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.

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  • sandys - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Oh yeah and as for panel manufacturer it can only be Samsung, not seen anyone else doing one. probably the ltm240w1

    pure guesswork of course :p
  • Gatak - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    #36, It is about contrast. The eyes are strained if you have a bright light in just a part of the field of view. The strain comes from having to both adjust for the bright light _and_ at the same time allow enough light to come from the darker areas. In other words it is difficult for the eyes to properly acclimate to the lighting situation.
  • sandys - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Hi JNo,

    The 2405 can be bought in the UK, for some reason it is not showing on Dells site but you can still phone them and buy it so answers to questions

    a) yes it supports 1:1 pixel mapping
    b) it can be bought but price varies depending on offer at the time, I bought two and got one half price plus 20% off bring each to £540 which was a bargain, others have got around 600-693 for a single unit.
    c) yes it can.

    The 2405 also has component and I run my PS2 and xbox off of it, unfortunately we get stiffed a bit in the UK and box Sony and MS remove the useful progressive resolutions in place of interlaced so the only way to get a quality output on Xbox is to mod it and switch it to NTSC and for the PS2 buy US games or live with 576i :(

    look here

  • xsilver - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    obviously to "fix" a dark room you just turn on the light... but I wanted to know more about the principles behind it.... what makes the monitor so different when its used in a dark room?
    why is it so bad to turn down the brightness?
    why does it hurt your eyes? (cause it doesnt hurt mine)
  • Zak - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Doom3 and Trainz configs can also be edited to support 1680x1050.

  • ir0nw0lf - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Don't forget that World of Warcraft natively supports 1680x1050!!
  • bob661 - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    I won't buy a LCD either, yet. I do have a Viewsonic VP201b (supposedly the same panel as the Dell 2001FP) and it was VERY good playing UT2004 and Doom 3. I'll wait for two more generations of LCD AND then I'll some more for those to come down into the $300 range for a 19 or 20".
  • DestruyaUR - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Will these new 23 and 30" samples you speak of have HDCP circuitry so they could actually be used as TVs?
  • Gatak - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    #9: Easy to fix. Increase ambient light in the room. It is usually never good to work in a dark room. The "White" on the screen should also be the same color temperature as the ambient light.
  • TinyTeeth - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Great review, but you really should use a better camera... :X

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