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Dell launches 38-inch IPS monitor with stunning contrast ratio

Dell's new UltraSharp display doubles the usual IPS contrast ratio of 1,000:1 to 2,000:1, though this screen isn't ideal for gaming.

Dell UltraSharp U3824DW IPS Black 01

Dell has launched the Dell UltraSharp U3824DW, a 38-inch ultrawide monitor that includes an IPS panel with double the usual contrast ratio of that display technology. While most IPS LCD panels can only hit around 1,000:1 contrast, this new panel stretches to 2,000:1.

Contrast is the difference between the maximum and minimum brightness of a screen and generally the higher the ratio the more life-like and engaging the image. That’s why one of the key aspects of high-end HDR standards is having high contrast ratios.

LCD screens typically struggle with high contrast as the technology relies on the liquid crystals that make up each sub-pixel blocking light from the backlight passing through them, and they can only ever block so much. That’s as compared to OLED displays where each pixel is its own light source so once turned off the pixel is essentially truly black.

Dell UltraSharp U3824DW IPS Black 01

Typically, the three main LCD panel types are IPS, TN, and VA, with IPS and TN generally having around 1,000:1 contrast and VA going as high as 5,000:1, but each panel also has its downsides. In general, we recommend IPS panels for desktop monitors due to their excellent viewing angles, but contrast has always trailed VA displays.

The new Dell display, then, achieves its boost in contrast by using a new LG IPS Black panel. This IPS Black technology lowers the black level compared to typical IPS panels by 35 percent, in turn boosting contrast. This drop in black level alone doesn’t fully account for the increase in contrast but Dell doesn’t explain exactly how the rest of the contrast boost is achieved in its IPS Black explainer.

Dell UltraSharp U3824DW IPS Black 04

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IPS Black also improves viewing angles, further increasing the advantage IPS already has over other LCD panel technologies. According to Dell’s figures, a typical VA panel can drop from 4,358:1 contrast when viewed on center to just 1,393:1 when viewed from 23 degrees off-axis, while a typical IPS panel will go from 1,290:1 straight on to 1,060:1 at 23 degrees.

Meanwhile, IPS Black will go from 2,160:1 to 1,526:1. In other words, VA has the contrast advantage when at a perfect viewing angle but IPS Black is better at wider angles.

Getting back to this particular Dell UltraSharp U3824DW monitor, then, it boasts a 3,840 x 1,600 pixel resolution, which is typical for displays of this size, such as the LG UltraGear 28GN950. However, with a maximum 60Hz refresh rate, gaming is not a focus of this panel, and indeed one of the downsides of IPS Black is a slower pixel response time.

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Instead, the UltraSharp U3824DW focuses on productivity, with a USB-C video input that can deliver 90W of power making it an ideal extension display for laptop users. Plenty of other USB inputs mean you can connect all your other devices to the display for a one-cable connection to your laptop. The display also supports KVM functionality for up to two devices.

The display also boasts 100 percent sRGB, 100 percent Rec.709, 98 percent DCI P3, and 98 percent DCI-P3 color coverage so is suitable for most professional applications requiring accurate and wide-ranging colors.

The included stand offers height, rotation, tilt, and a small amount of pivot adjustability, while the display’s design is classic ‘Dell professional’ with a clean overall appearance and silver coloring used throughout.

Dell UltraSharp U3824DW specs

The Dell UltraSharp U3824DW specs list is:

Screen size 38in
Resolution 3,840 x 1,600
Panel technology IPS Black
Maximum refresh rate 60Hz
Stated response time 5ms
Max brightness 300cd/m² SDR
Backlight zones 1
Stated contrast ratio 2,000:1 (SDR and HDR)
Adaptive sync Not stated
Display inputs 1 x DisplayPort 1.2a, 2 x HDMI 2, 2 x USB-C
Audio 2 x 9W speakers, headphone out
Stand adjustment Height, rotation, tilt
Extras 100 x 100mm VESA mount, 4 x USB 3 ports, 2 x USB-C ports, KVM function

Dell UltraSharp U3824DW price

The Dell UltraSharp U3824DW price is $1,529, making this a premium business-oriented monitor. It’s available to buy right now from Dell’s website.

Price: Expect to pay $1,529 (£1,224)

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While it’s a shame IPS Black doesn’t look like it will be a revolution in gaming display technology – at least for this first generation of panels – we’re still excited to see just how good these displays look for general desktop use and watching video (plus, for many slower-paced games you don’t need an ultra-fast display). In the meantime, our current top monitor choices can be found in our best gaming monitor guide.

Are you excited by the prospect of IPS Black and higher contrast IPS panels? Let us know your thoughts on the Custom PC Facebook page, via Twitter, or join our Custom PC and Gaming Setup Facebook group and tap into the knowledge of our 390,000+ members.