- Elegant design
- Screen looks fantastic
- PiP, for example, is a unique multitasking capability
- There are no USB-C ports
- Response time is slow
- This isn’t genuine HDR
Review for two minutes
The Dell 4K S3221QS curved display stands out from the crowd. Despite the fact that most displays have kept up with increased refresh rates and resolutions, their aesthetic has been, to put it bluntly, inadequate. In truth, most displays are homogeneous, with the exception of a logo or perhaps some RGB lights. That isn’t the case with the Dell 4K S3221QS, which appears to be inspired by the Dell XPS in arctic white.
Of all, it provides more than simply a pleasing appearance. The Dell 4K S3221QS curved monitor has a high-resolution panel and unique multitasking features that are great for productivity-oriented customers. With surprisingly good built-in audio, this monitor is almost ideal for any workplace environment.
For a display that is ostensibly geared at working professionals, the monitor does have several terrible drawbacks. Not only does it miss a USB-C connector, but it also lacks genuine HDR. Anyone thinking about using it for Esports will be put off by its poor response time. If you don’t need such features or your media consumption is limited to movies and intense games like Red Dead Redemption 2, the Dell S3221QS is a solid choice.
It’s also competitively priced, costing $499 (£462, AU$748). While the BenQ EW3270U with USB-C and HDR 10 is available for a similar price, it lacks the curved screen and Dell’s suite of multitasking functions. The somewhat larger AOC CU34G2X, which sells for $564 (£463, around AU$750), has several outstanding gaming-related features such a 1ms response rate and a 144Hz refresh rate. It isn’t 4K, though, and it lacks Dell’s feature set. Other monitors at this price point lack the Dell’s combination of design, performance, and features.
With the Dell S3221QS, it’s clear that Dell intended to do something a little different. Sure, it has the same matte black plastic bezels as every other monitor, but that’s where the similarities end. The back panel is made of high-quality, woven white plastic that matches the Dell XPS laptops’ arctic white finish. Its stand and base are finished in a light silver that complements the back panel nicely.
The monitor can be angled down to -5 degrees and up to 21 degrees, as well as adjusted in height. It cannot, however, swivel from side to side. It’s simple to turn the base because it doesn’t take up much desk space.
Getting to the ports will be difficult due to the monitor’s size. They’re not just closer to the center of the monitor’s back panel than the speakers on either end of the ports, but they’re also downward-facing. Every time we need access to the monitor’s ports, we must turn it over.
When it comes to connectors, the assortment is adequate but not exceptional, with one display port and two HDMI ports for connecting to a visual source, an audio line out, and a USB hub with two downstream ports, albeit only one is capable of charging. Aside from the connectors’ inaccessibility, the lack of a USB-C port on this display is a missed opportunity. Adding a USB-C connector seems like a no-brainer given the popularity of Ultrabooks, with Dell’s own XPS being one of the most sought after.
While the lack of USB-C is a disappointment, the inclusion of good speakers is a pleasant surprise. Not only does their presence allow for a more minimalist desk design, but these speakers also sound fantastic and provide adequate loudness at 5W apiece. Are they anywhere close to being audiophile-quality? Of course not, but these Waves MaxxAudio-tuned speakers sound better than most monitor speakers and are adequate for most people.
The 31.5″ VA panel, which has 99 percent sRGB and 90 percent DCI-P3 color, a 3000:1 contrast ratio, and, of course, 4K resolution with a 60Hz refresh rate, looks fantastic. The colors are realistic and rich, and the screen is as clear and detailed as you’d expect for a screen of that resolution. Even after hours of use, there is no eye strain due to the 1800R curvature. It’s bright enough at 300 nits, though we’re sad that it doesn’t have the 500-nit brightness of the new XPS.
It’s not very fast, with a 60Hz refresh rate and an 8ms response rate that can be overclocked to 4ms (though this is hardly unsurprising considering it is a 4K screen.) Esports gamers, for example, will want to search elsewhere for a fast display. It works well for watching movies and playing games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Metro Exodus. While we did see some stuttering when using an RTX 3080-equipped PC, turning on V-sync almost completely solved any performance concerns, indicating that the problem is more with the PC than with the monitor.
Unfortunately, while Dell claims that this monitor supports HDR content, it merely adds a little blue to the picture without actually improving the dynamic range. This isn’t surprising, given that it isn’t Vesa-certified DisplayHDR and lacks an in-house certification. If HDR is important to you, you should search elsewhere.
Fortunately, the Dell 4K S3221QS’s multitasking capabilities more than make up for its flaws. These features are serious boons for anyone needing to streamline their digital workflow, whether it’s the ability to use Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture to view visual information from two different computer sources or the EasyArrange mode to organize and snap all your tabs and apps into place and in up to 38 configurations.
EasyArrange is accessed through the Dell Display Manager app, which also allows you to fine-tune your monitor usage by automatically changing the screen preset mode (for games, movies, and so on) depending on the app you’re using. It also allows you to build PIP and PBP shortcut keys. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to change all of your monitor’s settings using the app, which is a feature we’ve enjoyed on other monitors we’ve reviewed.
Having said that, the Dell 4K S3221QS is a fantastic monitor that looks beautiful, has a clear and rich 4K screen, and some very useful multitasking functions. While it may have a few flaws, for the price of admission, you get a lot of monitor.
If you want to buy it, you should…
You want a monitor that is beautiful on the inside and out.
The Dell 4K S3221QS is not only a great looking peripheral, but it also produces superb image quality.
For your workflow, you’ll need more multitasking features.
Not only can you use PiP and PbP to view two distinct computers at the same time, but you can also utilize the EasyArrange function to manage all of your programs and tabs.
You’re looking for a 4K curved display that’s not too expensive.
The Dell’s admission fee is difficult to beat. If you pay the same as the competitors, you’ll either lose the 4K resolution or settle for a less immersive flat panel.
If you don’t want to buy it, don’t.
You’re looking for an Esports monitor.
This monitor has a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz, which is insufficient for Esports.
You’re looking for a display that supports HDR.
For people that require this feature, there are plenty of Vesa-certified DisplayHDR displays available. One of them isn’t this.