Dell U3818DW Curved Monitor Review

Grayscale, Gamma & Color

Grayscale Tracking

The U3818DW can be used in its Standard color mode without adjustment. It meets the calibration numbers printed on the included data sheet and is accurate enough for most critical tasks. To maximize performance, choose the Custom Color mode and tweak the grayscale as we did.

Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.

Grayscale errors in Standard run ever-so-slightly green at the 80-100% levels. If we hadn’t told you about it, you’d likely not see it. The U3818DW easily qualifies for our “doesn’t need calibration” list.

If you wish to tweak the Custom Color mode, you’re committed to adjusting the RGB gains, because green errors are more visible. The average Delta E jumps to 3.41; not too high, but enough to be seen. The sliders are extremely precise, and after lowering the contrast control, we got all errors under 2dE. This is excellent performance and we think it’s worth making the changes despite a loss of dynamic range.

Comparisons

2.34dE for the Standard mode puts the U3818DW in step with the other displays here except for BenQ, which has amazing out-of-box accuracy. That’s why the PD3200U has become our reference monitor. None of the panels here need calibration, but given their intended use, it wouldn’t make sense to ignore that last tiny bit of performance.

Calibration brings the U3818DW to the professional level with a .75dE average grayscale error. It doesn’t get much better, and at this point the difference between all the monitors is negligible except for the BM320, which is unchanged from its default state.

Gamma Response

The U3818DW’s gamma is nearly spot-on regardless of mode or adjustment. In Standard, there’s only a small aberration at 10%, which is a little too bright. This helps bring out shadow detail, but it also reduces perceived contrast. Switching to Custom smooths out the trace and after tweaking the RGB sliders only shows a slight dip at 90%. Overall contrast is lower than average, but solid gamma like this helps improve color and overall image quality.

Comparisons

Aside from the AOC monitor, gamma performance is pretty much the same from all screens in the group. LG posts the best numbers with an extremely small range of values and a tiny 1.36% deviation from 2.2. The U3818DW is only slightly behind with a .23 value range and 1.81% deviation, which represents an average of 2.16.

Color Gamut & Luminance

The U3818DW has hue and saturation controls for all six colors, but we didn’t need to touch them thanks to excellent out-of-box accuracy and a native gamut that nails the sRGB standard.

For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, please click here.

On the above CIE charts, any measurement point that at least touches the target square is within 3dE of perfect. As you can see, the Standard mode has no visible errors whatsoever. Luminance levels are nearly all neutral as well.

Custom Color introduces a slight hue error in magenta, but again, it’s not at the visible level. Calibration easily brings that secondary back in line for a final result that’s as good as any professional display we’ve tested. Not only is the native gamut where it should be, accurate gamma means correct saturation and neutral luminance levels throughout the color triangle.

Comparisons

The U3818DW is slightly ahead of its 38” cousins in the color accuracy department thanks to the LG and Acer screens’ over-saturated gamuts. The difference is only visible to our i1 Pro meter, but when deciding between displays at this price point, every detail counts. You can see the bonus color in the volume chart where Dell comes closer to a true 100% sRGB gamut than the top three monitors. With a little bonus red in the mix, we suggest a custom profile when committing any of these products to color-critical work.

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25 comments
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  • Realist9
    I guess I give up on waiting for a 4k, 32" or greater G-sync monitor at >60hz.

    Even though the 1080 has been out 1.5 yrs and can handle it, the market must just be too small for manufacturers to make them. Bummer.
  • photonboy
    REALIST9,
    4K, 144Hz, GSYNC is coming in 2018...
    https://wccftech.com/g-sync-hdr-monitors-available-q2-2017/

    Break open your piggy bank though...
  • Lucky_SLS
    How does a curved screen benefit professional work? I thought it was just for the immersion. And this is 2300R instead of 1800R.
  • Tanquen
    37.5” = Yea!

    IPS = Yea!

    10-bit color = Yea!

    3840x1600-pixel resolution – Yea!

    USB 3.1 Type C = Yea!

    HDMI 2.0 = Still no 2.1?

    21:9 = Lame!

    Curved = Why?! Why do folks want their screen squished in the middle and the ISO graphics distorted?

    No FreeSync = God Dam it!
  • Tanquen
    2381310 said:
    How does a curved screen benefit professional work? I thought it was just for the immersion. And this is 2300R instead of 1800R.


    It doesn’t. It’s a gimmick that they think will help sell displays. This has mostly come and gone from the TV space but the computer monitors always seem to be a year or more behind.
  • lar33mo
    This looks like a really nice monitor. In July 2017, I purchased a Dell UltraSharp 32" Ultra HD 4K Monitor with PremierColor - UP3216Q. I paid $1,399.99 for the monitor,
    ( reduced in price by $400.00 ), $25.00 shipping, and $90.49 in taxes, ( which I doubt that my home state of Connecticut will see a penny of.. ;-) ). I ordered the monitor from Dell online, on a Sunday, and it was delivered via FedEx the following Tuesday!! :-) I purchased the 32" after my Dell 30" monitor died after a number of years. Regarding this 38" monitor, I believe my 32" Dell Monitor was intended for the same market. The very solid construction appears to be present in both models. While I usually have two 30" monitors on my desk, ( the new 32" monitor fits fine with my HP ZR30w 30" monitor). I do wish however, that this 38" monitor was available when I bought the Dell UltraSharp 32". I would have had a more modern monitor for about $350.00 less, tax included. :-| Maybe next time. ;-)
  • Kungpaoshizzi
    Enough with this 27" monitor crap :|
    35"+ please!
  • Nintendork
    More like enough with the idiotic curve, IPS is sh*t with that pathetic contrast.

    All monitors should be VA 1080/1440/1600 16:10/4k 3000-5000:1
  • gio2vanni86
    I have a curved TV and monitor. I honestly love it. Don't see why theres hate on curved. It give the tv and monitor a feel that cant be described, but it honestly is a nice touch. I don't buy flat anymore, it doesnt please my appetite anymore. To me i feel like i went back to the stone-age when i look at a flat screen. This is just my opinion. Still waiting on those 144-240hz 4k HDR curved g-sync displays :)
  • metathias
    I've ended up deciding i actually like my 1800r curved monitor. At 38'' you can't even notice it at about 20 inch's from the screen.
  • JWoody
    Im fine with 60Hz, but the vurved just dosent do it for me, not that theres anything wrong with it, its just that i will continue to have dual displays no matter how large my main gets to be and it dosent seem to fit that kind of usage, otherwise love the monitore and i prefer IPS panels way better than T&N (Yuk, to old school, crap viewing angles, even worse contrast), contrast may be lower than MVA/PVA but the color accuracy tends to be higher at the cost of contrast i do like that the MVA/PVA has super high contrast but id rather have IPSes tradeoff in higher color accuracy and viewing angles, important for dual monitor usage. if this display had a flat-screen version id be more than happy to own it. Do they?
  • JonDol
    194916 said:
    37.5” = Yea! IPS = Yea! --> NOO, VA please ! 10-bit color = Yea! 3840x1600-pixel resolution – Yea! --> NOO, at least 4K please ! USB 3.1 Type C = Yea! HDMI 2.0 = Still no 2.1? 21:9 = Lame! --> AGREE ! Curved = Why?! Why do folks want their screen squished in the middle and the ISO graphics distorted? No FreeSync = God Dam it!


    DP 1.2 --> NOO, DP 1.4 please !

    AdaptativeSync: the one that works with the fastest GC so G-Sync atm, please !
  • shrapnel_indie
    67821 said:
    REALIST9, 4K, 144Hz, GSYNC is coming in 2018... https://wccftech.com/g-sync-hdr-monitors-available-q2-2017/ Break open your piggy bank though...


    Are you sure that is the article you wish to use to back up your claim? It's from Jan 2017 AND claims Q2 of 2017. Q2 of 2017 has came and gone. We're in the middle of Q4 of 2017... and the two models listed there don't show up anywhere.
  • Tanquen
    2131435 said:
    194916 said:
    37.5” = Yea! IPS = Yea! --> NOO, VA please ! 10-bit color = Yea! 3840x1600-pixel resolution – Yea! --> NOO, at least 4K please ! USB 3.1 Type C = Yea! HDMI 2.0 = Still no 2.1? 21:9 = Lame! --> AGREE ! Curved = Why?! Why do folks want their screen squished in the middle and the ISO graphics distorted? No FreeSync = God Dam it!
    DP 1.2 --> NOO, DP 1.4 please ! AdaptativeSync: the one that works with the fastest GC so G-Sync atm, please !


    But G-$ync is almost scam like. Freesync is good enough and NVidia could enable it on their cards but they are big jerks.
  • gaborbarla
    Curved screen are pretty much necessary over 27". The pixels need to face more towards you than they do on a flat screen for uniformity. So for those that wonder if curved is a good idea, I think it is actually necessary. Overall the curve will try to point every pixel more or less 90 degrees towards your eyes, on a flat 38" screen the edges of the screens will be like 30-45 degrees from your eyes creating a really uncomfortable experience. This actually should increase colour uniformity from the viewers standpoint compared to a flat screen.
  • JonDol
    194916 said:
    2131435 said:
    194916 said:
    37.5” = Yea! IPS = Yea! --> NOO, VA please ! 10-bit color = Yea! 3840x1600-pixel resolution – Yea! --> NOO, at least 4K please ! USB 3.1 Type C = Yea! HDMI 2.0 = Still no 2.1? 21:9 = Lame! --> AGREE ! Curved = Why?! Why do folks want their screen squished in the middle and the ISO graphics distorted? No FreeSync = God Dam it!
    DP 1.2 --> NOO, DP 1.4 please ! AdaptativeSync: the one that works with the fastest GC so G-Sync atm, please !
    But G-$ync is almost scam like. Freesync is good enough and NVidia could enable it on their cards but they are big jerks.


    I'm aware that FS could also be enabled on Nvidia if it decides so but it has no reason to do it atm since it not only holds the crown for the fastest GC but also for the more efficient ones and all the world excepting the US is more interested in the performance/watt than the brute performance (I just gave you an insight of the hit both AMD and Intel will take when the ARM multicore platforms will spread). And if FS is good enough for you it isn't good enough for me for the two reasons mentioned earlier.
  • ddferrari
    http://
    1675488 said:
    I guess I give up on waiting for a 4k, 32" or greater G-sync monitor at >60hz. Even though the 1080 has been out 1.5 yrs and can handle it, the market must just be too small for manufacturers to make them. Bummer.

    The GTX 1080 isn't considered adequate for 4K. Even the 1080 Ti isn't a slam dunk according to most gamers (although it's not far off). The 1080 averages less than 40 fps in games like Witcher 3, GTA V and FC Primal. It completely fails at Crysis 3 in 4K. Sure- you could drop all your settings to medium or low, but then why bother with 4K?

    https://images.nvidia.com/geforce-com/international/images/nvidia-geforce-gtx-1080/nvidia-geforce-gtx-1080-3840x2160-performance.png
  • ddferrari
    1800653 said:
    Im fine with 60Hz, but the vurved just dosent do it for me, not that theres anything wrong with it, its just that i will continue to have dual displays no matter how large my main gets to be and it dosent seem to fit that kind of usage, otherwise love the monitore and i prefer IPS panels way better than T&N (Yuk, to old school, crap viewing angles, even worse contrast), contrast may be lower than MVA/PVA but the color accuracy tends to be higher at the cost of contrast i do like that the MVA/PVA has super high contrast but id rather have IPSes tradeoff in higher color accuracy and viewing angles, important for dual monitor usage. if this display had a flat-screen version id be more than happy to own it. Do they?

    Why would you prefer having bezels splitting your picture in half instead one seamless picture? That just breaks the immersion completely for me when gaming. Plus, don't most people using dual monitors have them "towed-in" at a slight angle anyway- mimicking a curve? Just curious.
  • Tanquen
    2131435 said:
    194916 said:
    2131435 said:
    194916 said:
    37.5” = Yea! IPS = Yea! --> NOO, VA please ! 10-bit color = Yea! 3840x1600-pixel resolution – Yea! --> NOO, at least 4K please ! USB 3.1 Type C = Yea! HDMI 2.0 = Still no 2.1? 21:9 = Lame! --> AGREE ! Curved = Why?! Why do folks want their screen squished in the middle and the ISO graphics distorted? No FreeSync = God Dam it!
    DP 1.2 --> NOO, DP 1.4 please ! AdaptativeSync: the one that works with the fastest GC so G-Sync atm, please !
    But G-$ync is almost scam like. Freesync is good enough and NVidia could enable it on their cards but they are big jerks.
    I'm aware that FS could also be enabled on Nvidia if it decides so but it has no reason to do it atm since it not only holds the crown for the fastest GC but also for the more efficient ones and all the world excepting the US is more interested in the performance/watt than the brute performance (I just gave you an insight of the hit both AMD and Intel will take when the ARM multicore platforms will spread). And if FS is good enough for you it isn't good enough for me for the two reasons mentioned earlier.


    It is good enough for everyone. It's been tested and most can't tell and they both do the same thing. That is why NVidia has not enabled it, which would cost them nothing to enable on their cards. How else are they going to force monitor makers to add G$ync and not Freesync? How else are they going to force people to use Gsync and not Freesync?
    It would not exist if NVidia did not have a (at the moment) much larger market share.

    If NVidia did not force people to use it no one would. There are already more Freesync displays and it’s not looking any better for G$ync with gaming consoles and TVs supporting Freesync next year.

    You are paying for Display Port and HDMI ports on your cards and NVidia is disabling a feature of protocols on those ports to try and force you to buy their much more expensive hardware and displays for a very small difference (if any) in performance. Why support that? Why buy the more expensive Nvidia card when my AMD card is fast enough, supports Freesync, can use Freesync with a cheaper display and I’ll be able to use it with my new OLED TV next year?
  • Tanquen
    215623 said:
    Curved screen are pretty much necessary over 27". The pixels need to face more towards you than they do on a flat screen for uniformity. So for those that wonder if curved is a good idea, I think it is actually necessary. Overall the curve will try to point every pixel more or less 90 degrees towards your eyes, on a flat 38" screen the edges of the screens will be like 30-45 degrees from your eyes creating a really uncomfortable experience. This actually should increase colour uniformity from the viewers standpoint compared to a flat screen.


    That depends greatly on the quality of the screen and LCDs are not going to get worse at off angle color and brightness. Even when they do have these issues it’s not the guy setting directly in front of the screen less than a few feet away that will normally see it. Even then it will be so slight. Any curved screen is only going to bring the pixels at the sides ever so slightly closer.

    For millions of years the brain has developed to deal with an isometric view of the world. That is what just about everything you watch on a display is developed or filmed in. When I look at a picture or a display it’s perfectly square, it’s not tall in the middle and short on the sides. There is nothing to correct. If you curve the display you are just squishing it a little in the middle and adding distortion to the sides of the original image as it was filmed or rendered in games.

    Curved TVs and Monitors only exist because the manufactures can curve the screen and they hoped they could sell it at a premium or get folks to buy a new TV when they did not need one. It’s already mostly gone from the TV space and will be from monitors as well. They do cost a little more to make and ship and no one really wants them after seeing the extra distortion and glare in curved screens.

    If you were viewing a film shot in 360° video then maybe it would be cool to have an IMAX like wraparound screen that is somehow perfectly 2ft or whatever from your head all the way around. Even then, it would be more accurate to have a hexagon of flat screens around you that matched the number of cameras used.

    Shouldn’t they be curved vertically also???
  • toddybody
    "REALIST9,
    4K, 144Hz, GSYNC is coming in 2018...
    https://wccftech.com/g-sync-hdr-monitors-available-q2-2017/

    Break open your piggy bank though..."

    They're indeed coming...but I think they mentioned larger screen size as a requirement.

    I'm currently on a 27" 1440p G-Sync, from a 28" 2160p G-Sync Display prior...and I really dont miss the resolution loss at that size.

    30"+, HDR Certified, 100Hz+, 2160p (16:9), G-Sync.... is what I'm most excited for.
  • Solandri
    194916 said:
    2381310 said:
    How does a curved screen benefit professional work? I thought it was just for the immersion. And this is 2300R instead of 1800R.
    It doesn’t. It’s a gimmick that they think will help sell displays. This has mostly come and gone from the TV space but the computer monitors always seem to be a year or more behind.

    The curve is an engineering feature that marketing is trying to spin as a visual feature. Take a sheet of paper and try to stand it on its end while holding it perfectly straight near the bottom corners. It'll flop over. Now curve the paper slightly. it'll stand up straight.

    A curved monitor can be designed to be thinner and weigh less, while still being structurally rigid (at least in the direction counteracting gravity).
  • AndyWiryaPeaceful
    Nick Fury won't have to turn his head anymore
  • AndyWiryaPeaceful
    and idiots at Apple are still confused why their Mini Displayport 27" Display & Thunderbolt Display had poor sales number before they were finally discontinued.