When it comes to purchasing a professional display, there is only one major consideration: color accuracy. Certainly other image parameters like contrast, viewing angles, and video processing are important too, but if color, white balance, and gamma aren’t on-point, well then, there is no point. Accuracy is a given, so the priority turns into a question of how easy that is to achieve.
The Dell UP3017, like many of its competitors, delivers image accuracy right out of the box courtesy of a factory-certified calibration performed on each panel during manufacture. The included data sheet records results for Adobe RGB and sRGB gamuts, and we’re pleased to report that our sample’s DCI-P3 preset shows nearly equal performance. In fact, our test results were even better than Dell’s.
Dell has also provided uniformity compensation, which we’ve seen on many other professional displays and even on a few monitors in other categories. We’re still of the opinion that this feature is mostly unnecessary. In every case, it has reduced contrast and light output while providing only a small gain in measured field uniformity. At this price point, we expect that the manufacturer’s quality control will weed out panels with obvious light bleed and IPS glow before they ever make it to the calibration stage. So far, we have yet to see a panel that needs compensation to measure well in our tests. And we can’t help but notice that Dell doesn’t even enable the feature in its preset calibrated picture modes. Is this a negative? Absolutely not.
Even though you can unbox the UP3017, set your preferred brightness and get right to work, tweakers will be glad to see the inclusion of Ultrasharp Calibration software. While we prefer third-party tools like CalMAN, those who already own an i1 Display Pro can create two custom modes with lookup tables that are stored in the monitor’s internal memory.
The only flaw we can find here is in the OSD calibration options. Even though two-point white balance, gamma, and color management are provided, they only work in Custom, and that mode lacks a gamut option. You have to start with Adobe RGB, and since there’s no color luminance control, you can’t create a different one.
However, since the factory-calibrated modes are so good, this minor omission isn’t going to dissuade anyone from choosing the UP3017. And once you start comparing prices, Dell is sure to move a good number of these monitors. For its superb out-of-box accuracy, solid contrast, build quality, and bundled calibration software, we’re giving it the Tom’s Hardware Editor Recommended Award.