DELL P2415Q 4K Monitor - Review

Recently I decided it was time to move to 4K now that DELL has released a 24” 60Hz IPS monitor. I ordered it directly from DELL.com since that is currently the only place it is being sold (it literally just came out a month ago). They shipped it the day after I ordered it; despite the order details saying I would have it by 1/15/2015. It only took about a week to get it, and I also chose the slowest shipping option possible (3-4 days)!

Hardware

  • Intel i7 5820k @ 4.2GHz (6c/12t)
  • 32GB DDR4 2133MHz
  • EVGA GTX 980 SC 4GB
  • Intel 730 480GB SSD

Installation
Installation was extremely easy just like every DELL monitor that I’ve purchased in the past. You simply snap the stand into the back of the monitor and you’re done. No need to tighten any screws or do anything else but plug it in. To achieve 60Hz you absolutely must use a DisplayPort 1.2+ cable.

GNOME 3.14
Having already booted into Arch Linux I tried out GNOME 3.14 (my default desktop) right away. I noticed everything was quite tiny. Text looked great but was very small. I immediately changed the scaling factor to 2.0 using Tweak Tool but that did not help very much. The GNOME applications like Files and Settings scaled perfectly and looked amazing, but almost everything else was still extremely small. Pidgin, KeePassX, HexChat, FireFox, and Chrome were all still small.

After fiddling with the scaling factor and text scaling factor I have come to the conclusion that a scaling factor of 1.0 and a text scaling factor of about 1.5 is good enough for now. Applications are still very tiny and do not look the same as my 1200p monitor which is OK since now I have more desktop realestate and the fonts are now more readable with the font scaling option.

Windows 8.1
After testing GNOME 3.14 I rebooted into Windows shudder. Surprisingly, Windows set the scaling factor correctly upon first boot and the text in Explorer looked great! FireFox also scaled correctly without me needing to change anything. Unfortunately, Synergy does not work correctly unless you disable scaling on all of the Synergy processes for all users. This is OK, but, after doing so and running Synergy.exe, Windows decided to change the resolution to 800x600 or some god awful 900% scaling factor until I closed it.

Next, after dealing with Windows’s stupidity, I tested Battlefield 3 to see how the performance was and it actually ran OK for it being 4 x 1080p (40 - 70 FPS on Ultra, no AA). However, the UI in the game did not scale, so the gun names were kind of difficult to read and the gun sights were smaller making it more difficult to aim. Everything else in the game looked great due to the high resolution.

Is it worth it?
It is definitely a great monitor. The software just isn’t quite there yet. If you aren’t going to play many GPU intensive games, deal with editing text all day, or are planning on using OSX, then it’s great. Otherwise, wait for GPUs to get faster and scaling to get better on Linux and Windows.

I think I’ll be keeping mine since I absolutely love the crisp text and more realestate for terminal windows. I will update this post if I decide not to.


Pros

  • 4K resolution (3840x2160)
  • 185 DPI
  • 60Hz
  • IPS
  • VESA Mount
  • Great typical DELL stand
  • Insanely crisp text

2415Q Cons

  • Not 16:10<
  • Slightly less than 24” (23.8”)
  • No FreeSync

4K Cons

  • Scaling sucks on GNOME 3.14 and most applications don’t scale correctly (OSX looks perfect though)
  • Hard to drive even with an NVIDIA GTX 980 (gaming wise)

Monitor: 8/10 - not quite perfect

Scaling
GNOME: 6/10 - scaling is okay - icons in certain applications are too tiny and some don’t scale (Steam, Chrome)
Windows 8.1: 6/10 - most applications have blurry text (Steam) and some look too large
Mac OSX: 10/10 - all applications scale correctly but some (KeePassX) have awful looking text

Update 12/31/2014
I have decided to return the monitor due to there being a dead pixel and also a scratch on it. And also 16:9 is unusable for me after coming from a 16:10 (1200p DELL) monitor. If there was not a scratch or dead pixel I would probably keep it, but since there is, I will be waiting for a 16:10 4K monitor before making another 4K monitor purchase.

If you are using a 16:9 monitor already and have not experienced 16:10 then it is one of the best 4K 60Hz monitors available for the price.

I will update once again with the details of how the return process went.

Update 1/19/2015
No response from the email/ticket I sent DELL and it’s been almost a month. I am unable find the “Service Tag” or “Express Tag” number on the back of the monitor which means I cannot get a replacement (it has a dead pixel and a scratch). I looked everywhere on the monitor and also the box it came in and it is no where to be found. I tried calling but that also requires a service tag or express tag number. Basically, I am stuck with it.

Update 3/5/2015
DELL sent me a “survey” asking how they did with the ticket. They never replied to my original ticket. I give up. You win this time DELL.