We’ve covered quite a few professional displays, and it seems that lately, the differences between products have diminished. In fact, monitors are now accurate enough that you barely need to consider anything but screen size and resolution. The vast majority of these panels come factory calibrated and ready for work right out of the box.
Most of the differentiating factors boil down to features and adjustability. Even when a monitor doesn’t require an initial calibration, the OSD should contain picture modes that are capable of full adjustment and offer controls for white balance, color management, and gamma. Many products accomplish this with bundled software, while others give you everything necessary in the menu.
Today we’re checking out another addition to the thin ranks of the 16:10 category. We recently tested two similar panels from NEC: the EA305WMi and PA302W. The latter has everything you need for calibration via multiple methods, and tank-like build quality, but you’ll pay handsomely for it. Dell offers a less-expensive alternative in the UP3017. It’s a 30-inch IPS panel with 2560x1600 resolution and preset gamut options for Adobe RGB, sRGB and DCI-P3.
Feature-wise the UP3017 is packed. Not only do you get preset factory calibrated picture modes for the three most commonly-used color gamuts, Dell bundles its Ultrasharp Calibration software so you can create your own picture modes with an i1 Display Pro. The OSD contains a Custom option that sports two-point white balance controls plus a color management system with hue and saturation sliders.
The panel is IPS with a white LED arrayed at the edges. Uniformity compensation is provided and programmed for each individual panel during manufacturing. The obligatory wide-gamut support is there, allowing for a DCI-P3 preset whose color points fall in between Rec.709 and Adobe RGB.
Additional features include USB 3.0 with two upstream ports that can be assigned to individual video inputs, allowing one UP3017 to serve two workstations. You can also use the provided DisplayPort output to daisy-chain a second screen to a single video card.
At 101ppi, it offers good pixel density if not quite that of a 32-inch Ultra HD screen. The extra height can be a real boon to productivity, however. It’s far easier to place two documents or two browser windows side-by-side. The 16:10 aspect was almost considered dead until the aforementioned NEC monitors appeared a few months ago. Now that Dell is getting into the act, we may perhaps see a resurgence of the format. For now, let’s go in depth with the UP3017.
Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories
The UP3017’s carton is unique. Instead of the traditional suitcase design, it opens like a clamshell to reveal packing completely devoid of Styrofoam. Instead Dell uses molded paper pulp to protect the contents along with extra space in the carton sides. It’s very lightweight and more than ready to defend against shipping damage.
Bundled cables include IEC power, mini-DisplayPort, and USB 3.0. A CD contains the user manual and the Ultrasharp Calibration app that supports X-rite’s i1 DisplayPro colorimeter. You also get a factory calibration report showing results for Adobe RGB and sRGB color gamuts.
The UP3017 looks large from the front, but it’s only a tad wider than a 16:9 27-inch monitor. The base has a fairly small footprint, but its depth is sufficient to provide a solid foundation for the panel’s 20-pound weight. The anti-glare layer has the same 3H hardness rating as other Dell displays and strikes a good balance between light rejection and clarity, which is beyond reproach.
The bezel is less than an inch wide on all sides and hides tiny control buttons at the lower-right. There are no icons to indicate their location but a small power LED hangs just low enough to be visible. Styling might be called minimalist but Dell adds some lighter gray plastic panels around back and on the beefy upright to make things interesting. Said upright provides firm adjustments for tilt (-5 to +21 degrees), swivel (30 degrees), height (150mm), and portrait mode.
The two side USB ports are version 3.0 and can remain powered up when the monitor is turned off. That function is controlled in the OSD. The profile is fairly slim at around 2.5". The back tapers smoothly from side to side, and the upright can be removed to expose a 100mm VESA mount. A large hole in the stand facilitates cable tidiness.
Connection ports are clearly marked and face downward. There are two DisplayPort inputs (one mini) and one output for daisy-chaining. You also get two HDMI jacks, version 1.4. Two USB upstream ports allow connection of two computers to a single UP3017. You can then assign the downstream ports to a specific video input. Audio is supported by a single analog output (3.5mm) into which you can plug headphones or powered speakers. There is no built-in sound available but you can control which source provides the audio signal.