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Dell UltraSharp UP3214Q review

Andy Vandervell

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Dell UP3214Q 5

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Excellent colour accuracy
  • Smart, functional design
  • Outstanding build quality
  • Cheaper than rivals
  • Best size for 4K at present

Cons

  • Uniformity could be better
  • No HDMI 2.0

Key Features

  • 31.5-inch, 3,840 x 2,160 screen
  • IPS panel with IGZO backplane
  • 1:000 native contrast ratio
  • HDMI 1.4, Mini DisplayPort, Display Port 1.2
  • 4x USB 3.0
  • Height, pivot and tilt adjustment
  • VESA 100m mount
  • Manufacturer: Dell
  • Review Price: £1,955.00

What is the Dell UP3214Q?

A few weeks ago now we had the pleasure of reviewing Dell's 24-inch 4K monitor, the UP2414Q. At 24 inches some may consider it a bit small for 4K work, but its irresistible circa-£870 asking price and outstanding accuracy were enough for us to recommend it. Now we have the company's larger 4K monitor, the Dell UP3214Q. It promises similar levels of accuracy but in a much larger, more 4K-friendly frame.

It's also, unsurprisingly, considerably more expensive, and will leave you with little change left from £2,000. For that you get a monitor that promises professional grade calibration out of the box, 99 per cent Adobe RGB colour coverage and 100 per cent of sRGB. And while it costs a lot, it's still a clear £400 or so less than the next cheapest 32-inch 4K from Asus, so Dell looks like it still offers good value for money.

Dell UP3214Q 4

Dell UP3214Q: Design & Features

Before we get any further into this review, it's worth clearing up a common misconception. Like many of the new 4K monitors on the market now, the Dell UP3214Q is described in some circles as an IGZO panel display, but this isn't entirely accurate. IGZO isn't, technically, a type of panel. The UP3214Q uses an IPS panel, but has an IGZO backplane.

IGZO, primarily, makes it easier to manufacturer high density/high-resolution LCDs and uses less power than the alternative (amorphous Silicon), which is why it's been talked about so much in reference to iPads, iPhones and anything with a small, high-resolution screen where such qualities are valued most.

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Dell UP3214Q 2

Now we've cleared that up, a closer look at the specs for the Dell UP3214Q reveals it shares most of its DNA with its 24-inch cousin. It has a single HDMI 1.4 connection, Mini DisplayPort and DisplayPort 1.2 connections for video, four USB 3.0 ports and a memory card reader. All pretty standard fare, though it still lacks HDMI 2.0. This means you're limited to 30Hz over HDMI, making use of the DisplayPort is a must to our minds. It's worth noting one of the USB ports supports battery charging, too.

Looking to the stand, the Dell UP3214Q lacks pivot so can't be used in portrait mode, but using a monitor this large in portrair is a recipe for a sore neck so that's no great loss. There's a good level of height and tilt adjustment, however, and pivot is built into the stand.

The UP3214Q is a good-looking monitor, too. Dell's styling for its professional monitors has just the right balance of elegance and restraint that doesn't veer into something boring and ugly. When you're using a monitor as large as this you don't want it to be an eye-sore.

Dell UP3214Q 1

Dell UP3214Q: Setup

Dell continues to set the standard for ease of assembly and setup. Despite its size and weight (the panel alone weighs 9.2kg), it's incredibly easy to clip the monitor into the pre-assembled stand and arm. Likewise, you can detach the monitor from the arm without any tools.

Dell's OSD and controls are perfect, too. The context sensitive touch buttons along the right edge are very responsive, and the OSD always makes how to get what you want clear. The menus, meanwhile, are logically organised and include all the options you could possibly need.

Like Dell's 24-inch 4K monitor, those options include factory calibrated presets for sRGB and Adobe RGB, the option for two further saved 'calibrated' presets of your choosing and the ability to choose between any colour temperature level you desire.

MikkaMakkaMoo

April 11, 2014, 4:51 pm

Can you explain the difference between Mac OS X and Windows in handling these ultra high resolutions? Some screenshots of it being used on both with the various OS scaling options are available, would be really useful in explaining this.

Is it the case on Macs that it simply renders UI elements with twice the number of pixels vertically and horizontally? So everything looks sharper, but you don't get any more screen real estate for actually doing stuff?

mark choletti

April 12, 2014, 9:34 am

lol@£2000

prettyconfusd

April 12, 2014, 11:41 pm

Regarding the HiDPI and Windows comments in the review:

Windows itself, and a lot of 3rd party applications actually scale fine with Windows 8.1. However, a lot of 3rd party developers didn't bother to follow Microsoft's years old guidelines (at least as far back as 2009) for making apps that work with HiDPI hence they look blurry.

So not Microsoft's failings really. It's down to those who made the apps that aren't scaling properly. Chrome for example, that's down to Google to sort out.

Adobe are also to blame for Photoshop and the rest of the Creative Suite looking blurry when auto-scaled. This has started to be fixed as part of the Creative Cloud subscriptions however. Though for anyone still on CS6 and earlier that's of little comfort. You can turn scaling off on specific apps though to run them at native res even when the OS is scaled however depending on your screen size and resolution the interface could look comically tiny (such as on the 24" 4K monitor).

Even on the 24" monitor, it's nothing to do with Microsoft so if you're choosing to assign blame anywhere in your review, it would surely be a better choice to assign it to the right place?

Still, at 137ppi, 100% scaling should absolutely fine and I'd be surprised at anyone with half decent vision actually having to use any scaling, it's pretty much the same PPI as a standard 11.6" ultrabook (1366x768) and no one needs to scale anything there, do they?

What scaling settings did you need to alter? Or what didn't look right? This goes against my (admittedly still limited) experience with Windows 8.1 on HiDPI displays and on what I've read from other people so a little more information beyond a quick swipe at Microsoft would be really useful.

Apple have had an easier time of it because they only make a handful of screens (that they produce themselves to their own specs) and for retina they simply pixel doubled the displays. Microsoft has never had that luxury and third parties just ignored their guidelines anyway.

prettyconfusd

April 12, 2014, 11:44 pm

Yeah, the default on retina Macs is to pixel double, just as Apple did on the iPhone and iPad. It's a much easier and effective way to do it but only Apple has that option as they have more control over the screens people are using for the OSs.
They can be set to different resolutions though and the OS seems to scale fine (as does Windows) but I've not been able to play with Photoshop on one so I don't know how well that scales if it's not at exactly 100% or 200% scaling.

Pbryanw

April 13, 2014, 2:49 am

Anandtech go into a little more detail on this (reviewing the same monitor):
http://www.anandtech.com/show/...

As prettyconfused noted, the Apple way is to pixel double and this let's you set the display at a so-called "Retina" resolution. Support for setting your 4K monitor at "Retina" resolution is coming in the OS X 10.9.3 update.

I'd also be concerned this Dell can only output an UltraHD image at 60Hz using MultiStream Transport mode. From what I've read, this comes with its own set of drawbacks.

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