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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  • nels0360 - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    I have a Dell 2005FPW and I love it. One thing though. The brightness setting on it (and all others) is worthless. It's either bright or really bright! Not a big problem for me but it does lead to eye fatigue if used in a dark room (like for gaming).
  • IceWindius - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    After days of research, I got the Hyundai L90D+ and I couldn't be happier. Dell just isn't one for quality assurance.
  • Ahkorishaan - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Page 8, there is a typo at the end of the Matrix spiel,

    "Since the Apple 2005FPW has a (very) slight lower measured contrast ratio, this didn’t surprise us during out testing."

    Otherwise, great review.
  • ArtOfWar - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    That Acer display looks pretty good too... maybe you could add it to the review... suince in looks (aesthetics) it's better than both these display IMO (thou both of these look awesome)

    Anywyas great review... Wish I could afford one of those
  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    kini62: Thanks for the update; I've corrected that.

  • kini62 - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    You said that NO games use 1680x1050. Half Life 2 and Far Cry both support that resolution.
  • Anemone - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    Rats wish you would also put the 2405 under the microscope too :)

    Loved every page of the article even still.

  • Novaoblivion - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    I have a 2005FPW as does my brother and we both love them they work great :)
  • Zerhyn - Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - link

    "We were very surprised to learn that the Apple Cinema 20” display only comes with a one-year limited warranty, if you do not purchase the display with a PowerBook or PowerMac. Dell displays all come with a three-year limited warranty."

    In the spec charts it says the apple has a 3 year warrenty and the dell only a one year....
  • MekkelRichards - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    I bought this monitor when it came out in 2005 for $422, and I am still using it in 2020.

    That's 15 years of usage!

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