2007WFP Widescreen Display, by Dell
Posted: 19-Jun-2007

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Dell Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Mel Krewall Class: HARDWARE

Overview
The Dell 2007WFP should be considered a direct competitor to Apple's 20" Cinema Display. They have identical pixel counts and form factors. The Apple display would probably be considered more attractive by most people, but the Dell has improved from its previous generation, has very versatile inputs and outputs, and a magnificent display.

Requirements
The 2007WFP will display DVI, VGA and S-video, and composite inputs. It takes a standard AC power cord input and does not require an external power brick. It includes both VGA and DVI cables.

In Use
I purchased the unit for $359, (which after tax and free shipping comes up just under $400) during a sale on the Dell Home online store. It has a very versatile black and brushed-metal-look plastic pedestal that adjusts in virtually any direction. The vertical axis could use a bit more resistance, as it takes a very light hand not to overshoot the desired position when you move it, but once the screen is in position, it stays put. The display is 1680x1050 like Dell's previous 2005FWP and Apple's 20" Cinema Display, and a claimed 300 cd/m2 brightness and 800:1 contrast ratio. However, the 2007WFP comes in the more attractive enclosure that matches my G5 better than the 2005FWP. The display also rotates vertically for a portrait-type display and my ATI 9600 card will rotate the image to match from the Displays System Preferences. Although I tried it and it worked quite well, I don't see that this would be a very practical mode with a wide-screen display. The 16ms response time is only slightly slower than Apple's 14ms, which shouldn't be noticeable, and should satisfy all but the most hard-core gamers.

The LCD is beautiful and bright and had just a single pixel out of the 1,764,000 pixels that seems to be stuck. It is out of the way towards the upper left of the display and is not noticeable unless I look for it. The display has not manifested any brightness or color fluctuations around the edges of the screen as some have reported with the 2005FWP and with certain Apple displays. This is one of the best-looking LCDs I have ever used.

While the Dell's cable management is not as elegant as Apple's, it excels in versatility. It has DVI, VGA, S-video and composite inputs and a four-port USB 2 hub. That also unfortunately makes the front panel busier than Apple's with two bright green lights for power and input indicators that detract in my opinion from the attractiveness of the package. In addition to the power button on the front panel, the Dell has a source selector button, a PIP button, the menu button and + and - buttons for manipulating the menus.

The Selector button cycles through the inputs to display on the screen if you have more than one connected. I only have one, the DVI connector, which is auto-selected at start-up.

The PIP button will switch between Picture-in-Picture mode and Picture-by-Picture (side-by-side images) that the main screen shares with a composite or S-video input. The input is selected in the PIP menu item. The PIP menu selection allows you to select the mode (Off, PIP, PBP and whether the PIP source is S-video or composite input. This works nicely with my EyeTV, but since I have a dual monitor setup I have my TV display on my second monitor anyway.

The Menu button brings up On-Screen Menus for Brightness, Input Source, Color Settings, Image Modes, Display Settings, Menu Settings and PIP Settings. Brightness is straightforward, as you would expect, with the initial brightness set at 50%, which is still very bright to my eyes. It easily bests my old 17" NEC LCD1715 which I have right next to it in a dual monitor setup. Even at 100% brightness, the NEC is not as bright as the Dell at 50%. This allows a wider range of adjustment for any conceivable ambient light situation. I have continued to use mine at the default 50%. Input Source is also straightforward and selects the same inputs as the Selector button on the front panel. Somewhat redundant, but who knows, somebody might use it.

Next in the menu list is Color Settings, which allows you to switch between standard PC and Mac color profiles or to make adjustments to the standard profiles. Since I don' t do a lot of color-critical work, I just selected the standard Mac profile and left it there. It is nice that Dell included a Mac color profile on their monitor.

After Color Settings is Image Modes, which presents you with the choice of Desktop, Multimedia, or Gaming modes for VGA or DVI or Theater, Sports or Nature Modes for S-video or Composite inputs. While I did not try out the video inputs, I could not tell much difference in the modes for my DVI input, and stuck with the Desktop mode, even though i watch TV and movies on my computer from time to time. Dell does not mention in their documentation what the differences among the modes are.

Display Settings control the monitor display settings, which during DVI input have only Audio Options (with the optional Dell Soundbar), Display Reset, and Zoom available. The Zoom feature will enlarge the image displayed on the screen, though I'm not sure why you would want to do that from the menu when both Mac OS X and Windows have much more versatile features for enlarging the screen.

Next is Menu Settings, which simply adjusts where on the screen the On-Screen Menus appear. You can adjust left, right, up, down, transparency, and even rotation for the location of the On-Screen Menus. If a little choice is good, a lot must be better, right?

Finally there are the PIP settings, from which you can select which video input is used for the PIP display and whether it is presented picture-in-picture or picture-by-picture (next to one another with black filling the top and bottom of the screen).

As was mentioned briefly before, the 2007WFP also has a four-port USB 2 hub. The input is next to the video inputs in the lower center of the back of the screen. There are two pairs of outputs, one pair in the bottom center of the screen next to the USB input and one pair on the right edge of the screen. The ones on the right would be more convenient to use if it were not for the fact that I have my second monitor on the right side of my Dell display. So, while they are in theory a good selling point, because of my setup, I don't get any use from them. Apple's Cinema display has a two-port hub for both USB and FireWire along the bottom edge of the screen, which might be a bit more convenient than the Dell's setup. Neither, however would be a make-or-break issue for me when deciding on a display.

I have not had the opportunity to compare the Apple and Dell displays side-by-side, but in separate observations, I can't recall much difference. You would have to put them together to make a valid comparison. Both displays have a lot going for them and would be purchases you would be pleased with. I have now been using the 2007WFP for about six months, and I have been very pleased. While it seems that Dell will never match Apple for sheer design aesthetics, this version is more attractive than its predecessor and retains the superior image quality of Dell's previous displays. Couple that with the very reasonable price ($300 less than Apple's 20" Cinema Display) for the size and you have another winning Dell display.

Summary
Dell LCD monitors have reasonable reputations, especially for value. The 2007WFP certainly does not disappoint in that regard. It is a bright, reliable, and versatile display. Based on one web reference site I visited, it appears that Apple and Dell use the exact same TFT LCD panel to build their respective displays. While it's not as attractive nor elegant as Apple's counterpart, the $200+ price difference makes it very hard to spend the premium for Apple's superior design. I like this display just as much now as when I bought it. The list price has come down somewhat since I purchased, so I expect that a buyer could get a better deal now. I would highly recommend this monitor to anyone looking for a widescreen monitor, especially if budget is an issue.

Pros

  • Versatile inputs
  • Super-bright screen
  • Excellent color consistency
  • Great price

Cons

  • Busy front panel
  • Design not up to Apple standards


Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice