Dell UP3218K UltraSharp display
£4,114.56 | $3,899.99 www.dell.com An 8K monitor for when 4K just isn’t enough
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.
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.
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.
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.