Of all the tech I get to use on a regular basis, my monitor might be my favorite. That may sound silly if you’ve been using a laptop or a standard desktop monitor for years, but I use an ultrawide display (one that has an aspect ratio of 21:9 or wider) and it’s a massive canvas for me to digitally spread out on. Instead of needing two monitors to display my workspace, I can have all of my windows on the same panel at the same time without having to switch between multiple virtual desktops or split my view between two displays. Once you go ultrawide, it’s hard to go back to using anything standard.
For the past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of sitting behind Dell’s 38-inch UltraSharp monitor. The best way I can describe this monitor is beastly. It’s only nominally larger than the 34-inch LG monitor I own, but that little bit of extra screen real estate is felt and appreciated when I have six or seven windows open at a given time. (Dell boasts that this display offers 25 percent more screen space than 34-inch monitors.)
The UltraSharp is not a flat panel; it has a curve that envelops you with display. It’s easy to dismiss this as a fault — after all, curved TVs have largely offered worse viewing experiences than their flat counterparts. But a monitor is a different thing, it’s designed to only be used by one person at a time and you’re always sitting in the the sweet spot for the best viewing angle. In this case, the curve makes the giant screen more immersive than if it were a flat panel.
At this size, you want a lot of pixels in your monitor, because when you’re sitting only a couple feet away from it, it’s easy to see differences in resolution. Additionally, since you bought this thing because of its large display, you want to make sure you’re able to fit as much content on it as is comfortable. To that end, the Dell has a resolution of 3,840 x 1,600 pixels, which is slightly taller than most 34-inch ultrawides. It’s not 4K, but it’s plenty enough resolution that I don’t see individual pixels when I’m working and it’s not so hi-res that my puny laptop struggles when pushing it.
There are larger ultrawides available — Samsung makes a ludicrous 49-inch-wide model — but they don’t have enough resolution (especially on the vertical axis) to really be useful for heavy multitasking. The UltraSharp 38 balances its large size with the right resolution to make it work well.
Because it’s an UltraSharp, the Dell has excellent color reproduction and viewing angles. Dell boasts 99 percent coverage of the sRGB spectrum, which is fine for my needs of browsing the web and chatting in Slack. It’s also perfectly functional for gaming, though serious gamers will miss G-Sync support and probably not be fully satisfied with 60Hz refresh rate.
The UltraSharp 38 has an array of ports to connect your computer and peripherals. It offers two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, 3.5mm audio out, two USB upstream ports, and four USB-A downstream ports, two of which are equipped with high-speed charging. In addition, there’s a USB Type-C port that can handle both video and power duties for a MacBook Pro or other USB-C equipped laptop. Dell includes an array of cables in the box with the monitor, so you shouldn’t need to buy anything extra to get set up right away.
My only complaint with the UltraSharp 38 is its price. Dell launched the display at $1,499.99 earlier this year, and it’s currently selling for just over $1,100. That’s a lot of money for a monitor, especially when you can get other ultrawides for far less than a grand when they go on sale. But if you want the ultimate ultrawide experience, and have the space on your desk for it, the UltraSharp 38 is hard to beat.