Hands on: Dell UP3017Q OLED 4K monitor review

The Rolls-Royce of monitors

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

I've never been more excited to test and benchmark a product. The specs are outstanding. The design is gorgeous. But is this too much money to pay for a monitor?

For

  • 0.1ms response time
  • 400,000:1 contrast
  • 120Hz refresh

Against

  • Very expensive

Want to be the envy of your next office party or PC-gaming session? Let me introduce you to the Dell UP3017Q OLED Monitor. This $4,999 (about £3,350, AU$6,975) 4K, 30-inch monitor is one of the most exciting displays we've ever laid our eyes on.

Built with the same Infinity Display you'll find on Dell notebooks like the XPS 13, this monitor features almost no bezel surrounding the display. This attribute provides you with a cinematic viewing experience, especially when compared to monitors that feature thick black plastic borders surrounding the screen.

Additionally, the monitor itself is as thin as a slice of Katz's pastrami. Seriously, it's less than half an inch thick at the edges of the screen, which is absolutely revolutionary.

Aside from its beauty, the UP3017Q features an astounding spec sheet that makes the eyes and mouth water.

Dell UP3017Q

Specs

The best monitor we've ever reviewed at techradar is the LG 34UC97. This gorgeous workhorse features a response time of 5 milliseconds (ms), a contrast ratio of 1,000 to 1, and a refresh rate capable of drawing 61 images per second (or 61Hz).

The UP3017Q blows these specs out of the water.

The Rolls-Royce of displays is capable of a 0.1ms response time, a contrast ratio of 400,000 to 1, and a refresh rate of 120Hz.

Dell UP3017Q

This isn't really a fair comparison. The LG monitor is 20% the cost of the UP3017Q, and it's fantastic for anyone who has reasonable means and needs a powerful display.

The UP3017Q isn't a reasonable device, it's a luxury item, and its spec sheet reads as such. Seriously, compare it to any of the best monitors on our list. The stats are overwhelming.

Dell UP3017Q

OLED versus LCD

You probably know this from your TV research, but most of the monitors that the average human being can afford are built with LCD, or Liquid Crystal Displays.

OLED, or Organic Light Emitting Diode displays, are superior (and more expensive displays) that provide better contrast ratios, viewing angles and black levels. Unfortunately, along with these benefits come a few flaws as well.

For example: OLEDs typically suffer from more burn-in and shorter lifecycles than their LCD rivals. Dell says it has remedied the shortcomings of OLED panels by introducing a pixel-shifting algorithm that prevents burn-in, and an image sensor that can tell whether or not you're viewing the monitor and turns it off when it's not in use.

We can't verify the veracity of these claims until we run a full set of tests on the monitor, but boy are we looking forward to getting our hands on one.

Dell UP3017Q

A few cool features

The UP3017Q is USB-C compatible. This means you'll be able to plug your laptop or tablet into the monitor to display your small-screen image on the big screen, and while this is happening, your laptop or tablet will be charging. Sweet.

The navigation isn't exactly avant-garde, but it is easy-as-pie to master. Dell provided four physical buttons at the bottom of the panel (brightness, modes, source and screen settings) that you can easily click through to adjust your monitor. As companies experiment with touchscreen monitor settings that cause more trouble than they're worth, Dell opted to leave what ain't broken unbroken.

Dell UP3017Q

A few issues

The UP3017Q isn't a perfect monitor. For example: you can rotate the machine to present a vertical image, but the image won't automatically shift with the hardware. Some Samsung monitors feature software that knows to automatically rotate the image whenever the hardware is adjusted (think of how your iPad image shifts when you rotate the tablet from horizontal to vertical).

Additionally, the monitor's ports only connect underneath the panel. That's because this monitor is so incredibly thin along its sides that most plugs are too wide to slide into the bezel. Those of you who prefer to plug in connectors along the side of your devices will be disappointed by this, especially when you realize you have to crouch down and tilt your head to see which slot is which.

Dell UP3017Q

The monitor features a one-step button-release that lets you easily pop it off of Dell's display mounts. This is a great feature for the IT department, but it's a scary proposition for the home or small office user. Do you have a five-year-old that likes to rouse rabbles? Keep him or her away from this button.

If you display this monitor in the middle of your office (rather than against a wall), you'll be turned off by the long vent line Dell placed at the back of the panel. It looks like an army of ants about to attack your pixels.

Early verdict

Not many people have $4,999 to spend on a monitor. But those who do will absolutely love the look and feel of the UP3017Q.

I can't attest to the device's longevity, or how exact Dell's claims are regarding the image output, until I test the device. But I can tell you that this is a gorgeous monitor that will immediately captivate anyone who walks into your office.

If you find a pile of cash, and you need a 4K monitor, give the Dell UP3017Q your utmost consideration.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.

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