OSD Controls and Menus

I didn't mention OSD controls on the previous page because they're somewhat interesting on the U3011. Remember that HP stipulated that their ZR30w has no OSD because there's currently no control SoC for it. Well, Dell has one, and they definitely use it and provide an OSD for the U3011. 

First up, the buttons are very understated and are located in the bottom right. The power button glows steady blue when powered, and pulses orange when in standby. What's interesting is that each button is unmarked - the bottom one glows blue when you hover your finger above it about a centimeter away, and tapping on it brings up the OSD and lights the other buttons. The button doesn't depress but doesn't seem capacitive - something optical is going on. Either way, button presses consistently work without issue. By default there's no button press sound (thank goodness), but you can turn one on in the menu if you really need it. 

The quick pop up has presets, brightness and contrast, input source selection, and a menu button for launching the big OSD. It's easy to navigate and just like other Dell OSDs, but with fancy buttons-that-aren't and that cool hover feature. 

There's options inside the sub menus for fill, 16:9, 4:3, aspect-correct, and 1:1 scaling of inputs - everything we want from a panel. In addition, there are the ever important settings for color space clamping - sRGB mode is there alongside AdobeRGB modes which don't clamp the color space. There's also gamma settings and presets for game, standard, and custom color modes. 

Console Gaming and Audio Controls

There's really nothing to complain about with the U3011 OSD other than the audio settings. You can put them in 2.0 audio out mode, something which is absolutely perfect for use with a PS3 or Xbox 360 connected over HDMI.

The problem is that there's no volume adjustment parameter exposed in the menu - it acts like line out undoubtedly because that's what Dell intended it to be used for. It'd be nice to get volume controls in that preset menu beyond being able to select between 2.0 and 5.1. 

That's a pretty nice segue into some discussion about what audio input options the U3011 supports over HDMI. I connected up a PS3 and played GT5 and a copy of Inception, both of which looked excellent and played perfectly. The PS3 saw LPCM 2 channel and 5.1 channel as options, obviously the U3011 doesn't have a hardware decoder onboard. I connected an Xbox 360 over HDMI and did the same, which worked perfectly. No doubt Dell's rationale for not providing volume controls on the OSD is that it's line out, or you'll use it with their speaker bar, but it still would be awesome to get that for when you're using headsets. 

U3011 Hardware Impressions and Specifications Viewing Angles and Color Quality
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  • Drag0nFire - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    Wondering if anyone can help me compare the coating on the U3011 vs the U2711. When I saw the U2711 (and the U2410) in person, I found in both cases that the screen had an obtrusive sort of matte anti-glare coating.

    I'm normally a fan of matte displays, but there seemed to be something wrong at the interface. The effect was similar to my 2G iPod Touch with a matte screen protector (on top of a glossy screen). It created a cloudy appearance, and one can see a sort of rainbow effect around white pixels.

    I'm interested in purchasing a new high quality display, but this coating seems like it would impair day-to-day usage. Can anyone comment?

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • niva - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    This review actually talked about the coating on the u3011 being noticeably better in comparison to previous implementations. I think it depends on the environment you'll run this in, my computer room is dark and the blinds rarely come up so something like that wouldn't even be an issue to me. Reply
  • optics261 - Monday, January 17, 2011 - link

    the coating is VERY strong on this monitor... the coating makes the appearance of sparkles on any light/white areas of the screen. the fact that you are in a dark room means that you need coating even less. Reply
  • zanon - Thursday, January 13, 2011 - link

    I believe that with a price beyond $1k screens are in a range that can reasonably be compared to high end displays like those manufactured by NEC and Eizo. I'd be very interested to see how color deltas and such stack up against models like the NEC 2690/3090 (calibrated via SpectraView) as well in order to better place it in the range of available options. Thanks for your great reviews. Reply
  • GTaudiophile - Thursday, January 13, 2011 - link

    Problem with that is that the Eizo and NEC monitors in the same price class are 6 inches smaller. I think the 30" models from them break the $2K mark. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, January 13, 2011 - link

    I completely agree actually, I'd really like to start reviewing some NEC and Eizo displays. We're working on getting those (I believe we'll see an NEC soon), but it's going to take a little bit.

    Completely agreed though!

    -Brian
    Reply
  • randomlinh - Thursday, January 13, 2011 - link

    How about software properly scaling first? win7 works to an extent, but still looks wonky Reply
  • zanon - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    Fantastic to hear, and I totally understand if it'll take a bit to expand your testing range. You've already got a solid calibrator at least (the i1D2, same as I've got with my LCD2690) so you don't necessarily need the -SV package, just the normal screen since SpectraView II can be gotten separately. But I'll definitely look forward to seeing how the continued evolution of screens changes the picture (har har) in the market. At some point my workhorse NEC will surely give out.

    @GTaudiophile
    You mean 4 inches smaller (26"), 30" screens tend to be around $1800 as you say, but more to the point I don't think that's actually too big a deal. If you're in the market for something this nice at all, pretty much by definitely you're already way outside the standard, and very likely to be willing to spend an extra few hundred bucks here or there if the performance is justified. By the same token, continued advancement may actually allow Dell etc to compete straight up with higher end screens for all but the rarest applications, and thus let us save some extra money as well. Either way, it'd be useful, so I'm excited that it's in the cards eventually.
    Reply
  • GTaudiophile - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I dunno...looking at various prices for NEC and Eizo monitor, I have to conclude that DELL/HP are still fulfilling some sort of "value" niche when it comes to IPS monitors:

    NEC LCD2690WUXI2-BK-R: $759.00 (26")
    NEC PA271W-BK: $1,399.00 (27")
    NEC LCD3090WQXI-BK-R: $1,399.00 (Cheapest 30" model)

    All prices, NEC.com.

    Eizo ColorEdge CG303W (30" IPS): $5,035.00 @ BHphoto.com
    Eizo ColorEdge CG243W (24.1" IPS): $2,346.00 @ BHphoto.com

    For the price of the U3011, you can consider NEC's high-end 27" or low-end 30". I would like to see how the latter compares to the DELL, and I would like to see how that 27" compares to the U2711. The rest of the NEC 30" monitors break the $2K mark.

    Eizo pretty much remains unapproachable for me.

    My personal budget for a 27-30" IPS is between $1,000-$1500. Again, I want something for 1) General Office Use, 2) Digital Photography editing, and 3) Gaming.
    Reply
  • GTaudiophile - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    For what it's worth, I am still using my trusty DELL FP2001 from a decade ago!!! I have been debating on what to upgrade to for the past two years! Reading monitor reviews is nerve-wracking. Nothing is perfect out there...for the price you want! It's like either a $300 TN or a $3000 Eizo with not enough in between. Reply

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