Dell S3220DGF Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Updated Oct 21, 2020 at 10:20 am
Dell S3220DGF Picture
7.7
Mixed Usage
7.5
Office
8.0
Gaming
7.6
Multimedia
7.8
Media Creation
7.1
HDR Gaming
Size 32"
Resolution 2560x1440
Max Refresh Rate
165 Hz
Pixel Type
VA
Variable Refresh Rate
FreeSync

The Dell S3220DGF is an impressive 1440p gaming monitor. It has a curved design and it doesn't take up much room, even with the support stand attached. Gaming feels responsive due to the fast refresh rate and low input lag. Also, the native FreeSync support should help reduce any screen tearing. It can display deep blacks in a dimly lit room thanks to its VA panel's high contrast ratio. That said, its viewing angles are inadequate, which means that images look washed out when viewed from the side. It has decent reflection handling and okay peak brightness, making it suitable for a moderately-lit room, but visibility can be an issue if there's direct light.

Our Verdict

7.7 Mixed Usage

The Dell S3220DGF is a good monitor for mixed use. It has a large size and its 1440p resolution allows for a good amount of multi-tasking, but it doesn't offer as much real estate as a full 4k screen would. It has low input lag, and the fast response time ensures that motion blur is minimal in fast-moving scenes. Also, it has a good contrast ratio and black uniformity, which means content looks good in a dark room. That said, viewing angles are disappointing, which results in images looking washed out when viewed from the side.

Pros
  • Very low input lag.
  • Excellent gray uniformity.
  • 165Hz refresh rate.
  • Very good contrast ratio.
Cons
  • Image degrades when viewed from the side.
  • Response time slower than other similar monitors.
  • Monitor can't rotate into portrait mode.
  • Okay black uniformity.
7.5 Office

The Dell S3220DGF is a good monitor for office use. It has a large screen size and high resolution, which allows you to have multiple windows open side-by-side. It has decent reflection handling and gets bright enough to overcome glare. The ergonomics are only okay, as it can't rotate into a portrait mode, and the picture quality suffers when looking at it from a side angle.

Pros
  • Excellent gray uniformity.
  • Very good contrast ratio.
  • Large 1440p screen.
Cons
  • Image degrades when viewed from the side.
  • Monitor can't rotate into portrait mode.
8.0 Gaming

The Dell S3220DGF is an impressive gaming monitor. It has a very low input lag, which ensures a responsive gaming experience. It has FreeSync technology for reducing screen tearing and its fast response time ensures that motion blur is minimal in fast-moving scenes. While its response time isn't as good as other 165Hz monitors, it should still be good enough for most people.

Pros
  • Very low input lag.
  • 165Hz refresh rate.
  • Large 1440p screen.
Cons
  • Response time slower than other similar monitors.
7.6 Multimedia

The Dell S3220DGF is a good monitor for multimedia use. Its screen size is large and it has a high resolution, which allows for a more immersive experience. It's decent at handling reflections and overcoming glare. Also, its low input lag makes it very responsive. That said, its viewing angles are disappointing, resulting in the image looking washed out when viewed from the side.

Pros
  • Excellent gray uniformity.
  • Large 1440p screen.
Cons
  • Image degrades when viewed from the side.
  • Okay black uniformity.
7.8 Media Creation

The Dell S3220DGF is a very good monitor for content creators. It's pretty large with a high resolution, which is optimal for displaying multiple windows side-by-side. Ergonomics are only okay, as there's no portrait mode, but it's easy to adjust it into a comfortable position. Unfortunately, viewing angles are disappointing as the image quality degrades when viewed from the side.

Pros
  • Excellent gray uniformity.
  • Very good contrast ratio.
  • Large 1440p screen.
Cons
  • Image degrades when viewed from the side.
  • Monitor can't rotate into portrait mode.
  • Okay black uniformity.
7.1 HDR Gaming

The Dell S3220DGF is a decent choice for HDR gaming. The high contrast ratio makes blacks look deep in a dark room. It can display HDR games with bright, vivid colors due to its wide color gamut and decent HDR peak brightness, but lacks any local dimming feature. On the upside, it has outstandingly low input lag and a good response time overall.

Pros
  • Very low input lag.
  • Very good contrast ratio.
  • Large 1440p screen.
Cons
  • Okay black uniformity.
  • No local dimming.
  • Only decent HDR peak brightness.
  • 7.7 Mixed Usage
  • 7.5 Office
  • 8.0 Gaming
  • 7.6 Multimedia
  • 7.8 Media Creation
  • 7.1 HDR Gaming
  1. Update 10/21/2020: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  2. Update 8/20/2020: We double-checked the native refresh rate and updated our text.
  3. Update 2/17/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Curved Yes
Curve Radius 1800R
Weight (without stand)
16.8 lbs (7.6 kg)
Weight (with stand)
24.0 lbs (10.9 kg)

The Dell S3220DGF's design is quite similar to most other Dell monitors, only that the logos on the front and back of the screen are blue. It's a fairly large screen, and while the stand is larger than some of the other Dell monitors on the market, it's still not very big.

Design
Stand
Width
12.6" (32.0 cm)
Depth
10.1" (25.7 cm)

The stand does a good job of supporting the monitor and preventing most of the wobble. It's not too big and leaves enough space for other items to be placed in front of it.

6.8
Design
Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
5.4" (13.7 cm)
Switch Portrait/Landscape No
Swivel Range -30° to 30°
Tilt Range -20° to 5°

The Dell S3220DGF's ergonomics are only okay. It can easily be placed in a comfortable position, but like most curved monitors, it can't rotate into portrait mode.

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

The back of the monitor is plain. Cable management is serviced through the stand, and it has a quick-release button.

Design
Borders
Borders
0.3" (0.8 cm)

Update 05/06/2020: The borders were incorrectly measured as 1.1" (2.8cm) thick. The measurement has been fixed.

The borders are thin and favor a multi-monitor setup.

Design
Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
7.2" (18.3 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
3.2" (8.1 cm)

The overall thickness isn't very big, even with the stand attached. However, as with most curved monitors, it sticks out a little when it's wall-mounted.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Dell S3220DGF has a good build quality. The entire construction is heavy and feels sturdy with no gaps or loose ends. The stand provides good support and prevents most wobble.

Picture Quality
7.9
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
2953 : 1
Contrast With Local Dimming
N/A

The Dell S3220DGF has a very good contrast ratio. Thanks to its VA panel, blacks look deep in a dark room. The contrast ratio can vary between individual units.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Direct

The Dell S3220DGF doesn't have a local dimming feature. The above video is provided for reference only.

7.4
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
284 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
292 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
292 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
293 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
293 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
293 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
291 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
292 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
292 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
293 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
293 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.000

The Dell S3220DGF has decent peak brightness. It should be able to combat glare in most rooms, although you should avoid placing it in a very bright one. If you need a brighter screen, increasing the contrast results in a noticeably brighter, but less accurate image.

7.0
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene
444 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
468 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
468 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
468 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
468 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
468 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
460 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
456 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
457 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
459 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
461 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.001

The Dell S3220DGF has decent HDR peak brightness. It can bring out highlights in HDR, but there's a slight variation in brightness with varied content.

5.8
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
28 °
Color Washout From Right
29 °
Color Shift From Left
48 °
Color Shift From Right
53 °
Brightness Loss From Left
31 °
Brightness Loss From Right
32 °
Black Level Raise From Left
13 °
Black Level Raise From Right
15 °
Gamma Shift From Left
19 °
Gamma Shift From Right
19 °

As is the case with most VA panel monitors, the horizontal viewing angle is disappointing. You quickly lose image accuracy when viewed from the side, and since it has such a large screen, the sides of the screen appear darker if you sit too close. If you're interested in a VA panel with fairly wide viewing angles, check out the AOC CQ32G1.

5.6
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
28 °
Color Washout From Above
27 °
Color Shift From Below
60 °
Color Shift From Above
63 °
Brightness Loss From Below
31 °
Brightness Loss From Above
31 °
Black Level Raise From Below
9 °
Black Level Raise From Above
10 °
Gamma Shift From Below
15 °
Gamma Shift From Above
13 °

The monitor has a disappointing vertical viewing angle. You lose image accuracy if it's mounted above or below eye level. Also, if you sit close to the screen, the top and bottom edges appear darker.

8.9
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.092 %
50% DSE
0.102 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.721 %
5% DSE
0.071 %

The Dell S3220DGF has excellent gray uniformity, better than most monitors we've seen, but this could vary from unit to unit. The sides of the screen appear darker mainly due to the viewing angles, but other than that, you shouldn't notice any uniformity issues.

6.6
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.580 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

The monitor's black uniformity is only okay. There's some slight blooming at the corners and around the edges, but it's almost impossible to notice in real content. Black uniformity can vary between individual units.

6.8
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
Custom Color
Luminance
122 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
75
Contrast Setting
75
RGB Controls
100-100-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
5971 K
White Balance dE
3.63
Color dE
3.61
Gamma
2.16

The pre-calibration color accuracy is reasonable. Most colors are inaccurate and the color temperature is warmer than the target, so colors have a red/yellow tint. Gamma doesn't follow the curve well, so dark scenes appear darker than they should, and bright scenes are brighter. Pre-calibration can vary between individual units.

9.6
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Custom Color
Luminance
100 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
35
Contrast Setting
70
RGB Controls
93-94-98
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
6486 K
White Balance dE
0.50
Color dE
0.55
Gamma
2.19

The Dell S3220DGF has outstanding accuracy after calibration. Most colors are accurate and any remaining inaccuracies aren't noticeable to the naked eye.

You can download our ICC profile calibration here. This is provided for reference only and shouldn't be used, as the calibration values vary per individual unit even for the same model due to manufacturing tolerances.

9.0
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
98.1 %
Adobe RGB xy
81.3 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

The monitor has an exceptional SDR color gamut. It covers nearly all of the sRGB color space used in most content, and it has great coverage of the Adobe RGB color space used in photo editing.

9.4
Picture Quality
SDR Color Volume
sRGB In ICtCp
99.0 %
Adobe RGB In ICtCp
88.1 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

The monitor has an incredible SDR color volume. The good contrast ratio helps it display dark, saturated colors.

7.2
Picture Quality
HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
79.4 %
Rec. 2020 xy
64.0 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
HDR Standard
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
HDR Standard

The Dell S3220DGF has a decent HDR color gamut. It has very good coverage of the DCI P3 color space used in most content but has mediocre coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 color space.

5.9
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 In ICtCp
67.8 %
Rec. 2020 In ICtCp
50.6 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
HDR Standard
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
HDR Standard

Disappointing HDR color volume. Limited by its color gamut, the Dell S3220DGF can't display a full range of colors at different brightness levels.

10
Picture Quality
Image Retention
IR After 0 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 2 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 4 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 6 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 8 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 10 Min Recovery
0.00 %

There are no signs of temporary image retention on the Dell S3220DGF, even immediately after displaying our high-contrast, static test image for 10 minutes. Image retention can vary between individual units.

9.8
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit

This monitor has superb gradient handling. There are very faint signs of banding in darker shades, but this isn't noticeable in real content.

10
Picture Quality
Color Bleed
Pixel Row Error
0.003 %
Pixel Column Error
0.002 %

There are no signs of color bleed on this monitor.

7.1
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
6.0 %
Indirect Reflections
3.5 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
2.6 %

The Dell has decent reflection handling. It performs exceptionally well in moderate-lit rooms, but reflections in really bright rooms are distracting.

7.0
Picture Quality
Text Clarity
Sub-Pixel Layout
RGB

The text clarity is decent. It's improved using ClearType (top photo), which makes the diagonal or curved lines on the letters R, N, G, and S clearer.

Motion
7.8
Motion
Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate
Best Overdrive Setting
Super Fast
Rise / Fall Time
7.0 ms
Total Response Time
14.8 ms
Overshoot Error
0.1 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
10.2 ms
Dark Total Response Time
21.2 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
0.0 %

Overdrive Setting Response Time Chart Response Time Tables Motion Blur Photo
Fast Chart Table Photo
Super Fast Chart Table Photo
Extreme Chart Table Photo

The monitor has a very good overall response time at its max refresh rate, but it's a bit disappointing for a 165Hz monitor. The recommended Overdrive setting, called Response Time, is 'Super Fast'. There's a minimal amount of overshoot, but the response time is slow, resulting in some motion blur. If you want the quickest response time, 'Extreme' is faster, but there's visible ghosting behind fast-moving objects.

6.9
Motion
Response Time @ 60Hz
Best Overdrive Setting
Fast
Rise / Fall Time
8.9 ms
Total Response Time
19.4 ms
Overshoot Error
2.3 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
8.3 ms
Dark Total Response Time
21.6 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
8.2 %

Overdrive Setting Response Time Chart Response Time Tables Motion Blur Photo
Fast Chart Table Photo
Super Fast Chart Table Photo
Extreme Chart Table Photo

The Dell S3220DGF has an adequate response time at 60Hz. Unlike when playing at its max refresh rate, the recommended Overdrive is 'Fast'. Motion is still blurry but there's a minimal amount of overshoot.

10
Motion
Image Flicker
Flicker-Free Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz

The Dell S3220DGF is flicker-free, which helps reduce eye strain.

0
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
No
BFI Maximum Frequency
N/A
BFI Minimum Frequency
N/A

This monitor doesn't have a black frame insertion feature.

9.2
Motion
Refresh Rate
Native
165 Hz
Max Refresh Rate
165 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
FreeSync
Yes
G-SYNC
Compatible (Tested)
VRR Maximum
165 Hz
VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors DisplayPort, HDMI

Update 08/20/2020: We rechecked the refresh rate, and clarified our text.

The default refresh rate of the Dell S3220DGF varies depending on the connection used. Over DisplayPort, it defaults to a maximum 165Hz refresh rate, and the only other option is to decrease it to 60Hz. When connected over HDMI, the monitor defaults to 144Hz and instead offers an overclock to 165Hz. It also supports FreeSync VRR technology to reduce screen tearing, and although it's not officially certified, we were also able to use it with NVIDIA's G-SYNC Compatible mode, but this only works over DisplayPort.

Inputs
9.5
Inputs
Input Lag
Native Resolution
4.0 ms
Native Resolution @ 60Hz
8.5 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
4.4 ms
Variable Refresh Rate @ 60Hz
10.2 ms
10 Bit HDR
6.1 ms
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
N/A

This monitor has an extremely low input lag and delivers a very responsive gaming experience.

8.3
Inputs
Resolution And Size
Native Resolution 2560 x 1440
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Megapixels 3.7 MP
Pixel Density