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DELL U2518D monitor


Review of the DELL U2518D monitor

Published on May 15, 2016  |  Updated on February 21, 2020


Dell is very active in the market of screens dedicated to photographers or videographers, offering always state-of-the-art ergonomics, a very beautiful finish and... interesting biases! This is what we can see with this monitor of only 25 inches but displaying the QHD definition is 2560 x 1440 so a resolution of nearly 120 ppi. This one does not require "special" graphics cards while offering a very small pitch so pixels in fact almost invisible without the disadvantages of the 4K. But what about its display quality since the Ultrasharp displays are calibrated at the factory. Let's see it now...

This new Dell Ultrasharp display, which is more of a photographic display, replaces the Dell U2516. It can be said that it is a 25 inch screen but displaying the QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels 16:9 - pitch 0.22 - 118 ppi) and not the classic Full HD. Dell was the first to release 25" panels with such a definition. Its pixels, without reaching the level of thinness of 4K screens, are particularly discreet. Its panel is matt, with IPS technology (white LEDs), 8-bit LUT table and sRGB gamut. A classic in 2019. The dark grey finish is very sober and elegant, the ergonomics flawless and the calibration of the panel is carried out at the factory for a very low price because it is available in end 2018 at $239.


In a few words...




This Dell has a strange behavior : while its colors are really very good on cardboard outputs, they do not calibrate. I have not been able to get a correct calibration with my X-Rite colorimeter - Read my conclusion  

  Others offers...  
CDN$ 429.00



Introduction to the Dell U2518D monitor

Here are, to start, some illustrations of this screen with a very nice finish :

Ergonomie du Dell U2518D   Double orientation du Dell U2518D
Passe-câble du Dell U2518D   Connectique du Dell U2518D
  Technical specifications
  Dell U2518D Average price : $380,00 Inc. VAT
Size / Resolution
25 Inch 16:9 - 2560 x 1440 - 118 ppi
Panel technology
IPS LED-backlit LCD monitor (New matte panel)
  Color gamut sRGB
350 Cd/M2 / 910:1 measured
LUT table
8 bits
  Response time 8 ms (normal); 5 ms (fast)
Item dimensions
7.87 x 22.32 x 20.75 in
  Border width 7 mm only !
  Color calibration soft No
  Connectivity DisplayPort 1.2 + MiniDP + HDMI + HUB USB 3.0
  VESA compatibility Yes - 100 mm
  hood No
  Warranty 3 years - Dell US

What's in the box...

The monitor is sold with :

  • The power cord... of course !
  • The DisplayPort to MiniDP cable
  • The USB 3.0 upstream cable (enables the USB port on the monitor).
  • The color calibration factory report

Important note! Dell displays do not have an embedded colorimeter

This DELL U2518D does not have an embedded colorimeter so you will need to use your own or buy one.

My purchasing advice : ColorMunki Display or the Spyder5Pro

Colormunki Display review


The monitor and its panel - New

1 - Definition/resolution - This is a new 2560 x 1440 pixel (16:9 ratio) matt-finish IPS panel, but here only 21,77 in wide. Its resolution is therefore 118 ppi, significantly higher than a 27''. It is therefore not Retina yet but the pixels are really very discreet at a "normal" viewing distance on a desktop (27,6 in) in any case more discreet than on a 24'' Full HD. The backlight is a white LED diode type. In addition, any graphics card will do, unlike sometimes 4K displays.

Two screens DELL U2518D side by side

2 - The panel and its anti-reflective coating - The matte panel has received a very discreet anti-reflective coating, although it is not as discreet and beautiful as on an Eizo CS2420 for example. It is also half as expensive and I insist a lot on the fact that this difference appears because I have the possibility to place the displays side by side during my tests. Without elements of comparison, it's impossible to see.

Screen edge thickness - New

They now measure 7 mm on each side. We are very close to the 5 mm record and in any case it favours multi-screens.

Details of the DELL U2518D and its menu buttons

To be read!
My advice to choose your photo monitor 

Improved ergonomics!

The ergonomics of the latest Dell displays are truly state-of-the-art. You will find on this Dell U2518D many movements, moreover, offering a great amplitude. There's no complaints about that. For example, it is possible to raise or lower the screen by 13 cm in order to, for example, rotate it vertically. The handling is also very pleasant because the movements are slowed down just the right way. Very pleasant!

The Dell U2518D can be oriented in landscape or vertical

The buttons of the screen menu

The keys of the screen menu are classic, i. e. via small buttons under the screen on the right. The ON/OFF button is illuminated.


Details of the DELL U2518D and its menu buttons

The Dell U2518D connectivity

Nothing but classic, although we can either note or regret the absence of a USB-C port in 2018.


Connectors of the DELL U2518D



What is the value of the Dell U2518D display after calibration with the i1Display Pro?

I calibrated this monitor - like all the monitors I test - with the best current colorimeter (except the superlative and very expensive Discus) in an excellent price/quality ratio: the i1Display Pro + i1Profiler software (version 1.7.2) in order to be able to locate this new monitor compared to other monitors on the market. I connected it with the Thunderbolt 2 cable on one side (MiniDisplayPort) and DisplayPort on the other, sold with the display.

Note on the display quality before calibration! Note on the display quality before calibration! It may be the first time on a display below 350 dollars that I see a factory quality setting compared to my calibrated displays. Obviously it will be necessary to lower the basic brightness but the factory display is really good.

I chose the following screen settings :

  • Color mode: Standard
  • Brightness: 20% for 100 Cd/m2 targeted,
  • Contrast: 75%.

Essential! Be sure to reset the factory settings AND choose the generic profile of your computer before calibrating ! Once the reset is complete, select the generic screen profile in the system preferences before starting a possible calibration.


Dell U2518D ICC Profile

And as target values in the i1Profiler 1.8.0 software in advanced mode...

  • Display technology : Choose white diodes,
  • D65 or possibly a little less if you want a slightly warmer screen. (Note that at D55, the screen is really warm but not yellow like on cheap monitors),
  • Luminance : 80 Cd/m2 or more depending on your main use (printing or web) and especially the brightness of your room,
  • Contrast : Native or 287:1 for those who print a lot,
  • Gamma : 2,2 – Standard curve,
  • ICC norm : V2 (to avoid incompatibility problems with some image viewing software (images too dark) and obviously V4 if you know what you are doing).

And the result is?

First subjective impressions after this calibration...

Well, it's a nasty surprise! Amazing even. I observe many dominant ones, especially on the whites, a little greenish. I have never succeeded, whatever the parameters chosen, in having a better calibration than with the factory settings. I still can't explain this "anomaly". However, it must be noted that the factory setting is completely correct and perfectly usable in its current state. So I don't know if that's necessarily bad news. Here are the values that my colorimeter has recorded.

What does the final report say after calibration :

Final report after calibration of DELL U2518D with i1Display Pro


The color temperature (TC) of 6463K for 6500K requested remains a nice score on a mid-range monitor ! The contrast of 910:1 remains within the average of the IPS LED panel displays. To get such a contrast, I had to choose a contrast setting on the screen of 75%. at only 50%, the contrast dropped to 500: 1. the luminance of the black at 0.1 Cd/M2 guarantees rather deep blacks for a non-Oled screen.

Now, let's move on to the famous Delta E after calibration according to the 2000 standard which I use for the calibration of all the displays on this site :


Delta E after calibration of DELL U2518D with i1Display Pro


The average Delta E standard 2000 is 2.25 ! This is much more than indicated by the final ex-factory report provided by Dell.


Calibration Factory Calibration Report of DELL U2518D


The Delta e of 5.69 for the worst patch is really high. If the display was not so good before calibration, it would be flunked on this site. And yet...

Now the luminance and color temperature harmonization tests :


Luminance uniformity after calibration of DELL U2518D


Results above the high average for a screen that is all in all medium range. Really very good !!!


Uniformity in color temperature after calibration of DELL U2518D


This time, the results are less spectacular but well within the average of the correct displays in this price range. Whatever happens, to the naked eye, the panel looks very homogeneous. We are therefore dealing with a beautiful panel with the electronics correctly chosen and adjusted. Retouching your photos on this screen will not be a painful experience!




  Dell U2518D  
Color fidelity 7,5/10
Uniformity of the panel 7,5/10
Resolution 9,0/10
Ergonomic design 10/10
Connectivity 8,5/10
Manufacturing quality 9,0/10
Value for money 8,5/10


  I like it very much...  
  • A 25 inch display with good factory calibration...
  • And fortunately because it does not calibrate easily so finally, for those who have a tight budget it is not necessary to buy a colorimeter... which in any case would give you a worse result paradoxically. It's strange but that' s the way it is and finally, it's embarrassing because the screen is really correctly set at the factory,
  • Matte IPS panel,
  • HDMI + DP + Hub USB 3.0
  • Nice look and very good quality finish,
  • Very nice pixel fineness because WQHD in 25'',
  • Very thin edges (7 mm) for multi-screens,
  • Highly ergonomic design,
  • VESA 100mm.
  I regret...  
  • The first screen under the 350 dollars I'm testing and which is not as good calibrated as with the factory settings! In the end, for those who didn't have the budget to buy a colorimeter, is that a defect ?!
  • Texts necessarily very small ( a consequence of a very fine pitch), especially in Mac OS environment where it is not possible to modify the percentage of text display as on Windows 10,
  • "Only" sRGB but is that really a problem ?
  • No USB-C port.
  My overall rating...  
  8,0 / 10  
  My conclusion...  
Dell provides us here with a display with really atypical characteristics so it won't be suitable for everyone but if you make a lot of videos or play video games then it is a more than credible alternative to 4K displays because it doesn't require any special graphics cards or connectors. Finally, even if I still can't explain why I couldn't calibrate it correctly with my different colorimeters, it does better than the average of the screens I had to test below 400 dollars. Its calibration is therefore not an absolute necessity and this makes it a very interesting offer because the budget remains limited to $350. This is enough to tilt the balance in its favour...
Dell U2518D


CDN$ 429.00
Here is my Full review of the DELL U2518D monitor
- My Full review of the DELL U2518D
  1 - Introduction to the DELL U2518D
2 - What is the DELL U2518D worth after calibration?
3 - My rating and conclusion

- My 35 monitor reviews!
- How to chose your monitor?
- How to calibrate your monitor?


Calibrate your monitor with the best
colorimeter: X-Rite i1Display Pro !

Read my full review...


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