3D World

Dell Ultrasharp 40 Curved WUHD Monitor U4021QW



Dell’s consistent ability to push the barriers of screen technology is pretty clear as soon as you set up the U4021QW. This £2,000-ish monitor is at the upper end of pricing, five times that of the AOC CU34P2A, but it outclasses every ultra-wide on the market in almost every respect.

The most critical example is the vertical resolution. The native 1,440 pixels that is standard on ultra-wide displays is not enough to display a 4K image. Dell has pushed through this limit, offering 2,160 vertical pixels, a huge benefit to all visual artists, for a full native resolution of 5,120 x 2,160 (5K2K).

Here you’re getting a middle-of-the-road screen size. 40 inches is definitely wider than you’re used to, but sitting in a goldilocks zone of desktop footprint, display real estate, and underlying technology.

Besides this, the U4021QW not only has all the bells and whistles typical on most highend displays, such as a KVM and fast charging over 90W Thunderbol­t, but it also fixes all kinds of niggling issues that are common in a lot of screens.

For example, it’s refreshing that the speakers sound so much better than anything we’ve previously heard from a desktop display, besides Apple’s imac all-in-one. The interface is easy to navigate and cleverly thought out with a high-quality joystick for navigation. No stone is left unturned, so even settings like PIP (Picture-in-picture) have more options than usual and are tailored to the wide 40-inch panel you’ve paid for. And when using the KVM (perhaps with a laptop connected over Thunderbol­t) you get a useful RJ45 networking port plus keyboard and mouse over USB.

There’s a small omission though. HDMI 2.0 does not have the bandwidth for a 5K2K native resolution image at 60Hz – so you’re stuck with 30Hz only. Either the Thunderbol­t or Displaypor­t inputs work perfectly fine, but HDMI 2.1 would have solved this. There’s also no VRR support for gaming.

What you’re not getting for this outlay is the same eye-popping colour that matches certain high-end 16:9 4K screens. The U4021QW absolutely ticks the colour accuracy box – we measured 94% DCI-P3 coverage, 100% Adobergb and 100% SRGB, with limited deviation across the panel. But brightness hovers around a middling 300 nits, and while contrast is fine it’s not outstandin­g. It is an IPS panel though, with better viewing angles, and this goes some way to explain the higher pricing.

So while the U4021QW is a great display for most usage scenarios, it costs a lot and since a standard 16:9 colour-accurate screen carries roughly the same sum, there’s a trade-off between paying for either extra pixels or the best possible image quality, but sadly not both.

 ??  ?? A very high-quality display, but the lack of 60Hz at native resolution over HDMI is a limitation
A very high-quality display, but the lack of 60Hz at native resolution over HDMI is a limitation
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