Dell U3818DW Curved Monitor Review

OSD Setup & Calibration

The U3818DW has an extensive OSD with many calibration options and all the features you’d expect in a professional display. Bring it up by pressing the third control button twice.

Brightness and contrast are controlled by sliders in the first sub-menu. The U3818DW doesn’t have a ton of output, and we found after setting contrast correctly (it’s too high by default), brightness had to be maxed to achieve 200cd/m2. We’ll go into more detail about that on the next page. Next up is an input selector, which includes USB Type C in the list of choices. You can connect a compatible laptop to that port and mirror its video output.

The Color menu offers six picture modes. Standard is the default and displays decent accuracy, but we found a few gains by using Custom Color with its two-point grayscale, saturation, and hue sliders. You can also adjust the color temp by Kelvins in the Color Temp mode. ComfortView has a low blue-light feature that can reduce eye fatigue, though a proper grayscale calibration accomplishes the same thing. If you connect a Blu-ray player, the monitor supports YPbPr input formats. If you want to reset only the color controls, you can do that as well.

Display has aspect ratio options that can either stretch content to fill the screen or display it in a 1:1-pixel ratio. Obviously, it’s best to stick with the native 3840x1600 format. Sharpness is fine at the default setting. Anything higher and you’ll see clarity-robbing edge enhancement. Dynamic Contrast is available in some picture modes. It improves perceived contrast and clips some highlight and shadow detail. Response Time is a well-engineered overdrive that won’t ghost even at its highest setting. Uniformity Compensation is a toggle, either on or off. We found it has the most effect on higher brightness levels. It reduces output and contrast while providing no significant benefit.

Ultra-wide screens are great for viewing multiple sources. The U3818DW can show two signals in either a side-by-side format or PIP. There are two window sizes available.

USB Selection is where you can assign KVM functions to the three video inputs. This allows the monitor to support two PCs with individual input devices.

The U3818DW’s audio is a cut above the norm, and you can control the volume here. If you plan to use an external system or simply want silence, the speakers can be disabled.

The OSD is available in multiple languages, can be on-screen for up to 60 seconds, and be as transparent or solid as you’d like.

The first two control keys can be programmed for different functions to avoid a trip to the OSD for commonly-used items. There are eight possible options for things like luminance, picture modes, USB and video swap, PBP/PIP, and others. If the power LED is a distraction, you can turn it off. USB ports can be left powered in standby for charging purposes.

The Others menu has DDC/CI options, LCD Conditioning patterns, and signal info. If you want to return all settings to their defaults, select Factory Reset.

Calibration

The U3818DW can be used in its Standard mode without further calibration. It delivers decent accuracy, though there is a little room for improvement. For that, select Custom Color and adjust the grayscale controls as we did. The only changes required by our sample were to the RGB Gain sliders. No other adjustments were necessary. If you want to tweak the color gamut, hue and saturation sliders are provided. The only problem we encountered was a too-high contrast setting. It manifested by clipping highlight detail and causing a red deficiency at 100% brightness. Lowering it enough to fix the issue meant we had to max the brightness slider for 200cd/m2. It also cost us some contrast. There is no gamma control, but our sample hit 2.2 right on the nose, so we didn’t miss it. Here are our recommended settings.

Dell U3818DW Calibration Settings
Preset Mode
Custom
Brightness 200cd/m2
100
Brightness 120cd/m253
Brightness 100cd/m241
Brightness 80cd/m230
Brightness 50cd/m214
Contrast
67
Gain
Red 100, Green 96, Blue 98
Offset
Red 50, Green 50, Blue 50
Hue & Saturation
Unchanged

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