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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  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 02, 2007 - link

    Noticing motion blur is one thing; being bothered by it will vary by individual. You mentioned Titan's Quest... I played that for over 100 hours without ever being bothered by motion blur. Are the item names clearly readable while running around? Not necessarily, but I can make them out well enough, and the names are secondary to the attributes, so I always ended up checking out items in my inventory.

    As for that video link... if my picture of a picture was a bad representation of what it's like using a display in person - and I feel it is, even with a decent SLR and a tripod - a handheld camcorder floating around recording a display is ten times worse. Are we supposed to be judging the quality of the display output or the quality of the camcorder and its ability to record LCD screen content? Or maybe the ability of the cameraman to give a reasonable representation of the LCD content? Because it seems to me that it's focused *much* more on the latter two than on the LCD itself. You can see the camera adjusting brightness/contrast on the fly depending on how much light its getting.

    Basically, I agree that motion blur can bother people. It doesn't bother me... at all. What I see when playing games just blends together into relatively smooth gameplay, and a delay of a few hundredths of a second is short enough that my old and decrepit eyes don't care. That's why I repeatedly recommend people try out a display in person, because what you get via a review online or in a magazine is a poor substitute for hands on experience. As I state on page 5:

    "Most of us don't have a problem with the slight image smearing that occurs on these LCDs, and the camera actually makes it look a lot worse than what we experience in person -- we may have simply captured two frames for all we know -- but this is something that will vary by individual. If you know you are bothered by image smearing, try out a display in person to see if it's suitable for your needs."
    Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, March 02, 2007 - link

    I have no idea how you guys can't see the color shifting in those PVA's. Every PVA I have tried has had it 1905, 2405 Gateway 24 & 21 etc Color Shifing so bad, viewing straight on, one eye can actualky see something different than the other eye (because the eyes are at different angles) it gave me a headache.

    Viewing angles on all PVA's suck thats just a fact that other people don't notice will never change my mind compared to an IPS or CRT it's night and day difference.

    Heres a good shot of what I mean
    http://img108.imageshack.us/img108/9021/dell2007wf...">http://img108.imageshack.us/img108/9021/dell2007wf...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 02, 2007 - link

    PVA viewing angles are worse than some of the alternatives, but really how often do you *not* view the display head on? I seriously doubt that I'm ever more than 20 degrees away from a direct frontal view, and probable within 10 degrees in most cases. If that's not how you work with your PC, then other panels might be preferable. I've just never had any real concerns with viewing angles on the 24" LCDs I've tried. Laptop LCDs on the other hand... some of those are absolutely terrible, to the point where moving your head 6" can make the display almost illegible. That too is getting better, thankfully. Reply
  • Zebo - Saturday, March 03, 2007 - link

    I view them straight on and they eyes see something different in each due to gamma/color shift. Look, even IPS isnt 178 degrees (or 90:P) like they advertise and starts to fade get shifty at around 35-45 degrees off center but PVA is literally about 5-10 - that's enough on a widescreen to be well over 5-10 degrees at the horizontal edges. Vertical color shift is evident raising my head only about 6" from about 20" away which is the difference between sitting up the chair vs. leaning back, a common position shift for a person using thier PC all day. Horizontal color shift is everywhere from 2-3 ft away. Every PVA panel has exhibited this problem and I know I'm sensitive to it as many don't notice but OTOH many do. TN lappy? don't get me started I just spent two miserable weeks in hotel with one. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, March 03, 2007 - link

    My future laptop reviews are going to be running these sort of color tests and such as well. Of the few laptops I've tried so far, only the ASUS G2P was "good" in my opinion. Most others are a case of "I think I can live with it...." The problem is that unlike desktop LCDs, laptop LCDs frequently aren't bright enough. They focus more on conserving battery life, and while that might be good when they're unplugged, I'd just as soon forget about battery life when plugged in if it gives a better quality display result. Reply
  • timmiser - Friday, March 02, 2007 - link

    The idea of getting 7 more inches for $400 less by going the route of a 37" HDTV 1080p is more appealing to me. That would be big screen gaming and spreadsheet work that would be awesome! I think it would be great if AT did a comparison between those two monitors just because they have such a different approach.

    I would like to see how the 37" 1920x1080 resolution looks compared to the Dell 3007 native resolution. One complaint I have is that the text gets smaller when the monitor gets bigger due to the extreme resolution for the Dell. The text should stay the same or get a little bigger when going to such a big screen in my opinion.

    For an extra $100, I can get a 37" 1080p HDTV with a digital tuner which would be cool to switch to an HDTV broadcast on the fly.
    Reply
  • Deusfaux - Friday, March 02, 2007 - link

    I find it weird the 3007-HC (high color) isn't mentioned, as it's been announced and some people have been able to order it over the phone. It's the 3007 but with a little bit faster response time and better color reproduction (92% of the gamut vs 70-some% on the older 3007).

    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 02, 2007 - link

    When we can get one for comparison we'll see how it fares; right now Dell still seems to be shipping more of the "old" revision, and in testing we didn't have any complaints about the quality of the colors (once calibrated). We are trying to get other LCDs to compare with the current Dell offerings, though, so stay tuned.... Reply
  • ViRGE - Friday, March 02, 2007 - link

    Is Dell actually committed to keeping the 3007 an IPS panel? After the shenanigans that was the launch of the 2007, I'm afraid they'll jump ship to PVA/MVA as soon as they can, while all the reviews still reference the IPS panel. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 02, 2007 - link

    There are rumors that the new HC panel revision is going to switch to a different type of panel, but for now they're still IPS as far as we're aware. Hopefully they stay that way, but if they change and quality drops, we'll do our best to cover the situation. Reply

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