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Best Dell monitor in 2022: high quality screens for photography and video

Best Dell monitor: Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
(Image credit: Dell)

Dell is a household name when it comes to computers and computer peripherals. Its flagship laptops, for example, have become the standard of sorts to which most Windows laptops aspire. The same can be said about its premium Alienware gaming laptops, lauded for their unique look and power. 

So, even though Dell’s monitors haven’t quite enjoyed a similar level of fanfare, you can trust that they’ll deliver the same level of quality in terms of design and performance. That’s especially true with the best Dell monitors in the lineup. 

We’ve used quite a few of Dell’s displays for work and gaming, and we can attest to their solid build, sleek and appealing design, and great overall performance, which are all the right parameters when choosing an ideal monitor for you. However, there are a couple more reasons to go with Dell: variety and price.  

Dell monitors pretty much cover a wide range of monitor types across all price points. That means that if you’re looking for an affordable, general-use monitor, you’ll find something from Dell. If you want a premium, over-$1,000 display with all the trimmings for your creative workloads, you’ll find a few options. If you want a gaming monitor, you’ll find several different offerings from both Dell and Alienware. Finally, if you want a particular 4K curved monitor that has a high contrast ratio and excellent color coverage but won’t burn a hole in your wallet, you’re likely to find that from Dell’s roster as well.

Whatever your daily needs are, whether you’re a student, a hardcore gamer, a content creator, or a cog that keeps the company wheel spinning, you’re likely to find the best Dell monitor for you that meets your expectations and is within your budget. To help you find it, we gathered the best of the best below.

Best Dell monitors in 2022

(Image credit: Dell)
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1. Dell 4K S3221QS

4K curved monitor for productivity and general use

Specifications

Size: 31.5 inch
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Brightness: 300 nits
Contrast ratio: 3000:1
Color support: 99% sRGB, 90% DCI-P3

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic looking screen
+
Useful multitasking features

Reasons to avoid

-
No USB-C connectivity
-
Limited HDR

The first thing you’ll likely notice about the Dell 4K S3221QS is the elegant yet stylish design that makes it fit perfectly in an office but also look just as great in a creative space. But dig deeper, and you’ll realize that it has a lot more to offer. That 4K panel delivers gorgeous visuals, thanks to its 300-nit brightness, good color gamuts, and impressive 3000:1 contrast ratio. It’s a fantastic screen to work, watch, create and even play on, and it comes with excellent multitasking features to boot if you want to do a combination of those things at once. That’s without mentioning that smooth-like-heck 1800R curvature that keeps things immersive. The best part? It won’t set you back more than $500, making it accessible for just about everyone.

(Image credit: Dell)
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2. Dell Ultrasharp U3219Q

The best Dell monitor for creative tasks

Specifications

Size: 31.5 inch
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Brightness: 400 nits
Contrast ratio: 1300:1
Colour support: 99% sRGB, 95% DCI-P3, 99% Rec. 709

Reasons to buy

+
Great color accuracy
+
Great ergonomics

Reasons to avoid

-
DCI-P3 color accuracy could be better
-
On the expensive side

Dell might highlight its InfinityEdge and multitasking capabilities for business professionals, but the Dell Ultrasharp U3219Q is an excellent choice for creative pros as well. By that, we mean photographers, designers, and even broadcast video editors. There are a lot of features here for those users, including its 400-nit brightness, DeltaE ≦ 2 color accuracy, and 99% sRGB and 99% Rec. 709 color gamuts. It boasts 95% DCI-P3 as well if you’re exploring cinematic video editing. Those who weave together HDR videos will also appreciate its DisplayHDR 400 VESA certification. Finally, it comes with a USB-C port with Power Delivery and its KVM (Keyboard, Video and Mouse) switch built-in if you want a cleaner, minimalist setup.

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3. Dell UltraSharp UP3218K

Excellent monitor for 8K content creation

Specifications

Size: 31.5 inch
Resoution: 7680 x 4320
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Brightness: 400 nits
Contrast ratio: 1300:1
Colour support: 100% AdobeRGB, 100% sRGB, 98% DCI-P3, 100% Rec. 709

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible 8K resolution
+
Gorgeous colors

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires 2 DisplayPorts
-
Incredibly pricey

8K content is not all that common today, but there are 8K videos to be consumed out there, which means there are content creators making them. That’s where 8K monitors like the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K come in. With an over-$3,500 price tag, this isn’t exactly the kind of peripheral to splurge on to futureproof your setup – at least not yet. Only invest if its 7680 x 4320 resolution is something you can take full advantage of, and that’s likely only if you’re making 5K and 8K content. If you do get it, trust that you’re getting elevated picture quality, excellent color accuracy, and all the industry-standard color coverage you’ll ever need, including 100% AdobeRGB, 100% Rec. 709, and 98% DCI-P3.

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4. Dell UltraSharp U4021QW

The best ultrawide Dell monitor for most workloads

Specifications

Size: 40-inch
Resolution: 5120 x 2160
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Brightness: 300 nits
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Colour support: 100% sRGB, 98% DCI-P3, 100% Rec. 709

Reasons to buy

+
Tons of features
+
Can be used as a connectivity hub

Reasons to avoid

-
Build could be better
-
Too slow for gaming

If it’s ultrawide you’re seeking, you can’t go wrong with the Dell UltraSharp U4021QW, whose exquisite picture quality, plethora of ports, and great set of features are only the beginning. That ultrawide format is, of course, the marquee feature here, and it’s even more impressive combined with the 2,500R curvature. But, there are other things creators can appreciate here. Its color coverage of 100% sRGB, 98% DCI-P3, and 100% Rec. 709 is what every photographer or video editor needs. As are its Thunderbolt 3 and RJ45 connectivity for fast data and power transfer as well as a robust and fast internet connection. Dig in deeper, and you’ll find a treasure trove of other features.

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5. Alienware AW2521H

The best gaming monitor from Dell

Specifications

Size: 24.5 inch
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Brightness: 400 nits
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Colour support: 99% sRGB

Reasons to buy

+
Blazing fast
+
Attractive and premium build

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for budget gamers
-
Button layout could be better

Alienware isn’t exactly a cheap brand, but this Dell subsidiary does have some mid-range options for gamers who want the best. When it comes to monitors, for example, we’ve got the Alienware AW2521H, which boasts impressive performance, a blazing fast refresh rate, and a sub-$700 price to boot. The 360Hz refresh rate is undoubtedly the marquee feature here, but others like Nvidia’s Reflex Latency Analyzer, which shows end-to-end response times in real-time, 1ms GtG response time, and DisplayHDR 400 should also help you play better and possibly even make it to the top of the leaderboard. This is a 1080p display, though, so it better suits gamers who need speed more than incredibly sharp visuals.

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6. Dell UltraSharp U2720Q

An affordable choice for most users

Specifications

Size: 27 inch
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Brightness: 350 nits
Contrast ratio: 1300:1
Colour support: 99% sRGB, 95% DCI-P3, 99% Rec 709

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable for a 4K monitor
+
Lots of adjustabilities

Reasons to avoid

-
Could be cheaper
-
Missing some features like speakers and ethernet port

The Dell UltraSharp U2720Q isn’t exactly a budget option, but it is a terrific (and affordable) mid-range option for the rest of us who want a 4K panel for everyday general or productivity use. This display has a few great features, including its wide 99% sRGB, 95% DCI-P3 and 99% Rec 709 color coverage, as well as 300 nits of brightness. It also has a decent selection of ports that include a USB-C one with 90W power delivery so you can hook up your laptop to expand your screen real estate and charge it simultaneously. And its ergonomic stand helps to ensure your viewing comfort.

What we look for in a monitor

• Screen size: You might think that the bigger the screen the better, but that's not quite the case. A big screen might be good for movies and gaming, where will typically sit back from the screen, but for editing and office work, a 24-inch screen is likely to be quite large enough, as there are more important factors to consider like resolution, color spaces and brightness. Screen size is measured in inches across the screen diagonal.

• Resolution: A higher resolution will make the pixels disappear so that the image is sharp, smooth and ultra clean-looking. A 4K screen will give terrific quality, but a 1920 x 1080 screen will still show visible dots. Resolution is measured in pixels as width x height.

• Aspect ratio: Most screens these days have a 16:9 ratio to suit common video and broadcast formats. You can get wider screens, typically for gaming. These can work fine for regular use too, though the extra width may mean you need to turn your head to see the edges. Many ultra-wide screens are curved for a more 'immersive' experience.

• Contrast: The better the screen, the higher the contrast ratio and the more rich and vivid the image on the screen. It's the ratio of the brightess value that can be displayed versus the darkest. A contrast ratio of 1000:1 or more is very good.

• Brightness: Brightness is measured in 'nits', and the higher the value the easier the screen will be to see in bright lighting.

• Color modes: All monitors match the sRBG color space more or less, which is a lowest-common-denominator default color space for both digital devices and cameras. Better monitors also support the Rec 709 standard closely, which is like an sRGB standard for video. The best monitors also support the DCI-P3 standard, which has a wider color gamut and is used for professional video editing, for example.

How we test monitors

We evaluate a monitor with particular attention given to its core image quality, including brightness, contrast, color vibrancy and accuracy. While this can - and will - be assessed by the experienced eye of our professional reviewer, some manufacturer screen specs can only be definitively judged by an 'electronic eye' - a monitor calibrator. Where possible, a calibration device will be placed on the screen to verify its advertised color space coverage, brightness output and consistency, and factory color calibration accuracy. Beyond image quality, we'll also scrutinise the monitor's display and data ports to ensure acceptable connectivity, and will give a thorough assessment of build quality, including the range of ergonomic adjustment in its stand. Only then will we determine if a screen is worthy of use by a discerning imaging or video enthusiast.

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