Introduction

We've taken a look at several high-end 30" LCDs recently, like the HP LP3065 and the Dell 3007WFP. While these are undoubtedly nice monitors, many people have a few concerns with them. One of the major problems is that they require a dual-link DVI connection, so they essentially require a higher end graphics card than what many people have. Hooking them up to a notebook is also generally out of the question, with a few exceptions. They are also quite large, but with their 2560x1600 native resolution they still have a very fine pixel pitch. Some will think that's a good thing, while those who are more visually challenged [Ed: raises hand] might prefer a slightly lower native resolution.

Furthermore, while nearly everyone will agree that running your LCD at its native resolution is the best solution, gaming on a 30" LCD at 2560x1600 requires some serious graphics horsepower. Then there's the lack of input options on the 30" LCDs; due to a lack of any scaler ICs that can handle the native resolution, the displays only support dual-link DVI connections (or single-link with a very limiting 1280x800 resolution, with a few caveats).

This is not to say that 30" LCDs are bad; merely that they are not a solution that all find ideal. Enter the 27" LCD panel.

There are definitely people that would like something slightly larger than a 24" LCD, but they don't want to deal with some of the aforementioned problems with 30" LCDs. These people basically have a few options. First, they could always look at some of the 1080p HDTV solutions, which are currently available in 32", 37", 42", and several larger sizes. If resolution isn't a concern, there are plenty of other HDTV solutions out there, but those are less than ideal for computer work. The other option, and the one we'll be looking at today, is to get something like Dell's 27" 2707WFP.


We've already looked at Dell's 2407WFP and 3007WFP, so we refer back to the earlier review for anyone interested in additional information about Dell's other LCDs, warranty, and support policies. Our primary focus here is going to be on how the 2707WFP compares to both the slightly larger and slightly smaller offerings on the market.

One of the factors that many people are going to be interested in is the pixel pitch of the various LCD offerings. We've compiled a list of typical pixel pitch sizes for a variety of LCD panels and resolutions. Some people feel a smaller pixel pitch is always more desirable, and while that might be true for some uses, reading text on an extremely fine pixel pitch can at times be difficult for some of us. If you've used a 15" laptop with a 1920x1200 resolution, you will hopefully understand. We know plenty of other users that find the typical 17" LCDs are not comfortable to use at the native 1280x1024 resolution, which is why many people prefer 19" LCDs. (Modifying the DPI setting of Windows can help in some areas, but there are quirks to changing the DPI from the default 96dpi setting.)

LCD Pixel Pitch vs. Display Size and Resolution
Panel Size Resolution Pixel Pitch
15" 1024x768 0.297mm
17" 1280x1024 0.264mm
17" WS 1440x900 0.255mm
19" 1280x1024 0.294mm
19" WS 1440x900 0.285mm
20" 1400x1050 0.292mm
20" 1600x1200 0.255mm
20" WS 1680x1050 0.258mm
22" WS 1680x1050 0.282mm
24" WS 1920x1200 0.270mm
26" WS 1920x1200 0.287mm
27" WS 1920x1200 0.303mm
30" WS 2560x1600 0.250mm
32" WS 1920x1080 0.370mm
37" WS 1920x1080 0.427mm
42" WS 1920x1080 0.484mm

As you can see from the above table, the 27" LCDs currently boast the largest pixel pitch outside of HDTV offerings. However, the difference between a 15" or 19" pixel pitch and that of the 2707WFP is really quite small. If you're one of those that feel a slightly larger pixel pitch is preferable - for whatever reason - the 2707WFP doesn't disappoint. Dell has made some other changes relative to their other current LCD offerings, however, so let's take a closer look at this latest entrant into the crowded LCD market.

Features and Specifications
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  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, April 06, 2007 - link

    Slightly off topic, but what's the easiest way to get color profiles to apply in games, and not just Windows? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 06, 2007 - link

    If you set a color profile, it applies to everything but overlay. So games automatically use it, AFAIK. It's only video content that has problems. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, April 06, 2007 - link

    You're probably right, since I tried changing the color profile to make everything hot pink, and the game also looked that way.

    Whenever Windows is booting up, the desktop first looks slightly lighter, and after a second it seems like the color profile kicks in. When I run the game Dark Messiah, right before the screen switches to the game, the desktop switches back to that lighter appearance, so it doesn't look like it's using the profile. I've also seen a few sites indicate that profiles don't apply for games: http://www.hex2bit.com/products/product_mcw.asp">http://www.hex2bit.com/products/product_mcw.asp says "...to prevent other programs from changing the color profile Windows uses. This is especially important to gamers as most games will change the color profile Windows uses." and http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1064124&...">http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1064124&... someone said "Also, that color profile won't effect videos, games, or your mouse cursor. I calibrated through my spyder2..."
    Reply
  • sm8000 - Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - link

    "single-link with a very limiting 1280x800 resolution"

    Isn't single link's max res 1920x1200? I'm pretty sure it is. Is the article saying dual link panels by design won't display more than 1280x800 on single link?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - link

    Right. There are no scaler ICs for 2560x1600 right now, but apparently they can manage a simple doubling of resolution. If you use a 30" LCD with a single-link DVI connection, they will only support up to 1280x800. In the case of the HP LP3065, any other resolution ends up being garbled (i.e. the BIOS, POST, and boot sequence is illegible). Within Windows, you can change the resolution and apparently the GPU will handle the scaling, but outside of Windows you're basically out of luck unless you're running 1280x800. Reply
  • jc44 - Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - link

    I feel the need to take issue with the assumption in the article that a denser pixel pitches must lead to smaller text. OK - that certianly happens by default, but it is possible to increase the number of dpi that windows associates with amonitor and that should increase the size of the displayed text. I'll admit that support is somewhat patchy with web pages being amongst the greatest offenders - but in general it works.

    Personally I'm a dpi junkie and normally use a 204dpi monitor which can lead to somewhat interesting results on applications & web pages that are convinced that all monitors in the world run at 96dpi!

    These days you don't need to spend a lot on a graphics card to a a dual-link dvi connector - I'm not sure where the bottom of the range is but an nvidia 7600 costs less than £100 and can be found with one dual + one single link DVI connectors.

    JC
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - link

    Adjusting DPI is certainly possible, and I believe this is one of the areas that Vista is supposed to be a lot better than XP. (Anyone able to confirm that?) However, my personal experience with modifying the DPI has been less than stellar. I usually end up just increasing the font size in Firefox, using the magnification in Word, etc. There are plenty of other applications that have no respect for the Windows DPI setting. Reply
  • nullpointerus - Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - link

    Vista is definitely better than XP in this regard, but there are still many areas that could use some polish. For example, Vista still appears to use tiny bitmapped icons, which do not scale very well on the high-dpi title bar and task bar. Moreover, many third-party applications and even many Microsoft applications still have icons and images that scale horribly without the standard 96-dpi setting.

    Nonetheless, font-handling and layout for non-Aero-native applications has improved dramatically since the early Vista RC1 release; instead of merely upscaling the fonts and controls into a blurry mess, the layout engine does proper spacing and the font engine draws crisp, high resolution fonts. Visual Studio 2005 shows *major* progress in this regard.

    For anyone interested in getting a higher density display and using the Vista DPI setting, I definitely trying it first. You could enable 120 dpi on your old monitor and stand back an extra foot or so to mimic the effect of a lower pixel pitch. Or get a friend to do this if you do not have Vista on your own computer.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - link

    I always reduce the size of my windows icons anyway. they are huge in the stock setting.

    on a related note, anyone know how to change desktop icon size and spacing in Gnome/Ubuntu? do you need a whole new theme? icons for mounted drives are way large.
    Reply
  • nullpointerus - Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - link

    typo: I definitely recommend trying it first. Reply

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