Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Dell’s 40-inch ultra-wide monitor is the best kind of excess

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Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

But the screen size was also a bit of an inconvenience when it came to recording podcasts. I had to bend down to reach for my table-mounted microphone, and for video calls, I had to balance my webcam on one side of the monitor. It’s not difficult to live with, but it was often difficult to read text and windows on the other side of the screen. During video calls, I almost felt like I was grossly ignoring everything that was going on.

Now you would think a massive screen would be perfect for gaming, but the reality is a bit more complicated on PCs. The UltraSharp 40’s unique 5K resolution was just too large for my system to be made native for modern gaming, even though I’m using an RTX 3080. Many titles don’t support this resolution at all, so you have to. to play at lower settings with black bars on the screen. Cyberpunk 2077 worked perfectly on my old 3440 by 1440 pixel display with maximized graphics and ray tracing settings. But this resolution was not available on the UltraSharp 40, so I had to play in 4K with black bars. (1440p was also an option, but that seemed like a serious step for such an expensive display.)

For less demanding games, like Underworld, it was nice to have enough screen space to read and watch videos (or keep an eye on Slack for work, ahem) at a time. I also didn’t have much of a problem with the UltraSharp 40’s 5ms response time. But it became clear pretty quickly that this wasn’t really a gamer monitor. And honestly, that’s good. There are tons of displays on the market with features gamers are actually looking for, like high refresh rates, faster response times, NVIDIA’s GSYNC, and free sync.

Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

The UltraSharp 40 clearly targets professionals more than gamers. And it certainly has enough ports for serious work, including a DisplayPort 1.4 connection, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C connection with power supply for laptops. It doubles as a PC hub, with five USB Type A connections, a 3.5mm audio jack, and Ethernet. I could see it being especially useful if you are using a laptop with limited ports.

While that might seem like an extravaganza at $ 2,100 (or even $ 1,680 on sale), the UltraSharp 40 has a lot to offer in the expensive monitor world. LG’s 27-inch UltraFine 5K, one of the best monitors that Apple sells alongside Macs, costs $ 1,300. And while it has better color accuracy than Dell’s display, I would say the extra space is more convincing. And if you don’t need the high resolution and color accuracy of the UltraSharp 40, Dell other ultra-wide options like UltraSharp 38 ($ 1090) and 34 Curved USB-C Monitor ($ 655), are cheaper gateways to the world of super long screens. Dell UltraSharp 49 ($ 1,290) is the biggest of the bunch, but I wouldn’t recommend it for new ultra-wide buyers. Just like with Samsung’s massive 49-inch gaming screen, sometimes going too far can take a toll on your productivity.

Most people don’t need everything the UltraSharp 40 has to offer, especially when there is a plethora of cheaper ultra-wide options. But if you’re the type of user who demands color accuracy with a huge amount of screen space, it’s definitely worth considering.

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