Dell UltraSharp U3011 review:

Dell UltraSharp U3011

Yes, it has definitely spoiled us as we found ourselves walking (slowly) back to our 24-inch monitor, the bitter taste of regret still palpable on our tongues.

As on the HP ZR30w, the colors and vibrancy on the U3011 are second to none and everything looked detailed and popped from the screen. The U3011 gets the performance edge here, however, as the presets and color calibration options allow for more detailed tweaking of the output.

We also used DisplayMate's Motion tests and found that the U3011, with its 7-millisecond refresh rate, produced noticeably more streaking than the Samsung PX2370, running at a 2ms refresh rate.

The Dell U3011 delivered clear photos with good color saturation and accurate color tints.

Viewing angle:
The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the screen's distance down from the top. At this angle, you're viewing the colors as the manufacturer intended them. Most monitors are not made to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on its panel type, picture quality at nonoptimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when they are not viewed from optimal angles. On the other hand, IPS panels usually show only minimal color shifts with angle changes. The Dell UltraSharp U3011 has an LG H-IPS (Horizontal In-Plane Switching) panel, and when viewing it from the sides, we perceived the screen as darkening about 15 inches off from center--indicating it has more than twice as wide of a viewing angle as a typical TN panel.

Recommended settings and use:
We found the game and movie presets were both appropriate when viewing games or movies. Go figure. The game preset includes a warmer tone, which enhanced the vibrant feel of StarCraft II. The Movie preset had a much cooler tone and appropriately gave movies like "Avatar" lower black levels and a more solid feel. We found the Standard preset worked best for general use.

Like most IPS-based monitors, the U3011 is geared mostly toward professional use for which accurate color reproduction is required. Thanks to its robust assortment of OSD options, it's the best 30-incher we've seen that will also satisfy most professional graphic artists. The monitor is also great for watching movies, playing games, viewing photos, and for general use. This is not uncommon with gigantic, hi-res screens.

Power consumption:
The Dell UltraSharp U3011 achieved a poor power consumption rating, with a Default/On power draw of 105.45 watts, compared with 141.7 watts from another 30-incher, the HP ZR30w, in the same test. Not at all surprising, given their gigantic screens, but Dell set the U3011's default brightness low, hence the lower consumption. In our Sleep/Standby test, the U3011 drew 1.33 watts and the ZR30w pulled a lower 1.23 watts. Based on our formula, the U3011 would cost $32.38 per year to run, compared with the ZR30w's $43.12 per year.

Brightness (in cd/m2)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Contrast ratio
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

DisplayMate tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Juice box
Dell UltraSharp U3011 Average watts per hour
On (default luminance) 105.45
On (max luminance) 142.61
On (min luminance) 75.05
Sleep 1.33
Calibrated (200 cd/m2) 103.4
Annual power consumption cost $32.38
Score Poor

Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.

Service and support
Dell backs the UltraSharp U3011 with a solid warranty, including a three-year parts-and-labor deal covering the backlight. It also offers support through a 24-7 toll-free number and 24-7 Web chat. Dell also has a fast 24- to 48-hour e-mail support turnaround time--a better package than from most monitor vendors, which don't offer weekend support. Navigating Dell's Web site and finding the drivers, product manuals, and quick guides was simple.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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