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Dell U4021QW Evaluation: The Premiere Extremely-Vast Monitor for Picture Enhancing

The Dell U4021QW is, fairly actually, one among a form. It’s the world’s first 40-inch curved ultra-wide WUHD 5K2K monitor — a 21:9 facet ratio monster that boasts a color-accurate 10-bit panel. In our testing, it has carried out superbly. However whereas it’s positively the premiere ultra-wide monitor for picture enhancing, it’s not the best photo editing monitor general.

In comparison with many different ultra-wide screens available on the market, the Dell delivers a extra well-rounded expertise. Most ultra-wides focus all of their consideration on both productiveness or gaming, placing little-to-no emphasis on coloration accuracy. Even if many picture and video editors discover it downright essential to work on a number of screens side-by-side, there are valuable few color-accurate panels within the 21:9 facet ratio, which interprets into valuable few color-accurate ultra-wide screens.

Greater than the rest we’ll speak about, that’s what makes the Dell U4021QW particular. Not solely is it giant and excessive decision — 40-inches and 5K2K decision is nothing to scoff at — it makes use of a real 10-bit panel with a (claimed) DCI-P3 gamut protection of 98% and a Delta E of lower than 2. What’s particular concerning the Dell U4021QW is that it exists in any respect, and with a worth of $1,700, it’s fairly a bit cheaper than selecting up two equally correct 4K screens and putting them side-by-side.

Design and Construct High quality

My first impression upon unboxing and establishing the Dell U4021QW was, ” I’m overwhelmed.” I usually work off of 1 32-inch or 27-inch 16:9 monitor (relying on what we’re at the moment reviewing at PetaPixel) and the swap to an ultra-wide was a bit staggering at first.

You’ll be able to comfortably arrange three home windows side-by-side-by-side with out something feeling cramped. For those who’re feeling particularly masochistic, you may break the monitor into 6 sections and put a window in every — there actually is sufficient decision to accommodate it. However personally, it took me a couple of day of normal use earlier than I stuffed up the whole thing to do something in any respect.

Setup was a breeze. The monitor “clicks in” to the stand whereas it’s nonetheless within the field, and then you definitely use the stand to carry it out and set it in your desk. Ideally, you’d have slightly assist with this, as a result of it’s not a small monitor, however this easy-to-unbox setup is appreciated by these of us who dwell alone… or, in my case, with a canine who actually wasn’t a lot assist in any respect.

The stand itself is sturdy, with a fairly small footprint and plenty of positioning management. You’ll be able to tilt, swivel, and alter the peak of the monitor with a single hand no downside, and the little gap for cable administration is a pleasant contact. Bezels are minimal, about 0.4 inches (1cm), and the 2500R curve is simply sufficient to remove any off-axis coloration shift on the edges once you’re sitting proper in the course of the display.

When it comes to controls, there’s solely an influence button and a joystick, the latter of which you press to entry each the quick-access menus and the total settings of your show. The total menu is in depth, however the quick-access menus are all you’ll want more often than not. That features Brightness/Distinction, Enter, Quantity, Preset Coloration Modes, and the Image-in-Image (PIP) and Image-by-Image (PBP) modes which can be out there solely when you could have two units linked on the identical time.

The U4021QW features a USB-A and USB-C port on the underside of the monitor, permitting you to cost small electronics like headphones or a smartphone.

Talking of connectivity, the monitor comes with loads of ports to go well with no matter laptop computer or desktop you’d wish to hook up. There are two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4, one Thunderbolt 3 USB Sort-C with 90W energy supply, an Ethernet port, a headphone jack, and a USB Sort-B upstream port that powers 4 USB Sort-A ports and one USB Sort-C downstream, all of which might switch knowledge at 10Gbps. Two of those ports — the USB Sort-C downstream and a type of USB Sort-A ports — are discovered beneath the show for straightforward entry, and these two ports additionally characteristic energy supply.

It’s price mentioning the built-in twin 9W audio system, which had been surprisingly highly effective and a pleasant contact for customers who don’t have a set of screens or pc audio system useful. They actually made the built-in speaker on my Mac mini sound like trash, which it’s, though they clearly can’t compete with even an inexpensive set of correct desktop audio system.

General, the Dell U4021QW delivered all the options that I need from a monitor like this. The principle issues I search for are Thunderbolt connectivity in order that I can use a single cable for audio/video/knowledge, enough energy supply to cost most laptops (90W is lots), and some easy-access comfort ports once I must plug in a cellphone or cost my wi-fi keyboard and mouse. The Dell delivers all of this and extra, wrapped up in traditional Dell styling that basically hasn’t modified a lot over the previous a number of years.

For those who like Dell’s screens, you’ll like this one. For those who hate them, Dell hasn’t given you any compelling motive to love the U4021QW’s design and construct high quality any higher.

Gamut Protection and Uniformity

In our testing, the Dell U4021QW managed to cowl 95% of DCI-P3 (left) and 88.5% of AdobeRGB (proper).

When it got here time to check the Dell’s coloration accuracy, I got here in with a wholesome dose of skepticism. Until you’re going to make use of a direct backlight and cost an exorbitant quantity for particular in-monitor sensors that may assist with uniformity (see our NEC PA311D review), it’s very troublesome to evenly illuminate this a lot display. The gap from the nook of the display to the middle is roughly 20-inches, and I suspected that uniformity could be a difficulty.

Spoiler: I used to be proper.

However first, let’s discuss coloration accuracy and gamut protection. Whereas the Dell U4021QW does NOT have a built-in LUT or any assist for {hardware} calibration, it does permit you to alter the Achieve and Offset of your RGB primaries, in addition to the Hue and Saturation in six axes: Purple, Inexperienced, Blue, Cyan, Yellow, and Magenta.

This turned out to be crucial as a result of not one of the presets had been significantly good out of the field. With the intention to get my white level to D65, I needed to swap the monitor to “Customized Coloration,” flip down the acquire on the Inexperienced channel to 95% and quit slightly little bit of general brightness. As soon as I did, the monitor carried out admirably, clocking in 99.9% protection of sRGB, 95% protection of DCI-P3, and 88.5% protection of AdobeRGB, at a Delta E 2000 of simply 1.23.

That’s strong protection at a wonderful Delta E, however you’ll do not forget that Dell claims 98% DCI-P3 protection, so it was slightly bit disappointing to see the monitor fall in need of the spec sheet. We’ve requested Dell why this may be, and can replace the evaluation if and once we hear again. Till then, we’ll simply assume it’s a matter of variation from panel to panel. The colorimeter I used, an i1Display Pro Plus (that was recently rebranded…), is similar we’ve used to guage each different show reviewed on PetaPixel thus far, so we’ve no motive to consider it’s gone wonky now.

Nonetheless, just a few share factors right here or there are inside an inexpensive margin of error, and we had been very pleased with the monitor’s Delta E.

What was much less spectacular was the uniformity, which is certainly a difficulty as anticipated with a panel this dimension. After we ran our 9 x 5 patch check in DisplayCAL, the monitor failed “Nominal” tolerance on 9 of the 44 patches (the middle patch is used for reference), with a lot of the unhealthy patches showing on the left-hand aspect of the show. It solely handed “Advisable” tolerance on 10 of the patches, leaving us with 25 patches that solely handed “Nominal” tolerance.

From the outcomes beneath, you’ll be able to see that we’re principally fading in brightness as we transfer up and out to the sides of the show (click on to open the total decision picture), which makes me suppose this monitor may be edge-lit from the underside, however that’s pure hypothesis:

This type of uniformity (or lack thereof) is fairly regular for screens that don’t explicitly appropriate for it with some type of built-in sensor, but it surely’s unlucky once you’re coping with such a pleasant panel. True 10-bit screens (versus 8-bit + FRC) are nonetheless considerably uncommon beneath $2,000, and we’ve by no means seen a 40-inch, 21:9 ultra-wide choice.

In the end, we’d classify the Dell U4021QW’s coloration efficiency as “enthusiast-grade,” with enough coloration accuracy, coloration depth, and gamut protection to fulfill most picture and video editors. However for artistic professionals in search of an ultra-wide with true professional-grade efficiency, Dell hasn’t fairly cracked it. You’ll have to attend a short while longer.

Greatest in Its Class, However Might Nonetheless Be Higher

My ideas on the Dell U4021QW are much like my ideas on the M1 iPad we reviewed a couple of months ago. One of the best iPad continues to be an iPad, and one of the best ultra-wide monitor continues to be an ultra-wide monitor, with all of the challenges inherent to that kind issue.

There’s a motive why most ultra-wide shows give attention to productiveness and never coloration efficiency.

Let’s be clear: the Dell U4021QW is an outstanding ultra-wide. It is among the greatest available on the market and the premiere ultra-wide monitor for picture enhancing due to its dynamite mixture of dimension, facet ratio, decision, coloration accuracy, and gamut protection. However it falls in need of the efficiency of smaller, extra centered “creator” screens that don’t have fairly a lot display with which to contend.


  • True 10-bit panel
  • 5K2K decision makes 21:9 facet ratio way more usable
  • 95% DCI-P3 and 99.9%% sRGB protection is nice sufficient for the overwhelming majority of individuals
  • Good coloration management by way of on-screen menus
  • Single-cable connectivity by way of USB-C with 90W energy supply
  • Further ports beneath the show are tremendous handy
  • Good built-in audio system
  • Comparatively inexpensive ($1,700) for what you get


  • Gamut protection falls barely in need of producer claims
  • Uniformity is poor on the edges
  • No assist for {hardware} calibration
  • Peak brightness isn’t appropriate for HDR workflows

The cons checklist is sort of quick, however the few issues that the Dell U4021QW misses are going to be significantly necessary to you all: top-shelf gamut protection, good uniformity, and assist for {hardware} calibration are all necessary options that picture and video editors search for of their shows. The Dell principally checks the primary field, however misses the second and third completely.

That places severe lovers in a good spot, the place they should resolve what they would like. Do you need to prioritize the seamless productiveness expertise of an ultra-wide and content material your self with coloration efficiency that’s adequate, however not wonderful, or would you quite spend slightly extra to buy two ultra-accurate 4K monitors and set them side-by-side? There isn’t a apparent proper reply, simply the proper reply for you.

Are There Options?

As I mentioned on the high, the Dell U4021QW is sort of actually “one among a form.” There are different ultra-wide screens on the market, there are even color-accurate ultra-wide monitors which can be geared toward creatives, however none match Dell’s mixture of dimension, decision, coloration depth, and coloration accuracy. The closest you’ll get is a 34-inch 5K2K ultra-wide with comparable coloration accuracy out of a less expensive 8-bit + FRC panel, just like the MSI Prestige PS341WU.

The query, then, isn’t: “is there a greater ultra-wide for picture enhancing?” There isn’t. The proper query, subsequently, is: “what may I purchase as an alternative?”

For those who’re keen to spend extra, you’ll be able to outperform the Dell by way of each decision and coloration accuracy by selecting up two 27-inch or 32-inch 4K screens. Each the ASUS ProArt PA329C and Dell’s own UP2720Q characteristic 10-bit panels, AdobeRGB protection over 98%, assist for {hardware} calibration and, should you go together with the Dell, you even get a built-in colorimeter.

To save lots of a bit of cash, prioritize coloration over decision and choose up two 27-inch QHD (2K decision) color-accurate screens. BenQ’s SW270C is a well-liked alternative, or you may attempt to choose up a few used NEC MultiSync PA271Q‘s, which can be found for a steal at $750.

Ought to You Purchase It?

As traditional, the reply isn’t a clear-cut “sure” or “no.” There’s nuance to contemplate.

In case you are an fanatic who desires to commerce in a dual-monitor setup for an ultra-wide that can give you sufficient decision and coloration accuracy to make that swap worthwhile, I can wholeheartedly advocate the Dell U4021QW. At 40-inches with a 5K2K 10-bit panel with 95% protection of DCI-P3, it might probably deal with all however essentially the most demanding color-critical workflows. For me, it’s been a productiveness dream, and I’m not wanting ahead to sending it again.

Nonetheless, should you’re knowledgeable whose livelihood fairly actually revolves round coloration accuracy otherwise you’re trying to spend money on a monitor for HDR video enhancing, look elsewhere.

For much less cash, you’ll be able to choose up a 32-inch monitor with a 4K 10-bit panel that can provide higher general gamut protection, higher uniformity, and different key options like {hardware} calibration or perhaps a built-in colorimeter. These will not be an absolute necessity for all customers, however execs trying to spend over $1,500 on a high-end picture and video enhancing monitor can anticipate (and may demand) them.

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