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Flat panel display is more than ultra-sharp, it's mega-sharp
When Dell sent us its newest flat panel display for our review, we took notice of its braggadocious nametag: UltraSharp. But after we put it through its paces, we realized that the term UltraSharp is an understatement. Not only is this Dell UltraSharp 2001FP 20.1-inch Flat Panel LCD Monitor ($719) super-sharp with excellent color reproduction, it's relatively inexpensive. As an added bonus, the thing looks downright beautiful. Keeping in mind that a first-rate flat panel cost over $5000 just a few years ago, this kind of quality is hard to believe.
When we first saw the box containing the 2001FP, we didn't realize there was a monitor inside, especially one with a 20.1-inch screen. But inside the box, sure enough, there it sat, taking up less space because it was in two pieces. The base unit, itself quite heavy to enable it to support the panel, has an attractive half circle bottom with a stalk onto which we attached the panel. It was easy to just place the panel in the appropriate spot on the base unit and it immediately snapped into place with little encouragement. My first impression of the display as it sat there was how thin its frame is -- the bezel's sides are less than three-quarters of an inch wide, with the top and bottom about an inch wide. This makes the 2100FP ideal for use in a dual-monitor setup, where you won't have a huge gulf between one screen and the other. And at these prices, for less than $1500 you could have two 1600x1200 monitors with a total of a 3200x1200-pixel array of computer graphics spread out in front of you.
After firing up the 2100FP for the first time, I immediately notice that there was not a single dead pixel, something that doesn't happen enough with flat panel displays -- especially since I think all flat panels should have 100% of their pixels working or they shouldn't be shipped. It also turned out that this 1600x1200 (UXGA) monitor -- the LCD panel of which is manufactured by LG.Philips -- was showing me true 24-bit color, with each of the display's 1.9 million pixels able to show 256 colors, leaving nothing to be lost to lame interpolation. With its 400:1 contrast ratio and .255mm dot-pitch, here's a monitor that even the most discerning graphic artist will like. I also noticed that its new ultra-fast 16ms response time took away any doubts I had about lagging images on a flat panel display. Gamers can finally be happy with a flat panel, and video editors will like its true-to-life response as well. Yes, all the pieces are in place to make this a world-class display.
I also liked the versatility of the 2100FP. The monitor came to us bundled with a Dell workstation (which received my highest recommendation ) with an ATI FireGL V300 graphics card inside. Besides being easily up to the task of driving this 1600x1200 display, the ATI card also has drivers that allow a monitor to be used in either landscape or portrait mode. You select a button in the Windows XP Display Properties dialog box, and, after rotating the 2100FP ninety degrees, you have a tall display that's perfect for ink-stained wretches like me, writing an article onto what appears to be a piece of paper sitting there in front of you. Most Web pages are also particularly well-suited to this format, too. Helping this rotation business along is a wiring holder in the back that keeps things straight, although sometimes my wires would still get a bit crossed back there. Quick suggestion: Maybe this isn't even possible, but couldn't someone install all the inputs in the monitor stand, and then allow the display to be swiveled wire-free? Quit whining, Charlie -- probably not at these prices.
|(Click graphic for enlargement_ -- there are plenty of inputs on the back of the Dell 2100FP.|
Summing up, I liked everything about this monitor, and can't see how Dell could possibly have improved upon this excellent panel by LG.Philips. It has an extremely wide viewing angle, especially vivid colors and eye-popping resolution. I want two. Or three. Highly recommended.