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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  • jediknight - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Only thing I really don't like about Dell is their dead pixel policy. They will only replace a monitor (so I've been told) if it has 6 dead pixels.

    Personally, ONE dead pixel is too many!
  • crimson117 - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Dell's brand is called "UltraSharp", not "UltraSync" as the review states. NEC's brand is called MultiSync, maybe that got confused?
  • mlittl3 - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Here are the final prices (retail not education of both of these monitors).

    Apple $799
    Dell $486.85

    Apple just today reduced the price of their LCD panels. Also, it should be noted that the Dell LCD is listed as $749 but a 35% discount lowers the price.

    This is a perfect example of how hardware costs the same between PC and Mac but volume shipments allow a distributor to lower the cost considerably.

    Apple is selling a lot less of these than Dell therefore their prices are higher. Both panels still cost about the same before volume shipments are factored in. If the whole world buys Apple, then Apple would sell the LCD for $499 and Dell would increase the price to $749.

    Gotta love capitalism!
  • DCstewieG - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    #17 How did you get that $799 price? I followed the link and the session was expired but then I went back to the store and sure enough...$799. Even with my educational discount it's $899.

    Though even @ $799, my point stands.
  • JNo - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link


    Agree that other connections (s-vid, composite) should be tested via eg xbox... shame no component...

    Am really tempted to get widescreen now that games are beginning to support it or can be made to support it. More elegant than dual monitor and better for movies/games too. Really impressed that the Dell 'out-functioned' the Apple with similar/better performance too.

    On the Dell 2405 (1920x1200), does anyone know what panel it uses? LG Philips too?
    Also anyone know if
    a) it supports 1:1 pixel scaling?
    b) it can be bought in UK (does not appear on dell uk website) - and how much?
    c) it can also rotate to portrait mode?

  • smn198 - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    12ms typical (Grey to Grey) / 16ms typical (Black to White)

    Guess Dell are slightly schizophrenic
  • sandys - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Quite a few games that don't support widescreen natively can be modified to do so, check out for details, I have a 2405 and run all my games in widescreen with the correct aspect ratio.

  • blwest - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Nice article. I bought two of these in Feb and absolutely agree with everything in this article. I do think that WOW supports 16:10 though. I'm not 100% certain until I get home but I've been playing it and nothing is deformed. In soviet russia, the monitor watches you.
  • segagenesis - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Impressive display but I personally dont like the fact its 16:10... why not 16:9? Did I miss the memo on how LCDs are manufacturered? Having a Trinitron CRT im still hard pressed to want to move to LCD especially for games.
  • toyota - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Dell does NOT claim 12ms response time!! I am looking at their catalog that i got a few weeks ago and it lists 16ms for response time for the 2005FPW!!

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