The Dell Ultrasharp U3417W is an above-average curved ultrawide IPS LCD monitor with a high 3440x1440 resolution. It gets brighter than average and comes with a factory calibration. It has a very wide viewing angle and produces a low amount of input lag, which is good for gaming. Unfortunately, its low contrast and uneven blacks result in only an average picture quality and it lacks motion-enhancing features such as a high refresh rate or black frame insertion.
The design of the Dell U3417W is excellent. The width of the screen stands out and the curved screen looks good. The stand is fairly heavy and results in a stable monitor despite the small footprint. Like other ultrawide monitors, it isn't possible to rotate the monitor to display a portrait image. The rear also looks good, and there is a hole in the stand to route cables through and reduce clutter. The build quality is also great, and shouldn't cause any issues.
The ergonomic adjustments are mediocre. The options available to adjust are the height, the swivel and the tilt of the monitor. The limited range available in these adjustments can sometimes make it a bit more difficult to find a comfortable viewing position.
Update 10/23/2018: Swivel range was missing. It was remeasured and the review has been updated.
The Dell Ultrasharp U3417W monitor has a decent picture quality. The sub-standard contrast ratio and poor black uniformity mean that this monitor won't be the best suited for a dark room use, as black look gray and give a washed out look to dark content. Fortunately, as with most IPS monitor, when set in a brighter environment, the picture quality is much better. Viewing angles are very good and whether you look at the monitor from the side or the top, the picture quality remains pretty good.
Gray uniformity is also good and multimedia content is not affected by any dirty screen effect whatsoever. The Dell U3417W is a very accurate monitor out of the box (calibration-wise) and covers almost completely the sRGB color space. Finally, the monitor does not have more advanced features like local dimming or HDR support.
The Dell Ultrasharp U3417W has a sub-standard native contrast ratio and as a result, it is not best suited for use in a dark environment since black tends to look more grayish than really deep blacks. This is particularly noticeable when playing video games in a dark room, as it gives a washed out look to most dark video cutscenes. For this reason, this monitor is best suited for well-lit room, as most other IPS monitors.
Note that the 908:1 contrast ratio is measured with the 'Uniformity compensation' set to 'Off'. We found out that when set to 'Calibrated', the contrast ratio was only of 554:1, and since we did not find any striking advantage when this option was set to 'Calibrated', we decided to leave it to 'Off'.
The Dell U3417W does not have a local dimming feature. The video is for reference only.
Very good SDR peak brightness. The Dell 3417W has no issue getting bright enough to be usable in almost all viewing environments. Unfortunately, most picture modes come with the "Uniformity Compensation" feature enabled which reduced the brightness of our units to a mere 200 cd/m2. To achieve the higher luminance level, this setting must be disabled.
HDR is not supported.
Good horizontal viewing angle. As is typical of IPS-type LCD monitors, the Dell Ultrasharp U3417W's black level does not rise significantly when the monitor is used at an angle. Its colors remain decently accurate and it doesn't lose most of its brightness until it is viewed at a fairly steep 50-degree angle.
Great vertical viewing angle. Much like the behavior seen horizontally, this monitor's black level remains relatively constant off axis. While both the brightness and colors shift more rapidly than on a horizontal axis, they are better retained than the average monitor.
The Dell U3417W has a great gray uniformity, as seen on both the 50% and 5% gray test pictures. This is great for looking at large areas with uniform colors, such as browsing the web or watching YouTube videos. The only issues we can really notice on the 50% gray test picture are that the 2 sides of the screen look a bit darker than the center, but this is not very noticeable in use.
We tested the monitor with both the 'Uniformity compensation' set to 'Off' and to 'Calibrated'. We found out that the 50% gray uniformity was a bit better with the 'Uniformity compensation' set to 'Calibrated' (see test picture here), but it was the only place that this feature gave a better score. Overall, the monitor was better with the feature turned off, so we suggest you leave it set to 'Off'. In any case, you can try and see it for yourself if you feel that it can help, as it may be different between units.
The black uniformity is poor. Backlight bleed is visible near all 4 corners, with the lower left corner being the worse and it is a noticeable in a dark room. Some faint vertical lines are also visible, but luckily those lines are not really noticeable when the monitor is displaying normal content.
Once again here we did test with and without the 'Uniformity compensation' feature. The black uniformity was actually better when the feature was turned off.
The accuracy of the Dell U3417W 'out of the box' is great. We found the 'Multimedia' picture mode to be the most accurate of the picture mode available, but both the 'Standard' and 'custom color' were pretty close too, so any of the 3 picture modes could have been used and the accuracy would not be too bad.
Overall, when on the 'Multimedia' picture mode, the white balance and color dE are both under 3, which only people like professional that are used to work with calibrated monitors could really notice any problem here (most people would find it fine for sure). The color temperature is also very close to our 6500K target, and for the gamma, both the curve and value are really close to our target, which overall is great for most PC use and gaming.
After calibration, the Dell 3417W accuracy is excellent. The calibration was done on the 'Custom Color' picture mode, which was already good out of the box, but the calibration helped to fix the minor issues. Both the white balance dE and color dE were brought down under 1, which is under what most people would notice any irregularities. The colors are a bit more precise than before calibration, as they are now mostly on targets, as before calibration, the red, green and yellow were a bit over-saturated.
You can download our ICC profile calibration here.
Good SDR color gamuts. While it doesn't officially support the wider Adobe RGB color space, the Dell U3417W covers it a little better than average. Partly thanks to its factory calibration, it has no major issues reproducing the s.RGB gamut used in most applications.
The Dell Ultrasharp U3417W covers SDR color volumes well. While its somewhat low contrast stops it from reproducing darker colors, its good coverage of standard gamuts allows it to reproduce the great majority of the colors in the standard RGB volume.
HDR gamuts are not supported.
HDR color volumes are not supported.
Perfect score on our image retention as no retention could be noticed at all while running our test.
The Dell U3417W has a very good performance when displaying our gradient test image. 8-bit banding is visible, but this is normal since it is an 8-bit monitor. Besides this, the gradient looks smooth and without any striking color banding. Overall, this is pretty good for a PC monitor.
The Dell U3417W does not produce a noticeable amount of color bleed. It is well suited for people that are particularly sensitive to it, or for artists that often work with large uniformly colored elements or grids.
The reflection handling is great. The curve results in some distortion of the reflections, which may be an advantage as it tends to diffuse point sources across the screen and reduce their intensity. The light-matte finish helps diffuse them further, so this should be great even in a fairly bright room.
Motion looks decent on the Dell Ultrasharp U3417W, but not as good as on many gaming monitors such as the Samsung CHG90. The monitor has a fast pixel response time and a flicker-free backlight, which is great, but its mediocre fixed 60 Hz refresh rate is quite limiting for gaming and doesn't feel quite as smooth as some higher frame rate monitors. Overall though, for uses which don't require a high fps, it performs well.
Very good pixel response time, which is great for watching fast moving content such as playing video games or watching sports. Most of the blur in the photo is due to 60 Hz persistence, which is a result of the relatively long 16.6ms frame time. There is only a very short blur following the moving logo, which is great. The 'Response Time Normal' setting was the fastest; the 'Fast' setting wasn't any faster and added a lot of bothersome overshoot (visible as an inverse ghosting following moving objects), so it's not recommended. Overall, the response time is similar to many other IPS monitors like the Dell U2717D, but not as good as some gaming IPS monitors like the Acer Predator XB271HU.
The Dell 3417W has a flicker-free backlight which is great as it produces comfortable, smooth motion. The backlight has a slight 60 Hz wobble, but the wobble isn't deep enough to be noticeable. Unfortunately, the monitor doesn't have a black frame insertion feature. This is disappointing because 60 Hz flicker can be useful to clear up fast motion such as when playing fighting or shooting games. It is very rare for a 60 Hz monitor to have BFI because many people find 60 Hz flicker bothersome, so this isn't too bad.
The monitor only has a very common 60 Hz refresh rate, without any variable refresh rate feature like FreeSync. While this is good enough for most usages, they all would benefit a little from a higher refresh rate. Gaming, in particular, will be disadvantaged by the mediocre refresh rate and lack of VRR.
The Dell Ultrasharp U3417W has an ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratio, a large 34" panel and a sharp 1440p resolution; all of which will impress during all usages. The monitor also has good low input lag which will please all but the most competitive gamers, but, unfortunately, a bug causes the monitor to skip a frame every ~21.6 seconds, which means the input lag rises and falls during that 21.6 second cycle.
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|
Non-native resolution tested: 2560 x 1080
Good low input lag, which should please all but the most competitive gamers. Unfortunately, the input lag varies considerably over time; the monitor skips a frame every ~21.6 seconds, so the input lag rises slowly over 21.6 seconds then falls back down to its lowest value. This varying input lag is subtle and shouldn't be noticeable to most people, but it does raise the average input lag to 17.2 ms; without the bug the input lag would likely be ~10 ms like the Dell U2715H.
The Dell Ultrasharp U3417W monitor has an ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratio, a large 34" size and a sharp 1440p resolution; all of which are great for all usages. The ultrawide aspect ratio, in particular, is great for providing immersion while gaming, or for using two windows side by side during office use.
The 3.5mm analog line out can be used for headphones, but the volume can't be adjusted by the monitor itself.
There are also two USB Type-B hub inputs, either of which can be used to connect the four USB 3.0 inputs to a computer. This is explained in more detail in the Additional Features section below. Two of the three USB 3.0 inputs support the USB BC 1.2 charging standard, which allows them to provide more amps of current when charging.
The Dell Ultrasharp U3417W has all the standard features of a monitor, like adjustable image and overdrive settings, but the monitor also has a raft of features not found on most other monitors such as built-in speakers and a DisplayPort Out for daisy chaining with another monitor. The monitor also has several features that make it useful as a shared display for two computers, such as picture-in-picture and picture-beside-picture modes, and USB port switching. The monitor also has a 'Uniformity Calibration' setting that we recommend turning off because it significantly hurts the monitor's peak brightness and contrast.
The Dell U3417W has speakers that can get decently loud, but not nearly as loud as headphones or dedicated speakers.
There is a DisplayPort Out on the back of the monitor for daisy chaining, meaning another monitor can be connected directly to the U3417W, so both monitors can be fed by one DisplayPort on a computer. How this works is that the computer uses DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport to send two DisplayPort signals over one cable. These two video feeds are input into the monitor, which then sends one of the feeds its DisplayPort Out to a second monitor, allowing dual monitors using only one DisplayPort.
The monitor also has many features that make it useful as a shared display between two sources. It has both picture-in-picture (PIP) and picture-beside-picture (PBP) modes, each with a few sub modes; for example, the PBP Aspect Ratio mode shows both inputs side by side but preserves their aspect ratio, even if their aspect ratio is different. The monitor's EDID even has a (1720x1440) entry so an input can fully cover half the screen in PBP mode.
Another useful screen sharing feature is that the monitor's four USB ports can be shared between two computers. The USB ports can be fed by either one of the monitor's two USB Type-B hub inputs, and the hub inputs can be plugged into two different computers. Each hub input can be tied to a video input, such that when the DisplayPort is the active input the USB ports are fed by hub input 1, and when HDMI 1 is the active input the USB ports are fed by hub input 2, for example. This allows the four USB ports to be shared between two computers.
We tested the Dell U3417W, which is a 2017 model 34" Ultrawide monitor. There is another Ultrawide monitor from 2015, and many other sizes and year variants of the Dell Ultrasharp monitors, some of which are listed below.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their monitor 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 Dell U3417W is an Ultrawide monitor with an office and productivity focus. While the high resolution and large size do make it great for this use, it comes at a high price and for other uses, it isn't as good of a fit.
If you've got a large room with wide seating, then the Dell U3417W is a better choice, but if you are interested in gaming in a dark room while sitting directly in front, then the Samsung CF791 is better. The Dell U3417W has an IPS panel, giving you better viewing angles whereas the CF791 has a slight better refresh rate and a slightly faster response time resulting in clearer motion.
The Dell U3818DW is better than the Dell U3417W. The U3818DW has a larger, higher resolution screen that allows you to see more of your project. The 2018 U3818DW has much improved input lag, great for gaming, but it is slightly dimmer than the U3417W. The U3417W has a DisplayPort out, so it can be daisy-chained to a second monitor. The U3818DW does not have this feature.
The Dell Alienware AW3418DW is better than the Dell U3417W. The Alienware has a much lower input lag, less trail blur and a faster refresh rate which help it deliver a great gaming experience.
The Samsung CHG90 is slightly better than the Dell U3417W, unless you need wider viewing angles. The Samsung CHG90 supports HDR and has much better dark room performance thanks to the higher native contrast. The CHG90 is better for gamers than the U3417W, as it has much less input lag and a faster refresh rate, so motion looks smoother with less blur. The picture quality of the Dell U3417W doesn't degrade when viewed at an angle.
The ASUS ROG Swift PG348Q is a bit better than the Dell U3417W. The PG348Q has much better motion handling, with a faster response time and higher refresh rate, as well as NVIDIA G-Sync VRR support. The ASUS also has much lower input lag, making it a much better gaming monitor overall. The Asus also has a better stand that can also swivel, great for sharing work with someone else.
The LG 34UC79G-B is slightly better than the Dell U3417W. The 34UC79G-B has a much higher native refresh rate, and much lower input lag, as well as FreeSync support for gaming. Motion looks much better on the LG as it can introduce backlight flicker to reduce motion blur. While both screens are the same size, the Dell U3417W has a higher native resolution, so you can see more fine details.
The Dell U3417W is a bit better than the LG 43UD79. The U3417W is a bit brighter and has more vibrant colors due to the better color volume. The U3417W has better ergonomics and it is easier to adjust to a comfortable position, whereas the LG 43UD79 has very limited adjustments. It has lower input lag and the larger screen provides more screen real estate, good for productivity.
The Dell U2715H is slightly better than the Dell U3417W. The U2715H is better for gamers as it has much lower input lag. The Dell U3417W is a larger screen with a widescreen aspect ratio and higher native resolution, so it is easier to multitask.
The Acer Predator XB271HU is a gaming oriented monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate and 1440p resolution. It feels very responsive due to the low input lag and excellent motion handling and has a great stand, which makes it easy to share graphics with coworkers. It isn't as accurate out of the box as the Dell 3417W and does have a lower resolution, but is a better choice at a similar price point.