The Dell 32-inch Curved 4K S3221QS (catchy, I know) is a versatile monitor, enough for a variety of use cases including gaming. Yet it probably won’t blow you away for any one of them. It’s a great choice if you want something that can give you solid experiences across the board, but if your aim is high quality, high refresh gaming then it might not be the right fit for you.
First off, I was immediately surprised by how heavy the Dell S3221QS is. Most of the weight is in the stand, which feels great. Despite a relatively small footprint, the monitor stands solidly with practically no wobble, even if you try to give it one. It is a bit limited in motion: You can’t swivel it to portrait mode, and while it angles a fair way up you’re mostly out of luck when it comes to tilting downwards.
Thankfully the viewing angles are really quite good so none of this was a real problem for me. Sometimes curved monitors don’t feel right unless you find the perfect position, but the S3221QS seems to avoid that and comes through clear from most angles.
I also haven’t had any difficulty with reflections thanks to the matte screen, and the thin side bezels are a nice touch. The curve also adds a nice sense of encompassing immersion, which is great for movies and atmospheric games, especially on the large 32-inch screen. It also has quite rich blacks and decent contrast, which can look impressively beautiful, especially with 4K content.
When it comes to gaming, the S3221QS is a bit hit and miss. That's largely because the max refresh rate is only 60Hz. Obviously, if you’re choosing to buy a 60hz monitor that’s a decision you’ve already made, and it's an admirable goal for anything but the best graphics cards today anyways. But as someone who’s coming from a higher refresh rate, I definitely noticed the drop. The FreeSync variable refresh rate did seem to help as I didn’t notice any real tearing at least.
Screen size -32-inch
Panel technology - VA
Native resolution - 3,840 x 2,160
Refresh rate - 60Hz
Response time - 4ms
Contrast - 3,000:1
Brightness - 300 nits (typical)
Inputs - HDMI 2.0, 2x DisplayPort 1.4
Other - FreeSync, USB 3.0 hub
MSRP - $500 / £350
The Dell is quite good as far as a 60Hz monitor goes, but if gaming is your main use then I’d usually recommend going for something with a higher refresh rate, even if you lose the 4K resolution.
FPS Games especially are a bit more jagged and aiming can feel sluggish on a slower panel, especially when you’re used to a higher rate. Little things like stuttering when moving the camera quickly, even during RPGs can be a bit jarring too. It just lacks the smoothness, and you’d expect it to. It’s not a fault of this monitor specifically, though, just something to be aware of with 60Hz in general. You will notice the lower framerate if you’ve come to expect anything better. If not, play ball because, again, the depth and clarity of image do make up a lot of ground if you're more after the fidelity side of things.
The panel itself, while rich and having really good contrast, is side lit, and noticeably so at times. At first I was having trouble with flickering sides during some games on dark screens. Disabling HDR in the windows settings did help, and I didn’t see any flickering while playing console games at least through the monitor. However, there were still occasions where I noticed it from the corner of my eye, though it remains fairly minimal.
If it’s work rather than play you’re after, the S3221QS won’t let you down. The 32-inch curved screen is pretty huge, especially when you’re up close. There’s more than enough room to have multiple tasks on the go. I’m not used to working on a curved screen so it’s a bit odd. Things on the edges feel very close to you and it gives you a level of focus that you’ll either love or hate. There’s something about feeling literally engulfed with a monitor while you’re working. It’s great for immersive experiences but can be a little intimidating for things like word documents and tables.
It’s one of those things that’s perfectly fine once you get used to it. Then going back to a regular monitor feels weird. All those aspects that started off feeling too close suddenly feel too far away. Things look flat, because they are. I wouldn’t say either was inherently better than the other, but the viewing angles on the S3221QS are good enough that it works well from all distances. So as far as curved monitors for work go, it’s a solid choice so long as you don’t mind only landscape positioning.
There’s definitely a lot to like about the S3221QS. The solid build and versatility make it a great choice as a jack of all trades monitor. It can swing nicely from work to play, and video content looks especially good. It’s just not the right choice if your main purpose is gaming and you want a high refresh rate, but again, it was never going to be.
Overall, the S3221QS is a solid choice for an all-rounder with a curved screen. It looks great with the rich 4K display and saves some cash on forking out the big bucks for a high refresh rate monitor, if that’s not your thing.