Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub review: Glorious 38 inches for working (and even gaming) in ultra-wide format

Ultra-wide monitors are a fantastic alternative to traditional multi-monitor setups, and the best proof of this is the Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub (3821DW), a model that has great features for work and why not play.

It is certainly not a monitor specifically geared towards gaming, and where it shines the most is in that area of ​​productivity. The enormous resolution (3,840 x 1,600) means that we have room to work with many windows or, of course, with very long windows. Let’s see what this Dell monitor is capable of.

Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub Specifications

SIZE38 inch curved (2300R), 21: 9
PANEL TYPEWLED IPS, Matte
NATIVE RESOLUTION3,840 x 1,600 pixels at 60 Hz
BRIGHTNESS300 cd / m2
CONTRAST1000: 1
RESPONSE TIME5 ms GtG (Fast mode), 8 ms GtG (Normal mode)
CONNECTIVITY1 x DisplayPort 1.42 x HDMI 2.01 x USB-C (Alternate Mode with DP 1.4, PD up to 90 W)1 x USB-B (Upstream)4 x USB-A (5 Gbps)1 x audio1 x Ethernet RJ-45
ADJUSTMENTIn height 120 mmTilt 5 ° to 21 °Turn 30 ° / 30 °
WEIGHT8.79 kg (without stand)
PRICE1,114.02 dollars

A large design but you get used to it right away

It seems incredible how quickly one gets used to the good. My work monitor has a diagonal of 27 inches, so the jump to 38 inches can be a bit scary : nothing is further from the truth.

It is true that the monitor is logically more bulky than a normal monitor and above all somewhat more cumbersome due to its length, but it is surprisingly manageable and it is not difficult to install. Placing the panel on the stand takes just a few minutes, and once it is on the table the look is truly impressive.

The curve of this monitor is subtle but noticeable, and as we say, although the dimensions are clearly larger than many monitors on the market, getting used to that diagonal is surprisingly easy.

The Dell monitor has frames that in appearance (with the monitor turned off) are almost minimal, but in practice they are deceiving. Both on the sides and on the upper part of these frames of the chassis is added the artificial and native frame of the screen, which is more than half a centimeter thick and which makes that initial sensation not so striking at the end.

Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub
Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub

With this we do not mean that the frames are pronounced, of course, but the truth is that the chassis of the monitor turned off is slightly deceiving except in the case of the lower frame, which does belong to that chassis and ends up having a thickness similar to that of the upper frame.

To control the monitor options we can use the small joystick located in the lower right corner of the monitor, on the back.

This type of control changes from the previous edition of this monitor (the 3818DW), which had those controls in the form of buttons located on the bottom edge, not on the back. Next to this joystick is also the power button, and a small LED at the bottom right of the screen indicates whether the monitor is active or not.

The most obvious difference from the monitor design is not actually in the monitor, but in its support or base, which “thins” and is now considerably narrower. The base is still large, flat (important if we want to support things on it) and heavy, which allows

Connectivity everywhere

Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub
Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub

In the back we find above all the space with the input and output ports, which are numerous : we have two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort, two USB-C ports, the other USB-B (which allows us to convert the monitor into a hub), four USB 3.0, and, interestingly, even an RJ-45 Ethernet connector.

This makes it clear that we are looking at a monitor capable of offering a large number of connectivity options and that it is also especially suitable for those who want to use it almost like a docking station : if the laptop or PC to which we connect it has a USB port, we can use all ports of the monitor to connect our peripherals without having to resort to dongles.

What’s more: the monitor is ready to power and recharge a laptop while we connect it to it. In fact, its support of the Power Delivery standard, which is part of the USB-C specification, allows even “demanding” laptops to be recharged with their charging needs.

Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub monitor
Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub

The only downside to this connectivity is that it is not particularly accessible. The ports are quite hidden in the back and there are none on the sides for example, something that certainly helps to hide cables but makes frequent connection and disconnection of peripherals tedious.

This is what it’s like to work (and play) with a 38-inch monitor

We had had the opportunity to test the spectacular 49-inch Samsung Odyssey G9 in the past, but already then we pointed out that this ultra-wide monitor was perhaps even too ultra-wide.

Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub Specifications
Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub monitor

Having such a horizontal space is great for some things, but it can make something uncomfortable for others: it is inevitable that you are not turning your head to comfortably see windows that you have on both sides of the monitor, and that makes that to a certain extent you are almost “watching a game tennis “ with these monitors.

With the Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub that feeling is relieved by both the diagonal and the format. Its resolution is fantastic, but above all it is for those looking to place three windows simultaneously spread across the extensive desktop.

As in that Samsung model, in our case we take much advantage of Microsoft’s nice PowerToys —although Dell also has its own proposal here, called Display Manager—, and in this special case we mainly use the so-called Fancy Zones, which allow associating a keyboard shortcut (in my case, Windows and arrow keys) to distribute the windows in “thirds” of the screen.

You can choose the layout you like best from the predefined ones, but you can also create your own: from there the shortcuts will move the active window to one of the sections of that layout. In our tests we used that three-column layout that allowed us to work with three very generous windows at all times on the screen.

Working with these screen dimensions is fantastic: on my usual monitor I always have two browser windows facing each other and I play with the Alt-Tab so that other windows go to the fore or background, but here that extra space comes in handy to have for For example, the Slack window with the work team conversations or for other additional windows. It is, in essence, like having a second monitor expressly dedicated to a specific task that we can always customize.

Although the normal thing in my case is to work with several windows always on the screen, I have also been able to work with video editing taking advantage of that very long horizontal resolution : the timeline becomes much more manageable when moving through the different audio clips and video, for example, and that same principle can be transferred to other scenarios such as intensive users of Excel and applications that allow to take advantage of this screen resolution.

In fact, Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub is especially striking not so much for its horizontal resolution (3,840 pixels, the same as in 4K monitors) but for its vertical resolution that reaches 1,600 pixels. In other somewhat lower monitors that resolution is usually 1,440 pixels, and precisely in this Dell model we will win vertically and that will allow us not to have to do so much vertical scrolling.

The monitor calibration is also outstanding, with sober but natural tones, neither oversaturated nor muted. You can then play with the settings to leave that calibration to your liking, but we believe that Dell has done a great job here, which as always is more focused on productivity and that “professional” field.

The monitor also has two built-in 9W speakers that behave decently but not particularly flashy. In this section, making use of speakers or headphones is much more recommended.

As with ultra-wide monitors, enjoying video content is strange: the format causes almost any video we see to generate two large black bands on both sides because that content is often oriented to 16: 9 screens.

There are certainly examples of videos in 21: 9 format and the experience with them is great, but it is true that the objective of this monitor is not multimedia reproduction (although it can also be used for that section without problems) but again productivity in professional settings and of course in creative environments.

Although we have not taken advantage of this capacity, the available video inputs allow the use of both the PiP (Picture in Picture) and PbP (Picture-by-Picture) functions, and an integrated KVM allows controlling, for example, two different PCs connected to the monitor in a single way. simple with a single keyboard and mouse.

The configuration menus are complete enough to be able to take advantage of all the features in a simple way, and there are some shortcuts (predefined modes, brightness and contrast control) that add to the possibility of going to the general configuration with all the parameters that we can Modify.

This monitor is designed to work, but it does not disgust gaming

Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub Gaming monitor
Gaming Monitor

The question is, is it good for playing? Certainly yes. Except in the case of somewhat more demanding gamers who are looking for very specific characteristics (there is no FreeSync or G-SYNC support here) we are facing a monitor that behaves perfectly when playing.

In our sessions with “Battlefield 1” for example we benefit from that panoramic format to see more on each side of the screen: that peripheral vision can help experienced players, but above all it provides more “immersion” in this and other games that take advantage of that horizontal resolution smoothly.

It is true that neither the refresh rates (only 60 Hz) nor the response times (8 ms native, but we can activate the fast mode, which reduces them to 5 ms Gray to Gray) are optimal for ambitious gamers, but once again We insist: you can enjoy it in a big way if we want to take advantage of this monitor for those gaming sessions.

The orientation of the monitor itself makes it clear that obviously that was not its purpose, be careful: this ambitious selection of connection ports and its own characteristics are destined more to a use of productivity and work, but if we want to enjoy it also for the occasional game to our favorite video game, we can do it without problems.

Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub, Our opinion

Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub
Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub

Monitors like this make it clear that multi-monitor setups become less and less attractive (although they tend to be more affordable) if one can access ultra-wide monitors like this one.

The Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Hub features a diagonal and resolution that make it even more attractive. There are somewhat more affordable 34-inch 1440p vertical resolution monitors that can be a great option, but here Dell takes a leap forward both in productivity and in that special facet of connectivity.

This possibility of working with three facing windows is fantastic for those of us who have just “played” with two and with the classic Alt-Tab to exchange another one in the background: suddenly one goes much less to that keyboard shortcut, and you usually have display almost everything you need.

It is important to note that the focus of the monitor is that of work and productivity, and although it can be used perfectly to play games or to watch video content, its purpose is not that and those who are especially interested in those areas should perhaps look for other alternatives.

The real downside is not that, but its price, which is as huge as its diagonal. Paying 1,220.89 dollars for it is a significant outlay when, as we noted, there are ultra-wide 34-inch monitors for a quarter of that price.

If that cost is not an impediment, we are undoubtedly before a monitor that will not disappoint when using it as that “hub” of our workplace.

More information | Dell

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