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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  • darklight0tr - Monday, April 09, 2007 - link

    On Page 4 it says that Screen Scaling doesn't work when using DVI, but that is incorrect. I have the 2707WFP, and the Screen Scaling menu isn't enabled in DVI UNTIL you switch the screen resolution to one that doesn't use the 16:10 aspect, such as 1600x1200.

    It confused me at first, but I guess it doesn't make sense to enable that menu if you are already running the monitor at 1920x1200.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - link

    My screen scaling menu is definitely disabled with a DVI connection. I've tried several resolutions (1680x1050 and 1600x1200 for sure) and it never became adjustable. That said, the LCD is revision A00, and I know on the 2407WFP this was apparently something they addressed in a later revision of the firmware; perhaps they will do the same again. I felt this OSD was a step back relative to the latest 2407WFP firmware options, which is odd as it should be essentially the same menu. If they "fixed" something with Rev. A03 on the 24" model, why "unfix" it for A00 of the 27"? Oh well... I just report on what I have. :) Reply
  • Amuro - Saturday, April 14, 2007 - link

    Did you use a Nvidia 8 series video card for the review? There are scaling issues with Forceware drivers later than 97.XX that forces adapter scaling at all times. If you try to change the scaling to something else in the Nvidia control panel, it will automatically go back to adapter scaling after you click Apply. The scaling menu on the LCD is disabled because the video card automatically streches everything to 19200 X 1200. I have a Rev A00 2707 WFP and I'm able to use monitor scaling before loading into Windows, and also ablo to do 1:1 scaling when using it with my PS3 at 10806P via DVI. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, April 06, 2007 - link

    The article said "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." Well, there is a second native res that requires much less horsepower: 1280x800.

    I'm not sure how accurate your pixel pitch chart is, because if you go to tvcalculator.com, the results are different. Use that site to compare a 30", 16:10, 2560x1600 versus a 27", 16:10, 1920x1200 --> 10126/7030 is 1.44x pixel density on the 30". Using your pitch numbers (to convert distance per pixel to pixels per distance): 1/.250mm = 4pixels/mm, 1/.303mm = 3.3pixels/mm. 4/3.3 = 1.21x pixel density on the 30". I'd trust the physical size per resolution before I'd trust some published pixel pitch numbers.

    btw, if you're comparing CRTs on the site, don't forget to subtract an inch since LCDs go by the viewable inches.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 06, 2007 - link

    The table is composed of approximate values. The main point was that various sizes and resolutions will have a larger/smaller pixel pitch. So if you find a 19" 1280x1024 to be "good" and 17" to be "too small", you might like a pixel pitch similar to that of the 19". The HDTV values in particular could be way off, since I couldn't find any reasonable sources. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, April 06, 2007 - link

    Yeah...and does pixel pitch mean the distance between the center point of each pixel? If so, and if the size of pixels vary per screen, then the pitch isn't the complete information since the gap between pixels probably also varies.

    The tvcalculator.com was useful for me before I bought a 30". I had a 21" CRT at my disposal, and it turns out that the pixel density is nearly identical at 1600x1200 to the 30" at 2560x1600.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    Jarrod,

    Do you guys have any intentions of reviewing Eizo monitors sometime in the future? I'm not knocking the inferior stuff like Dell, Viewsonic, etc..., and I do understand that the masses buy this stuff in masses and the price makes them much more accessible. But, it wouldn't hurt to review the top quality stuff either, even if most people can't afford it. After all, you guys review $1000 processors, and high end graphics stuff. It's like a car magazine reviewing a Porsche. Most of it's readers can't afford it, but it still makes for interesting reading. We might end up with a Volkswagen (or Dell, or Viewsonic, etc...), but it does get readers. Since they sell so few monitors, I'm guessing they would love the exposure and you wouldn't have too hard of a time getting one. It can't hurt to ask. I have bought Nanao/Eizo until they stopped making CRTs, and they were much better than the other rubbish sold (and twice as expensive :P), and I think a review would be informative and open a few eyes (no pun intended).

    Also, are you guys done reviewing CRTs? I finally bought an LCD about four months ago because I kept reading how much better they were. Not only did I hate it, but I almost hit my cat with it (by accident) when I threw it out the window. I know they take some getting used to, but they have so many compromises compared to CRTs that I had to destroy it (NewEgg won't take them back). I'm not alone in this either, although I think a minority. Still, some reviews of the new Samsung monitors would be nice, and maybe the aforementioned Eizos are decent enough LCD monitors that they don't have to factor in flight attributes in the design, for when someone throws them out the window. It's a pity too, they weigh so little and take up so little desk space in comparison. I just can't stand the poor quality of the display. Why do they make them so bright anyway? Even turned down they can be really tough to look at.

    Also, if you do review CRTs, you might want to skip Viewsonic. They've managed to combine the worst of both worlds; their CRTs have dead pixels. I have no idea how this is possible, but they managed to do it and not only the one I bought. It's apparently a common problem. I have to give them credit for having the talent to create such a thing though, I didn't even know it was possible. Probably the shadow mask isn't transparent in that spot? I have no idea, really.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    Hmmm, I just went to Samsung's web site and I don't even see their CRTs listed anymore. So maybe CRTs are finally dead, unless you want dead pixels. Oh brother, what a choice. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    I think we are generally at the point now where CRTs truly are dead in terms of reviewing units. If I had a good late-model CRT available for comparison purposes, I would have included it in the test results already. Unfortunately, the best CRT that I had (note the use of past tense) was a 19" NEC (FE-991SB). I honestly don't even want to bother with CRTs anymore. LCDs certainly aren't perfect, but I will take the sharp image quality (no need to stretch/rotate/center your image like you have to do with CRTs) and the smaller size any day given a choice between CRT and LCD.

    I realize there are still CRT holdouts, and I do miss the higher refresh rates that CRTs offered, but hopefully we will see improvements in that area of LCDs in the not-too-distant future. If you already have a good CRT, you can probably continue to use that for a while longer. If on the other hand you are looking to go out and purchase a new display, I doubt many people would be interested in the current CRT offerings.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, April 05, 2007 - link

    Actually, I did some research after I wrote that and Viewsonic, Phillips and CTX are still making them.

    Do you actually prefer the image on an LCD? I can't imagine anyone does, but I suppose some people do. It is probably your poor vision (no offense), because I could see the each pixel very clearly on my LCD and it's just not as lush a picture (incidentally, my vision sucks too, but only long distance. Short distance I see all too well). Also, the viewing angles aren't quite right. The top looks lighter than the bottom, for example, unless you move your head up. It's altogether an extremely flawed technology, and it hasn't really gotten much better in 20 years. In know the numbers look better, but the old ThinkPads I had at IBM didn't look that much worse than these monitors, and in 20 years they should have. I'm not saying if you put them side to side you couldn't tell the difference, you probably could, and they are a lot bigger now, but they aren't nearly as improved as I have seen spoken about. For that matter, neither are CRTs. My old Princeton Ultrasync had a fantastic picture, but it was only 12 inch.

    The most painful part of chucking the LCD was the footprint and weight. CRTs are awful in terms of creating heat too. In the summer, I want to chuck them out the window, but perversely their weight saves them from this form of destruction. (Even the illustrious dead pixel Viewsonic was discarded in a dump, although kicked and sledgehammered, rather than chucked out the window). The image quality is so hard to ignore though. For a TV, where size matters a lot and you generally watch from a distance, I think LCDs are great. But, being able to see each pixel and the terrible brightness, the poor viewing angles, the terrible ghosting, the weird bright green pixel that won't take no for an answer, and poor color saturation leave me cold. But, the handwriting is on the wall, although you'll probably have one company make CRTs for a long, long time, because even if 5% of the people can't stand LCDs, it's still a huge market. I think the number is higher than that too. Luckily, the Trinitron is dead. Another really badly flawed technology that people bought a lot of. How could people stand those lines or the asymmetric nature of the Trinitron? I never understood it. I'm equally baffled now by LCDs. Incidentally, the one I tossed was a ViewSonic VG2230wm. It was talked about well, but it was a huge disappointment compared to a CRT.
    Reply

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