Dell UP3017Q OLED monitor is shipping

Update (): the monitor is no longer available for purchase.

The world’s first computer OLED monitor Dell UP3017Q with the 4K resolution (3840×2160) and the size of 30″ is now shipping and available for purchase via the official Dell’s site for 3,500 $ with delivery in 1-2 weeks.

Originally, the monitor was presented on the CES exhibition in early , but , some news sites including the Les Numériques and FlatpanelsHD, with a reference to official producer’s representatives, told that the monitor’s release cancelled on the ground of not enough image quality.

Now the OLED monitor is available for purchase, and even the official manual (PDF, 10 MB) is available revealing some features of the device and helping believe it’s real.

Among benefits of OLED displays over LCD displays are virtually infinite contrast, manifold lesser response time, freedom of the glow effect as well as of alternating flickering of adjacent subpixels caused by so called crystal inversion which is technology-wise required for LCD displays.

Technical specifications

Looks like technical specifications have somewhat changed compared with stated as for the exhibition sample: maximum refresh rate of input signal is not 120, but 60 Hz regular for modern monitors, and there is no support for hardware calibration that professional color-oriented monitors typically have. That said, contrast, on the contrary, has increased by 2.5 times and is now 1.000.000 : 1 versus the original 400.000 : 1.

Rest specs:

  • brightness: 0.0005–300 cd/m²;
  • color depth: 10 bits per channel (1.07 billion colors);
  • color gamut:
    • Adobe RGB, sRGB, Rec. 709 — 100%;
    • DCI-P3 — 97.5%;
    • Rec. 2020 — 85.8%;
    • NTSC: CIE1931 — 114.8%, CIE1976 — 126.5%;
  • response time: 90 μs (full switch from black to white);
  • connectivity:
    • DisplayPort (mDP) 1.2;
    • HDMI 2.0;
    • USB Type-C.

OLED display

Modes and features

The Screen Protection Mode makes the display turn off automatically after displaying a static image while the user is not using the monitor for 5 minutes. This is meant to help descrease power consumption and extend the life span of the OLED panel by decreasing its burn-in.

The Image Sticking Prevention (called Pixel Shifting on the exhibition) allows to additionally save the display from image retention by periodical slow shifting of the image on the screen by several pixels.

The Flicker Free mode doubles the physical refresh rate of the display with the purpose of descreasing the perceivable flickering.

Like the 4K monitor P2415Q, the UP3017Q OLED monitor has a built-in screen test that does not need an external video source and allows to fill the screen with gray, green, blue, black or white colors, as well as to show text on the screen.

Contrast and sharpness

Due to specifics of the OLED technology, the real level of contrast depends on the number and brightness of subpixels emitting light at the same time and is directly associated with the entire display’s maximum brightness available under corresponding conditions.

So the stated maximum brightness of 1.000.000 : 1 is specified in the manual as Perceptual. The real contrast is 600.000 : 1 as long as not more than 1% of subpixels are turned on simultaneously. When the screen is filled with white almost entirely, contrast descreases to 200.000 : 1, but it is anyway hundreds of times higher than existing LCD displays are capable of.

That said, the precision of the specified values is limited by sensitivity of the used measuring equipment which has a minimal detectable brightness of 0.0005 cd/m², while the real contrast of the OLED display is close to infinite.

The panel supplier

There are two possible suppliers of OLED panels for the UP3017Q monitor, and those are the korean giants Samsung and LG.

Samsung uses OLED displays for a while in smartphones and Galaxy Tab S tablets. Also, reportedly, its panels are used in 13,3—14″ sized OLED laptops by Lenovo, Alienware and HP. However Samsung is clearly in trouble mass-producing large-sized RGB-based OLED panels produced with vacuum evaporation, that’s why the company has no presence on the OLED-TV market.

It is possible that the release of the Dell’s OLED monitor eventually got possible exactly thanks to using products of a different supplier, and the only realistic candidate is the LG company which produces 55″+ OLED TVs since 2013 and uses the technology based on white OLEDs with color filters (WOLED-CF) which allows producing displays of smaller sizes.

USB Alternate Mode and Power Delivery

The USB interface with the symmetrical Type-C port in the UP3017Q monitor supports the Alternate Mode which allows to transmit video and audio simultaneously and also supply power up to 100 W to a laptop that serves as a signal source (USB Power Delivery).

Is the wait over?

Considering the price drop of 30% compared with the originally stated price and some decrease of technical specifications, it can be assumed that the device has been implicitly repositioned to less demanding consumers (e. g. gamers) that the color-reproduction issues specified earlier are not critical to.

It is possible that the monitor will be available on the market in a very limited amount and will probably even be selled at a loss, and the main purpose of its formal release is saving the reputation of the company and the rank of the pioneer and leader of the new niche of computer OLED monitors, but so far, the whole thing looks reasonably good.

Now let’s wait for first happy owners of the long-awaited new product, their opinions and public reviews.