Dell UP2718Q Ultra HD HDR Professional Monitor Review

HDR Tests & Hands-on

To measure the UP2718Q’s HDR performance, we employed an HD Fury Integral signal modifier to add HDR10 metadata to the output from our Accupel pattern generator. We used CalMAN 5.7 to generate charts for grayscale tracking, EOTF (gamma), and a DCI-P3 color sweep.

If you recall our review of the S2718D, it runs out of steam at a far lower code value than the UP2718Q and its high-output backlight. This is why a monitor needs 1000nits to properly display HDR. Our sample managed to delineate its levels over 800CV. Even an LG OLED panel can’t quite manage that. In fact, no consumer television we’ve measured is capable of such a broad range. That’s why this monitor costs $1500 and why it’s ideally-suited for post-production work. It has abilities far beyond the norm.

In the first chart, you can see clipping begin at 800CV with red running out at 850 and blue at 900. Our test measures 18 levels, and by our observation, the last three look the same. Manipulation of the contrast control cannot fix this small issue. In most HDR content, it won’t be a problem, but extreme highlights may be clipped in rare cases. The EOTF chart shows near perfect luminance tracking from bottom to top, until the clipping point at 850CV.

The DCI-P3 color sweep is a little off the mark when compared to its SDR counterpart. The errors aren’t too significant, but they are visible. Yellow and cyan display some unusual behavior with increasing hue issues as measurements increase in saturation. Red tracks towards both over and under-saturation depending on level. Blue is a little under across the board, and the magenta hue error we saw in SDR mode is slightly higher here.

Ultra HD Blu-ray Viewing

To check out Ultra HD and HDR content on the UP2718Q, we connected a Philips BDP-7501 player via HDMI and spun a few discs. Our copies of Creed, Star Trek, and The Martian all feature DCI-P3 color and the HDR10 format.

Creed has a difficult-to-render scene where Donny and Rocky have a conversation in a dimly-lit restaurant. There are lots of deep, murky shadows occasionally punctuated by bright bits like a white shirt collar or light-colored photos. A halo effect was slightly visible as these objects moved across the screen. Once the average luminance level rose a bit, the artifact disappeared. In medium to bright material, the monitor looked stunning with razor-sharp clarity, superb contrast, and color that literally dripped with extra saturation.

Moving on to JJ Abrams’ Star Trek, sequences in space looked perfect with no trace of the halo issue. Apparently, small things like stars or tiny highlights aren’t enough to cause it. Shots of the Enterprise bridge showed a brilliant white background with amazing color in characters’ uniforms and on the glossy-finished control panels.

Color went to a new level when we watched The Martian. The landscapes of the red planet were a shade of orange that is just not possible on a standard display with Rec.709 color and SDR. Coupled with a super clean and detailed transfer, it’s hard to imagine this film looking better.

The main takeaway here is not just the extra contrast afforded by HDR but the extended color made possible with the UP2718Q’s DCI-P3 gamut. This is a more significant reason to buy into the technology.

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