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Dell video-conferencing monitor review: The monitor market may have a new competitive player

The Dell C3422WE video-conferencing monitor used as an extended display   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

It is wise to not take tech companies seriously when they advertise their laptop or monitor’s camera quality having a true-to-life clarity and colour tone – when you get the device, the camera (no matter how well-lit the space is) does not live up to even 60% of what is advertised. At this point, it’s not even sneaky – just disappointing.

So when the recently-launched 34-inch Dell C3422WE Curved Conference Monitor arrived in a huge box that I could easily live inside, naturally I was sceptical. I was sure the monitor would have striking and easy-on-the-eyes clarity as per Dell’s usual standards, but also that the camera would be average. This model is part of the new range of curved video-conferencing monitors from the American tech giant that also includes the C2422HE and C2722DE models.

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Before we dive in, some basic specs: the C3422WE has an IPS (in-plane switching) panel to help the LCD (liquid crystal display) produce those lovely bright colours on the 3440 x 1440 pixel display. It also has a considerable 3800R curve (or 3800mm of total curved distance) for that comfortable viewing that doesn’t strain your eye or neck. The monitor also has smooth adjustments; you can adjust the height to up to 150 millimetres.

A product shot of the Dell C3422WE video-conferening monitor

A product shot of the Dell C3422WE video-conferening monitor   | Photo Credit: Dell

Along the bottom of the monitor are the dual 5-Watt speakers, presented as a single soundbar. On this component is the dedicated Microsoft Teams button as well as volume controls and brightness controls. Dell has cleverly kept the design minimal and the back follows that philosophy too. The ports are discreetly placed so that no unseemly wires are jutting out and also, if you choose to mount this on the wall, there are no protrusions.

Easy set-up

Assembling the monitor is surprisingly easy; there are no bolts or screws here, just simple yet sturdy attachments in the form of hinges that snap into place in the back of the monitor. The vertical desktop stand does not have a wide base thus taking up a small amount of space on your desk. You can also easily mount this monitor to a wall if you do not want to disrupt your desk layout.

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My set-up was pretty simple during this review period; my work laptop, my personal laptop and the C3422WE monitor. During meetings, I used a ring light on fairly low brightness and I usually have a mic on standby for when the background sounds are a bit louder than usual. I connected the monitor to my laptop via the 90-Watt USB-C cable which also charged my laptop, even if the monitor was off.

The device also comes with an HDMI cable and a display port cable, so you can customise your connection according to your core device.

Camera to the test

I have never been happy with my M1 MacBook Air’s webcam, only in the brightest of lights do I see some semblance of clarity and I, like many others, ended up buying an external HD webcam and a ring light.

The 1080-pixel 5-megapixel Infrared camera comes in a pop-up form factor, which is well-planned for these types of monitors; you get to hide your camera without resorting to adhesive-sticky tape and you can keep the clean-line design of the monitor intact without a camera sticking out constantly.

Frankly, five megapixels and 1080 pixels are not specs worth writing home about but the C3422WE lives up to that clarity, especially if your space is lit well. The contrast is not harsh and there are not any unpleasant sharp lines. Plus the 30 frames per second makes it very fluid.

The C3422WE’s Microsoft Teams button is ideal for a quick start-up for when you’re heading into a meeting; I did not use this much since I barely use that specific platform but that alone could be a selling feature since it is the monitor’s USP.

The 34-inch Dell C3422WE video-conferencing monitor with the mirrored display

The 34-inch Dell C3422WE video-conferencing monitor with the mirrored display   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

When I was not using the monitor for the umpteen video calls I have during the week, I enjoyed it as a productivity buddy. Working with a second monitor makes work-from-home easier, if you are not the type of person who gets easily distracted or even just loathes screens. Just like any additional monitor, I was able to mirror displays and also extend the display of my laptop onto the external monitor.

For a business and productivity device, the sound is fairly good, but I do not think the C3422WE would make for a great gaming monitor despite its 60-Hertz frame rate.

The verdict

Costing ₹1,75,090 (including taxes), this monitor is going to be an essential workspace buy if your household or business would be using it everyday. However, the price tag is a big ask if you compare it to all-in-one PCs, so if you are looking for something similar on an individual basis, consider the 24-inch C2422HE or the 27-inch C2722DE which are included in this range.

Rather, invest in a 4K webcam that comes with autofocus and Artificial Intelligence, such as Dell’s recently-launched UltraSharp 4K Webcam (review coming soon) or the Logitech C920.

But if you are keen on a monitor for your desktop, you might as well make it one that comes with a camera too and I feel there may be a few competitors in this monitor segment in the coming months.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 3:34:20 AM |

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