Final Words

Today, we analyzed two of the highest quality LCDs on the consumer market. Specifications on both monitors were excellent; response time, brightness, color correctness and real world applications all proved their worth.

The Apple Cinema 20" display is also an incredible unit. In fact, if both monitors cost the same, it would be very difficult to choose either display; Apple clearly has the aesthetic edge over its Dell counterpart and cable management is second to none. The Cinema display had no problem producing extraordinary results in all of our benchmarks. We also just got word from Apple at the time of publication that the Cinema 20" price tag has dropped to $799 (and with an educational discount you can even get the display fro $699). However, we did look at two displays today and although the Apple Cinema display brings new features to the display like Firewire 400 pass through, Dell is the 800lbs gorilla when it comes to displays.

The Dell 2005FPW won us over not only as an improvement on the Dell 2001FP, but also as a standard that all other monitors must adhere to for excellent ratings in our future reviews. 20" widescreen display, with split screen over four separate inputs on a 1680x1050 resolution, all for under $500! The only way that this monitor could have been better was if LG.Philips LCD had managed to squeeze a true 1920x1080 resolution into the panel. Dell usually charges $750 for this display, but when we last checked (April 27 th, 2005), the base price on the outlet was $486.50. The UltraSharp 2005FPW is the display that we have been waiting for. We do feel that Dell may have slightly exaggerated some of the specifications on the display, but that doesn't mean that the display is any less of a recommendation.

For those who read our forums fairly regularly, there is a thread with Dell coupon codes that enabled you to buy the UltraSharp 2005FPW for under $350 shipped. If you keep your ear to the ground, you can get a high performance display for half what they normally cost.

We had a bit of apprehension about the 2005FPW when we first approached this review, given some of the negative opinions that we had heard from various sources. While it is clear that Dell probably sent a high quality sample for the review, the fact that a store-bought LCD that we purchased (with a January build date) carried the exact same qualities down to the component numbers confirms to us that no major build differences exist between the models. If there were any manufacturing problems that produced poor displays, they certainly didn't come from a January or March batch, which we found to be identical. On the other hand, we only had the opportunity to look at two samples out of the entire production; the likelihood that we received two excellent samples may be just as high as the likelihood that somebody else received two defective samples. As always, we will keep an update on this still emerging topic in future reviews and guides.

We hinted at truly 1080i/p capable LCD displays earlier and with good reason. We have a few preliminary samples from other manufacturers of 23" and 30" displays based on the larger LG.Philips LCD panels - and we are impressed. Native, unscaled HD 1080i and 1080p signals are really a sight for sore eyes! Stay tuned for more display reviews in the next few weeks!

Concerning the 2005FPW Image Quality


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  • Weezard - Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - link

    Okay, sounds good.

    So if I buy this monitor, Ill just have to plug it in, and it will work with widescreen and all - on my Windows XP system with 9700Pro?

  • Pastuch - Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - link

    "Does my Radeon9700Pro support this monitor?"

    A 9700pro is an excellent videocard for this monitor if you dont plan on playing games like Halflife 2 or WoW. The 9700pro's DVI signal will work perfectly, however you should install the latest ATI driver from

    "but what about resolution options, DDC (or what its called - the function that delivers 16:10 widescreen). "

    DDC or whatever you had in mind does not deliver a widescreen display. If you install the latest ATI drivers you will see that the standard windows graphics profiles in display settings have 1680x1050x32. The ATI driver has the ability to force 720p or 1080i but it is not necessary.
  • Weezard - Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - link

    Hi, nice review.

    I do have a few questions about the Cinema Display.

    Does my Radeon9700Pro support this monitor? It has DVI output, but what about resolution options, DDC (or what its called - the function that delivers 16:10 widescreen).

    Is this a plug and play monitor, when running Windows XP and Radeon 9700Pro? Is any software needed before using it with a Windows OS?

    Thank you.
  • wrack - Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - link

    One thing I forgot to ask Kristopher,

    Which graphics card and processor was used to carry out this review..? I can't find 1680x1050 resolution option on my graphics card.
  • wrack - Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - link

    #54 Electonic circuits always tend to attract fine dust. Reply
  • nortexoid - Sunday, May 1, 2005 - link

    dust acts as an insulator? the monitor is standing vertically so the only place dust would gather is on the top, not on any of the electronics. or do you lie your monitor face down on a glass desk and work from underneath the desk? i know it's gaining ergonomic popularity, but i thought only in malawi. Reply
  • Spacecomber - Saturday, April 30, 2005 - link

    This is the kind of review that I'd like to see become the standard for comparing LCDs. Pick an assortment of LCDs that are using the same type of matrice panel(TN, IPS, PVA/MVA) and compare these monitors to each other. They don't have to be using the exact same panel, as in this case, just one based on the same technology. This will provide the reader with something much more like an apples to apples comparison than the apples to oranges comparision that you will get otherwise. (Sorry, about the Apple pun.)

    With all three (or four) types of matrices having such distinctive strengthes and weaknesses, you pretty much have to decide which of these patterns of characteristics will best match how you use the computer and then go looking for that particular type of matrice in a panel.

    The questions for the reviewers then becomes how well does a particular display cope with it's inherent weaknesses, as well as how well does it emphasize what should be its relative strengths.

    For example, in this Anandtech review of IPS panel displays, one of the main problems for IPS panels to overcome is a relatively low contrast ratio, which can affect how well it reproduces black; so, this specification is one that should be given particular attention in the review, especially the subjective analysis.

    Response times are always a point of emphasis in LCD reviews, and with IPS screens, as was noted in the review, you should expect to see the relatively modest black-white response time made up for by the fact that response times stay relatively consistent, even when changes in shade become smaller. (That is why I was confused by this statement, regarding motion blur, in the review, "...two states that are very close to each other take less time than two states further apart from each other, which results in pixels that are not just delayed in a uniform manner, but at several different speeds across the entire panel depending on the hue". I thought that it was with states that were closer together that you saw the slower response time, due to the voltage differential being so small in these cases.)

    In sum, I'd like to see more LCD reviews start with what is known about the panel that is being used (such as is detailed in this very good xbitlabs analysis, and use this understanding to provide a framework for comparing LCDs in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Essentially, while there is no one LCD monitor that is as well rounded for many purposes as is a CRT, anyone buying a LCD will be looking for the one that imposes fewer compromises on the them and for compromises that impinge less on how the screen will be used by that particular buyer.

  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, April 29, 2005 - link

    nortexoid: Dust acts as an insulator. Wrapping your DSP in a warm cuddly blanket will probably make it fail prematurely.

    glennpratt: Unfortunately I cannot quite vouche for the fact that aluminum really acts as a heat sink on this display. The housing is completely smooth and does not really create additional surface area for heat dissapation. Aluminums ability to transfer heat well only helps if there is additional surface area for the sink to come in contact with air.

    In reality, the reason why Apple can get away with a beveled design without any passive exhaust has more to do with the fact that the inverter is housed in a separate brick from the display. Samsung does this too in many of their high end displays.

    Anyways - I think Apple just picked Aluminum for looks.

  • glennpratt - Friday, April 29, 2005 - link

    The Apple is made of aluminum which may have affected their decision to leave out the vents (aluminum transfers heat much better the plastic.) Reply
  • nortexoid - Thursday, April 28, 2005 - link

    What do you think damages a electronics more: dust falling on them or high temperatures?

    I'd rather vents in the back of my monitor to prevent higher temperatures than have it completely sealed to keep out that horribly destructive nuclear fallout.

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