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One of the most valuable pieces of equipment a professional photographer or video editor can purchase is a color accurate monitor. The vast majority of the audience will perceive creation through pixels, not through print. And editing on a crappy monitor can cause the final product to look nothing like you thought it would.
The Dell UP3221Q is the ultimate flagship monitor designed for the discerning professional looking for superior image quality and HDR performance. It offers the best features such as a mini LED light and a built-in calibrator, making it 100% accurate. In the Dell UP3221Q UltraSharp review, we’ll check if it’s worth the money in terms of performance.
Dell UP3221Q review
The Dell UP3221Q monitor looks like the brand’s professional display given its smooth features and overall aesthetic. The monitor has a platinum silver body and stand with matte black edges and bezels. The display is frameless on three sides, but the bottom band is noticeably thicker, and this is not just. The appearance is very similar to the Dell P3222QE monitor .
It hides a built-in Calman-based colorimeter that allows you to calibrate your monitor even if it’s not connected to a PC. It can be used in many ways, but it hides neatly in the monitor when not needed. There is a special connector for an external colorimeter and a calibration cap that protects against glare.
This model is a 32-inch variant, so you need to consider its dimensions before finalizing your choice. It needs over 70cm inches wide and 25cm deep, so it can cover some of your peripherals like bookshelf speakers. In addition, it is heavy – be especially careful when moving it.
The build quality is excellent, which is to be expected from a high-end model from a well-known brand. The plastic used feels thick and durable, and there are no signs of weakness or cosmetic blemishes. The stand is strong and stable, so the screen does not tilt or shake during operation.
The Dell UltraSharp UP3221Q features an on-screen joystick on the back for easy navigation through well-equipped menus and feature sets. You can also use Dell’s Display Manager if you need shortcuts and remote control, as well as features like Easy Arrange, which provides several templates. These control options are handy, but it looks like it would be nice if Dell included a dedicated remote control to make the user experience easier and more convenient.
The included stand provides tilt, height, swivel and rotation adjustments. An acceptable viewing angle is easy to get, so you don’t have to spend more money on a premium VESA mount or other stand. Although they are compatible, we believe that they will only be necessary if your desk is small or space is limited.
Display and performance
The Dell UP3221Q 32 features a 32″ IPS panel with 3840 x 2160 resolution, 60Hz refresh rate and 8ms response time. The brightness has a maximum level of 1000 nits and the contrast ratio is 1300:1, unlike conventional IPS panels . This monitor has a 2000-element mini LED backlight and is HDR certified.
4K is easier on the eyes at this size because the pixel density is slightly lower, but you don’t lose any extra real estate or screen clarity. The image looks sharp and detailed, plus you have more wiggle room. True, it requires more resources, so you need to make sure that you have a powerful GPU that supports true HDR in 4K.
The UP3221Q UltraSharp monitor displays over 100% sRGB, 93% Adobe RGB and 99.8% DCI-P3 as advertised. Its default accuracy is just as impressive, with an average deltaE of just 0.41. It is immediately ready for editing and color correction work. The screen looks great and vivid thanks to the high-quality matrix and Dell expertise.
Calibration of the Dell UP3221Q reduces the average dE to 0.37, although the improvement is barely visible to the naked eye. There’s one thing you’ll love about Calman’s built-in calibrator. This is that it can be automated, i.e. plan a calibration. You can run a short or long process and leave it to run at the scheduled time.
The DELL UltraSharp monitor’s brightness peaks at 1045 nits and the contrast ratio is 1345:1 at 40% brightness. Through the use of mini-LEDs, the contrast increases exponentially, giving the monitor a depth of black that only OLEDs can surpass. The monitor is capable of reproducing deep dark scenes and showing details that SDR monitors cannot display.
The uniformity of its panel has very small deviations, but there have been cases where the mini-LEDs have created a slight haze or halo. This is to be expected since individual LED zones only cover a certain number of pixels, although again only OLEDs will be better in this regard. There was no backlight bleed, unlike many IPS monitors I’ve seen.
The UltraSharp UP3221Q monitor is prone to some blurring in action scenes, especially when transitioning from dark to light. The display is limited to 60Hz and not designed for gaming, unlike the ASUS XG43UQ , which has a 120Hz refresh rate and Adaptive Sync. Using the overdrive setting Fast or Faster helps a little, but the latter adds a little overdrive (ghosting) in some cases.
As already mentioned, the UP3221Q does not support FreeSync, so, naturally, G-Sync compatibility is out of the question. This is understandable since the monitor was intended for professionals, although it would still be a good option for casual HDR gaming. Output latency is high at 22ms at 60Hz, so it’s a bit worse to play than the PA32UCG.
The Dell UP3221Q display also has plenty of video input options, starting with a DisplayPort 1.4 slot and two HDMI 2.0 ports. There is a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 connector that supports DP Alternate Mode and provides up to 90W of charging power for laptops. The second USB-C slot is for upstream and must be connected to a computer in order to use the USB ports.
The Dell UP3221Q does not have built-in speakers, despite being a top-of-the-line option from the brand’s portfolio. Instead, it has slots under the bottom bezel for the company’s thin soundbar, which is sold separately. Of course, it would be better if it was already included in the package, but most will not consider this a violation of the terms of the deal.
The Dell UP3221Q is a great professional monitor for editing, color grading and HDR media. It offers excellent accuracy and brightness right out of the box, but it also allows for calibration to improve image fidelity. The mini-LED backlight and its HDR 1000 capabilities complement this perfectly, allowing you to evaluate your work in HDR or simply enjoy media at its best.
However, the biggest hurdle for the device is its very high price, which makes it the most expensive in its mainstream brand category. The monitor is also not as fast as other high-end mini LED monitors, and understandably so. This is one of the best options for professional use, but many simply will not settle for such an investment.