Straight out of the box, the Dell U3014 feels like a huge monitor. I’ve reviewed a lot of 27” displays this past year, but even then the U3014 is a different size beast. As is standard for Dell, the monitor comes packed well, but using cardboard and other recyclable components instead of Styrofoam that breaks apart easily and it’s good for repacking. Removing the panel and attaching it to the adjustable stand takes just seconds, and I’m still amazed so few vendors can get this simple thing right. No screws, no manual needed; it just slides into place and clicks right on.

The design itself hasn’t changed much since the U3011, though it does have a few noticeable features that other vendors would be smart to implement. On the left of the display are two USB 3.0 ports and a card reader that handles most common memory card formats. Inputs available consist of DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort, and a Mini DisplayPort. The presence of MiniDP and the lack of a VGA input are two big things to notice here. Dell ships the U3014 with a DisplayPort to MiniDP cable, and having both inputs means that a single cable can work with a video card that has either output. It also lets you hook it up to two different DisplayPort sources, such as a desktop and laptop, which becomes more essential as DisplayPort is the main standard now. It was a nice change of pace to be able to simply connect to any source instead of hunting for a cable. The lack of VGA shouldn’t affect anyone at this point, and it helps to reduce costs by dropping the price of an analog to digital converter.

The Dell also has a DisplayPort output, which lets you use Multi-Stream Transport (MST) to hook up another DisplayPort monitor directly to the Dell U3014. I tested this with the Nixeus VUE 27 that I mentioned earlier and found that it managed to work well, with a couple of caveats. Every time I’d come back to the computer, which goes to sleep automatically after 30 minutes in my case, the Nixeus wouldn’t power back on. I’d have to power cycle it for it to be recognized, but since the Nixeus sometimes does this when it’s the only monitor, I can’t be certain if this is an issue with MST, the Dell, or the Nixeus. Unfortunately, I have no other DisplayPort monitors around to test right now.

Also, I sometimes use the Nixeus for audio since it has internal speakers, and with 30” monitors on my desktop I can run out of room for speakers pretty easily. When feeding audio over MST, it's very crackly and features lots of breakups, like trying to do a Skype call over a 56k modem. Since audio typically works fine on the Nixeus, I have to assume this is related to MST and that it might not handle audio perfectly. I never saw an issue with video over MST, but audio did not work well at all.

Finally the U3014 has a connector for USB 3.0 in and two more USB 3.0 outputs next to the connectors, and a power output for the Dell SoundBar that connects to the bottom of the display. One feature that is missing that Dell displays usually have is rotation. Having a stand that raises high enough for a 30” monitor to rotate would be a bit large, and most people probably aren’t going to rotate it, but it certainly does make hooking up cables much easier.

Setup of the U3014 was as straightforward as you can get. I used the MiniDP input as my video card is a DisplayPort output, then hooked up the Nixeus directly to the U3014 using its DisplayPort cable. After connecting the USB cable I installed the card reader driver, installed the software packages Dell provides, and everything was ready to go.

Dell has one of the best OSD designs out there I think, with a simple menu system that keeps controls moving in the same direction, with unlabeled buttons that have their use put up on screen, so it’s easier to tell than trying to look for a silk screened label in the dark. This time I think that Dell made a step back with the U3014 by moving to touch sensitive controls. When your hand approaches the buttons, ones that you can use light up to indicate that you can hit them, but I found them to only be so-so in responsiveness. I really wish Dell had kept the traditional hard buttons but added the auto-sensing lights, and then it would be an ideal setup. As it is, it is only "okay" because of this change.

As an IPS display, viewing angles are basically perfect. The screen is so huge that any flaw in this area would be really bad, but in this case I don’t see any shifts in brightness until I get to at least 45-50 degrees from a few inches away, and then the very edge starts to darken a bit. IPS is still fantastic in this regard.

Dell U3014
Video Inputs 1xHDMI, 1x MiniDP, 1xDisplayPort, 1xDVI-DL
Panel Type IPS
Pixel Pitch 0.25 mm
Colors 1.07 Billion
Brightness 350 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio 1000:1
Response Time 6ms GTG
Viewable Size 30"
Resolution 2560x1600
Viewing Angle (H/V) 178/178
Backlight GB-LED
Power Consumption (operation) 60W Typical
Power Consumption (standby) < 0.5W
Screen Treatment Anti-Glare 3H Hard Coat
Height-Adjustable Yes (3.55")
Tilt Yes
Pivot No
Swivel Yes
VESA Wall Mounting Yes
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 27.15" x 19.00" x 7.93"
Weight 16.20 lbs. w/o stand
Additional Features USB 3.0 Hub (4 port), Headphone Output, Card Reader, DisplayPort out with MST
Limited Warranty 3 Years
Accessories MiniDP to DisplayPort cable, DVI-D cable, USB 3.0 cable, Cable Tie, Power Cable
Price $1,499

 

Introduction and Backlight Design Brightness and Contrast
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  • Kevin G - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    That Sharp display I've seen at sites going for $4500. Still expensive but a definitive step up in terms of resolution from this Dell. I'd love to see a review of it here at Anandtech. *hint* *hint* *hint* Reply
  • jibberegg - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    Apparently Seiki are offering 50" 4k for $1,500. Anyone heard of them? I smell bad things at that price, but don't want to write it off without more information.
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTool...
    Reply
  • SeannyB - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    The current HDMI spec only does up to 30Hz in 4K. This is the thing that stops me from buying one right now, because using Windows or whatever at 30 frames per second is miserable. Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    Digging through the Seiki manual indicates that 30 hz is the best frame rate it can get at 4k resolutions. Might be fine for video as the source material in all likelihood doesn't exceed this rate.

    Another passable usage would to use it as a large format display for 2D imagery. This would be the equivalent of four 1080P 25" monitors of screen space, minus the bezels. Color quality and calibration controls are an unknown, so this use-case is iffy.

    For gaming, this refresh rate is going to be horrible.
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    FYI, it has no calibration controls at all: no white balance, no CMS, no gamma, nothing. So if you want an accurate image, double the price to include a DVDO or Lumagen box, and those don't work with 4K material yet. Reply
  • SantaAna12 - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    Apples to apples???

    High end monitor review....no comparison to Apple.

    Hmmmmmmm.......your welcome Dell!
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    I didn't review the Apple, Anand did himself, and it was with our prior test bench. It's also a white LED backlit model with the sRGB gamut, not a CCFL or G-B LED backlight with AdobeRGB gamut, or any sort of uniformity control. It's a high-end, general use 27" display, not a professional photographer/graphics display, which this is. There isn't a lack of a comparison to spare one of them, they're different markets, with different test bench data. Reply
  • p05esto - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    You are out of your mind if you think an Apple monitor could touch this. lol, just another clueless Apple sheep. Reply
  • Kevin G - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    Have you tested the MST functionality of this device? I'd to see how this works out, especially with this and a DP 1.1 monitor. Reply
  • cheinonen - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    I did, and it's discussed in the article. Worked fine with the monitor I have here, with a couple of caveats. Reply

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