Dell’s 40-inch ultrawide monitor is the best kind of excess

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But the size of the screen also got a bit awkward when it came to recording podcasts. I had to lean to reach my table-mounted mic, and for video calls I had to balance my webcam on one side of the monitor. That’s not hard to live with, but it was often awkward to read text and windows from the far side of the screen. On video calls, it almost looked as if I was rudely ignoring everything that was happening.

Now you’d think a massive screen would be perfect for gaming, but the reality is a bit more complicated on PCs. The UltraSharp 40’s unique 5K resolution was just too much for my system to render natively for modern games, even though I’m running an RTX 3080. Many titles also don’t recognize that resolution at all, so you’re forced to play at lower settings with black bars on the screen. Cyberpunk 2077 ran perfectly on my old screen at 3,440 by 1,440 pixels with maxed out graphics and ray tracing settings. But that resolution wasn’t available on the UltraSharp 40, so I had to play in 4K with black bars. (1,440p was also an option, but that seemed like a serious step down for such a pricey screen.)

For less demanding games, like Hades, it was nice to have enough screen space to play and watch videos (or keep an eye on Slack for work, ahem) at the same time. I also didn’t have much of an issue with the UltraSharp 40’s 5ms response time, though it would have been nice to see more than a standard 60Hz refresh rate. It became clear pretty quickly that this isn’t really a monitor meant for gamers. And honestly, that’s fine. There are a slew of screens on the market with features gamers actually want, like high refresh rates (which makes gameplay look smoother), faster response times, NVIDIA’s GSYNC and FreeSync. Since it’s running at a standard 60Hz refresh rate, yuo

Dell UltraSharp 40 ultrawide monitor

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

The UltraSharp 40 is clearly targeting professionals more than gamers. And it certainly has enough ports for serious work, including one DisplayPort 1.4 connection, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and one Thunderbolt 3 USB-C connection with power delivery for laptops. It also serves as a PC hub, with five USB Type A connections, a 3.5 millimeter audio jack and Ethernet. I could see it being particularly useful if you’re running a laptop with limited ports.

While it may seem like an extravagance at $2,100 (or even $1,680 on sale), the UltraSharp 40 has a lot going for it in the world of pricey monitors. LG’s 27-inch UltraFine 5K, one of the best monitors Apple sells alongside Macs, costs $1,300. And while it does have better color accuracy than Dell’s screen, I’d argue the additional space is more compelling. And if you don’t need the high resolution and color accuracy from the UltraSharp 40, Dell’s other ultrawide options like the UltraSharp 38 ($1,090) and 34 Curved USB-C monitor ($655), are cheaper gateways to the world of very long screens. Dell’s UltraSharp 49 ($1,290) is the biggest of the bunch, but I wouldn’t recommend that for first-time ultrawide shoppers. Just like with Samsung’s massive 49-inch gaming monitor, sometimes going too wide can get in the way of your productivity.

Most people don’t need everything the UltraSharp 40 offers, especially when there are a slew of cheaper ultrawide options out there. But if you’re the type of user who demands color accuracy with a massive amount of screen space, it’s certainly worth considering.

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