At this year’s virtual CES 2021, Dell caused quite a stir with the announcement of a slew of new hardware and software solutions it said were designed to “reimagine work.” Among these was the new Dell UltraSharp 40 Curved WUHD Monitor (U4021QW) which the company described as “the world’s first 40-inch ultrawide WUHD 5K2K monitor.”
Dell recently offered to let me put an evaluation unit through its paces, and the experience made me consider and reconsider how a well-designed monitor can impact working and productivity. Following are a few thoughts on my experience.
The first thing that strikes you about the UltraSharp 40 is its size. At over 37 inches wide, 18 inches high (raisable to 22.87 inches) and 9+ inches deep, and clocking in at nearly 30 pounds, the unit is sizable by nearly any definition. As such, it requires a substantial workspace and a desk or table sturdy enough to support it. Despite its footprint, the unit’s design is elegantly simple, and its tilt, swivel and height adjustments work flawlessly.
Another notable element is the UltraSharp 40’s 2500R curved screen. Curved screens have been popular in gaming systems for years, including Dell’s Alienware portfolio, since they provide a more immersive experience. In fact, Dell’s UltraSharp portfolio includes curved screen models from 32” to 49” (though with lower resolutions than the UltraSharp 40). Points in favor for using curved screens for work include offering the user a wider field of view, minimizing reflection and providing near uniform visual focus which can help reduce eyestrain.
Additional work benefits accrue from the monitor’s WUHD 5120 x 2160 resolution, 140 ppi pixel density and industry-standard color coverage, including 100% sRGB, 100% Rec. 709 and 98% DCI-P3. Those points make the UltraSharp 40 a superb choice for photo and video editing. Another valuable feature is Dell’s ComfortView Plus, a built-in, always-on technology that reduces harmful blue light emissions while delivering excellent color performance. The potential long-term effects of blue light include eye strain and disruption of sleep cycles.
The UltraSharp 40’s physical design is central to one of its most interesting features: a built-in productivity hub that eliminates the need for proprietary docks and other connectors. The Hub’s ports include 2 x HDMI (HDCP 2.2), DisplayPort (HDCP 2.2), Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C upstream (DisplayPort 1.4 mode / power up to 90W), USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 downstream (power up to 15W) USB upstream (Type B), 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, USB 3.2 Gen 2 downstream with Battery Charging 1.2, Audio line-out and Network (RJ-45). Dell also includes 1 x DisplayPort cable – DisplayPort to DisplayPort – 6 ft, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 upstream cable – USB Type A to B – 6 ft, 1 x HDMI cable – 6 ft and 1 x Thunderbolt 4 active cable – USB-C in the package.
The variety of connectivity options means that the UltraSharp 40 can work well for numerous systems and employees, including those who prefer Apple MacBooks which can be charged via the Thunderbolt 3 port. The UltraSharp 40 can support up to two connected systems, a point worth considering since in working from home (WFH) scenarios, many users have separate laptops or desktops for work and personal use. The Dell Display Manager’s Easy Arrange feature allows users to tile applications with 38 pre-set window partitions, and personalize up to five windows, thus improving multi-tasking and project management.
For me, testing and working with Dell’s UltraSharp 40 has been a superior experience. The unit fits well on the walking desk I have in my home office, and the adjustable height/tilt and ComfortView Plus have helped minimize the neck/shoulder stress and eyestrain that tends to accompany long workdays. I’ve been impressed with how the integrated productivity hub has reduced desk and cord clutter, and Dell’s Display Manager has helped me simplify my PC desktop organization and multi-tasking chores.
So far as visual performance goes, the UltraSharp 40’s WUHD resolution makes it an excellent choice for graphic design and photo editing. Its response time of 5ms and a 60Hz refresh rate should be dynamic enough for video editing tasks but is nothing like the 144Hz to 240Hz refresh rates available in gaming monitors. In other words, Dell’s UltraSharp 40 is, first and foremost, a superior solution for work whether that be in a traditional office or in the comfort of your home. If you have the space and budget, Dell’s UltraSharp 40 Curved WUHD Monitor (U4021QW) is a solution worth serious consideration.
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