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dell 3011 5

Dell UltraSharp U3011 30″ Monitor Review

The Dell U3011 is an ultra high resolution computer monitor that offers a variety of inputs.

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For those of us that spend multiple hours a day sitting in front of a computer, productivity and comfort is a huge factor. Working off a tiny or low resolution screen can make it cumbersome to get things done and can make multitasking a real pain. The most cost effective way to tackle this issue is to throw an additional monitor in the mix, but that is not always best for everyone. That is why companies like Dell have produced ultra-high resolution 30 inch monitors to provide nearly double the screen real estate while only requiring a single monitor.

dell 3011 6About 3 years ago when I was in a big online poker phase, I purchased the Dell 3o07WFP and was amazed at how much extra space I had gained while using the 30 inch monitor. It wasn't until this year that I finally decided to upgrade to Dell's U3011 model. I wanted to experience the added screen space along with the additional inputs and OSD options.

I will warn you, the Dell U3011 does not come at a cheap price as it is currently going for $1,080 on Amazon. Having said that, if you're willing to spend the cash I'm certain you won't be disappointed. Some of you who are not very tech savvy might be thinking: “why don't you just buy a 32 inch TV and use it as a monitor for the quarter of the price?” A standard 32″ 1080P TV will only display a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The physical screen size will be bigger, the pixels will also be bigger. Therefore this will not be effective in adding any extra room to your screen space, but just amplify the existing one. On the other hand, the Dell U3011 takes a 30-inch screen and packs a whooping 2560 x 1600 resolution within it.

dell 3011 10The U3011's design features a matte black chassis with a gray line running down the sides and on the rear stand. The panel is fairly thick, especially where the back-light, inputs, and cooling system are located. The screen has a smooth matte finish and features a 0.9 inch bezel surrounding it.

It features lots of inputs including two DVI, two HDMI, DisplayPort, Component, VGA, five USB, and a 7-1 media card reader. It is notable that you will need to run a USB power cable to utilize the media card reader & USB ports.

Comparing the Dell U3011 to the Dell 3007WFP that I have owned for the past 3 years, it does differ in a few ways. As for the inputs, features, and overall performance the U3011 blows the 3007WFP out of the water as you'd expect from a monitor that is 4 years newer. Where I personally think the 3007WFP reigns is in cosmetic appeal. The 3007WFP features a stylish two-tone black and silver finish, while the U3011 is made up primarily of a dull black. I also think the U3011's boxy base is much less appealing (though likely more stable) than the 3007WFP's V-shaped base. Keep in mind this portion is mainly my personal opinion and in no way reflects the product negatively in terms of performance.

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The Dell U3011 outperforms virtually any 30-inch monitor on the market. I received mine with no dead pixels and found it to perform very well. The color output is rich, vibrant, and on-point. The dark screen tests did not show any noticeable bleeding, but I did notice slight static streaking at times. Thanks to the screen's matte finish, I have yet to experience any glare issues even in nearly direct sunlight. I have noticed that the panel does run a bit hot after extended use even with the rear cooling system in place, but not hot enough to make me worry further.

Most 30-inch monitors do not include OSD (On Screen Display) options. This allows you to edit picture settings and quickly change to included presets like Multimedia, Game, Warm, Cool, Adobe RGB, xRGB, and xv Mode. By utilizing the OSD options you can also adjust the sharpness, adjust brightness/contrast, change input source, and a few other useful criteria.

IMG_7696Gaming on the Dell U3011 is an absolute dream. I put it through the test by playing Starcraft 2 on full resolution. As a result it looked truly stunning and the game's colors looked as vibrant and rich. Since the U3011 features an array of inputs including an HDMI as well as an audio out connection, I was able to hook up my Xbox 360 & some external speakers in order to play some Halo 4. Using an Xbox with this monitor feels just like it does when I use my 32″ HDTV since Xbox 360 is only capable of 1080P. I am now able to condense my desk space and utilize the U3011 as both a TV and a computer monitor without the direct need for my HDTV. If you have an HD cable box and a spare set of speakers, you will be able to access cable TV fairly easily.

In the end, I found the Dell U3011 to be an amazing monitor at a premium price tag. Compared to the Dell 3007WFP that I previously owned and the various other 30-inch monitors that I have tested, the Dell U3011 is the clear winner. If you're looking to effectively maximize your computer's screen space and harness the ability to have your monitor double as an HDTV then the Dell U3011 is the ideal choice. Though expensive, there is no other 30-inch monitor on the market that I could recommend more to a prospective buyer. If you've got the cash and can get past the premium price tag, I highly suggest you purchase this monitor. Once you start using it you'll be hooked and there will be no looking back.

If you want to increase your screen space, but $1,000 is still too rich for your blood, look into the Dell U2711. It is more affordable and slightly smaller, but still has an impressive amount of pixels to work with that should suit most consumer's needs.