Introduction

When reviewing hardware, we often run into the scenario of limited diversity; dozens of manufacturers send us hardware that differs from everyone else's design by a different color PCB or bezel. Every once in a while, however, we have the pleasure of looking at something that is completely different than anything else currently available on every level. When Apple wanted us to look at their newest 20" Cinema display, we knew that our opportunity to look at something so unique in the displays market would be a rare occasion.

In fact, the 20" M9177LL Cinema displays are so unique that Apple really only has a single Tier 1, 20" wide screen competitor - Dell's UltraSharp 2005FPW. The move to wide screen computer displays has been a slow one. Unlike digital TVs, which are mandated to be HD capable by a certain year based on their screen size, regulatory committees do not enforce similar directives on PC displays - and rightfully so. Obviously, high definition media such as DVDs utilize wide screen dimensions; most PC content remains relatively optimized for traditional 4:3 screens. Web content, for example, is still largely fixed at 1024 pixels wide. Games, however, are starting to pick up on wide screen formats (World of Warcraft, UT2004) and anyone who has done any video or photo manipulation can assure that you wider displays make for much more immersive content creation.

As unique as Apple's Cinema display might be in the world of 19" to 21" flat panel displays, it shares the same LG.Philips panel as the Dell UltraSharp 2005FPW. There happens to be only a single panel manufacturer capable/willing to mass produce wide screen, high resolution flat panel displays for the PC market. Since these two displays are so similar, we thought it only necessary to review both side by side. Several sources have claimed that the 2005FPW had numerous discoloration problems and generally poor image quality. Obviously, if one of our displays demonstrates imperfections, we would expect to see both displays to be flawed. However, the Dell and Apple displays utilize different backlights, so we are open to the thought that there will be some dissimilarities between the units. Let's take a closer look at our 20" displays.

Specifications
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  • cnlsilva - Thursday, April 28, 2005 - link

    Thanks for the article - I have an LG/Phillips 1680x1050 display on my laptop and it is great. The only display I can see that could beat it would be tthe 1920x1200 display now on the Dell XPS Gen2 laptop. A review on that display would be nice.
    Two questions:
    1. Anyone have any information on the 17" 1680x1050 display as separate units - I have DVI out so it would be nice to dual monitor - although that is a VERY wide dual display - too wide perhaps.

    Loved the article - a few errors(please edit this and remove this statement):
    page 10 "Unlike analogy" -> analog
    page 10 "uses much simplier" -> simpler
    Reply
  • Pastuch - Thursday, April 28, 2005 - link

    Fantastic article.

    RE: Widescreen Gaming
    I too found the Widescreengamingforum and was shocked that with simple registry changes you can adjust most games to the native resolution you desire. I play Halflife 2 (CS Source), Farcry, Warcraft 3:FT (DOTA), Doom 3, and Everquest 2 on my 2005fpw without any stretching issues.

    This forum thread has over 90 pages of responces from Dell 2005fpw owners. The thread is actually a review. http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=24...
    Reply
  • stukafox - Thursday, April 28, 2005 - link

    Has anyone been able to purchase this monitor at the listed price of $486.85 from the Dealtime link? I click on the 'BUY IT' and am directed to Dell's site, which lists the monitor at $749, less a 25% discount of $187.25, for a total of $561.75. This is far from the $486.85 listed at Deal Time.

    Any idea what's going on?
    Reply
  • Ibrin - Thursday, April 28, 2005 - link

    I run the website that was mentioned earlier (WSGF), http://www.widescreengamingforum.com

    I posted an article over on the AnandTech forums about this article. The author is quite mistaken, and most new games do support widescreen. If you'd like a bit more detail on some of the games that do support widescreen, you can hit the forum topic here:

    http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid...

    If you'd like detailed info, including on to hack/mod some of your favorite games to run in widescreen, head on over to the WSGF
    Reply
  • golemite - Thursday, April 28, 2005 - link

    few things...

    1) world of warcraft does support 1680x1050 natively, surprised you didnt see this in the resolution settings

    for other games check out widescreengamingforum.com

    2) 16:10 is usually used for computer/laptop monitors because it is felt that 16:9 doesnt give u an adequate workspace. it is suppose to be the recommended aspect ratio for Longhorn as well

    3) dell will actually replace your LCD for any reason, even down to 1 pixel or backlighting problems within 21 days or so of purchase as part of their total satisfaction guarentee (or similarily named policy) many early adopters have apparently done this successfully
    Reply
  • JNo - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    oh yeah - thanks Sandys (#37 & 39) - that rocks! really helpful and saved me a lot of time...
    got a modded xbox with monster component, so it's getting even more tempting... just need to find a friend willing to contribute to getting the two at the discount...
    Reply
  • JNo - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Also, I am guessing that the panel in the Dell 2405 may be the same one as in Sony's P-234/B (23" 1920x1200 widescreen, 16ms response time) reviewed here:
    http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=son...

    Can anyone confirm?
    Reply
  • djbkim - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    My guess is that Dell LCDs are compatible with Macs. Dell's website has only PC compatibility listed. Reply
  • djbkim - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • MJA - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    at one time the dell 2005FPW was selling for $386 (techbargains.com codes)I got mine for $486 Reply

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