Introduction

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.

Features and Specifications
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  • Resh - Saturday, March 3, 2007 - link

    Thanks Jarred!

    I wouldn't expect you to print and assess accuracy, but if you could do a photo-specific calibration and test for future reviews, that would be great.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work!

    Reply
  • BPB - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    I have two questions. In the Gateway review you mentioned the Gateway did a good job of showing 16:9 movies with the black bars and that the Gateway did 1:1 very well. You also mentioned that you heard the Dell maybe didn't do it as well. So the first question is: did you try this in your test? I just bought the Gateway and like it (I opened the box last night, hours before you posted this review), but I plan on using it to watch DVD's while I work out, as well as using it as my main monitor.

    The second question is does the Dell have auto-rotate software like Gateway's EzTune? I was told by a Dell rep that it doesn't and that you have to manually change the video drivers. I like to use rotate when working on a website. I can often fit an entire site up and down when rotated. At most I have to scroll very little.

    Oh well, looks like I may have to beg BestBuy to take the FPD2485W back and head up to Costco for the Dell if the Dell does DVD's as well. Of course then the Dell would be a little more as I didn't pay tax or shipping for the Gateway (thanks, NH!) but would have to pay tax for the Dell (arghh to you, MA) making the $5 list price favor of the Dell become a $28.70 favor for the Gateway. I paid $679.99 for the Gateway, the Dell becomes $707.70 with tax.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    Dell locks the scaling to what your drivers specify if you use DVI. ATI doesn't allow 1:1 scaling as far as I know, but they do allow a centered 1:1 image (i.e. black bars). NVIDIA has better options for changing scaling, although I have encountered bugs in the past with their 1:1 scaled option. The Gateway does have controls more like the old 2405FPW (where you could set scaling via the monitor rather than in drivers), but the colors aren't as good overall. In terms of DVD playback, neither display is really good (i.e. less than 3 delta E), and I don't know that subjectively I can see a big difference between the Dell and GW when watching videos. You can always disable DirectDraw to get the color profile applied (it disables overlay)... heh. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    Oh, I forgot to say, I don't think there's an auto-rotate software with the Dell. Also, I'm not sure EZtune handles the auto-rotate - I thought it was a function of the drivers, but I could be wrong. I'll have to test it later... right now I need sleep! ;) Reply
  • BPB - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    Thanks for the quick reply. I had a Gateway 21" before getting the 24" and can attest to the EzTune doing the auto-rotate. It's a very nice feature. Not a deal-breaker type of thing, but it's nice. When I consider the effort it will take to return the Gateway to get the Dell I start to think it probably ain't worth it, the effort, that is. Reply
  • chizow - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    The 2407WFP REV A04 does 1:1 scaling. It looks like Jarred got an A03 or earlier for the review. I saw the 1:1 scaling option greyed out in the OSD but didn't see it directly mentioned in the review anywhere.

    Jarred, you gotta include this kind of stuff in your reviews! Its what panel buyers want to know. Also was the 3007 the HC version or standard?

    Otherwise nice review; the difference between the 2407 and the FPD2485W is spot-on with my own observations from using both first hand. The one test I felt was flawed was comparing the 2405 and 2407 for input lag. A better test imo would've been testing the 2407 to the FPD2485W or even a 2ms TN or S-IPS. IIRC the 2405 had input lag problems as well, so any lag wouldn't really show when comparing the two.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    I'll see about taking a shot of the FPD2485W vs. 2407WFP for input lag - again, I've never had any issue, but maybe I'm just getting too old and my eyes are slow? :)

    The LCD I have is revision A01, so some things have apparently changed. Sort of interesting, as I have only had the LCD for a few months... I would have expected something made more recently. I guess Dell hasn't made a point of pushing newer revisions, which isn't too surprising. The 3007 is the standard version as far as I can tell - wouldn't the new HC be a separate model, or are they simply phasing out the older IPS model and moving to a TN or whatever version instead?
    Reply
  • chizow - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    I didn't think it would be that big of a deal either, but after having used both, it is slightly noticeable. Part of it might be psychological, but there's some pretty convincing tests out there that show the input lag can be pretty severe. Similar to your test, they had side-by-side screens where ammo counters were off by 1-2 rounds, objects were in different positions, and other anomalies.

    Wow A01, surprised it didn't exhibit more serious banding problems. Maybe it was a refurb? The A01 and A02 were supposed to exhibit banding problems similar to the Gateway. But ya Dell is horrible with their panel lottery; if they shipped you guys a panel gratis it was probably a refurb or recycled panel. Makes a lot of sense shipping an old panel to a well-known review site!

    The HC is being treated as a new revision afaik. Its been in Asian markets since the new year and has only become available in the US recently to select customers. I think it will eventually just replace the older versions in the channel when it reaches widespread availability. I'm also pretty sure its still IPS, it just increases brightness/contrast since that was the biggest knock on the 3007 apparently.
    Reply
  • BPB - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    I just saw your reply in the forums. Thanks! Reply
  • BPB - Friday, March 2, 2007 - link

    quote:

    the difference between the 2407 and the FPD2485W is spot-on with my own observations from using both first hand.
    So you too would recommend the Dell over the Gateway? If so, would you say like Jarred that the difference is minimal or would you say it's more than minimal?
    Reply

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