The 20" LCD Shootout: Dell versus Appleby Kristopher Kubicki on April 27, 2005 12:05 AM EST
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Final WordsToday, 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 Dell.com 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!