Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub Monitor

Two-minute review

When a brand proudly adds the words “USB-C Hub” to its monitor’s name, we expect some nifty USB-C hub functionality in there, like a built-in KVM perhaps. But, either the Dell has forgotten to add an upstream port in the Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub, or the company just hoped no one would notice.

Another upper mid-range 4K monitor, the Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub has almost all the makings of a great productivity monitor. It’s got lots of productivity-related features, a nice and minimalist aesthetic, a versatile stand, and a nice panel with great picture quality.

But, if we’re being asked to pay $899 (£744, AU$1,200), we definitely want to see more than just the basics. For a couple hundred bucks more, you can upgrade to something like the BenQ PD3220U DesignVue Designer Monitor, which has much better color coverage, a plethora of ports, and some really nifty features that multi-taskers and productivity fiends will appreciate.

Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub Monitor

(Image credit: Future)

As it is now, the Dell P3222QE feels like a forgotten middle child. It gets the job done, but doesn't do anything extraordinary to really garner attention. And worse, the feature it seems to be most proud of, the USB-C hub, hasn’t been executed well.

This 31.5-inch panel does fit perfectly in an office setting, however, with a matte black finish and a shiny black Dell logo on the back. There’s extra modern detail in the form of three ultrathin bezels at the sides and at the top, as well as a convenient touch in the form of a fairly intuitive joystick in the back to navigate the OSM. But honestly, we’ve seen more intuitive controls on other monitors.

Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub Monitor

(Image credit: Future)

The stand is a smart-looking aluminum squarish cylinder with an angled slot near the bottom for cable management, which does allow for a cleaner setup. And, the base it’s attached to is stable and thankfully doesn’t require too much desk space. 

Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub Monitor

(Image credit: Future)

The ports in the back are centered, facing down, and are easy enough to access. There’s a decent selection of them, but Dell seems to have put more thought into the USB-C hub than the input ports. Having one DisplayPort 1.4, one HDMI 2.0, and one USB-C port is really nothing to get excited about. The USB-C hub, however, has four USB ports on hand for your peripherals. 

It’s a nice attempt at adding value to a productivity monitor if it wasn’t a tad counterproductive. This USB-C hub also uses the monitor’s lone USB-C port as its upstream port, which means that if you have two PC sources, those two sources cannot utilize the same peripherals. It seems like a massive oversight on Dell’s part, especially because productivity often means multi-tasking.

We guess they just never meant for this to be a multi-source monitor, which is such a missed opportunity, especially at such a high price.

The Dell Dell P3222QE does have good ergonomics, though. It has a height adjustment of 150mm (though we found it to stick a little at first). It can also tilt 5 degrees down and 20 up, swivel 30 degrees to each side, and pivot 90 degrees (for portrait mode) in each direction. There is no auto pivot function, however, so you’d have to go into your OS settings to adjust accordingly.

Among its many marquee office-specific features are MAC Address pass-through (the monitor will get a public address on a LAN network), PXE boot (ability to load an OS over a network), and Wake-on-LAN (computer/monitor will wake from a network message), which makes this a dream for an office and, more importantly, its IT department. 

There is one productivity feature laptop users will appreciate. When connected with certain Dell laptops, the monitor can sync with the laptop, allowing you to wake it up and turn it off with just the monitor’s power button even when the device is closed. We have tested this feature with the Dell Latitude 7420, and it works pretty well.

It should be noted that Dell has gone through a lot of effort to make the monitor more eco-friendly, which is always appreciated. There’s a feature called PowerNap that dims or puts the monitor to sleep when the screensaver activates to save energy. The packaging is styrofoam-free and uses at least 75% recycled cardboard. And finally, the monitor is certified by regulatory and energy standards like EnergyStar and EPEAT. 

Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub Monitor

(Image credit: Future)

Thanks to its ultra HD resolution, you are getting that 4K viewing goodness with the Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub. Movies and games look sharp and deliciously detailed, and there’s that extra bit of real estate, which is just as useful for productivity (tackling massive Excel sheets, for example) as it is for creative workloads.

At 350 nits, it is plenty bright for office work and post-work entertainment. Watching Skyfall on this, for example, feels like you’re watching it from a mini movie theater. The picture quality is sharp, detailed, and smooth, as well as decently rich in color thanks to its 99% sRGB color space. Don’t expect great color coverage for creative workloads, however. You’re limited to RGB and YCbCr here.

Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub Monitor

(Image credit: Future)

With a 60Hz refresh rate and 5ms response time, this also isn’t ideal for gaming – although you can get away with some slower-paced ones, especially because open-world games look fabulous in 4K. However, unless you turn on V-Sync, you’ll notice some stuttering and maybe even some tearing. 

Take advantage of the Dell Display Manager software as it does add more functionalities for productivity to the Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub. It gives you access to a lot of things, from basics like choosing screen presets and adjusting brightness and contrast to smarter features like Easy Arrange, which tells the monitor to set snap to grids for a more organized desktop, and Input Manager, which lets you name your ports and set a few hotkeys for on-the-fly input switching. We have to say, though, that Input Manager would have been more appealing if it weren’t for that whole issue with the USB hub being tied to the USB-C port.

That’s pretty much all there is to the Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub. As we said, it’s a great 4K monitor fitted with the right look and the right tools for productivity. However, there’s nothing exceptional about it. Its color coverage is basic. Its selection of ports is only decent. Even the one marque feature it does have, while appealing on paper, isn’t even been well-executed.

We have nothing against that back-to-basics approach. In fact, we welcome it. But, not for the price Dell is asking.

Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub Monitor

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

You need a 4K productivity monitor, plain and simple
As a 4K productivity monitor, the Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub has certainly done its job. If that’s all you want and don’t really care about anything else, you will love this monitor.

You are setting up an office and have a big budget
This isn’t the cheapest 4K option out there, or even the best value. But, hey, it has great picture quality and has a plethora of productivity tools. If you have the money, get it.

Don’t buy it if…

You don’t want a jack of all trades, master of none type of monitor
The Dell P3222QE USB-C Hub doesn’t even live up to its namesake, its USB-C hub practically being rendered counterproductive as soon as you add another source PC.

You want great value for your money
Considering its price and features, it really isn’t the best value for your money. Trust us; there are more affordable 4K monitors out there with better port selection, better color space coverage, and better features.


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