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.
The design of the Dell U2518D is good. It has the typical Dell design, with a stand that supports the monitor well and provides good ergonomics so that you can position the monitor to your liking without much trouble. If, on the other hand, you decide to VESA mount it, the monitor won't protrude much. The build quality is good, as with most Dell monitors and you shouldn't have any issues with it.
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.
Good picture quality for this Dell U2518D. As an IPS monitor, the contrast ratio is only mediocre whereas viewing angles are decent. The monitor can get fairly bright in SDR and can easily be placed in a bright room. Although the monitor supports HDR, you will not benefit much from using it in this mode. Overall, the monitor has good picture quality when used in SDR and should keep most people happy.
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.
This monitor does not feature a local dimming option. The video is for reference only.
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.
Decent HDR peak brightness. The Dell U2518D can get bright in HDR but unfortunately not enough to give you the entire HDR 'wow' effect.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 RBG 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.
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.
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.
This monitor shows no sign of image retention after displaying a high contrast static image for 10 minutes.
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.
When displaying large stripes of a single color, no bleeding issues can be seen on this Dell U2518D monitor.
The Del U2518D has decent motion handling. It has a very fast response time that creates little blur, but unfortunately, it is not flicker-free and has a refresh rate of only 60Hz that might not be enough for some gamers. Furthermore, the monitor does not have any advanced gaming features like support for variable refresh rate to remove tearing or Black Frame Insertion to clear up blur.
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.
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.
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
The Dell U2518D has a low input lag that will keep most people happy except the most competitive gamers. It is equipped with a good QHD resolution that most people will find sufficient for the 25" screen size of the monitor. As far as input ports, the monitor is pretty versatile and will accept both HDMI and DisplayPort inputs.
Lowest input lag possible at the center of the screen, when the monitor is displaying an alternative resolution at its native refresh rate. The non-native resolution tested depends on the native resolution of the monitor, following this pattern unless otherwise specified in the Input Lag text:
|Native Resolution||Non-Native Resolution Tested|
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.
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.
The monitor has a DisplayPort Out for daisy chaining with another monitor. This allows two monitors to be fed from one DisplayPort on a computer. Also, the lower of the two USB ports on the side supports the USB BC1.2 battery charging standard and has a different icon. This gives it enhanced charging capabilities, such as higher current modes. The same is true for one of the USB ports on the bottom, the one closer to the left edge.
The Dell U2518D has a couple of additional features that are very helpful. One is the option to have USB always on so that you can use its USB ports for charging other devices (2 of them support BC1.2 for fast charging). And second, the monitor supports DisplayPort daisy chaining. It does not have built-in speakers, but it does have a 3.5mm speaker out port, allowing you to connect a single set of speakers. The On-Screen Display is intuitive and easy to use.
The Dell U2518D just like its sister monitor, the Dell U2718Q, can be used as a USB hub. The USB ports can be left powered when the monitor is off, and two of the ports support BC1.2 fast charging. Also, there is one DisplayPort Out for daisy chaining with another monitor. So only one DisplayPort is needed from the graphics card to display to two monitors.
HDR is only supported when connected via HDMI. DisplayPort is not supported for HDR.
We've tested the 25" U2518D. The monitor is also available in a 27" size (Dell U2718Q) that we have also tested.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Dell U2518D doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review. Note that some tests such as the gray uniformity may vary between individual units.
The U2518D we reviewed was manufactured in May 2018.
The Dell U2518D is a monitor oriented for productivity with great ergonomics and decent picture quality. It is one of the best gaming monitors under $300 we've reviewed so far. See our recommendations for the best gaming monitors for PC.
The Dell U2518D is better than the Dell U2515H. The Dell U2518D has HDR support, and this gives it an advantage over the Dell U2515H in almost all usages. On the other hand, the Dell U2515H has somewhat better input lag that makes it very responsive and will be appreciated mostly by gamers.
The Dell U2518D is better than the Dell U24115. The U2518D supports HDR and has a much better resolution that can display more detail on the screen. The U2518D also has a faster response time and can handle fast action with less blur. On the other hand, the U2415 has a lower input lag, and this is great news for gamers.
The Dell U2518D is a bit better than the Dell U2715H. The Dell U2518D has HDR support and performs decently in this mode. On the other hand, the Dell U2715H is slightly larger and has a lower input lag which makes it very responsive which is great for gaming.
If you will be sitting right in front of the monitor and responsiveness is what you are after, the ASUS PB277Q is a better choice. For a monitor that will perform well in almost all usages and with HDR support, the Dell U2518D is a better choice. The PB277Q is better for gaming as it has lower input lag and faster response time. On the other hand, the U2518D has better viewing angles that make it more versatile for more usages. Also, the Dell U2518D has better gray uniformity so you will not notice any clouding when browsing the web.
The Dell U2518D is much better than the LG 27UD58-B. The Dell U2518D supports HDR whereas the LG 27UD58-B does not. The Dell U2518D has better motion blur for slightly better gaming and significantly better ergonomics that allow you to place it more comfortably. The Dell U2518D can get brighter and this great for office use. On the other hand, the LG 27UD58-B has a better resolution which makes it slightly better for those who seek the extra detail. Also, the LG 27UD58-B has better input lag and better refresh rate.
The BenQ Zowie XL2540 is a much better monitor for gaming, For all other usages and HDR support, the Dell U2518D is a better choice. The BenQ Zowie XL2540 is equipped with features like variable refresh rate and black frame insertion, and very low input lag and fast pixel response time. All of these make it an excellent choice for gamers. On the other hand, the Dell U2518D has much better viewing angles and HDR support, along with a better QHD resolution that gives you more detail on your screen, and this is great for multitasking in an office or for multimedia.