It's hard to believe that curved monitors were once considered a fad.
We’ve been living with Dell’s S3221QS monitor for over a month now. It’s drawn envious looks from everyone in our office and for good reason. But should you buy one?
Key Specs of the Dell S3221QS 32-inch curved monitor
32-inch, curved, VA technology, matte, panel, 3,840x2,160 resolution. 1800R curve. 99% sRGB and 90% DCI-P3 colour gamut. AMD FreeSync. 300cd brightness, 3,000:1 contrast ratio, 4ms G2G response time. 2x 5W speakers. 3.5mm audio jack. 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x DP 1.2. Two-port USB 3.0 hub. 709 x 207 x 448mm. 3-Year warranty. Full specifications, here.
Performance and Features
The S3221QS sits on a desktop like a resplendent billboard – a smart-looking one at that. Even the rear and stand are sharp enough to fit in a conservative office or in a stylish home without looking too ostentatious or ugly. The 32-inch display provides plenty of real estate for those wanting multiple documents open at once, enhanced visibility of large spreadsheets, fine graphical details or an engaging movie. Meanwhile, the UHD resolution and 139ppi pixel density keeps everything pin sharp. The matte screen coating is both adept at repelling reflections and also ambient glare.
The gentle 1800R curve doesn’t distort things too much and, we found, was noticeably more comfortable than viewing comparable flatscreen displays – the curvature means that your eyeball is strained less by not having to refocus as much as you look from one part of the screen to another.
There’s a thin, hardware bezel that bleads into the screen in the form of a 5mm, black deadzone. This will impact upon tiling multiple monitors but few will feel limited with the 32-inches on offer.
The usual assortment of colour presets allow you to quickly optimise content for work, games or movies via the screen’s OSD which is intuitively accessed via buttons beneath the screen on the right. You can also use Dell’s Display Manager software to access settings and arrange desktop windows in a variety of pre-set configurations. Other settings allow for PiP variables, blue-light eye-comfort adjustments and multi-display management.
Moving images can look very bright and colourful with a few adjustments to OSD. The matrix LED backlighting makes a decent fist of producing near-true blacks (as much as the VA panel will allow) with impressively few halo-effects (light bleeding into dark backgrounds from bright images). It’s not perfect though – you can tell it’s not a true HDR panel.
The 60Hz refresh rate means it’s not ideal for fast-and-frantic shoot’em up style gaming: if you’re used to silky smooth motion as you glance around or watch an object traverse the screen, you may be disappointed. But playing games casually is certainly not out of the question.
Two HDMI 2.0 ports adorn the rear along with one DisplayPort 1.2 and a two-port USB 3.0 hub (two ports are rarely enough!) Disappointingly, there’s no USB-C port for display or charging.
The stand allows the panel to be raised by 70mm and a tilt variance of -5o to +21o.
There are even two, 5W speakers built-in. These can deliver a well-rounded punchy sound with minimal distortion and clear vocal fidelity. They don’t get loud enough to fill a room and the bass is hardly booming, but they’re nevertheless impressive for built-in monitor speakers.
Dell offers an impressive warranty which states, “Dell Premium Panel Exchange allows a free panel replacement during the Limited Hardware Warranty period even if only one bright pixel is found.”
At $794 it’s very reasonably priced. While there are cheaper models without the curve, if you’re looking at a screen all day (and all week), it helps to keep things as comfortable as possible. If you want to add HDR to the mix plus a 165Hz refresh rate for gaming, it’s sibling S3220DGF is available for $899. However, if you want a great desktop monitor for officework and occasional multimedia, the S3221QS should be near the top of your list.