Originally founded in 1984, Dell is one of the largest computer electronics companies in the world, currently ranking a strong #2 to HP in terms of computer systems shipped. When you sell that many computers, it's not at all surprising that you also sell quite a few displays. A large portion of Dell's sales come from the business sector, and businesses were one of the first areas that really pushed for the more compact LCDs. One of the goals with any successful business is to try and reduce your costs and increase your profit margins, and one way to accomplish that is by bringing manufacturing in-house. Back in the days of CRTs, many large OEMs would simply take a proven display and brand it with their own name, but with LCDs they've taken that a step further. What started as merely one component to be sold with any new computer system has grown into a sizable market all its own, and nearly every large OEM now has a line of LCDs that they manufacture and sell with their systems.

Apple was one of the first companies to come out with very large LCDs with their Cinema Display line, catering to the multimedia enthusiasts that have often appreciated Apple's systems. Dell followed their lead when they launched the 24" 2405FPW several years ago, except that with their larger volumes they were able to offer competing displays at much more attractive prices. In short order, the 800 pound gorilla of business desktops and servers was able to occupy the same role in the LCD market. Of course, while many enthusiasts wouldn't be caught running a Dell system, the most recent Dell LCDs have been received very favorably by all types of users -- business, multimedia, and even gaming demands feel right at home on a Dell LCD. Does that mean that Dell LCDs are the best in the world? Certainly not, but given their price and ready worldwide availability, they have set the standard by which most other LCDs are judged.

In 2006, Dell launched their new 30" LCD, matching Apple's 30" Cinema Display for the largest commonly available computer LCD on the market. Dell also updated most of their other LCD sizes with the xx07 models, which brought improved specifications and features. These displays have all been available for a while now, but we haven't had a chance to provide reviews of them until now. As we renew our LCD and display coverage on AnandTech, and given the number of users that are already familiar with the Dell LCDs, we felt it was important to take a closer look at some of these Dell LCDs in order to help establish our baseline for future display reviews.

We recently looked at the Gateway FPD2485W as our first LCD review in some time, and we compared it with the original Dell 24" LCD, the 2405FPW. In response to some comments and suggestions, we have further refined our LCD reviewing process and will be revisiting aspects of both of the previously tested displays. However, our primary focus is going to be on Dell's current 24" and 30" models, the 2407WFP and 3007WFP. How well do these LCDs perform, where do they excel, and where is there room for improvement? We aim to provide answers to those questions.

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  • mongo lloyd - Saturday, March 3, 2007 - link

    As for the .303mm pixel pitch, keep in mind that a 19" 4:3 1280x1024 screen that I would wager is the most common LCD in use right now is like .295mm and I never heard anyone complaining about the 19" displays...

    Well, you've heard one now. Out of ALL LCDs (minus the IBM T221, since that one is... a bit... special), the only panels I could ever begin to consider (and that's ignoring all the other faults with LCDs -- CRTs still beat them, and probably always will, if you ask me (at least as long as they use DVI with crappy refresh)) are the 30" 2560x1600 and 20.1" 1600x1200 monitors. I consider 1600x1200 on a good 19" CRT to be the optimal resolution, and the dot pitch on pretty much all LCDs are pitiful in comparison -- and the dot pitch is even more important on LCDs since the pixels are square and thus very sharp.

    Also, you probably meant 5:4, not 4:3.
  • exdeath - Monday, March 5, 2007 - link

    I love my F500R 21" .22mm AGP @ 1600x1200 CRT.

    But when it dies... there is no getting a replacement.

    I have dual 1905FP Dell 19" LCDs at work, 1280x1024 5:4 .295 pitch and its quite sharp. They seem to be the standard by which I judge other LCDs by since that is what I am used to staring at all day. The higher pitch doesn't bother me at all.

    In fact, being a graphics programmer and having a close up eye for pixel perfect detail, I tend to prefer images with sharp square pixels.
  • kmmatney - Saturday, March 3, 2007 - link

    They do make laptop screens that are 15.4" and 1920 x 1200 resolution, which is a pretty amazing pixel pitch. So LCD dektop monitors are easily capable of better pixel pitch, there must just not be a market for them yet.

    Everytime I try 1600 x 1200 on a 19" CRT, it looks like crap, and I;'ve tried quite a few CRTs.
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, March 3, 2007 - link

    Funny thing is, I go the other way. Laptop LCDs tend to have text that gets a bit difficult for me to read now. Oh, I can do it, but even 17" 1920x1200 displays are a bit tiny text/icons. I don't think I'd like a 15.4" 19x12 LCD. To each their own, of course.

    As for the rest, I fully agree that 1600x1200 on a 19" CRT looks pretty lousy - too small again, and I *love* the perfectly square pixels of LCDs. 20" (viewable) CRTs are required for proper 16x12 resolution, in my opinion. Refresh rates are definitely the one issue I have with LCDs - running CRTs at 100 Hz made it so I wouldn't notice shearing due to vsync, and you can't do that with LCDs. To counter that, though, all the pincushion, stretch, rotate, etc. necessary to get a CRT to properly fill the screen always irritated me. Heck, I'd even take an analog connection LCD over CRTs!
  • exdeath - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    "Its a 27" compromise between the wider range of capabilities of the 30" and the smaller size of the 24" "

    Oops that should have been "limited range of capabilities of the 30"
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    I haven't used a 2707WFP yet, but I will see if I can get one sent for review.

    Take care,
    Jarred Walton
  • lash - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    First of all, thank you for the review. Does anyone know if this monitor suffer from input lag, like most of the 24" models ? Would it be hard to include a input lag test of the monitors reviewed ? Personally I think of it as a big problem when playing fps or online.
  • Resh - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    Thanks for the review, particularly the section on colour accuracy where you use objective measurement in the form of a colorimeter. Thanks!

    However, I note that I can't find the calibration targets you used. For example, when I calibrate my display, I'm targetting about 80 - 120 cd/m2 (depends on display type; brighter for LCD) for brightness, gamma 2.2, and a colour temp of 6500K or D65. This is important as it affects, particularly on LCDs, the display's ability to render colour accurately. For example, my Dell 2407FPW can perform with the level of accuracy that the review describes, but only when its brightness is allow to rise close to 300 cd/m2. While this is great for colour accuracy, it isn't very good for screen to print matching as the screen is far too bright for the print to match. Also, that kind of brightness is retina-searing!

    In my case, my HP CRT is capable of astonishing accuracy at 80 cd/m2 -- the brightest it can go. If I screen match and make the drop the 2407FPW to that level, suddenly it isn't so accurate -- acceptable, but no match for the HP.

    So it would be great if you could calibrate and profile to targets that are relevant for photographers and also make your targets known. Failing that, at least let us know what your targets were and how the eventual profile compared. For example, I asked ColorEyes Display to target 80 cd/m2 on my 2407FPW and the eventual result was 74 cd/m2.

  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    I used the default (6500K 2.2 gamma), but I'll have to check on the white point value. Obviously, post-calibration it was still very bright (see page 6), so I may need to run calibrations for a lower white point. The Dell's can manage that, but the Gateway is sort of up a creek, since it couldn't get lower than 356 cd/m2 by adjusting the brightness. With contrast set lower, it might be able to get below 200 cd/m2, but probably not while providing any reasonable amount of accuracy. Sorry to say that I don't do anything with print, so that aspect of testing just didn't occur to me.
  • strikeback03 - Monday, March 5, 2007 - link

    I bought the Gateway over the weekend. It can go much lower than 356 cd/m^2 if you go to User color and lower the color channels all by the same amount. They ship set to 100, I lowered them all to 60 or so, which allowed me to set brightness to 120cd/m^2.

    I have some interesting calibration results, I'll post them in the Gateway comments when I get home from work.

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