Posted: By Jon Peddie 02.28.22
We are still getting familiar with the new super black, 32-inch HDR monitor. It is such a feature-rich display, it is difficult to digest all of its capabilities and characteristics in one sitting.
For example, it has the thinnest bezels of any 32-inch 4K display—just 6 mm (0.25 inch).
As you may know, since Windows 10, Microsoft has offered HDR control capability in Windows. But it just doesn’t happen automatically. You have to use the monitor’s settings controls to invoke it.
Go into Windows’ Display settings, find your monitor (if using more than one), scroll down, and click on HDR. The next screen will show you two feature choices: play streaming HDR video and use HDR. Chances are Windows will tell you: HDR not supported.
|Windows’ display settings for HDR|
That’s Windows default mode. And, chances are also that if you try to click HDR on, it won’t accept it. BUT, . . . if you have a monitor from Dell, HP, or other top-of-the-line suppliers, you will also have a driver for your monitor and a setup or display manager program. Dell calls theirs Dell Display Manager (clever name, right).
|Notice the sliders for brightness and contrast|
To turn on HDR, you have to use the setup controls on the monitor. In the case of the Dell U3223 series monitors, there is a protruding button on the right-hand side (facing the screen) in the back of the monitor next to the power on/off button.
|Dell’s U3223 series setup button|
Dell's in-monitor controls reveal the HDR setup functions and reveal that you have to explicitly turn HDR on. Use the protruding button as a joystick, and slide over to the right column, and then down to the off/on and press the button to turn on HDR.
|Dell’s monitor setup controls|
On the far right are the HDR choices, more on that in a minute.
As soon as you click Smart HDR on in the monitor, Windows gets it. But, just to be sure, reboot your system. And then be prepared to be amazed. If you look at Display Settings for your HDR monitor, you will see that now it is HDR compatible.
|Windows display settings indicate HDR is supported|
And the other thing you may notice is in Dell’s Display manager’s controls.
|Dell’s display manager has had its brightness control removed|
When HDR is turned on, the brightness level is controlled by the application.
And now you can choose what kind of HDR you want, Desktop, movies, game, or 400, by bringing up the monitor’s control panel with the back panel button.
|Dell’s monitor control panel gives four choices of HDR|
The monitor comes with a 3-year Advanced Exchange Service so that if a replacement becomes necessary, it will be shipped to you the next business day during your 3-year Limited Hardware Warranty. And, the Dell Premium Panel Exchange allows a free panel replacement during the Limited Hardware Warranty period even if only one bright pixel is found. That is amazing.
What do we think?
HDR can be more satisfying than 4k because you can actually see the differences. Many people argued you could see 4K. And Microsoft scales up the screen to 150% (default), which defeats the true 4K capability. But HDR is unmistakable at any resolution. One of the things you will notice is the colors are not saturated and are more realistic. Some people prefer saturated (over amp’ed) brightness and color, and for them, HDR is not a good choice, nor is 4K for that matter. For me, I can’t wait for a super-wide 5K with HDR. It won’t be long, certainly by CES.
|4K HDR Warhammer 40K: Space Marine 2 reveal trailer|