Up Close And Personal With Dell's UltraSharp 27 5K Display And Smart Desk Concept

Dell has made a handful of interesting announcements at its Dell World 2014 conference, currently taking place in Austin, Texas. Yesterday, we were able to show you some of the new Venue mainstream and professional tablets and convertible devices the company has coming down the pipeline, and today we’ve got some impression of a couple of other products—Dell’s highly anticipated 5K display and a concept “Smart Desk” product that could change the way creative professionals interact with their PC.

First up, here’s a look at Dell’s upcoming UltraSharp 27 5K display. If you’re a regular around here, you know that we’re particularly excited with all of the innovation happening in the desktop display space as of late and think the more pixels on the desktop the better (generally speaking). In the past year, 4K displays have gotten much closer to mainstream pricing levels, but as Apple and Dell have already shown 5K is on the way. And Dell expects to push 5K closer to mainstream pricing levels as aggressively as they did with 4K.

The UltraSharp 27 has a native resolution of 5120 x 2880 (@ 60Hz), which equates to roughly 14.7MP. The panel used in the monitor leverages IPS technology, versus the IGZO and TN panels of more commonly used in today’s 4K displays. To achieve that kind of resolution, the Dell UltraSharp 27 connects to a PC via dual DisplayPort cables—a single cable doesn’t offer enough bandwidth, though we’re told if you connect only a single cable the display will offer up to 4K resolution.

The UltraSharp 27 also has built-in 30 watt speakers, full support for the Adobe color gamut, and the stand offers tilt, swivel, and rotate functionality. When looking at the UltraSharp 27 up close (or from a distance), the display looks simply awesome. We didn’t get to mess around much on the desktop, but the slideshow Dell had running was visually impressive. Viewing angles were very good, and brightness, contrast, and saturation seemed great—we’re definitely looking forward to getting our hands on one (or three!) of these displays.

The Dell UltraSharp 27 Monitor will be available for pre-order on November 13, and we’re told they’ll be ready to ship on December 18 at a price point of $2499.

Dell’s smart desk concept was something altogether different. The smart desk concept, as it was shown, was essentially a table-top, multi-touch display, that also offered some object recognition. The setup is designed to give creative professionals a new way to work and interact with their systems, over an above the traditional mouse / keyboard / tablet.

Dell said, “Placed in a natural, horizontal location that is more comfortable for touch interaction, the Dell smart desk provides a work surface that aligns closely with the productivity requirements of professional software applications. Paired with a vertical display and powered by plug-ins to key ISV applications, it instinctually separates seeing from doing; primary work activities are close to the user while secondary ones are further away, accessible through intuitive screen swipes. Ten-plus finger touch functions as well as high-performance pen functions and gestures, paired with a new generation of tools naturally located on a horizontal surface, will allow users to easily manipulate digital content without having to step away from the task at hand. This digital desktop allows for multiple desks to be clustered around specific projects, notes that can be searched and shared, and better organization with scaling and stacking of growing content. In fact, any smart desk workspace will allow users to pick up their work session wherever they left it—regardless of location.”

Seeing the smart desk in action was rather interesting. Provided Dell gets the hardware and software right, and its software partners optimize for the platform properly, we could see the smart desk being rather popular. It can be used as a standard touch-screen interface, and it doesn’t preclude working with a mouse and keyboard if that’s what you’re most comfortable with. But if you’re a creative pro that spends a lot of time on a Wacom tablet or similar device and find yourself constantly switching back and forth, the smart desk may work out great—provided it’s as accurate, fast and intuitive as traditional input methods with it ships.

Dell tells us the smart desk product will likely be sold as a bundle with precision workstations, or as a standalone product, that will most likely connect to a PC via Thunderbolt. There is still a lot of tweaking to do, however, and the product is sure to go through a number of revisions before it sees the light of day, presumably some time in the late 2015 or 2016 time frame.