Ultra HD monitors have been available for a couple of years now but they still occupy a relatively small niche in the marketplace. The vast majority of users are still looking at 1920x1080 pixel screens in sizes of 24 inches or less. One might think a 3840x2560 resolution would have become more common before technology moved on to an even higher pixel count. But of course we enthusiasts know better. Just when you thought manufacturers couldn't fit any more dots on the panel, well, they found a way.
Recently we reviewed our first 5K display, HP's Z27q. Its wide gamut and other attributes aim it squarely at professionals and early-adopters. But we found a few flaws not unexpected in such an early example of the tech. We figured it wouldn't be long before other companies jumped on to the bandwagon. Enter Dell and its UP2715K.
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Dell usually does a good job of presenting a first-generation product that's finished and ready for prime time. Purchasers of the UP2715K will not have to serve as beta testers. They will, however, have to pony up a fair amount of cash, though not as much as they did for the first Ultra HD monitors. The Z27q can now be found for under $1000, but this new Dell is a bit more expensive. However, you do get a little more in the bargain.
The panel is an LG-sourced AH-IPS part with a white LED backlight and a 10-bit native color depth. Getting a 10-bit signal to the UP2715K will require a high-end Nvidia Quadro or AMD FirePro video card. Even the GeForce Titan X we used in our test system could only transmit 8 bits of color information but it did work at full resolution. You'll also need dual DisplayPort outputs of the version 1.2 variety. Dell has a list of cards on their website that have been certified to work.
Another factor to consider is the size of fonts and icons. Windows 7 with its awful dpi scaling won't do this monitor justice. With version 8.1 or later running however, setting the scaling to at least 150 percent makes things readable on the 27-inch screen. Dell thoughtfully provides a printed instruction sheet explaining how to perform this tweak.
Feature-wise the UP2715K is pro all the way. Not only do you get a comprehensive OSD with color management and two-point grayscale control, Dell includes a software auto-calibration app that works with X-Rite instruments like the i1Pro and i1DisplayPro. With this tool you can create two preset memories in the OSD, which can be combined with the existing picture modes giving the user a dizzying array of choices. We'll explain everything during the benchmark tests and there is a lot to cover.
The UP2715K and its 218ppi pixel density is certainly cutting-edge on paper. Let's see how it measures up.