial
    You lost me at 16:9 :(
  • samer.forums
    925801 said:
    You lost me at 16:9 :(


    True .. 16:10 is better for professional work
  • AcesB
    1000 nits in an LCD screen? To look at 60cm/23inches? Are you crazy? This can blind the user! It's roughly four times brighter than a normal LCD screen! Also, after a couple of minutes, the user will lose all colour sensibility! Everything will become black and white!
  • samer.forums
    164003 said:
    1000 nits in an LCD screen? To look at 60cm/23inches? Are you crazy? This can blind the user! It's roughly four times brighter than a normal LCD screen! Also, after a couple of minutes, the user will lose all colour sensibility! Everything will become black and white!


    upto 1000 nits ... not all the time 1000 nits .
  • pierre.nadeau3012
    If only I'd have GSync I'd run to purchase it.
  • mattkiss
    > Most high-end mastering displays cost far more, as much as 10 times more in fact.
    > For that reason, we’re giving it our Tom’s Hardware Editor Recommended Award.

    Graphic above shows 'Approved' award, not 'Recommended.'
  • KrisAK
    The BenQ SW271 27" 4K is $1099. What's the Dell got, that the BenQ lacks?
  • hannibal
    True hdr, unlike BenQ that can not show hdr.
  • zodiacfml
    rip-off, the price is similar to upcoming UHD@144Hz(with variable refresh) gaming monitors with HDR (same number of zones) and Quantum Dot tech.
  • Lutfij
    Christian,
    Perhaps if Dell could implement some form of Firmware update/fix that takes care of having more than one profile on the monitor. In retrospect, the monitor isn't really geared all that much for gamer's but for content creators who need to push that last bit of detail.