Dell UltraSharp U3014 30” Monitor Review

Author: AkG
Date: September 13, 2013
Product Name: UltraSharp U3014
Part Number: U3014
Warranty: 3 Years
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A Closer Look at the U3014

The U3014 may at first look like a massive monitor but its actual footprint is only a touch over 2 inches wider than a U2713H’s. This is due to its 16:10 ratio so most of the size increase is vertical in nature rather than horizontal. From a logic standpoint, if you have room on your desk for a 27”, model finding room for a U3014 will not be as daunting as it may first appear.

The U3014 really does look like a fully grown version of the U2713H or basically any of the new refreshed UltraSharp models. Like its smaller brethren, the it uses a black and silver color scheme with the same thin bezel, same touch interface buttons in the lower right hand corner, similar base and even similar waifish – for its class – dimensions. While a lot heavier than is smaller sibling, the U3014 is also noticeably lighter than past 30” models so carting it from one place to another isn’t all that hard.

Most of this reduction comes from the move to GB-LED backlighting instead of CCFL but unlike others, Dell hasn’t cut down on quality of the internal electronics to reduce the U3014’s weight. This is their top of the line ‘halo’ model and it does represent the best of Dell’s PremierColor line. As such, it uses a 10-bit AH-IPS panel which not only boasts over 1 billion colors but –also like the U2713H - has an amazing DeltaE of less than 2.

To put DeltaE into layman’s terms, if a program calls for a specific color to be displayed but the monitor is unable to display it, the average monitor would be within 5 shades of the desired color. This is the industry standard and actually reflects the older U3011’s rating. On the other hand, the new U3014 will be within 2 shades and in all likelihood will be only a single color shade off. For the average consumer this will mean very little – besides getting accurate colors but a minimal DeltaE could be a game changer if your job depends on color accuracy.

Even with enviable color reproduction, GB-LED backlighting and a 6ms grey to grey response time, this is still a very expensive monitor. As with the U2713H, Dell does try and soften the blow by adding in true hardware calibration capabilities. Instead of just software options consumers can actually modify the monitor’s internal 14 bit Look Up Table. This results in a higher level of color accuracy which software calibration simply cannot match. Hardware color calibration is one of the main reasons many professionals have traditionally opted for ultra-expensive NEC and similar manufactures over lower cost options like the UltraSharp line.

Further helping to make the cost of upgrading from a U2711 or U3011 to a U3014 appealing, Dell also includes their new and improved anti-glare coating. This is the same as found on the U2713H and will ensure those accurate colors are a lot easier to see regardless of environmental lighting conditions.

Much like the older U2711, the outgoing U3011 was a well-equipped monitor from an input perspective. It boasted two dual-link DVI outputs, two HDMI 1.3a ports, a DisplayPort, VGA, and component ports. In this regard the new U3014 is no slouch either, but it represents more of a “side-grade rather than upgrade.”

Dell has opted for one dual-link DVI, one HDMI, one DisplayPort and one Mini-DisplayPort on the input side. With every one of the main HD bases covered, we doubt all but a minority of consumers will miss the analog ports, especially considering the D-Sub could not support the native 2560x1600 resolution. The mini DisplayPort is of particular interest since it will effectively eliminate the need for secondary adapters when using many current video cards.

Another interesting addition is the dedicated DisplayPort out connection. This connector allows consumers to daisy chain several U3014’s together. This may not be beneficial to most consumers but it could keep cable clutter to a minimum when using the optional dual monitor stand and would make for one amazing, envy-inducing setup.

On the positive side, the U3014 does boast a substantial upgrade to the USB ports' abilities. Instead of rear and bezel mounted USB 2.0 connectors with a multi-card reader, customers will be greeted to a multi-card reader and a pair of USB 3.0 enabled ports in a more accessible area and another pair of USB 3.0 ports on the input panel.

The U3014 does rely capacitive touch ‘buttons’ instead of physical buttons found on some lesser UltraSharp models. While sufficient and more than adequate, the buttons are much less user-friendly than their standard counterparts. They do however make for a cleaner look.

While a lot has been carried over from the other re-freshened UltraSharp models the U3014 is conspicuously missing a stand with portrait mode capabilities. This certainly isn’t a deal breaker for most users but it is an odd oversight considering the base has been upgraded from the U3011’s and looks very similar to the U2713H’s – albeit larger. On the positive side the base is perfectly stable and offers the U3014 offers 90mm of height adjustment, 25° of tilt (+4° to – 21°) and excellent swivel capabilities.

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