Dell U2518D Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Updated Aug 22, 2018 at 09:58 am
Dell U2518D Picture
7.6
Mixed Usage
7.9
Office
7.3
Gaming
7.6
Multimedia
7.9
Media Creation
6.6
HDR Gaming
Size 25"
Resolution 2560x1440
Max Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Pixel Type
IPS
Variable Refresh Rate
No VRR

The Dell Ultrasharp U2518D is a QHD 25-inch IPS LCD monitor that is good for most usages. It has great ergonomics and a good picture quality, with great peak brightness and good reflection handling, making it a suitable choice for brighter rooms. The monitor supports HDR but you will not gain much advantage from using it in this mode. It has a fast response time and a low input lag to provide a good gaming experience. In darker rooms, blacks look gray and the disappointing black uniformity becomes apparent.

Our Verdict

7.6 Mixed Usage

This is a good monitor for mixed usage. It has good resolution for its size and will allow you to see a lot of detail on your screen. The ergonomics are good so you can easily position the monitor comfortably. It has wide viewing angles so those sitting next to you will enjoy a good picture quality and its brightness makes it suitable for rooms with a lot of ambient light.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles
  • Easy to adjust stand with great ergonomics
Cons
  • HDR performance doesn't add much
  • Disappointing black uniformity
7.9 Office

The Dell Ultrasharp U2518D is a good monitor for office use. It has wide viewing angles encouraging cooperation among colleagues and a good resolution for its size so that you can multitask without issues. The ergonomics are great and you can place the monitor to your preference without trouble. The color gamut is sufficient for most but not for professionals working with photos for publishing. It is bright enough and placing in a bright office should not be an issue.

7.3 Gaming

The Dell U2518D will satisfy most casual gamers. It has a fast response time with a short image trail and a low input lag that makes it responsive. The resolution is good for its size and it will fit most of the details on your screen. Unfortunately, it does not have any advanced gaming features like variable refresh rate or black frame insertion to further improve the gaming experience, and the image only refreshes at 60Hz that is low for advanced gaming.

7.6 Multimedia

This is a good monitor for multimedia usage. The QHD resolution is great so you can view your favorite movie or stream most content without losing any detail. The ergonomics are very good thus you can position the monitor comfortably. You need not worry about the picture quality for those who are looking from the side as the monitor will maintain a good picture quality for a decent off center viewing. Unfortunately, this monitor is not suitable for dark rooms as blacks appear gray and the disappointing black uniformity becomes apparent.

7.9 Media Creation

Using this monitor for media creation is a good experience. It has a QHD resolution, which for the 25-inch screen size is great and will allow you to multitask easily and be more productive. It has a low input lag and thus it is very responsive and can easily be placed in a room with a lot of ambient light. It can get bright enough to fight glare and has good reflection handling. Unfortunately, it can not display deep uniform blacks and thus you should avoid using it in darker rooms.

6.6 HDR Gaming

This is a decent monitor for HDR gaming. It cannot get bright enough nor does it have a wide color gamut to make all HDR scenes pop. HDR is usually meant to be watched in darker rooms and this can not deliver deep blacks due to its mediocre contrast ratio and sub-par black uniformity. It is, however, a decent entry-level HDR gaming monitor.

  • 7.6 Mixed Usage
  • 7.9 Office
  • 7.3 Gaming
  • 7.6 Multimedia
  • 7.9 Media Creation
  • 6.6 HDR Gaming
  1. Update 5/29/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  2. Update 12/12/2018: We have received reports of this monitor having issues with tearing and stuttering. We have tested the monitor as described here and found the same results. There is a discussion here, if you want to add your comments

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Curved No
Curve Radius Not Curved
Weight (without stand)
7.7 lbs (3.5 kg)
Weight (with stand)
12.8 lbs (5.8 kg)
Design
Stand
Width
11.5" (29.2 cm)
Depth
7.9" (20.1 cm)

This is a typical rectangular plastic Dell stand. It provides good support to the monitor and it is very sturdy.

8.5
Design
Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
5.1" (13.0 cm)
Switch Portrait/Landscape Yes, Both Ways
Swivel Range -30° to 30°
Tilt Range -22.5° to 2.5°

The ergonomics of the monitor are great. You can easily position the monitor to your liking without any issue. This is typical of most Dell monitors.

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

The back of the monitor looks very plain. It has an air vent that runs across the top side to provide cooling to the electronics. The stand pole has the typical hole that is Dell's way of providing cable management.

Design
Borders
Borders
0.3" (0.8 cm)

The borders are thin with minimal bezel. However, there is a gap on the screen between the edge and where the pixels start as you can see in the image.

Design
Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
5.4" (13.7 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
2.0" (5.1 cm)

The monitor looks fairly thin without the stand and if VESA mounted, it won't protrude much. When attached to its stand and viewed from the side, the width is pretty much the stands' width.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of the Dell Ultrasharp U2518D is good. The casing is plastic with no gaps and you should have no issues with it.

Picture Quality
6.3
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
1187 : 1
Contrast With Local Dimming
N/A

The contrast of this Dell U2518D monitor is mediocre. However, this is expected for an IPS monitor. In fact, it is in the middle of the range of IPS monitors we've tested so far.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Direct

This monitor does not feature a local dimming option. The video is for reference only.

8.2
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
406 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
423 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
426 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
426 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
426 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
426 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
421 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
424 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
425 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
425 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
425 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.000

The SDR peak brightness of the Dell Ultrasharp U2518D is great. The monitor is suitable for bright rooms as it can overcome glare. The brightness is relatively constant at all window sizes and this is good. This is due to the lack of local dimming or frame dimming.

7.2
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene
498 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
476 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
520 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
545 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
562 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
584 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
279 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
304 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
317 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
328 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
340 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.012

Decent HDR peak brightness. The Dell U2518D can get bright in HDR but unfortunately not enough to give you the entire HDR 'wow' effect.

8.2
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
44 °
Color Washout From Right
47 °
Color Shift From Left
50 °
Color Shift From Right
55 °
Brightness Loss From Left
46 °
Brightness Loss From Right
49 °
Black Level Raise From Left
70 °
Black Level Raise From Right
70 °
Gamma Shift From Left
45 °
Gamma Shift From Right
53 °

Decent horizontal viewing angles for the Dell U2518D, typical of an IPS monitor. At a relatively large angle off center, the colors start to shift and just a few degrees later so does the brightness.

6.6
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
34 °
Color Washout From Above
34 °
Color Shift From Below
34 °
Color Shift From Above
37 °
Brightness Loss From Below
39 °
Brightness Loss From Above
39 °
Black Level Raise From Below
23 °
Black Level Raise From Above
52 °
Gamma Shift From Below
33 °
Gamma Shift From Above
34 °

Decent vertical viewing angles. Again, colors are the first to shift as we move up from the center axis. Surprisingly when looking from above blacks do shift relatively fast. This might affect the picture quality perceived by someone who looks at the monitor while standing.

8.6
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
3.180 %
50% DSE
0.109 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.340 %
5% DSE
0.046 %

The gray uniformity of this Dell Ultrasharp U2518D is great. In the darker shades, there is no visible clouding whereas in the lighter shades you might be able to notice some faint uniformity issues towards the edges that look darker. The good news is that there is almost no dirty screen effect.

5.9
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
2.053 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

Disappointing black uniformity. There is clouding scattered all over the screen and only the corners look uniform. There is backlight bleed around the edges of the screen that can be easily noticed in a dark room.

9.1
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
Standard
Luminance
275 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
75
Contrast Setting
75
RGB Controls
100-100-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
6720 K
White Balance dE
1.28
Color dE
1.15
Gamma
2.19

Excellent out of the box color accuracy. The Picture mode at which we obtained the best results is the 'Standard'.

The color temperature is a little colder than our target of 6500 K, and Gamma does not track too close our target curve, but its average value is close to our 2.2 sRGB target, and the white and color balance dEs are well below the threshold of 3 where most people will notice any color inaccuracies.

9.7
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Custom Color
Luminance
99 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
17
Contrast Setting
75
RGB Controls
99-98-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
6513 K
White Balance dE
0.45
Color dE
0.48
Gamma
2.18

The Dell U2518D achieved a remarkable accuracy after calibration. For the calibration, we set Picture mode to 'Custom Color' which is the mode that allows changing the monitor's RGB balance. The white balance dE and color dE are below 0.5, which means that the level of inaccuracy is almost unnoticeable. The gamma curve was corrected to match more closely the target curve and although the overall value is now a bit further from our 2.2 sRGB target the overall result is better. Finally, the color temperature, after calibration, it is much closer to our 6500k target.

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

8.7
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
98.1 %
Adobe RGB xy
76.1 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

sRGB Picture Mode: 'Custom Color' (calibrated)
Adobe RGB Picture Mode: 'Custom Color'

Excellent SDR color gamut. The Dell Ultrasharp U2518D covers the sRGB color space adequately. On the other hand, the coverage of the wider Adobe RGB color space is limited and that might be an issue for professional users for editing graphics or print media. If you want a monitor with an even better color gamut, check out the Dell UltraSharp U2520D.

8.8
Picture Quality
SDR Color Volume
sRGB In ICtCp
95.9 %
Adobe RGB In ICtCp
80.8 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

sRGB Picture Mode: 'Custom Color'
Adobe RGB Picture Mode: 'Custom Color'

Excellent SDR color volume. The sRGB in ICtCp color volume is covered adequately except at the darker shades that are limited by the monitor's mediocre contrast ratio. The Adobe RGB in ICtCp color volume is limited both by the monitor contrast ratio and the limited color gamut of the Adobe RGB color space. This might be an issue for professionals in the publishing industry; see our recommendations for the best monitors for photo editing and graphic design.

6.5
Picture Quality
HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
No
DCI P3 xy
72.6 %
Rec. 2020 xy
56.9 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
Custom Color
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
Custom Color

The Dell U2518D displays a decent color gamut with HDR content. The coverage of the smaller DCI-P3 is ok, but the coverage of the wider Rec.2020 color space is disappointing.

5.8
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 In ICtCp
66.6 %
Rec. 2020 In ICtCp
49.6 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
Custom Color
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
Custom Color

The monitor has a disappointing coverage of HDR color volume due to its limited HDR color gamut and contrast ratio. The monitor can't display vivid colors at a wide range of brightness levels so HDR content won't look much more saturated than SDR content.

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 %

This monitor shows no sign of image retention after displaying a high contrast static image for 10 minutes.

9.4
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit

Excellent results on our gradient test. The Dell Ultrasharp U2518D displays our gradient test image with almost no banding, as we can see in our test picture. Very minimal banding is visible in the dark part of the colors. As this monitor supports a 10-bit input, no banding generally seen on an 8-bit monitor is visible, and this is excellent.

10
Picture Quality
Color Bleed
Pixel Row Error
0.000 %
Pixel Column Error
0.001 %

When displaying large stripes of a single color, no bleeding issues can be seen on this Dell U2518D monitor.

6.9
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
6.3 %
Indirect Reflections
3.3 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
3.0 %

The reflection handling of the Dell U2518D is good. It diffuses direct reflections on the screen using a light matte finish that give them a reddish tint. This is good for an average lit or dark room but in a very bright room, you might find the reflections distracting.

8.0
Picture Quality
Text Clarity
Sub-Pixel Layout
RGB
Motion
7.7
Motion
Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate
Best Overdrive Setting
Normal
Rise / Fall Time
8.0 ms
Total Response Time
15.5 ms
Overshoot Error
1.7 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
8.5 ms
Dark Total Response Time
16.7 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
3.2 %

Response Time Normal
Response Time Fast

Excellent pixel response time, good enough for fast motion in video games and TV shows. This results in a clear image with only a short trail visible as the photo above shows. You can set the Response Time setting to 'Fast', but you will observe a distracting amount of overshoot and therefore, is not recommended.

7.7
Motion
Response Time @ 60Hz
Best Overdrive Setting
Normal
Rise / Fall Time
8.0 ms
Total Response Time
15.5 ms
Overshoot Error
1.7 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
8.5 ms
Dark Total Response Time
16.7 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
3.2 %
10
Motion
Image Flicker
Flicker-Free No
PWM Dimming Frequency
940 Hz

The Dell Ultrasharp U2518D has flicker at low brightness settings but the flicker frequency is very high and most people will not notice it.

On the other hand, the monitor lacks a black frame insertion feature to clear up motion, but most 60 Hz monitors don't have this feature because most people find 60 Hz flicker bothersome.

0
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
No
BFI Maximum Frequency
N/A
BFI Minimum Frequency
N/A
5.9
Motion
Refresh Rate
Native
60 Hz
Max Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
FreeSync
No
G-SYNC
No
VRR Maximum
N/A
VRR Minimum
No VRR
VRR Supported Connectors No VRR

The Dell U2518 has a good refresh rate of 60Hz, but unfortunately, it does not support any advanced gaming features like variable refresh rate.

Update 12/12/2018: We have received reports of this monitor having issues with tearing and stuttering. We have tested the monitor as described here and found the same results. There is a discussion here, if you want to add your comments

Inputs
8.0
Inputs
Input Lag
Native Resolution
15.8 ms
Native Resolution @ 60Hz
15.8 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
Variable Refresh Rate @ 60Hz
N/A
10 Bit HDR
19.8 ms
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
N/A

The input lag of the U2518D is great, and it does not increase when the monitor is displaying the non-native FHD resolution we tested it on. When in HDR mode the input lag is only slightly higher.

8.3
Inputs
Resolution And Size
Native Resolution 2560 x 1440
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Megapixels 3.7 MP
Pixel Density
118 PPI
Screen Diagonal 25.0 inches
Screen Area 266 sq inches

The Dell U2518D monitor has a sharp 1440p resolution but only an ordinary 25" size. This resolution for this specific size is great for most usages.

Inputs
Inputs
Inputs
Total Inputs
DisplayPort 1 (DP 1.2)
Mini DisplayPort 1 (DP 1.2)
HDMI 1 (HDMI 2.0)
DVI No
VGA No
DisplayPort Out 1 (DP 1.2)
USB 4 (USB 3.0)
USB C No
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Microphone In 3.5mm No
Digital Optical Audio Out No
Analog Audio Out RCA No
Power Supply Internal