We first started using multiple monitors so we could see more and do more, the bezels were anywhere from one to one and one-half inches thick. They got thinner over time but still ate up a quarter to a half-inch each. It doesn’t sound like much, but if you’re looking at a CAD drawing or a big spreadsheet, it makes a lot of difference. The productivity you gain from multiple displays is partially lost as you scroll Enter big displays. The curved 38-inch display has been with us for over five years. And not too long ago, Dell introduced a 49-inch monitor. It was fantastic, and still is. Dell didn’t design or position it as a gaming monitor, but I play games on it, and the FOV is incredible. The only drawback is that it is only 1440 lines. That’s not an insufficient number for a gaming monitor; there are still many folks playing on an HD screen. But I’m a pixel pig, and I want more; I always want more. Dell heard me and made a 31-inch 8k display. I couple that up with two companion 31-inch 4K screens to give me a staggering 53 megapixels—how’s that for more? But then there are those bezels.
Once again, Dell was listening (I wonder if they’ve tapped my phone). During CES 2021, Dell rolled out a 40-inch, 5k beauty. Now we’re talking—11 bezel-less megapixels.
Seeing more, doing more, without bezels
With a 40-inch 5k monitor, you could have six Zoom windows open at an individual resolution of 1706 × 1080, almost six 13-inch HD screens. If you’re a big Zoomer, that’d probably delight you. But if you are a big file user and/or a multi-app user, it should probably make you downright giddy. Think about it—no offsets, no skew, no color imbalance: all that represents less eye fatigue and unquestioned productivity improvement.
But I’m still a pixel pig, so I immediately coupled it up with my 17-inch 5K notebook giving me 22-megapixels.
22-megapixels in a cubical
This exercise aimed to address the issue of big monitors and limited desk or office space. I spent several hours in front of this configuration looking for problems. I did everything I usually do on my monster 53-megapixel 3-monitor rig—which, BTW, occupies 56-inches of desk space and consumes over 200 watts. The standard size for a traditional office desk is about 60 inch × 30 inch, which means you’re giving up over 50% of it to your monitors. I’m fortunate in that I have a huge tabletop, but most people work in cubicles.
Another way to think about it is if you crammed two 27-inch 2560 × 1440 monitors together, you’d get 7.3 megapixels spread across 49-inches—66% of what you could get with the Dell UltraSharp 40 Curved WUHD Monitor (U4021QW) and no bezels.
Hooking it up.
It was really tough. First of all, I had to plug in the power cord. Then I had to connect a USB-C cable from my notebook to the Dell U4021Qw. And then, is there no end to my burden? I had to look at my notebook so it would know it was me. It did, and it
|The DisplayHDR standard from VESA is an attempt to make the differences in HDR specifications easier to understand for consumers, with standards mainly used in computer monitors and laptops. VESA defines a set of HDR levels, all of them must support HDR10, with a brightness of 1k to 4k Nits|
immediately connected and configured the monitors (that’s Microsoft’s magic). The elapsed time from putting the monitor on the desk until I was moving a cursor around on it ~2 minutes. I can remember when it would take an hour or more to get such a configuration to work. Now, when I approach the desk, the notebook and 40-inch monitor wake up and are ready to go. More productivity—my coffee doesn’t even cool off.
We gave you the specs last week, but just in case you missed that issue, The UltraSharp 40 IPS display offers wide color coverage and excellent color performance. The color specs on it are 100% sRGB, 98% DCI-P3 with 1B colors. Also, it’s a commercial panel, so the refresh rate is 60 Hz. However, the monitor has a 5–8 ms response time. It can deliver a billion colors, making it a 10-bit color-depth display. But even though it has an LED backlight, it’s not modulated and doesn’t have 1k Nits (it has 300 Nits, to be precise), so it can’t be called an HDR display, and it only draws 90 watts.
So Dell can’t market the display as UHD or HDR10, even though in some parameters it exceeds those standards.
It comes with a Thunderbolt 3 port (that can also power a notebook). Other ports include a pair of HDMI 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort 1.4 port, four USB Type-A ports with data speeds of up to 10Gbps, an Ethernet port, a 3.5 mm jack, and a USB Type-B upstream port, and integrated 9 W speakers.
Dell says the new monitor will be available on January 28th, 2021, for $2,100.
What do we think?
This is not a competitive gamer’s monitor, but most gamers aren’t competitive players. Most gamers are playing on a 60 Hz 1440 monitor. Therefore, the U4021Qw ought to be an outstanding gamer’s monitor too. I plan to test that theory.
Refresh Rate – No less than 120 Hz.
Response Time – No more than 3ms!
G-Sync or FreeSync – Variable refresh rate helps sync FPS and refresh rate.
HDR and deep color gamut
The Dell U4021Qw could be the last monitor you’ll buy. Let me say that differently, I don’t want to crater Dell’s share price—the Dell U4021Qw could be the last monitor you’ll need. It’s hard to call something the ultimate, but this monitor comes damn close. At 40 inches, it’s the right physical size; it’s definitely the right resolution at 5K, it’s the right color depth, and it’s ridiculously easy to install.
Remember when 1k (HD) monitors were introduced. It took almost 10 years for everyone to get one. This will be similar. There’s a bunch of people who are going to look at this and say – wow- if only… In the meantime, Dell will speed up the refresh rate, pump up the nits, and it will become the HDR gaming monitor we all dream about. I really think monitors of this size and resolution, could become the next standard in displays.