Over the past three years, we’ve seen curved ultra-wide monitors evolve from mere curiosities into serious tools for enthusiasts and gamers. In the professional genre, large flat panels still rule, but Dell believes there are uses for a jumbo curved screen that delivers the accurate color and precise image quality graphic artists and photographers require.
Curved displays are available in a variety of sizes, radii, and resolutions. LG Display’s 38” 2300R AH-IPS part provides a great balance of pixel density, clarity, and usable screen area. We enjoyed playing games on the Acer XR382CQK and LG’s 38UC99. Now, users who need premium color accuracy can enjoy watching their projects take form on Dell’s UltraSharp U3818DW.
With a factory-certified calibration, color accuracy is guaranteed. Our tests show good out-of-box results and some nice gains available with a few simple adjustments. If you need more flexibility, Dell provides two-point grayscale controls plus hue and saturation sliders for all six colors. That’s something we don’t see very often. Auto-calibration is not supported, but frankly we didn’t miss the feature. All our test results were exemplary.
The only thing we wish were better is contrast. IPS technology is already at a disadvantage when compared to VA and its variants. Most of the former measure around 1000:1, while the latter technology is capable of 2500:1 and sometimes higher. The U3818DW is a little below average in this metric. Our sample’s initial result was a respectable 937:1 before calibration and most users will be satisfied with that. The Standard mode doesn’t need calibration, and you can just set brightness to taste. But for maximum color accuracy, the contrast slider must be lowered and that took our result down to just 655:1. Since gamma and screen uniformity are nearly perfect, the impact isn’t too great, but we’d prefer to see more dynamic range in a high-end monitor like this.
Other than that, we have no complaints. The U3818DW is built like a tank; even a bit more solidly than Dell’s normally high standard. It has every feature a professional user could need, and it looks ready for work with simple, understated styling and no-nonsense reliability. To that end, the three-year warranty includes Advanced Exchange Service, which provides a replacement screen delivered next-day.
Curved ultra-wide monitors aren’t just for gamers any more. Dell has positioned its U3818DW squarely in the professional realm and we think it has succeeded.
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