Final Words

Today, we analyzed two of the highest quality LCDs on the consumer market. Specifications on both monitors were excellent; response time, brightness, color correctness and real world applications all proved their worth.

The Apple Cinema 20" display is also an incredible unit. In fact, if both monitors cost the same, it would be very difficult to choose either display; Apple clearly has the aesthetic edge over its Dell counterpart and cable management is second to none. The Cinema display had no problem producing extraordinary results in all of our benchmarks. We also just got word from Apple at the time of publication that the Cinema 20" price tag has dropped to $799 (and with an educational discount you can even get the display fro $699). However, we did look at two displays today and although the Apple Cinema display brings new features to the display like Firewire 400 pass through, Dell is the 800lbs gorilla when it comes to displays.

The Dell 2005FPW won us over not only as an improvement on the Dell 2001FP, but also as a standard that all other monitors must adhere to for excellent ratings in our future reviews. 20" widescreen display, with split screen over four separate inputs on a 1680x1050 resolution, all for under $500! The only way that this monitor could have been better was if LG.Philips LCD had managed to squeeze a true 1920x1080 resolution into the panel. Dell usually charges $750 for this display, but when we last checked (April 27 th, 2005), the base price on the Dell.com outlet was $486.50. The UltraSharp 2005FPW is the display that we have been waiting for. We do feel that Dell may have slightly exaggerated some of the specifications on the display, but that doesn't mean that the display is any less of a recommendation.

For those who read our forums fairly regularly, there is a thread with Dell coupon codes that enabled you to buy the UltraSharp 2005FPW for under $350 shipped. If you keep your ear to the ground, you can get a high performance display for half what they normally cost.

We had a bit of apprehension about the 2005FPW when we first approached this review, given some of the negative opinions that we had heard from various sources. While it is clear that Dell probably sent a high quality sample for the review, the fact that a store-bought LCD that we purchased (with a January build date) carried the exact same qualities down to the component numbers confirms to us that no major build differences exist between the models. If there were any manufacturing problems that produced poor displays, they certainly didn't come from a January or March batch, which we found to be identical. On the other hand, we only had the opportunity to look at two samples out of the entire production; the likelihood that we received two excellent samples may be just as high as the likelihood that somebody else received two defective samples. As always, we will keep an update on this still emerging topic in future reviews and guides.

We hinted at truly 1080i/p capable LCD displays earlier and with good reason. We have a few preliminary samples from other manufacturers of 23" and 30" displays based on the larger LG.Philips LCD panels - and we are impressed. Native, unscaled HD 1080i and 1080p signals are really a sight for sore eyes! Stay tuned for more display reviews in the next few weeks!

Concerning the 2005FPW Image Quality
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  • graphicsgal - Friday, April 28, 2006 - link

    Our ad agency is trying to decide which of these monitors to purchase for our print staff. Is there any info on any differences in printed pieces? Reply
  • tmanXX - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    Does anyone know what revisions of the 2005FPW to stay away from?

    Thanx!
    Reply
  • jchor - Thursday, April 6, 2006 - link

    Did anybody figure out the power saving mode problem? Reply
  • cybrsamurai - Thursday, May 26, 2005 - link

    I have purchased four 2005FPWs with out a single dead pixel or problem. I even dropped one right on its corner from about 4 feet up still works fine. Dont be afraid embrace the good cheap monitor. Reply
  • yacoub - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - link

    Dell make good LCDs if you discount all the people who have had to return them for backlight issues and/or dead pixels. I'll stick with Sony after owning one that has not a single stuck or dead pixel and just a slightly brighter bottom backlight. Let me know when Dell ups the quality enough that I can be certain to get one without dead pixels (or let me know when they start selling these panels at b&m stores so I can return it right away if it has issues). Reply
  • Ranger8P - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    Did you guys have the model A01 or the model A02? I didn't see that mentioned in the article. I recently bought a 2005 and it has the same manufacturing date as the one in your review. It's an A01 Reply
  • pucerian - Saturday, May 21, 2005 - link


    great place to get high resolution widescreen wallpapers for these monitors is InterfaceLIFT

    http://interfacelift.com/wallpaper/resolutions.php...
    http://interfacelift.com/wallpaper/resolutions.php...

    Reply
  • LorenAmelang - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 - link

    Great Review - Thank You!

    A couple of user comments asked about the S-Video & Composite video performance - here's the scoop:

    Before I ordered my 2005FPW, I tried to find out how it handled widescreen 16:9 vs. conventional 4:3 aspect ratios for the video inputs. I found no clue. But since video was not my main concern, I ordered it anyway - how bad could it be?

    Now I can tell you. It is unbelievably disastrous. It doesn't do any form of video correctly. First, it completely ignores the (anamorphic) widescreen control signals from my DV camera and DVD recorder. All video is mangled in the same way.

    Its manual aspect ratio choices are "Fill" which warps either 4:3 or 16:9 video to the full 16:10 screen format, or "1:1" and "Aspect" which warp all video to a different wrong aspect. This is not 4:3 (1.33 : 1), nor is it 16:9 (1.78 : 1), nor even 16:10 (1.60 : 1). It is 1.50 : 1, which is what you get if you take 4:3 standard 720x480 DV video and display the non-square video pixels as square display pixels.

    Of course you can't tell this by measuring the image boundary, because the video image is severely cropped (overscanned), particularly in the horizontal direction. In terms of a 640 pixel wide image, about 42 pixels are cut off each side. In "Fill" mode, a 4:3 picture is even more distorted than the 16:10 ratio would suggest. If you choose "Aspect" to get somewhat closer to 4:3, you end up with black bars along those edges in place of the missing 1/8th of your video, but what you do see is still too wide.

    When you use the picture-in-picture feature, you don't get the "1:1" and "Aspect" choices. All video is stretched to fill the 16:10 screen area of each of the available PiP or PbP sizes.

    Why would Dell bother to add the hardware for S-Video and composite video inputs, and get the software so wrong? I suspect the hardware was borrowed from a 4:3 (1600x1200) monitor, where the "Fill" choice would at least display conventional video more-or-less properly.

    But why the neglect of the rectangular video pixels versus square computer pixels issue? Can anyone with a Dell 2001FP 4:3 display enlighten us as to whether it has "1:1" and "Aspect" choices, and whether they produce too wide a picture when fed 4:3 video?

    So what does the video look like, other than distorted? Very bright and colorful, and fast, but when stretched to fill most of the screen it is blocky. The scaling algorithm is nowhere near as good as that in my (original) Apple Studio Display, or in a Sony WEGA (DRC) TV.

    Oh well, the 2005FPW is a beautiful computer monitor. And my tablet's Intel Graphics adapter (82830M), which gave no hint of supporting 1680x1050 before the monitor was here, suddenly made that resolution available when the 2005FPW was connected. (Windows didn't show it, but the Intel control panel did.)

    One more thing... If you buy a Dell monitor alone, without a Dell CPU on the same invoice, you do not get a Dell "System Tag". Without a system tag, you can not access any of Dell's online support or chat support options. You simply do not exist.

    The telephone support people will talk to you if you give them a serial number or order number, but there is no support department dedicated to displays. I ended up being transferred to the Dell TV support people, and spent literally hours on the phone. Even sent them photos of test patterns to illustrate the aspect problems. I'm not sure I was even able to make them understand, let alone solve the problem.

    Best to just forget the 2005FPW has those S-Video and analog video inputs. Unless you have a thing for short, fat people...

    Loren
    Reply
  • stevlevin - Saturday, May 14, 2005 - link

    Excellent review! It's way over my non-tech head, but I surely appreciate that these are both great monitors.

    Here's my problem. I bought the Dell 2005 and found with a DVI interface that it is so bright that it hurts my eyes, as #9 comment said. Apparently the contrast control is disabled with DVI, and the range of brightness control is very limited - extremely bright to very bright. I had to return it just on that basis.

    When I went to the Apple store, it appeared to me that the 20" Cinema display may have a greater range of brightness. Have others had this problem or found a solution? Am I missing something that might have allowed me to lower the brightness or adjust the contrast of the Dell monitor?

    Thanks for all comments.
    Reply
  • wrack - Thursday, May 5, 2005 - link

    So can I assume that any graphics card of ATI like, 9800, X300, X600, X700, X800 will support the resolution in question. Reply

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