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Scharon Harding –
Today, Dell announced a beefed-up monitor to expand the limited options available to creative professionals who want more pixels. With 6144×3456 resolution, the Dell UltraSharp 32 6K Monitor (U3224KB) places itself firmly in the professional category, right alongside the likes of Apple’s 6K Pro Display XDR. We briefly checked out the U3224KB in person in New York, and it showed strong contrast through IPS Black technology, plus several built-in extras that help it stand out. And we’re not just talking about the graciously included stand.
Dell’s U3224KB is a 31.5-inch monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 60 Hz refresh rate. When we saw it at a press event, a company spokesperson said the monitor’s form factor is based on power users’ preference for 220–260 pixels per inch (ppi) in high-end notebooks. Dell wanted to incorporate that same level of pixel density in a 32-inch-class screen, a popular size among its users.
The U3224KB has a pixel density of 223.79 ppi, to be precise, making it noticeably more pixel-dense than a 31.5-inch, 4K (3840×2160) monitor like the Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ (139.87 ppi). The Dell monitor also gets you more pixels per inch than a 27-inch, 5K (5120×2880) monitor like Apple’s Studio Display (217.57 ppi), and even the Pro Display XDR monitor. Apple’s display is a hair bigger, at 32 inches, with a slightly lower resolution of 6016×3384, giving you 215.7 ppi.
With 21,233,664 pixels, the U3224KB occupies an elite class of UltraSharps that go beyond the Dell monitor lineup’s typical lure of sleek designs and strong port selection, including USB-C connectivity. Offering 44 percent more screen real estate than a 5K monitor like the Studio Display, Dell says this monitor is for creators, like designers and engineers. The vendor sees professionals using the monitor for tasks such as making fine details in illustrations and UI or working with high-resolution photos or videos while having pixels remaining for additional windows and tools.
That niche category means things like image quality and accuracy are of the utmost importance, and it also means the U3224KB faces stiff, reference-level competition.
And to take on that challenge, Dell is betting on IPS Black, a type of IPS-technology LG Display introduced in early 2022. IPS Black differs from standard IPS LCDs by claiming 35 percent deeper black levels. As such, the U3224KB is supposed to have twice the contrast of an average IPS monitor, at 2,000:1. It also claims a typical max brightness of 450 nits with SDR content.
So far, IPS Black has been relatively successful at delivering contrast and image quality that’s noticeably improved from a quality monitor using traditional IPS. We’ve tested two IPS Black monitors before, also from Dell. The UltraSharp U3223QZ showed 1,860:1 contrast with max brightness and default settings, and the smaller UltraSharp U2723QE hit 1,873:1. Higher contrast on those 4K monitors made content like movies and photos appear to have more depth while looking more detailed and realistic, especially in darker areas. Shadowy scenes in 4K movies, for example, had more variation in shades of gray, and we also saw lively looking skin tones.
For comparison, we recorded a contrast of 1,040:1 with the 5K Studio Display set to 200 nits versus 1,504:1 for the U3223QZ and 1,760:1 for the U2723QE.
But while IPS Black contrast is impressive for IPS, there are prosumer monitors delivering even greater contrast levels. For comparison, PCMag reported an SDR contrast of 12,460:1 when testing the Pro Display XDR in SDR mode, and MonitorNerds reported the monitor surpassing 10,000:1. And you can find VA monitors delivering contrast in the 3,000:1 range.
Targeting professional workers, the bar for the U3224KB is even higher than it is for Dell’s other IPS Black, UltraSharp monitors. In other specs, Dell claims the U3224KB covers 99 percent of DCI-P3 and Apple’s Display P3, 100 percent sRGB, and 100 percent of Rec. 709. However, the company hasn’t provided any color accuracy claims for the monitor yet, and that will be critical for many creatives.
Our time with the 6K monitor was brief, but we quickly noticed vibrant colors and sufficient brightness in a decently lit room. This included when viewing the display from different side angles. Dell’s blog post on the U3224KB today claimed that the monitor’s IPS Black panel has a contrast ratio 1.4 times greater than standard IPS when viewed from a 45-degree angle.
The blog also claimed that IPS Black monitors—citing the 4K U3223QZ as an example, rather than the 6K U3224KB—have up to 41 percent deeper black levels at a 45-degree horizontal viewing angle compared to a 31.5-inch competitor using a standard IPS monitor. According to Dell, an IPS Black monitor could also have up to 1.2 times better color accuracy than a regular IPS monitor at that angle, “especially in displaying low grays.”
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Dell’s new UltraSharp monitor is a 6K powerhouse for pros [Updated] – Ars Technica
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