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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  • airmantharp - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    We have four, and they're all 'responsive', but don't go labeling them as 'ergonomic'. Still, since you rarely perform complex settings adjustments after initial setup, they're probably a better choice for longevity over cheap mechanical buttons that may wear out. Reply
  • cheinonen - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    I didn't test the U3011, but the U2713HM and other Dells that I have tested have had the actual buttons, which I love. I wish they kept it that way, looks be damned. Reply
  • p05esto - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    Yea, I have the U2713HM and like the phyiscal buttons. I hate all the "touch" controls companies try to shove down our throats. Nothing beats pyysically raised buttons with tactical feedback when pushed. This goes for just about any gadget. Cameras with touchscreens are soooo useless for example. Reply
  • chubbypanda - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    Aging Dell U2410 also has touch buttons (with motion detection) and real power on/off button. Kind of annoying, but it's bearable. Looks better than physical buttons on U2412M of course (the overall design is better actually). Reply
  • blau808 - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    I have/had the U3014 and the U2410. The U3014's touch sensitive buttons are anything but. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 touches to get it to activate whereas on my U2410 I never had a problem with the touch sensitivity. So they changed something that put them a step back from their previous solutions it seems. Reply
  • blau808 - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    I recently purchased one of these and am now in the process of sending it back. While changing any of the preset mode (game, multimedia, etc) the monitor turns to severe static and artifacting. In standard preset mode, the reds seem to flash on and off turning the screen a bluish tinge before flashing back to normal. I am truly disappointed and keep telling myself thats what I get for being an early adopter. Hopefully the next panel I get wont be a dud. Reply
  • CSMR - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    Excellent to see continued progress in monitors.
    One question is why the review focused more on sRGB and AdobeRGB modes than Standard? The usual advice is to always have the monitor on Standard and let Windows do all the color conversion.
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    If you use Standard mode, you aren't certain what the gamut that its using is (probably a larger one than sRGB), and then you're dependent on Windows to manage colors, which means you need to have both an accurate ICC profile, and every application to be ICC aware. sRGB will force the monitor to use the proper gamut for 99% of things (very little properly uses AdobeRGB, but for those people that need it, it's essential) and you don't need to have Windows and the applications be ICC aware. Reply
  • CSMR - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    Getting this monitor and using sRGB would be a real waste. People who buy monitors like this know that they want a wide gamut and precise calibration. Yes there are some applications that are not color aware and give wrong colors on a calibrated monitor, but 1. these applications are not color critical or else they would be ICC aware, and 2. the gamut would be right as that is done via a global setting (LUT) in the graphics driver. Reply
  • cheinonen - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    And that's why there are multiple calibration modes available that you can save, as well as included software that will switch the display between those modes when working in the correct application. So if Photoshop requires AdobeRGB and Premiere needs sRGB, you can have the monitor switch on-the-fly between those two.

    Of course, if the included calibration software worked better, so you could have more accurately calibrated modes saved to the CAL1 and CAL2 presets, that feature would work even better.
    Reply

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