Straight out of the box, the Dell U3014 feels like a huge monitor. I’ve reviewed a lot of 27” displays this past year, but even then the U3014 is a different size beast. As is standard for Dell, the monitor comes packed well, but using cardboard and other recyclable components instead of Styrofoam that breaks apart easily and it’s good for repacking. Removing the panel and attaching it to the adjustable stand takes just seconds, and I’m still amazed so few vendors can get this simple thing right. No screws, no manual needed; it just slides into place and clicks right on.

The design itself hasn’t changed much since the U3011, though it does have a few noticeable features that other vendors would be smart to implement. On the left of the display are two USB 3.0 ports and a card reader that handles most common memory card formats. Inputs available consist of DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort, and a Mini DisplayPort. The presence of MiniDP and the lack of a VGA input are two big things to notice here. Dell ships the U3014 with a DisplayPort to MiniDP cable, and having both inputs means that a single cable can work with a video card that has either output. It also lets you hook it up to two different DisplayPort sources, such as a desktop and laptop, which becomes more essential as DisplayPort is the main standard now. It was a nice change of pace to be able to simply connect to any source instead of hunting for a cable. The lack of VGA shouldn’t affect anyone at this point, and it helps to reduce costs by dropping the price of an analog to digital converter.

The Dell also has a DisplayPort output, which lets you use Multi-Stream Transport (MST) to hook up another DisplayPort monitor directly to the Dell U3014. I tested this with the Nixeus VUE 27 that I mentioned earlier and found that it managed to work well, with a couple of caveats. Every time I’d come back to the computer, which goes to sleep automatically after 30 minutes in my case, the Nixeus wouldn’t power back on. I’d have to power cycle it for it to be recognized, but since the Nixeus sometimes does this when it’s the only monitor, I can’t be certain if this is an issue with MST, the Dell, or the Nixeus. Unfortunately, I have no other DisplayPort monitors around to test right now.

Also, I sometimes use the Nixeus for audio since it has internal speakers, and with 30” monitors on my desktop I can run out of room for speakers pretty easily. When feeding audio over MST, it's very crackly and features lots of breakups, like trying to do a Skype call over a 56k modem. Since audio typically works fine on the Nixeus, I have to assume this is related to MST and that it might not handle audio perfectly. I never saw an issue with video over MST, but audio did not work well at all.

Finally the U3014 has a connector for USB 3.0 in and two more USB 3.0 outputs next to the connectors, and a power output for the Dell SoundBar that connects to the bottom of the display. One feature that is missing that Dell displays usually have is rotation. Having a stand that raises high enough for a 30” monitor to rotate would be a bit large, and most people probably aren’t going to rotate it, but it certainly does make hooking up cables much easier.

Setup of the U3014 was as straightforward as you can get. I used the MiniDP input as my video card is a DisplayPort output, then hooked up the Nixeus directly to the U3014 using its DisplayPort cable. After connecting the USB cable I installed the card reader driver, installed the software packages Dell provides, and everything was ready to go.

Dell has one of the best OSD designs out there I think, with a simple menu system that keeps controls moving in the same direction, with unlabeled buttons that have their use put up on screen, so it’s easier to tell than trying to look for a silk screened label in the dark. This time I think that Dell made a step back with the U3014 by moving to touch sensitive controls. When your hand approaches the buttons, ones that you can use light up to indicate that you can hit them, but I found them to only be so-so in responsiveness. I really wish Dell had kept the traditional hard buttons but added the auto-sensing lights, and then it would be an ideal setup. As it is, it is only "okay" because of this change.

As an IPS display, viewing angles are basically perfect. The screen is so huge that any flaw in this area would be really bad, but in this case I don’t see any shifts in brightness until I get to at least 45-50 degrees from a few inches away, and then the very edge starts to darken a bit. IPS is still fantastic in this regard.

Dell U3014
Video Inputs 1xHDMI, 1x MiniDP, 1xDisplayPort, 1xDVI-DL
Panel Type IPS
Pixel Pitch 0.25 mm
Colors 1.07 Billion
Brightness 350 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio 1000:1
Response Time 6ms GTG
Viewable Size 30"
Resolution 2560x1600
Viewing Angle (H/V) 178/178
Backlight GB-LED
Power Consumption (operation) 60W Typical
Power Consumption (standby) < 0.5W
Screen Treatment Anti-Glare 3H Hard Coat
Height-Adjustable Yes (3.55")
Tilt Yes
Pivot No
Swivel Yes
VESA Wall Mounting Yes
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 27.15" x 19.00" x 7.93"
Weight 16.20 lbs. w/o stand
Additional Features USB 3.0 Hub (4 port), Headphone Output, Card Reader, DisplayPort out with MST
Limited Warranty 3 Years
Accessories MiniDP to DisplayPort cable, DVI-D cable, USB 3.0 cable, Cable Tie, Power Cable
Price $1,499


Introduction and Backlight Design Brightness and Contrast
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  • Kevin G - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    I had to re-read the article to catch the few bits regarding MST support. I'm curious to see how well the MST hub works with a DP 1.1 monitor (more than likely) and a DP 1.1 output from a video card (not so likely). I was hoping for a bit more testing in this area but I guess you had to work with what you have on hand.

    Did you try any active DP-to-DVI adapters for usage with other displays?

    Could you logically rotate the display connected via the MST out port independently of the primary?

    Can the refresh rates on each monitor be adjust independently as well?
  • DigitalFreak - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

  • Trefugl - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    You mention a 30" IPS display selling at Monoprice. Do you have plans to review, or can point me in the direction of one? I'm interested in a 30" display that is "decent" - I plan on using it for typical desktop use and gaming.
  • Martin_Schou - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    Does this monitor support USB over DisplayPort? I'm guessing it doesn't, and to be honest, I'm starting to be annoyed at having to pull an extra cable, that is frankly unneeded.
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    It doesn't seem to, no. When I unplugged the USB cable the USB devices stopped working, even though its connected over DisplayPort. A restart didn't fix this either.
  • airmantharp - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    TFT Central did an in-depth look into the input lag, and while they found similar numbers in the default modes, there is a 'gaming' mode that they measured at ~3ms. It appears to bypass all of the circuitry used for processing and scaling, and along with the new AG coating, makes this monitor preferable to HP's ZR30w for gaming.
  • cheinonen - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    I ran all the tests in the gaming mode, so that is where the numbers come from. So I don't know if the different methods account for everything, or if they might have gotten a different firmware, or something else.
  • airmantharp - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    I feel for you- trying to do an objective test without the equipment is challenging. I was just hoping to address some of the 'it's awful for gaming!' comments that ignored your mention of TFT Central's finding, especially as it's probably the best 30" for gaming.
  • tocket - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    What are the CIE standard observer color matching curves doing in the "spectral signature" chart? That is not very useful I think - it only makes it more confusing. I also want to comment that having "a much larger spectrum of light wavelengths" does not give you a larger gamut volume. If you want to get the largest possible gamut monochromatic light sources should be used (ideally at something like 450, 520 and 640 nm).
  • cjl - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    A quick comment - those touch sensitive buttons that you keep complaining about? Those aren't new. As a U3011 owner, I can tell you with some certainty that they've been there on Dell's flagship since at least the 3011. I haven't had any problems with mine either as far as responsiveness is concerned, but that may be personal preference (or maybe I happened to get a monitor with above-average responsiveness to the buttons).

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