So I got this monitor and I had such high expectations for it. It has USB-C and a KVM built-in so I was imagining I would be able to switch quickly and easily between my work laptop and home PC. I would only need a single cable to the work laptop and I wouldn't need to switch the input on the second monitor. I was also expecting to be able to use the Microsoft Teams buttons on the front, no more scrambling for the mute button after someone started talking to me.
An hour after hooking it up I was truly amazed how spectacularly Dell failed on all of these counts. Did Dell never even test this monitor in the real world once? It's hard to comprehend how they did this.
First failure that became very apparent very quickly was the networking connection in the back of the monitor is only supplied to one PC at a time. This rules out copying any files between the PCs and it just makes it painful if I need to switch to get a password or a document. It means the work VPN drops, it drops it's IP address etc. When switching back it has to discover the USB network device, get an IP, reconnect to VPN. Then I have to reconnect some apps. The workaround to this was using WiFi but I would prefer to use the cabled connection. The other solution would be if you could choose to leave the network connected to the USB-C machine always as my home PC has a network connection. Seeing this is meant to be a WFH monitor that would make a lot of sense.
Next problem was the Microsoft Teams buttons don't work if you use headphones. The sound bar isn't amazing so most people will want to use headphones. So the Microsoft Teams buttons are completely pointless.
Next problem is even if you use the built-in speakers, the volume controls the volume local to the monitor but leaves the Windows volume untouched. Why? Why doesn't it just present itself as a keyboard to the PC and push the volume up/down buttons. Being able to assign keystrokes to those buttons would be ideal. As it is they are just useless. You end up with these multiple layers of volumes.
Next problem is when you switch to my home PC it works fine, but switching back to a brand new Dell laptop about 50% of the time I need to unplug and replug the USB-C. It works fine with my 14 year old PC but not a brand new Dell laptop to a Dell monitor! Sometimes the network connection never comes back and I need to reboot the laptop.
Then there's software hot-key to quickly switch between PCs. The works OK but it doesn't work if you're not logged in or the PC has gone to sleep. So if I switch to my home PC and walk away then I need to wake it up and log in to switch back. Why doesn't the monitor "peek" the key presses coming from the keyboard and do the switching itself? The way it is now the key presses go through to the software and the software tells the monitor to switch. If the software isn't available to do it then nothing happens.
Then there's the joystick on the back. I need to push my keyboard to the side to get to it, you have to search around for it and it's very uncomfortable to use and very touchy. Again, did no one even try this out once? I understand you probably don't need to use this thing day to day but unfortunately you do because of the above mentioned issue.
There's also a bug in the software where you setup the hotkey to switch the input from "USB-C to HDMI". Whatever you put on the left doesn't work and switches back to "Auto input". Unfortunately auto input doesn't work and never finds anything. This is only a minor annoyance as you can just switch the options but it did take me a while of frustration to work that out.
Then there's the issue that ALL USB devices disconnect from one PC and reconnect to the other when you switch. This makes sense for the keyboard and mouse but it means if you switch during a meeting your headphones drop out. I can plug the headphone dongle into the laptop direct but it would be nice to leave it plugged into the monitor. It would be good if you could set some USB ports to stay connected to one PC only. Or if there was at least ONE USB per PC that was always connected. As it stands there's no where on the monitor to plug something into a USB port that will stay with a particular PC. Let's say I plug a USB drive into the monitor to copy some files, then I want to switch, my copy drops out.
Then there's the issue that you need to manually switch the second non Dell monitor over when you go back to USB C. To be fair to Dell they could have done this by passing the HDMI through their monitor but I can understand why that would be left out.
Overall it's a massive failure on so many fronts. I can't understand how this could happen. I discovered all this within the first hour or so of use. Did no one test any of this?
If you have a single PC using USB-C then this monitor would work ok. But then you probably wouldn't need one with the KVM built in.
If you got this far thanks for reading. If anyone has any workarounds I would be interested to hear them.
I encountered another issue. If I switch to a machine specifically to put it to sleep then I can't use the shortcut key to switch back. I need to fumble for the joystick. Surely the software can detect a sleep event and tell the monitor to switch back automatically. A dedicated key to cycle between inputs would be so awesome. Monitors never seem to have this when IMO all monitors should have it
Found another bug. If I want to watch a youtube video with sound coming out the speakers then after selecting the sound destination a few times it finally starts to make sound. But it's too loud, so I push the volume down button to go down 5%. The sound just goes off. I'm guessing changing the volume somehow activates teams, which basically means the volume buttons only work in Teams. Again, it's hard to understand how dell got this so wrong. Did no one even try this monitor once before they put it into production?