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Old January 16, 2015, 01:28 PM
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Default Dell U3415w Review

This is Dell's 2nd take on the 21:9 format of monitors, this time with a 34" curved edition. It was only released about a week ago in North America, though parts of Asia had it earlier last year.

It's one of the first 34" curved ultrawide monitors that offers a height adjustable stand, one of the key things that stopped me from buying LG's equivalent. At it's lowest position, the bottom bezel is only 1.5" from the desk surface. At it's tallest position, it's nearly 6" from the desk. I suspect this will suit the vast majority of people, but there's always the VESA mount option available as well without any extra accessories (again, unlike LG).

Unboxing:
Everything was well packaged and neatly organized. No signs of shipping damage as the cardboard used is pretty thick. For reference, the box weighs in around 40lbs and measures 39"x20"x12". Included cables include a USB3 upstream, miniDP to DP, HDMI, and power.



Initial Impressions:
It's definitely a massive monitor and I think it's going to take some time to get used to it. I was trying to envision the size before getting it, but it definitely feels bigger than I thought. I knew it would fill the space between my 2 speakers, just didn't fully comprehend how that would look until I had it ;)

The curve is very slight, and I seem to only really notice it when I'm looking more downwards onto the monitor. When sitting straight-on, I don't notice it.

Gaming feels quite different too, definitely more immersive, and of course, more taxing on my aging GTX690. I was already feeling slowness at 2560x1440, and that's only gotten worse.

Last 2 pictures are from Iron Man 3, which fills the screen nicely. Definitely gives you that cinematic feel.




Calibration:
I turned down the brightness from the default 75 to 50 and changed the colour mode to temperature based and set it to 6500k. Connection via DisplayPort.

The out-of-box calibration report:



I know capturing backlight bleed in photos is effectively impossible, but I've tried to get this as close to what I saw with my eyes. That being said, I don't even notice it on anything but a solid black screen.



The way my desk is positioned and the lights and such behind me, I typically have glare on the upper left corner of my monitor, which I've become used to, so that also likely helps me perceive less of the backlight bleed. I blocked out the glare source the best I could for the above photo though.

I've also noticed one defect, looks almost like a hair or something inside the coating. It's in the bottom right of the screen, not typically noticeable unless on a white/light background. Not sure if it's worth returning over...



Other than that, no apparent dead/stuck pixels.

Since I have a Spyder4Pro, I ran that using it's default program to further calibrate the display. It seems to have made it a bit "cooler".



As you can see, it's obviously not as accurate as my U2711 was, which I expected. The Adobe RGB performance is definitely not this monitor's strong suit.

Games:
Battlefield 4 - works perfectly
CS:GO - some HUD/UI elements cut off, but no major impact
COD:AW - while it has the resolution choice, it appears to be stretched 16:9
Evolve [Beta] - HUD/menu unusable, developers seem reluctant to fix 21:9. Would not recommend pre-ordering.
Far Cry 4 - works perfectly
Titanfall - works perfectly

Conclusion:
...to be determined, need a few days to play with it

Last edited by JD; January 17, 2015 at 03:26 PM.
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Old January 16, 2015, 02:45 PM
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Thanks for the write-up. Be sure to let us know how it treats you after a few days.
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Old January 17, 2015, 08:29 AM
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34" 21*9 with Gsync and 3D will be my next display.

I picked up a 29" ultrawide from MemEx and paired it with a Arctic Cooling monitor arm. Easily the best upgrade made to my desktop in a long, long time.

Flawless Widescreen is a must if you play games that can't/won't support ultrawide resolutions.
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Old January 17, 2015, 08:56 AM
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I noticed today that GeForce Experience said it downloaded new settings, I took a look, and most of it's suggested settings are dropping the resolution down to 2560x1080. An interesting idea, as it might still look OK in games. I know on the desktop, text and such becomes blurry.

Likewise, 2560x1440 is still an option too for gaming, that scales perfectly and just leaves black borders on the edges. Size wize, it's effectively the same as my 27".

I played Evolve Beta last night, and while it supported 3440x1440, the HUD and UI elements were totally out of place. I couldn't select anything. Hopefully it's just a beta-bug and will be fixed in the final release.

I'm used to "widescreen" issues though, I ran into them way back when I got my first 22" 16:10 monitor. In time, everything works out!
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Old January 17, 2015, 10:02 PM
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Thanks for the quick review JD. I'll keep checking back for your final verdict.

I've run into a few hiccups on games that officially 'support' 21:9. Inquisition is fine on all except your tactics screen with is strangely not scaled and you miss a good portion of the necessary boxes. So far I haven't run into too many problems though.

Seems like backlight bleed is a problem in most (maybe all) the curved monitors. But as long as it's not an issue that's good to hear. I feel your GPU pain though. Since going to the 34" 21:9 my recently single 780 is feeling a whole lot chuggier now with all the extra real estate.
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Old January 18, 2015, 06:56 AM
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Interesting. Thanks. Anyway you can compare it to these new 4k monitors or tv's?
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Old January 18, 2015, 08:50 AM
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Honestly when I got my 29UM65-P, I wasn't expecting to run my Geforce 670 on Ultra settings anymore, but holy crap is there a difference in texture and model quality when you downgrade the quality (I've been using a 23 inch for over 10 years so the differences are hard to notice.) I'm running BF4 on High and Medium settings and wow is it ugly. Then again I want to upgrade my PC this year.

All of my games have scaling issues. Sometimes the vertical is way to high so the texts at the bottom disappear. During menu interaction is goes back to 1920x1080 so now I have a letterbox but the menu didn't adapt to it so it's still running 2560x1080 so now my menus are almost gone lol.
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Old January 19, 2015, 02:36 PM
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I don't know if it's just my card, or applies to all NVIDIA cards, but forcing vertical sync to "Adaptive" and power management to "Maximum Performance" in the Custom 3D settings part of the NVIDIA Control Panel seems to help the majority of my perceived slowness. It surely feels smoother now. I suspect the main issue is the 2GB of VRAM, it's simply not enough for such a resolution.

I added a "Games" section to the first post, I went through everything I was playing at the moment yesterday just to see what support was like.

BF4 was probably the most "wow" factor, especially since it has FOV settings. I think I settled on 65, as it looked the most natural without giving major fish-eye effects.
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Old February 4, 2015, 05:11 PM
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I'm interested in how the photo editing would look like on this monitor. Lens correction is usually the first thing I do when opening a photo in Photoshop and with curved display how do I know if the subjects are straight unless the brain is compensating for the curvature which is already compensating for eye sight and then the Photoshop is compensating for the camera lens distortion.
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Old February 4, 2015, 08:31 PM
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Yeah, that's definitely a bit of a challenge. When I took the pictures above and imported them into Lightroom, the monitor appeared flat. Once I applied the lens corrections though, I was able to make the monitor appear curved as it should be.

Do the pictures of the monitor looked curved to you? If so, then it's fine ;)

That being said though, the colours obviously aren't as accurate as my former U2711 since it doesn't hit 100% sRGB or Adobe RGB. For serious photographers/artists, I don't think the U3415w would be sufficient.
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