Brightness and contrast
The Dell UltraSharp U3417W has uniformity compensation: a technique to optimize the evenness of the backlight of the lcd. This is turned on out-of-the-box, and we test monitors as such. However, this choice has a big impact on the measured values, not only for the uniformity – more on that on the next page – but also for the brightness and in a less severe way for the contrast. Bear in mind that when you turn off the uniformity compensation the maximum brightness goes up to 309 cd/m² and the maximum brightness of black is 0.36 cd/m².
These values are completely different with the feature turned on. We measure a maximum brightness of white of only 185 cd/m². This is adequate for a regularly lit room, but for a brightly lit office it might not be enough. With the U3415W, where uniformity optimization was turned off out-of-the-box, we measured 288 cd/m².
The minimum brightness of white is low, meaning that you can perfectly work with this monitor in the dark.
Looking at the minimum brightness of black, it is slightly disappointing. For ips-panels it is not as low as with the va-technique of for example the Asus MX34VQ, but values below 0.20 cd/m² at a brightness of 150 cd/m² are to be expected. Maybe the uniformity optimization plays a part in this again, although the brightness of black is barely any higher when we turn it off at maximum brightness (0.36 cd/m² vs 0.35 cd/m²).
The result of the slightly disappointing black value and the modest maximum brightness is that the contrast of this monitor is not that great in the standard mode. At best we come close to 550:1. Especially compared with the high contrast of the MX34VQ with its va-panel this is bad, but even in comparison with the result of predecessor U3415W (900:1) or the mode without uniformity optimization (859:1) it is not that great.