Dell's Ultrasharp U3011 packs a whole lot of bang, but is it worth the bucks?
Anyone who spends more than a couple of hours a day in front of a computer will have dreamt of owning a 30inch monitor like Dell's U3011 at some point in their lives. Whether you're designing magazine pages, editing photos or playing World of Tanks in glorious peripheral-filling surround-o-vision, bigger screens are almost always better.
That's 'better' as in more pleasant to use, with sharper text, less eye strain and a larger desktop for arranging your files on. And, because only demanding professionals are usually prepared to splash out on supersized screens, they're also where you'll find the best panels.
The U3011 is no exception to this. Like Apple's Cinema Display and competing models from HP et al, it's an uncompromisingly colour-accurate IPS panel that covers a best-in-class 117 per cent of the AdobeRGB gamut with 1.07 billion colours and a 1000:1 contrast ratio.
In short, if you're coming to it from anything other than a Retina equipped Macbook Pro, it is blindingly good quality.
And it's well equipped too. The stand rotates and flexes any which way you choose, there are two HDMI inputs, two DVI-D ports, audio, USB and a card reader too.
For most of us there is, of course, the problem of price to overcome. While monitor costs have been in freefall for years now, 30inch panels remain resolutely aloof from such competitive tactics. On the one hand that makes them a useful status symbol for how seriously you take your work (or play), on the other you can get three 23inch eIPS screens with more total pixels for a third of the cost ($259 at current prices). Even two high-quality 27inch screens costs less.
However, in all but a few cases (we're looking at you, Battlefield 3), one big, awesome monitor is better than two or three smaller, less capable screens. And of all the big monitors out there, this is the most awesome of all.
Dell Ultrasharp U3011 review
Dell's U3011 is still the ultimate desktop display, but perfection doesn't come cheap