The Dell UP2715K is just a complete unnecessary, absolutely beautifully, wasted chunk of money. These were my initial thoughts when I heard about the Dell 5K monitor. Maybe this is because I upgraded my WQHD monitor late last year to a 4K Asus monitor but would of been fine sticking to my LG ultrawide. Or, maybe it’s because the price of the UP2715K was an insane $2,500 when it was first announced. Well, fast forward to current times and the Dell 5K Ultrasharp UP2715K is now priced between $1,500 – $1,600. Still not budget friendly nor even average but far better than the original price. Thanks to the folks at B&H I was able to try out one of only a few 5K monitors on the market. There is no doubt about it, the 5K Dell is trying to compete head on with the 5K iMac. Since Apple pretty much own that market for a bit before Dell released the UP2715K is only makes sense. Although, the biggest different between these 2 is simple. 1 is a computer monitor aimed at professional creators and the other is a computer monitor aimed at professional creators on a consumer level because it also features a built in computer. Though this is not a comparison video since I have never used the 5K iMac I think this is something worth mentioning when it comes to discussing the price of the 5K Dell.
The build and design of this monitor is nothing shy of premium. weighing around 20lbs when combined with the stand the monitor is solid. The stand is like a brushed aluminum finish at least that is what it resembles. It attaches to the UP2715K on the back side by simply pushing a button and locking it into place. This concerned when initially putting it together but soon after realized it was extremely secure. The stand allows the monitor to tilt, swivel, and pivot 90 degrees for portrait style viewing. It is also height adjustable ensuring you get it perfect with your eye level. For you people that don’t like desk mounts it does allow support for a 100mm vesa kit for putting it on other mounts. The display itself is relatively thin and compact. The front side has an edge to edge glass display but still has thick bezels when compared to offerings from Asus but look small when compared to the iMac. The monitor features several ports including 1 mini display port, 2 display ports, 1 upstream USB 3.0 port, 5 Downstream USB 3.0 with one having the ability to charge a device, and finally they even include a media card reader. All of these can be covered with a plastic locking plate for a visually better experience. When paired with the built in cable management on the stand you can actually clean up your setup quite nicely even if you suck at cable management like me. On the right side you will find your power and navigation buttons. All are physical buttons which require a tactile press but have a great response. The power button even has a built in LED to make it easier to differentiate. The speakers found on the Dell 5K monitor are great for built in ones. They are 16w Harmon Kardon speakers and rely on the bouncing of sound waves to simulate a stereo sound experience. Like I said for built in monitor speakers they are great but do not compete with studio monitors or higher end desktop speakers. Here is an interesting fact though, if you look at the model pictures online there is a Harmon Kardon branding on the bottom bezel. My model did not come with this and makes me slightly concerned. All in all the build and functionality of the Dell 5K is simply amazing and the best built monitor I have used to date.
The display on the Dell 5K monitor is nothing short of outstanding, at least from a creators stand point. It features a 16×9 5120×2880 IPS panel with an anti glare and 3H hard coat. IPS panels have never been known for their saturation and poppy colors like OLED panels but that is primarily when discussing phones. For monitors you have IPS and TN pretty much. The difference between these 2 types of monitors can get extremely detailed. To summarize it, IPS panels are typically more expensive and are used by creative professionals because they typically get brighter and have much better color reproduction providing no less than 8 bits. TN panels are typically cheaper however are used more for gaming around the world. This is because they have a faster refresh rate at the cost of less accurate colors, decreased brightness, and possibly more light bleed. That being said, the Dell 5K monitor is aimed at professional photo editors, video editors, and other creators since it has a true 10 Bit panel with 99% Adobe RGB and 100% sRGB reproduction. In laymen’s terms this monitor should put out some bad ass imaging with some of the most accurate colors out there. You even get a certificate in the box that says, “Hey, I’m bad ass and here’s why”. During my use the actual picture quality and level of detail exceeded my expectations. The amount of colors being displayed with the extremely sharp and crisp 5K display was simply amazing not to mention how everything just pops on the display. Furthermore, you can use a display calibrator like the Xrite ColorMunki I use to maintain and improve the Adobe and sRGB color production. The Dell 5K also has excellent off axis viewing without any extreme color shifting. Light bleed is present as it is with the majority of LCD panels but it’s much better than some of the other cheaper displays on the market like this Asus. The display has a wet look to it like something you would get from a glossy display except it does a fairly good job at blocking reflections when viewing content. One minor concern I had when using the display for extended periods was the warmth being projected from the panel and through the display glass. After about 2 hours of use I realized there were quite a few smudges and smears on my display. When cleaning it with a microfiber cloth I could feel quite a bit of heat through the barriers. It worries me due to the increased chance of the display suffering from the “burn-in” affect which could cause items on your screen to permanently become ghosted and always visible. Typically this happens after the display has been sitting idle for an extended period which is why it’s always best to use a screensaver or turn the displays power saving feature on.
Connecting the UP2715K to your computer is simple and dell provides everything in the box to do so; but there is one thing that turns this simple process into a not so great experience which I’ll get to in a bit. In order to get the actual 5K resolution you need to use both DP ports and have a GPU that has 2 open display ports to receive the signal. Keep in mind 5K requires quite a bit of power so not only does your GPU need to have 2 ports available but it also needs to have the horsepower to push this thing and perform your necessary daily tasks. Now you might notice on the back side that 1 display port has a blue color below it. This is in case you randomly want to run the monitor in only 4K resolution for whatever reason. You can also achieve this by using the mini display port if this is something you want. Regardless, both 4K and 5K are 60hz so truthfully there is no benefit of using a single cable connection. Also, after connecting everything make sure your drivers are updated and support 5K. If your on windows you may need to adjust the scaling to get the best results. I kept mine at the default 200% and have been happy with the results.
My experience with the Dell 5K has been what Beyonce would say, “A Beautiful Nightmare”. From everything I stated previously it’s apparent why this thing rocks but the issues I faced involving my drivers crashing or performance issues really put a damper on my feelings towards the UP2715K. My current setup is a custom built PC with dual Nvidia Titan X GPUs, overclocked 5960X CPU, and 64gb of RAM. There should be absolutely no reason for my system to not have the horse power to push this monitor. Most of the time it runs fine but my GPUs idle at 50 degrees Celsius at times and other times they are around 28-32 Celsius. This does not concern me as much as my display driver crashing in the middle of a render or export which in return causes my NLE to shut down and losing my unsaved progress. There were even times when the monitor required to be unplugged and restarted to regain the 5K connection. I will say since the latest Nvidia update things have been much better and I can safely run my GPUs in SLI without issue. I understand it cannot be this display’s fault entirely, considering when I ran this off of my 2013 Mac Pro I did not experience the same issues. But, the fact that I experience all of these inconsistencies was enough for me, especially when considering the price of this monitor. As for me gaming experience, I was really impressed but before I continued let me just say I am not a big PC gamer. In fact, I am still new to the PC realm since I have been on Mac OS for the past 10 years. With that being said, despite the 60hz refresh rate I did not notice any horrible motion blur or visual artifacts when gaming at the full 5K resolution. I was maintaining 42-48 FPS consistently during Doom at my native resolution.
So, is the Dell UP2715K worth it? Well, this is the best display I have ever layer eyes on in terms of resolution, sharpness, and it’s color accuracy is up there with the Asus PA329Q. It’s breathe taking to watch 5K YouTube videos on and for video or photo editing it’s a dream. But, in the end the I chose not to keep it because it’s just not for me. Currently, there is hardly a need for a 5K monitor and since the majority of consumers are shooting in 4K or less. From a professional stand point having a true 10 bit display at that resolution is out standing but again you can get a professional self calibrating monitor for a little more. Also, it will be less straining on your computer thus giving you greater flexibility for multiple displays. Another thing to consider is the fact that you can get an actual computer with a 5K display that performs slightly less but still is an all in one for around the same price. With that being said, if your a professional editor on windows, have the cash to blow, and the system to push this thing I don’t think you will regret your purchase after you see the images coming off of this monitor. On the flip side if your a gamer, on a budget, or have an entry level machine this monitor is not for you. As for me, I chose to go with dual Asus PA329Q’s with the slight chance of adding a third one once I finish moving and setup my new office. So, make sure you stick around for the new setup tour!