If there’s one thing our Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ review proves, it’s that one can be a Jack-of-all-trades and still be a master of things. And, in this case, several of them. This new brilliant display from Dell is a welcome addition to a fresh, growing generation of monitors that are just the ticket for work from home or living that hybrid lifestyle.
But, the Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ proves much more than just another homogeneous entry. It’s a step up above the rest by targeting different types of users and doing a swell job at it. Creative professionals will be impressed by its color coverage, good contrast ratio, and factory-calibrated color space modes that are highly accurate. Productivity pros will appreciate the number of connectivity options, multitasking features, Fast Wake, and built-in KVM switch. Meanwhile, users who consume an inordinate amount of media content will appreciate its 4K resolution, DisplayHDR 400, and built-in speakers.
And, for good measure, because these days, having a reliable, high-resolution webcam in your home seems just as vital as the most used kitchen appliances, Dell throws in a 4K webcam that comes with its own long list of features as well.
It does carry the usual disclaimer that comes with most monitors of its caliber: the Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ isn’t what you’d call cheap. However, for everything you’re getting, who wouldn’t want to break open that piggy bank and splurge?
Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ review: Price and availability
- Excellent value but premium price
- Available in the US, UK, and Australia
Panel size: 31.5 inch
Panel type: IPS Black
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Brightness: 400 nits
Pixel response: 5ms
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Inputs: 1x HDMI 2.0, 2x DP 1.4, 1x USB-C, 1x USB-C 90W PD
The Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ, available globally as of May 2022, will cost you $1,599 (around £1,265, AU$2,225). Considering everything that Dell has packed into this model, the price tag is not that surprising. However, it does sit firmly in the upper echelon of displays price-wise, even when compared to other video conferencing monitors.
You can find plenty of models equipped with built-in webcams for half the price or less, but very few offer the same amount of screen real estate. In fact, most of the video conferencing monitors on the market come in smaller sporting panels with 1080p or 1440p resolution.
The only monitor that comes close to the Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ might be the Samsung 32-inch M8 monitor, a $729 (699, about AU$1015) display that offers smart TV functionality but only has HDR 10 and none of the multitasking capabilities of the U3223QZ. So, while the Dell is pricey, it is in a class of its own.
Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ review: Design
- Classy, robust design that fits most setups
- Loaded with input ports as well as a USB hub
Dell has taken cues from Apple and eschewed the typical all-black affair that you find with most monitors. Instead, its rear panel, stand and base are covered in a platinum finish reminiscent of more premium products like the MacBook Air or Dell’s own XPS laptops. It’s not the most exciting-looking model out there, but it is classy and will fit into most computer setups.
The front is more muted, but it’s still unique compared to most displays out there. A cloth grill covering the largest bezel on top hides two 14-watt speakers and two echo-canceling mics. Nestled in the center of that uppermost bezel is the U3223QZ’s most unique feature: the built-in 4K webcam.
The bottom bezel is relatively thin but thick enough to host a number of touch controls on its left side for use with video conferencing. Outside of the touch controls on the front, only a power button and a joystick for controlling the OSD menu are on hand, situated behind the right side of the monitor.
At a little over 26 pounds, the Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ is a robust monitor. And, that heft is most noticeable when trying to attach the base to the monitor. Though the base’s weight made assembling a little tricky, it’s a design choice that we appreciate as it keeps the monitor stable even when we accidentally bump into our desk.
While cleverly hidden, you do get several useful ports here. Though there’s only one HDMI, you do get two DisplayPorts and two USB-C ports, one of which provides 90 watts of power delivery to charge up a laptop (though not your Alienware laptop, which guzzles more than that). You can also use the USB-C to daisy chain a second 4K monitor to your setup. There’s a USB hub as well equipped with six USB and one USB-C port, a few of which have been situated on the bottom right near the front of the monitor for easy access. Lastly, an ethernet port and analog headphone input are also included.
Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ review: Features
- 4K at 30fps webcam is a vital accessory for remote and hybrid workers
- Multitasking features and creative color modes equal versatility
The Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ is among the most feature-filled monitors we’ve reviewed, with video conferencing capabilities, multitasking elements and even various factory-calibrated color modes on hand, as well as a built-in webcam that is just as feature-rich.
The intelligent webcam employs a Sony STARVIS CMOS Sensor, giving you up to 4K at 30 fps or 1080p at 60fps. It comes with a number of other features including AI auto-tracking, which keeps you centered when you’re moving around inside the frame, digital overlap HDR that recovers details in shadowy parts of the frame, and presence detection that allows you to log in automatically when you approach it. Other mention-worthy features are an adjustable field of view, zoom functionality and the ability to switch between manual and autofocus via the Dell Peripheral Manager app.
As good as it is, the webcam is not perfect. 4K video is not quite as sharp as we expect. And setting up the Windows Hello Login on our HDMI-connected computer required updating software before working. More frustratingly, we couldn’t enable Presence Detection as it required going into a second app called My Dell to turn on settings that did not seem to exist.
Outside of our troubleshooting issues, however, its performance is snappy. Autofocus works smoothly and almost instantaneously, keeping us looking sharp. The HDR makes sure to keep us well lit even with dark lighting conditions, although the image noise is a little worse when enabled. And, the webcam’s noise reduction keeps the video quality smooth without looking unnatural. The AI auto framing is a little slow to react but does a good job of keeping us at the center of the frame, which is more important.
The security features on the monitor also revolve around the webcam. Its SafeShutter feature results in the camera’s shutter only opening when we open up any video conferencing app. As soon as we exit the app, it’s triggered to automatically close. There’s also the Express Login, which allows you to unlock your computer just by sitting down in front of the monitor and locking it by stepping away. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to test this feature due to the issue with Presence Detection mentioned earlier.
A webcam alone is not enough for video conferencing so Dell included two mics situated on either top corner of the monitor. The sound quality is not quite up to the standards of streamers – it’s not particularly crisp or detailed. However, it is still clear enough that you won’t have any issues being understood. To help with that, the “echo-canceling” mics have excellent background noise rejection. Unless you’re in front of the monitor talking directly at it, the mics will not pick up any sound. Of course, the downside to this is that your own voice will disappear when you’re off-camera or facing away from it while speaking.
The other video conferencing feature worth mentioning here are the touch controls on the front of the monitor. There’s a Microsoft Teams icon that alerts you to teams notifications, an “answer call” button, volume controls and a mic mute and video disable button. They all work seamlessly and instantaneously. Our only gripe is that disabling the video doesn’t show a black screen as one would expect. Instead, it’s just the physical shutter closes, showing purple static that’s distracting and unattractive.
When it comes to multitasking features, the Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ has about all you can ask for. You can set up Auto KVM (Keyboard, Mouse, Video) between two computers so that you can easily switch between them and use the same keyboard and mouse. Just make sure to plug your peripherals into the monitor’s USB hub. You can also see two sources at the same time using Picture-By-Picture and Picture-in-Picture.
Of course, like the webcam, it’s not perfect. We experienced some latency using the mouse with the KVM feature. And, as is usually the case with Picture-by-Picture, we ended up with some strange resolutions. Unless you’re willing to put in the time to manually set the resolutions to fully fill their part of the frame, it’s a feature that you probably won’t end up using much. We find it best to stick with one of the Picture-in-Picture formats.
Then there’s Fast Wake, which allows you to sync your monitor with your computer. By doing so, you can use the monitor’s power button to wake both the monitor and that computer, even if it’s a laptop with its lid closed. There are some limitations, however. It only seems to work with the PCs connected via USB-C. It also only works with Dell computers.
While this monitor is not necessarily for creatives, those who need to do some creative work will appreciate that the different color modes are available: sRGB, DCI-P3 and Rec.709. Professional graphic artists, colorists and editors might need a pro-level monitor for their intensive creative workflows, but you won’t have to invest in a separate monitor for the easier ones, especially since these color modes are factory-calibrated.
Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ review: Performance
- Wide color gamuts and accurate color modes
- Rich, vibrant visuals
- Speakers could be better for a display this pricey
With color gamuts of DCI-P3 99%, sRGB 100%, AdobeRGB 90%, a contrast of 2,070:1 at 50% and 100% brightness, not to mention its DisplayHDR 400 and a brightness of 433.8 nits at 100%, the Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ can tackle some creative workloads. Not only does it provide wide color gamuts, but it has color modes that have been factory-calibrated for accuracy. For instance, our colorimeter test readings gave us Delta E <2 in sRGB mode, Delta E <1 in DCI-P3 mode and Delta E <1 in Rec.709 mode.
Unfortunately, outside of these color modes, you’ll certainly need to calibrate the monitor yourself if you want higher color accuracy. During our testing, our colorimeter also yielded a Delta E average of < 6 while the panel is set to its default setting. Luminance uniformity could also be better as certain sections of the panel are up to 11% dimmer.
Without doing your own calibration, however, you’ll still find the Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ to be sharp, detailed and vibrant, particularly when watching something like the new season of Stranger Things or the Thor Love and Thunder Trailer in 4K. Colors pop just a little more with HDR on, though the monitor is not bright enough for it to make that big of a difference. Also, since this monitor has a refresh rate of 60Hz, you may experience some ghosting as well – but only if you’ve got a trained pair of eyes.
The speakers included on the Dell sound somewhat mediocre. The low end is barely there, the mids are recessed and the highs are a bit dull. The sound quality is thin in general. However, to give it credit, they are actually quite powerful, pumping out 14 watts of sound. They aslo boast a low-mid bump that actually does a good job of making dialogue come out more prominently, especially deeper male voices. In essence, they’re great for video conferencing and folks who aren’t as nitpicky with their audio experience.
Meanwhile, the webcam works really well as long as you’ve got everything setup. It’s snappy, especially when it comes to facial recognition logins and ensuring that the privacy shutter works as it should, opening quickly when you need it and closing instantaneously when you don’t.
Outside of the speakers and default color accuracy, our Dell UltraSharp U3223QZ review proves that this new entry from Dell is quite an incredible monitor. Whether you’re hoping to watch some movies in between conference calls, streamline your workload, or even tackle some creative work, this monitor is up to the task.