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Reviewed on Aug 22, 2018

Dell U2518D
MONITOR REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.0
7.7
Mixed Usage
7.8
Office
7.8
Gaming
7.7
Multimedia
7.7
Media Creation
6.8
HDR Gaming
Size : 25 "
Resolution : 2560x1440
Refresh Rate : 60 Hz
LCD Type
:
IPS
Variable Refresh Rate
:
No

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.

Test Results
Design 7.5
Picture Quality 7.5
Motion 7.2
Inputs 8.1
Pros
  • Wide viewing angles
  • Easy to adjust stand with great ergonomics
Cons
  • HDR performance doesn't add much
  • Disappointing black uniformity
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

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7.5

Design

Curved : No
Curve radius : N/A
Weight (without stand)
:
7.8 lbs (3.5 kg)
Weight (with stand)
:
12.8 lbs (5.8 kg)

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.

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.

8.2 Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
:
5.1" (13.0 cm)
Switch portrait/landscape : Yes
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.

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.

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.

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 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.

7.5

Picture Quality

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.

6.3 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 Local Dimming
Local Dimming
:
No
Backlight
:
Direct

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

8.2 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 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.

7.3 Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Shift from Left
:
37 °
Color Shift from Right
:
36 °
Brightness from Left
:
49 °
Brightness from Right
:
47 °
Black Level from Left
:
75 °
Black Level from Right
:
75 °
Curve Radius : N/A

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.

7.0 Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Shift from Below
:
28 °
Color Shift from Above
:
28 °
Brightness from Below
:
36 °
Brightness from Above
:
37 °
Black Level from Below
:
49 °
Black Level from Above
:
22 °

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 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 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 Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
:
Standard
Luminance
:
275 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
:
75
Contrast Setting
:
75
RGB controls
:
N/A
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 Post Calibration
Picture Mode
:
Custom Color
Luminance
:
99 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
:
17
Contrast Setting
:
75
RGB Controls
:
99-98-100
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 SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
:
98.1 %
Adobe RGB xy
:
76.1 %

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.

8.8 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'

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.

6.5 HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
:
No
DCI P3 xy
:
72.6 %
Rec. 2020 xy
:
56.9 %

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 HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 in ICtCp
:
66.6 %
Rec. 2020 in ICtCp
:
49.6 %

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 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 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 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.

7.5 Reflections

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.

7.2

Motion

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.

8.8 Motion Blur
80% Response Time
:
5.2 ms
100% Response Time
:
11.7 ms
Best Overdrive Setting
:
Normal

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.

7.5 Image Flicker
Flicker-free : No
PWM Dimming Frequency
:
940 Hz
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
:
No
BFI Maximum Frequency
:
N/A
BFI Minimum Frequency
:
N/A

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.

6.7 Refresh Rate
Native
:
60 Hz
Factory Overclock
:
N/A
Variable Refresh Rate
:
No
G-SYNC Compatible
:
No
VRR Maximum
:
N/A
VRR Minimum
:
N/A
VRR Maximum With OC
:
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors : N/A

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

8.1

Inputs

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.

8.1 Input Lag
Native Resolution
:
15.8 ms
Non-Native Res @ Native Refresh
:
15.7 ms
Native Resolution @ 60 Hz
:
15.8 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
:
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 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
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

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.

Features

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.

Additional Features
Speakers
:
No
HDR10 : Yes
Multiple input display
:
No

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.

On-Screen Display (OSD)
Controls

The monitor has the standard four-button control scheme for the OSD, and one power button. The buttons are hard to press and sometimes you are not really sure if you have pressed them or not.

In The Box

  • Manual and drivers
  • Power cable
  • Displayport cable
  • USB 3.0 Cable

Differences between Sizes and Variants

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.

Size Model
25" U2518D
27" U2718Q

The U2518D we reviewed was manufactured in May 2018.

Compared to other Monitors

Left: Dell U2718Q. Middle: Dell U2518D. Right: Dell U2715H.
Unlike our other photographs, this picture wasn't taken under a controlled environment, so do not draw conclusions from it.

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 and the best 24-25 inch monitors.

Dell U2515H

The Dell U2518D is better than the Dell U2515H. The Dell U2518D has HDR support. On the other hand, the Dell U2515H has somewhat better input lag that makes it very responsive and will be appreciated mostly by gamers.

Dell U2415

The Dell U2518D is better than the Dell U2415. 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.

Dell U2717D

The Dell U2518D is much better than the Dell U2717D. The U2518D supports HDR, although this doesn't add much, and it has better black uniformity and much lower input lag. The U2717D has a slightly larger screen, but the same resolution, so the image is a bit less sharp.

Dell U2715H

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.

Dell U2719D

The Dell U2518D is better than the Dell U2719D for most uses. The U2518D supports HDR and it has better black uniformity. The U2719D, on the other hand, has a larger screen and lower input lag, which might be better for some people.

LG 27UD58-B

The Dell U2518D is much better than the LG 27UD58-B. The Dell U2518D supports HDR whereas the LG 27UD58-B doesn't. 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 is 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.

ASUS PB277Q

If you'll be sitting right in front of the monitor and responsiveness is what you're after, the ASUS PB277Q is a better choice. For a monitor that will perform well in almost all uses 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 uses. Also, the Dell U2518D has better gray uniformity so you won't notice any clouding when browsing the web.

BenQ Zowie XL2540

The BenQ Zowie XL2540 is a much better monitor for gaming, For all other uses and HDR support, the Dell U2518D is a better choice. The BenQ Zowie XL2540 is equipped with features like variable refresh rate, black frame insertion, 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. This makes it great for multitasking in an office or for multimedia.

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Conclusion
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7.7 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.
7.8 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.
7.8 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.
7.7 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.
7.7 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.
6.8 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.

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