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Dell UP3017Q ‘4K’ UHD OLED monitor

Update: Despite their best efforts it seems Dell were unable to resolve ‘certain issues’ with this monitor, so to put it bluntly it appears to have been ‘shelved’.
News piece below initially published 6th January 2016.

We’ve seen some exciting developments recently – the growing range of ‘UltraWide’ curved displays which we’re particularly fond of and the increasing number of ‘4K’ UHD monitors. But none of these have had us quite as giddy with excitement as the Dell UP3017Q (UP3017QA if you go for the option with monitor arm) – a new member of the UltraSharp series featuring an OLED (Organic LED) panel. Since first writing about OLED technology in an article first published back in April 2011 (and continually updated since), we’ve been wondering when would finally see a monitor of this type, in the consumer space, hit the shelves. From the outside, the monitor looks quite like any other modern UltraSharp monitor. The bezels are very slender indeed, despite having the ‘dual stage’ design that includes a slim panel border as well as a very thin hard plastic outer component. The controls are touch sensitive, located at the right side of the bottom bezel. The power button (or ‘touch area’) is much like what we saw adopted on the UP2716D, with a small vertical white slight LED indicator.

The picture that does it no justice

The beauty is mainly on the inside, of course. A 120Hz 30” OLED panel is used with a ‘4K’ UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160 – yielding an impressive pixel density of 146.86 PPI. Considering we can use a 31.5” UHD model (139.87 PPI) without scaling quite comfortably, it’s probably quite a well-balanced size. A contrast ratio of 400,000:1 is specified – this is a static contrast ratio, not a dynamic contrast ratio. Given that the best LCD monitors rarely exceed 5000:1 and if they’re IPS-type panels usually have 1000:1 specified, that’s rather impressive. Although not entirely unexpected, given that each pixel is individually lit so that one can be shut off whilst the one next to it is fully lit. It is reasonable to expect that uniformity could be a key advantage here with viewing angles also expected to outclass any LCD model – and you needn’t worry about backlight bleed or ‘IPS glow’, either. A glossy screen surface is used with a highly effective Anti-Reflective (AR) treatment, likely an optically bonded surface coated using a PD or Plasma Deposition process. A similar surface is used on the UP2715K, allowing ambient reflection to be cut down without impeding fairly direct light emission from the monitor.

Another very impressive aspect of the specification is the response time, another real boon for OLED technology. This is specified as 0.1ms, which is likely a fair indication of the actual response time and wouldn’t be achieved using aggressive levels of pixel overdrive like the misleading ‘1ms’ specified on some TN LCD panels. As we explore in this article, though, there is a lot more to a monitor’s responsiveness than just response time. And indeed refresh rate is vitally important – it’s 120Hz on this model, although only available via DisplayPort over USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 via USB-C. Aside from a USB-C input the monitor also includes HDMI 2.0 and mDP 1.2 ports. Last but not least is colour reproduction, which is another area where this technology can excel. The colour gamut is not extreme on this model but is still rather generous – 100% Adobe RGB and 97.8% of DCI-P3. That’s very similar to the UP2716D that we’ve recently reviewed. It also features 10-bit colour reproduction. According to Dell a pixel-shifting algorithm (pixel orbiting, by another name) is included to try to prevent image retention and to help prevent unnecessary ‘on-time’ a proximity sensor is also included. The included stand offers full ergonomic adjustability, as is usual for an UltraSharp model. The image below is actually of the UP2516D, but the rear aesthetics and stand is very similar. 100mm VESA holes are included as well if you’d like to mount the monitor in another way.

The rear looks a bit like this

Further details can be found in this press release. That press release mentioned that the screen should be released at the tail end of March with an initial price of $4999. This release date was missed, however. We expect this price to fall a bit once retail competition kicks in and of course we expect to see other more affordable alternatives begin to surface as well. Needless to say we’ll be updating this article with further information as it comes to us and will strive to bring you a review of this model as soon as we can.

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