Dell UP3218K Ul­traSharp dis­play

£4,114.56 | $3,899.99 www.dell.com An 8K mon­i­tor for when 4K just isn’t enough

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The Dell UP3218K Ul­traSharp is an im­pres­sive mon­i­tor that, al­though its aimed at creative pros, feels like a sneak peek at an ul­tra high res­o­lu­tion fu­ture that lies in store for all of us.

Its big­gest sell­ing point by far is its 8K res­o­lu­tion, which equates to 7,680x4,320 pix­els – a huge leap when com­pared to 4K (3,840x2,160) mon­i­tors, let alone the 1080p (1,920x1,080) or 1440p (2,560x1,440) screens that most of us use to­day.

So is an up­grade to 8K de­sir­able? If you’re a pro pho­tog­ra­pher, video edi­tor or graph­ics artist then the an­swer is most likely yes. The rest of us? Not so much – for the sim­ple rea­son that most games and apps sim­ply aren’t de­signed for such high res­o­lu­tions, and there’s lit­tle in the way of 8K con­tent, such as movies or TV shows, avail­able yet.

Price and avail­abil­ity

As with other screens in Dell’s Ul­traSharp range, the Ul­traSharp UP3218K is aimed at pro­fes­sion­als, with PremierColor tech­nol­ogy that meets many in­dus­try stan­dards. Cou­pled with the huge res­o­lu­tion and large screen size, you wouldn’t ex­pect­ing this to be a cheap mon­i­tor. So, what’s the dam­age?

The UP3218K is avail­able for £4,114.56 from Dell’s UK on­line store, and $3,899.99 from its US equiv­a­lent – a more rea­son­able price con­sid­er­ing the ex­change rate, al­though still very ex­pen­sive.

This isn’t a mon­i­tor you’re go­ing to buy on a whim, then.

De­sign

Even switched off the Dell Ul­traSharp UP3218K is a good­look­ing mon­i­tor, with tool-free assem­bly that makes it quick and easy to se­curely at­tach the screen to its base. The base and neck of the mon­i­tor are made of durable­feel­ing brushed alu­minium. The screen is large at 32 inches, but com­pared to many of the ul­tra- wide mon­i­tors we’ve looked at re­cently, it doesn’t take up quite as much desk space as we’d feared.

With the screen at­tached to the base it can be ad­justed 120mm ver­ti­cally, and swiv­elled 60 de­grees. The screen can also be ro­tated 90 de­grees to switch be­tween land­scape and por­trait ori­en­ta­tion – very use­ful for im­age-edit­ing.

Slim bezels around the sides of the screen help to keep the over­all size of the mon­i­tor down. There’s a small Dell logo in the cen­tre of the bot­tom bezel, with but­tons for nav­i­gat­ing the on­screen menu lo­cated on the un­der­side at the bot­tom-right. Also along the un­der­side of the screen, to­wards the back, are the power con­nec­tor, two Dis­playPorts, an au­dio line-out socket, a USB up­stream port and two USB down­stream ports for us­ing the mon­i­tor as a USB hub.

If you think that’s a slim se­lec­tion of ports, with none of the HDMI, DVI or VGA ports usu­ally found on

mon­i­tors, it’s be­cause none of those will be able to han­dle 8K res­o­lu­tion at 60Hz. In fact, the two Dis­playPorts both need to be plugged into the same graph­ics card for the mon­i­tor to dis­play at full res­o­lu­tion – and you’ll need a beefy GPU to boot.

Per­for­mance

Straight out of the box the UP3218K im­presses, with Dell PremierColor colour cov­er­age (100 per­cent AdobeRGB, 100 per­cent sRGB, 100 per­cent Rec. 709, 98 per­cent DCI-P3) show­ing what the mon­i­tor’s colour depth of 1.07 bil­lion colours can achieve.

The mon­i­tor is also fac­tory cal­i­brated, so it looks great with­out any tin­ker­ing. Win­dows 10 also does a good job of iden­ti­fy­ing the 7,680x4,320 pixel res­o­lu­tion, and sets the scale and lay­out to 300 per­cent, which is a good de­fault choice, al­though 225 per­cent also works fairly well.

While Win­dows 10 works well in 8K, many apps haven’t been de­signed to work at such res­o­lu­tions and may dis­play but­tons or text that are either too large or too small, even though most of them will still work – it just goes to show how far ahead of its time the Dell Ul­traSharp UP3218K is.

When it comes to watch­ing 8K video con­tent, your op­tions are lim­ited with only a smat­ter­ing of 8K demos avail­able on ser­vices such as YouTube, al­though the footage looks in­cred­i­ble – al­most 3D at times, such is the qual­ity and colour ac­cu­racy of this dis­play. Note: we were stream­ing 8K footage us­ing a 700Mbps broad­band In­ter­net con­nec­tion and a PC equipped with an Nvidia Ti­tan Xp graph­ics card; weaker hard­ware and slower In­ter­net speeds may not be able to han­dle 8K footage.

Photo edit­ing will be the main rea­son why many peo­ple might con­sider buy­ing the UP3218K. View­ing 8,256x6,192 (51-megapixel) pho­tos on the mon­i­tor, pro­vides a won­der­ful show­case, re­veal­ing de­tails (such as a thin cob­web hang­ing from a flower) that lower res­o­lu­tion mon­i­tors might not.

Colour ren­di­tion is also very im­pres­sive, with the mon­i­tor de­liv­er­ing life-like colours that re­ally added to pho­tographs. For pro pho­tog­ra­phers or dig­i­tal artists, the UP3218K is a won­der­ful tool.

When it comes to play­ing games our ex­pec­ta­tions weren’t quite so high – for one thing, this isn’t a gam­ing mon­i­tor; for an­other, hardly any games have been cre­ated to run at this kind of res­o­lu­tion.

“While Win­dows 10 works well in 8K, many apps haven’t been de­signed to work at such res­o­lu­tions”

How­ever, we were able to run Wolfen­stein II at 8K at 24 frames per se­cond – a far cry from the 120fps speeds we achieved at 1080p with the same setup. How­ever, this was at the high­est pos­si­ble graph­i­cal set­tings, and with tweaks we’d prob­a­bly be able to get a playable 30fps at 8K – but this is on a very pow­er­ful (and pricy) PC. With graph­ics card power con­tin­u­ing to make strides, though, it may not be long be­fore games can be rou­tinely played at 8K.

Sum­mary

When judg­ing the Dell Ul­traSharp UP3218K you have to bear in mind its pro­fes­sional au­di­ence. The high price, and the fact that many of its high-end fea­tures won’t be com­pat­i­ble with main­stream apps for years, mean that no mat­ter how de­sir­able this mon­i­tor may seem, you should think long and hard be­fore buy­ing it.

If you are a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher, de­signer, video edi­tor or some­one who needs a mon­i­tor that can dis­play in­cred­i­bly high-res­o­lu­tion im­ages with bright, vi­brant and, above all, ac­cu­rate colours, then it’s well worth the in­vest­ment – or if you just want to get your­self a fu­ture-proof mon­i­tor then the Dell Ul­traSharp UP3218K is the one to get – but ex­pect to pay a lot of money.

A stun­ning mon­i­tor that com­bines in­cred­i­bly high res­o­lu­tions with gor­geous colours. At a price.

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