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Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP review: Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP

Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP

Eric Franklin Former Editorial Director
Eric Franklin led the CNET Tech team as Editorial Director. A 20-plus-year industry veteran, Eric began his tech journey testing computers in the CNET Labs. When not at work he can usually be found at the gym, chauffeuring his kids around town, or absorbing every motivational book he can get his hands on.
Expertise Graphics and display technology. Credentials
  • Once wrote 50 articles in one month.
Eric Franklin
7 min read

Editors' Note: There was a mistake made with the original calculation of this monitor's rating. The mistake has now been fixed, and the overall star rating has been adjusted to reflect the fix. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.


Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP

The Good

Incredible amount of features and connection options; very impressive aesthetic quality; looks great with games and normal office tasks.

The Bad

Very expensive even for a 30-inch model with so many features; color performance with movies was extremely lacking; no built-in sound; no coaxial connection for an HDTV over-the-air antenna.

The Bottom Line

If you're willing to pay the price for beautiful looks and loads of connection options in a 30-inch LCD monitor, you'll like what you get with the Dell 3008WFP. You may be less enthused with this display, however, after experiencing its lackluster color performance and low black levels when watching movies.

The $2,000 Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP is a beautiful-looking display with a ton of features. Because of its 117 percent NTSC color gamut, however, we encountered many more color problems than we expected during DVD and Blu-ray playback. Be prepared to do a lot of color tweaking if you plan to watch movies on it. Also, its black levels were disappointing. The 30-inch Gateway XHD3000 Extreme HD can be found for as low as $1,449 online and is the better performer, but it has fewer connections and less flashy looks. Unless aesthetics and connections are paramount, we recommend the cheaper, better performing Gateway monitor.

The Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP is the best looking 30-inch display we've yet seen. From the glossy black foot stand to the metal bezel overlay, this thing screams style and elegance. Although it costs $2,000, it, at the very least, looks like what a $2,000 monitor should look like. It's not quite as striking as the Dell Crystal, but for such a large display, Dell didn't skimp on the small details that make it look so pretty.

The front 1-inch long brushed aluminum bezel contrasts beautifully with the glossy black finish of the sides and top of the screen and the 15-inch wide by 8.7-inch deep foot stand. In the center of the bottom bezel is a slightly flush silver Dell logo. Most of the back has a similar brushed gray look to it, but is also offset by two large dark gray vents with many small circular vent holes. Toward the top back in the center is a very large flushed silver Dell logo. The neck of the stands sits about 9.6 inches high with the screen attached at the top via a cantilever design that allows the height to be adjusted by about 3.6 inches.

We had no trouble accessing the many connection options since the screen sits about 4 inches from the stand and the connections are labeled with text and a small illustration. The metal that attaches the screen to the stand feels very solid. When knocked from the sides, the screen wobbles, but the foot stand does not. This is attributed to the cantilever design that allows the screen to absorb the energy instead of the whole display. This effect is lessened, however, when the display is knocked from the front. The screen rotates left and right about 25 degrees via a swiveling mechanism, and also tilts back about 25 degrees as well. There is no pivoting feature, but that's nothing new in the world of 30-inch monitors.

One of the biggest complaints about last year's Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP was its lack of screen customizable options--something Dell has gone very far to correct. The 3007WFP included controls only for brightness, but the 3008WFP includes a full five-button onscreen display located in the front lower righthand corner of the screen right next to the blue LED power button. The buttons provide good tactile feedback, giving a satisfying click when pressed, but they are too closely bunched together.

The menu has only a small learning curve before you're quickly finding your way through. In addition to brightness and contrast controls, there are seven display presets to choose from split into two categories: Graphics and Video. So, depending on whether you plan to watch a movie or work in Microsoft Word, the presets are there to make customizing the display a lot easier. It doesn't stop there though since the OSD includes many options from an OSD timer to sound and picture-by-picture options, but we'll talk about these more in the features section.

Manufacturer's specifications:
Resolution: 2,560x1,600
Pixel-response rate: 8ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1, 3,000:1 (Dynamic)
Brightness: 370cd/m2
Connectivity: HDMI, DVI (2), VGA, Component, DisplayPort, S-Video, Composite
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? DVI, DisplayPort

Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP has the most connection options we've yet seen on a 30-inch display. While the 3007WFP included only one DVI port for video, the 3008 includes two DVI ports along with HDMI, VGA, Component, DisplayPort, Composite, and S-Video. Unfortunately, Dell only included cables for DVI and DisplayPort. It would have been nice to see a coaxial connection for an HDTV over-the-air antenna, but our guess is that to save on cost Dell opted out since--even at 30 inches--this is still a computer monitor first and foremost. Still, it amounts to a great collection of ports than the reigning 30-inch connection options king, the Gateway XHD3000. The Gateway includes only one DVI port and lacks DisplayPort. Non-video connection options include four USB upstream ports--two on the side and two on the back--and one downstream port on the back. Like the 3007WFP, it also features a Compact Flash and SD card reader.

As with all 30-inch displays, the Dell 3008WFP has a 2,560x1,600-pixel native resolution. It's the first 30-inch LCD we've seen, however, that includes display options beyond just brightness control. With the 3008WFP, you get not only controls for brightness, but contrast as well. In addition, if you select the Video color setting mode, you also get controls for adjusting color saturation and hue. There are a number of menu options that control the transparency of the menu to how long it stays on screen.

There is also a very cool picture-by-picture feature that lets you view two connections at once. With this feature, you're able to view HDTV while playing a game at the same time right next to each other. Unfortunately, each screen takes up only about a quarter of the screen, and small text was very hard to see when viewing Web pages in Windows XP in this mode. Also, this is limited to only the first DVI port, component, VGA, and the Displayport. The second DVI port, HDMI, and Composite are not supported by this feature.

There are no included speakers, although there is a place and connections for a speaker bar. However, when purchasing the Display on Dell's site, there is no option to include one. Editor's note: Dell has since included this option. There is an optical audio, though, so if you wanted to hook the monitor up to your sound system, you can. There are also connections for left and right channel audio and a center channel or subwoofer input.

While the Dell UltraSharpWFP scored high with an 87 in CNET Labs DisplayMate-based test suite, this was not high enough to beat the 90 posted by the Gateway XHD3000 and the Samsung SyncMaster 305t, which we attribute mostly to the way the display handles color.

According to Dell, the display supports 117 percent of the NTSC color gamut, and we found that on our Color Tracking test, which looks for evidence of color within the grayscale, we found more than two occurrences. Also, on the Intensity and Grayscale test, which helps to identify a display's capability to deliver seamless gradation across a full spectrum of gray bars, we found many occurrences of color where there was not supposed to be. So yes, the display has more colors to play with but it seemed that it had a difficult time controlling those colors in our DisplayMate tests. In addition to the color problems in DisplayMate, we saw a noticeable amount of backlight bleed through at the top center of the screen. This occurred while viewing a dark scene in a room with low room lighting. When viewing the same black screen in normal room lighting the bleeding was only slightly less noticeable. Lowering the brightness to very low levels helped, but it was still evident when we looked for it.

When viewing movies we saw the color problems crop up again in particular with some of the presets. The Movie preset allows you to adjust the color saturation and hue, but we could never adjust it to our satisfaction. The colors were oversaturated and inaccurate no matter what adjustments we made in this mode. We found that the best mode for movies was the Cool mode, but even there we noticed an annoying red push. We found it difficult to achieve deep blacks even with the Dynamic Contrast feature turned on. While watching Batman Begins on Blu-ray, the blacks were noticeably much closer to dark grays.

World of Warcraft looked great in the Cool and Warm modes, but not in the Game mode as the colors felt much too overly saturated.

One extra thing we noticed was that the display runs very hot when left on for awhile. In particular, the top back of the display singed my arm a few times.

Testing note: We tested the Dell UltraSharpWFP in the DVI connection and ran it side by side with the other 30-inchers we have available using the Kramer VM-2DVI distribution amplifier.

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

Contrast ratio
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Dell 3008WFP
Dell 3007WFP

DisplayMate performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.

Service and support
For the $2,000 price Dell gives you a three-year limited warranty that covers defects in the display and its peripherals. This also includes a 24-7 toll-free phone technical support as well as technical support through live Web chat. Dell also offers a "Premium Panel Guarantee" that states if any bright pixels are found, the customer will receive a free panel exchange. Although we found the drivers on Dell's Web site with no problem, we found that the links for the manual and user guide were dead at the time this review was written.


Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 6Support 8Setup 0