Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD

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Designers and graphic artists love big screens, with all their many palettes and menus jostling for valuable screen space. With its 31.5in widescreen display and Ultra HD 4K resolution, Dell’s UP3241Q 32 Ultra HD is therefore an attractive proposition and also a competitively priced solution for viewing 4K video in all its glory.

Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD


Ergonomically speaking, the display is hard to fault. The bezel is pleasantly thin and the illuminating, proximity-sensing, touch-sensitive controls contribute to an expensive overall feel and a level of build quality you’d expect from a display.

It has a height-adjustable stand and incorporates a USB 3.0 hub with four ports, one of which supports battery charging. Inputs include one each of HDMI, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort connections. There’s no audio support as standard, but you can attach an optional soundbar, which will add a set of speakers below the screen.
The panel itself is coated with a hard, matt anti-glare coating which keeps reflections in check.
The ultra-high resolution of the UP3241Q is possible largely thanks to indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) semiconductor technology, which replaces the millions of tiny amorphous silicon (a-Si) transistors in a typical display panel with more efficient, transparent ones. These allow more light to pass through, thereby increasing brightness (or reducing power consumption), and for increased densities enabling higher resolution panels to be created more easily.
The specified 99 percent Adobe RGB gamut is great for those who demand the most accurate colour, but a potential pain for those who just want to plug and play. However, sRGB mode is also available for those who don’t wish to calibrate their display. Ten-bit colour is also available, enabling a palette of up to 1.074 billion colours when paired with a workstation-class graphics card such as an nVidia Quadro.
As is often the case with bleeding-edge technologies, there are a few compatibility issues you’ll almost certainly run into when using this monitor. While many modern graphics cards are able to output 4K resolutions, there are a few conditions that must be met in order to fully exploit the Ultra HD capabilities with a 60Hz refresh rate.
To display the full 3840×2160 resolution at a 60Hz refresh rate, the monitor divides its input into two ‘tiles’ of 1920×2160 pixels, which are sent from your graphics card as if they were connected to two separate displays. The monitor then combines the two tiles into a single onscreen desktop.
To do this, you’ll need to use DisplayPort 1.2 with Multi-Stream Transport (MST) support. Most modern graphics cards support this, including nVidia GeForce series 600 and newer, AMD Radeon HD600 and above, and the latest Intel integrated graphics processors.
Even if your graphics card supports MST, you’ll need to enable it on the monitor manually via the onscreen controls. This will then enable the 60Hz refresh mode. If this fails for some reason or you subsequently plug the monitor into a GPU which doesn’t support MST, you’ll be met by a blank screen with no access to the menu system to revert to DisplayPort 1.1. Thankfully, Dell has provided a hidden menu option to switch it back.
On our test PC, rebooting Windows caused the graphics card driver to ‘forget’ to use DisplayPort 1.2 mode, forcing us to reset the monitor to DisplayPort 1.1 and back to version 1.2 again using the reset option every time we started the PC.
Intel’s most recent integrated graphics processors will support 4K mode at 60Hz on the UP3241Q, but to make the monitor function as a single display, rather than two virtual displays side-by-side, you’ll need to enable Collage Mode in the Intel graphics control panel.
However, expect to fight every step of the way. We were only able to get it to work by installing the latest beta version of Intel’s driver, and even then it was horribly unreliable.
However, once set up correctly, the UP3214Q is a revelation. Fire up Adobe Lightroom and the increase in clarity and sharpness over and above even a 2560×1440 display is immediately apparent. Games also take on a whole new level of detail.
Colour reproduction is superb, covering 99 percent of the Adobe RGB gamut (our Spyder Elite calibration rounded it up to 100 percent) and delivering extremely accurate results, thanks to pre- calibration in the factory. This resulted in an average colour error of less than 1.0 DeltaE.
Maximum brightness and checkerboard contrast are also commendable, peaking at 312cd/m 2 and 550:1 respectively.
Verdict The Dell UP3214Q is a pricey display, but offers extremely high resolution backed up by superb image quality.

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