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Dell's UltraSharp U3014 delivers the big picture

James Galbraith | April 18, 2013
A 30-inch desktop giant, the Dell UltraSharp U3014 offers resolution of 2460 by 1600 pixels on a matte IPS screen with environmentally friendly LED backlighting. The U3014 boasts several nice-to-have features and a long list of on-board controls for tuning your image on screen.

All LCDs, including IPS panels, are somewhat susceptible to image retention. When a static image remains on the screen for a long period of time, a ghost image can remain behind. This usually isn't a permanent problem--since LCD technology, unlike old-school CRTs, doesn't rely on phosphors--but it can be distracting. If you detect ghosting on the U3014, you can push a button to launch an LCD Conditioning routine to get rid of the problem. I didn't encounter any image retention during my evaluation, so didn't have an opportunity to test this feature's effectiveness, but you can typically avoid the problem by using a   screensaver or by allowing the display to go to sleep during longer periods of inactivity.

The U3014's matte IPS panel has a very wide viewing angle, which is important for a display of this size as you'll be looking off-axis at the top, bottom, and sides when you're sitting directly in front of it. Glossy screens can render photographic images with richer blacks and shadows, but they're also more susceptible to reflections and glare from lights and windows. In my work area, I experienced much less glare using the U3014 than with the Apple 27-inch Thunderbolt Display that I generally use.

With a 16:10 aspect ratio, the screen is just a little more square than the Apple Display, which has an aspect ratio of 16:9. The Dell is about an inch wider and 3 inches taller, and those extra few inches of real estate are very noticeable. I have four windows open as I write this, and I've found myself spending less time moving them around the screen as I switch between them.

Making the jump from a 27-inch display to a 30-inch display is a substantial investment: Dell's U3014 costs $500 more than either Dell's 27-inch U2713H or Apple's 27-inch Thunderbolt displays. And it's $200 more expensive than Dell's other  30-inch monitor, the UltraSharp U3011 (which has a less-sophisticated panel and supports only the older DisplayPort standard)). But if you need a professional feature set in a very large monitor, The UltraSharp U3014 delivers.


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