Four times the resolution of a Full HD display (but not four times the price)
We’re starting to see 4K displays appear with increasing frequency, and that’s a good thing. It’s good partly because they make so much sense on a Mac – for years Macs have been ‘HiDPI-aware’, so the operating system and thirdparty developers have had time to iron out at least most of the teething troubles – and partly because unlike most new technologies, they’re not starting off expensive.
Take this one, for example; it’s £450. That’s the sort of money you’d have been looking at for a Full HD display only a few years ago, and yet here we are now talking about a 28-inch panel that has more than eight million pixels.
It looks smart too, with a simple stand that gives the display a pleasing, floating aspect; the stand is plastic masquerading as metal, mind you, and the good ol’ piano black bezel isn’t quite as pretty in real life as pictures might suggest. Worse, though, the stand isn’t adjustable save for a small amount of tilt variance. You can’t adjust the height nor the rotation – either of the whole unit or of the orientation of the screen. The good news is that it’s fixed at a reasonable height ergonomically, but that’s little compensation. What’s more, while the stand is perfectly stable when you leave the display alone, the slightest knock and the whole panel wobbles frustratingly.
You might also be frustrated by the lack of extra features on offer here. Two HDMI and one DisplayPort inputs should be enough for most (and there’s little point in having DVI far less VGA inputs on a 4K display – they can’t support the resolution), but it would have been nice to see Mini DisplayPort even if Thunderbolt would have been prohibitively expensive. The DisplayPort port supports version 1.2 of the spec, so will happily do 60Hz at full 4K (confirmed in our testing), though the HDMI 1.4 ports are limited to 30Hz; not unusable, but this could be a possible irritation.
More seriously, though, we’ve come to expect USB hubs in displays
It does, however, have a terrific menu system, something not to be sniffed at, and the image quality is broadly good. The display tech used, TN, means fast response times (which gamers tend to care about,
TN means fast response times (something gamers tend to care about), but it also means poorer viewing angles
these days – a boon when Apple resolutely sticks to comparatively few USB ports especially in its laptops – and it’s not uncommon to find a plethora of USB 3.0 and even highpowered iPad-charging-capable ports. The U28D590D has none. but it’s a differentiating factor that for most of us has been obviated by advances in panel tech), but it also means poorer viewing angles than the IPS panels Apple uses. Colours are broadly good – if a little insipid once properly calibrated – but the limited viewing angles, especially vertically, mean colours shift slightly towards the bottom of the display even if you’re right in front of it. This isn’t a huge concern unless you’re doing creative, colour-critical work.
This is a perfectly good display, but we prefer the Iiyama B2888UHSU (see group test in MF278) at this price point; it’s not as pretty, but it has a USB hub and performance is comparable. If you can stretch, Dell’s line of IPS 4K displays are much better all round. Christopher Phin
A decent, goodlooking display, but there are better buys at this price point, and better displays above it.
The U28D590D looks good, and it’s cheap, but its performance and flexibility is a little lacklustre.
This little joystick on the back is how you navigate the on-screen menu system.