The U2518D uses a similar InfinityEdge bezel as the recently reviewed XPS 13 hybrid making it physically quite small for a 25” monitor. It runs at 2560 x 1440 at 60Hz so not an optimum refresh rate for gaming but still offers good value for money at this price point.
Dell uses a marketing term called Dell HDR which implies this is a HDR monitor, however this is not completely true. The monitor is capable of 99% sRGB coverage but only has a typical 350 cd/m² maximum brightness, which for HDR is low in comparison true HDR you see on high end TVs requires 1000 cd/m². According to online users it uses software that responds to HDR10 content but it doesn’t actually support the colour gamut, peak luminance or indeed bit-depth required for a genuine HDR experience.
The choice of connections is impressive which include HDMI 2.0, DP 1.2, mDP 1.2, DP 1.2 out (for MST daisy chaining), 3.5mm audio, USB 3.0 upstream and 2 further USB 3.0 ports.
The monitor comes with an adjustable stand that allows you to rotate the screen from landscape to portrait mode. The stand connects via a VESA mount, so you can mount the screen on an arm if you wish.
The screen itself is coated with a matte coating, which should reduce reflections, but does generally reduce the vibrancy of the colour and contrast.
The OSD buttons are clearly located on the bottom right of the panel and are easily clickable, so browsing the OSD is straightforward.
Dell UltraSharp U2518D Performance
The monitor comes with multiple presents including ‘Standard’, ‘ComfortView’, ‘Movie’, ‘Game’, ‘Colour Temp.’ and ‘Custom Colour’. Out of the box it uses standard, and as usual, the default brightness is set to very high, maybe too high. I would suggest toning it down to enjoy balanced brightness and a clearer, sharper picture. Colour accuracy appears to be quite good as far as my subjective and amateur eyes can tell.
A 25” screen running at 2560 x 1440 (WQHD) is actually smaller than I am accustomed to at this resolution, with most monitors being 27”. This provides a pixel density of 117.49 PPI (Pixels Per Inch), and it generally doesn’t have too much of a negative impact on text or image sized. It is not like using 4K on a 27” screen where you have to adjust the scaling, at this size and resolution everything is still comfortable.
The gaming performance is good, but my idea of gaming is playing XCOM, and I rarely play online FPS where a high refresh rate is needed. I did, however, try a few games, including Tom Clancys Ghost Recon and Mass Effect and I found monitor performed well. I noticed no obvious input lag, and the monitor is rated for 5ms response time. It's perhaps not the right option for a serious gamer as the refresh rate would need to be better for totally smooth gaming.
I had some issues getting the HDR features to work, and when I tried it out on the HDR compatible game Mass Effect Andromeda I would say the image appeared worse. But from what I have read it seems to an issue with the game rather than the monitor.
Dell UltraSharp U2518D Overall
This is a great screen for the money, the InfinityEdge bezel makes it an attractive and compact screen to use, there are a good choice of connections and out of the box calibration is excellent. The previous model the U2515H was very well received, the main difference is that the U2518D offers HDR support, which isn’t really HDR. But, HDR content including games are becoming more popular, and the software rendering of HDR is at least an improvement on the old model.
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