Review: Dell Ultrasharp U3415W 34″ Ultrawide Monitor

Dell U3415W Sittiing On My Desk

After five years of dual 1080p displays, I finally made the jump to 1440p; and not just plain old 1440p, but 1440p ultrawide, that’s 3440×1440. I decided to purchase the Dell UltraSharp U3415W PXF79 34″ Curved LED Monitor. After five days of use, I’m very happy with my purchase, a big step up in image quality.

First thing you notice is the U3415W’s size, it takes up almost as much space as two 24″ 1080p monitors. But in my view it does not 100% replace a second monitor; especially if you are used to dual screens. I decided to keep one of my 1080p panels as a secondary screen for Email or video streaming. But I do find myself only using the U3415W panel often as I can have two 900p windows side-by-side.

The biggest difference other than size is the amount of pixels, close to five million of them. That’s 800,000 more pixels than the two 1080p displays that the U3415W replaced. The image is much sharper and despite the Windows elements being smaller than the 1080p screen, text is easier to read in general.

Unlike some other ultrawide monitors available now; the U3415W only supports a 60hz refresh rate, which I believe is enough for everyday use; yes, others are able to “overclock” to 75hz or 100hz, but those panels come at a premium of over $1,000. The U3415W has a GTG response time of 5ms, although you do have to change a setting in the menu from “normal” to “fast” to get that 5ms response time.

Color uniformity is excellent, I didn’t notice any issues with color uniformity across the screen. Backlight uniformity looks as impressive across the whole screen, however like many IPS panels, there is significant corner light bleed. This is not noticeable in normal lighting conditions, but in darker rooms, there is a distinct glow in the corners of the screen, but it’s not so bright that it’s overly distracting to my eye.

The curve of the screen is not noticeable at normal distance. However the curve is more noticeable moving back away from the screen. I’m not convinced by the claim that curved screens make gaming more immersive. I played UT3 with a friend and felt no more immersed than when playing on a flat panel.

Where the Dell Ultrasharp excels is productivity work; which was the main reason for the U3415W purchase. Having close to 3,000,000 extra pixels makes a massive difference to my effective productivity. It’s nice to be able to maximize Photoshop and editing an image with more pixels displayed onscreen. The color accuracy looks pretty good to my eye, it’s light years ahead of the Dell ST2421L it replaced.

If you consume streaming media such as Youtube, it produces thick vertical black bars. Sadly there is not too much content outside of Bluray/DVD that takes advantage of the 21:9 aspect ratio and games often stretch to fit the aspect distorting the image. This does not bother me as online video was not the driving force for my purchase; I use my secondary 1080p screen for consuming online streaming video.

Connectivity is excellent, it has inputs for mini-DP, DP, HDMI and USB, audio in and out. The only thing missing is DVI, which doesn’t matter as DVI only supports 2560×1600. Although, from my perspective, finding the inputs and inserting the cables can be difficult without laying the panel on it’s front. Speaking of cables, the U3415W comes with USB, mini-DP to DP and HDMI cables to get you started out of the box.

Final thoughts are; if you are thinking of buying this for more immersive gaming, skip it, save some money and get a flat panel. If you want to use this panel for productivity; particularly for graphics/photo work, I recommend it wholeheartedly. The U3415W is a good monitor, but you could buy a 16:9 1440p monitor for a lot less money and get almost as good an experience as using an ultrawide like the UW3415W.

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