Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta. developer.okta.com

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10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Dell UltraSharp U3818DW 38" Curved Monitor Review

A little over a month ago, I purchased a Dell UltraSharp U3818DW 38" curved monitor. Previously, I had two 27" monitors ‐ an Apple Thunderbolt Display and an Asus 4K. I wanted to return to a single monitor and asked Twitter for advice.

Based on recommendations I received, I purchased a Dell UltraSharp U3818DW 38" from B&H on Sunday, March 29. It arrived two days later.

I made a video of the unboxing.

In this video, I said plugging into my Henge Dock didn't work. However, I was plugging into my tethered Stone. Plugging the monitor directly into my Henge Dock with USB-C worked, and I haven't tried another configuration since.

My first impression of the monitor was, "Wow, this is awesome!" The curvedness did take me a few days to get used to, but now I barely notice it. Before I bought the monitor, I used Hammerspoon and hotkeys to snap windows to the right or left based on key combinations. Having something like this is essential when you have an ultrawide, IMO.

I did experience a few issues:

  • A 2-minute sleep-wake cycle at night
  • Squishing the screen to 1920 x 1080 for screencasts
  • Controlling the volume from the keyboard

Fix the Sleep-Wake Cycle on a Dell UltraSharp U3818DW

Pratik Patel warned me about a ~2 minute cycle of sleep-wake that he experienced with his. I didn't believe him at first, and then it happened to me late one night. I fixed this by checking Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off in Energy Saver settings.

Record 16:9 Screencasts on a Dell UltraSharp U3818DW

I had a presentation I wanted to pre-record with my new monitor, so I asked if it was possible to record a 16:9 screencast on an ultrawide monitor. Ryan Boyd came to the rescue and recommended SwitchResX. I paid $16 USD for a license and haven't looked at any other options since.

I've only recorded one screencast so far, and I don't see any differences compared to previous ones.

Control the Volume on a Dell UltraSharp U3818DW with Your Mac Keyboard

I don't have nice speakers for my computer because headphones seem to work better if I really want to crank it up. For the last several weeks, when I set the output to the monitor and wanted to control the volume, I just used the volume buttons on the bottom of the monitor. This is kind of a pain because I'm used to controlling the volume with my keyboard controls. This was a nice feature of my Apple display that just worked.

I googled for a solution and found a thread on StackExchange. I installed the recommend MonitorControl and now I can control the contrast, brightness, and volume from my keyboard.

I'm super happy with this monitor and have no regrets. I paid for this out of my own pocket, but recently got reimbursed from my kick-ass employer, Okta. At first, they said I couldn't, but then changed their work-from-home policy to state you can expense "whatever it takes to make you more productive."

Here's a picture of my monitor and desk.

Dell UltraSharp U3818DW 38" Curved Monitor

The lights above my monitor are Key Light Air LEDs from Elgato. They're nice for screencasting and live broadcasts. I can adjust their settings from my laptop or my phone.

With the top-side looking so good, I recently cleaned up the cables so it looks good underneath too.

In summary, if you're thinking about a new monitor and are wondering if you should get an ultrawide, I think you should. It's fricken' awesome! 😆

Posted in General at May 03 2020, 03:30:43 PM MDT 5 Comments
Comments:

Does your HDMI inputs work normally? I have an issue where both the ports don’t work for mine.

Posted by Dave on May 04, 2020 at 04:38 AM MDT #

Thanks for some of these solutions - the auto-wake has been driving me crazy, so I've just been turning off the monitor at night.

For window snapping, the best solution I've found is BetterTouchTool. You can set up custom snap areas / shortcut keys for any window configuration that you want. Here's the details: https://docs.bettertouchtool.net/docs/104_snap_areas.html

Posted by Vitaliy on May 04, 2020 at 08:53 AM MDT #

@Dave: I haven't tried the HDMI ports. I'm only using USB-C. I can try with my Linux laptop this week.

@Vitaliy: Thanks for the tip about BetterTouchTool!

Posted by Matt Raible on May 04, 2020 at 09:46 AM MDT #

1. which Mac scaled resolution do you use for this baby?

2. Does the text look sharp, retina quality?

Posted by Robert on May 06, 2020 at 11:27 AM MDT #

@Robert: I use 3200 x 1333 and SwitchResX allows me to go up to 7680 x 3200. 3840 x 1600 is the highest resolution that has HiDPI.

Yes, it looks retina quality, but I did notice a trailing shadow issue earlier this week.

Posted by Matt Raible on May 06, 2020 at 12:05 PM MDT #

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