Owner opinions.. 20" ACD, 20" Dell or 23" ACD?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Chrispy, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. Chrispy macrumors 68020


    Dec 27, 2004
    I know this had been asked before but now the pricing between Dell and Apple is very close (Dell has really no deals at the moment) and I need to buy a monitor ASAP. For those who have owned these monitor (preferably those who have owned both), which one to you think looks better (price aside). I don't mean external looks but how the screen itself looks. I had a 20" Dell before and I was wondering if the ACD is better, the same, or worse? Is the backlight even on the ACD? Is it bright enough? How does color compare to the Dell? Also, how much better is the 23" ACD than the 20"..... would it be worth the extra $400 for that monitor? Thanks all!
  2. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    well, I can't compare, but I use the 20" ACD and it's fantastic. Bright, even backlighting, very sharp. I think the dell and the apple 20"ers use the exact same panels, so they should be the same, image wise.
  3. zimtheinvader macrumors regular


    Jan 10, 2005
    the capitol
    I reaaallly miss my Dell 2001FP, (sold for a PB). MUCH better color representation than my PB, far more responive than the white ACD displays... seems there is little advantage to Apple vs Dell for screens, & if you watch the deals, you might get 2 Dell 20"ers for the same as 1 Apple!!!
  4. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005

    >> I don't enjoy supporting Dell, but I bought their 24"...why?...cuz it's better than Apple's 23" and cheaper. Barefeats.com..an Apple fan benchmark site compared the two monitors...conclusion: The Dell is: 1- better ...2-bigger... and 3- cheaper. Dell coupons come around about every 3-4 weeks. Check barefeats.com daily (or dealmac.com). (Please support barefeats). With the coupon, the Dell 24" was $779. No-brainer. Better and $520 cheaper! Get two!

    I too own a PB, revD...and the rez difference is night and day...no going back.

    Good luck...
  5. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 27, 2004
    Would I be better going with a 20.1" display at 1600x1200 res or a 20" widescreen with a res of 1680x1050? I do page layout and design work in QuarkXPress so which would be best for me? Thanks!

    Oh.. and would it be worth the $400 additional investment to go up to the 24"?.. I have decided to go with a Dell since Apple only give you 1 yr. warranty and Dell gives you 3.
  6. rikers_mailbox macrumors 6502a

    Sep 27, 2003
    20" ACD vs. 20" Dell

    Between work and home, I use both Apple and Dell 20" displays daily. I can say with all honesty that there is no (noticable) difference in image quality. In terms of aesthetics, yes the Apple display is nicer to look at.... but for functionality I would say Dell wins. Dell is height adjustable, rotates, and has multiple inputs.

    Go for the Dell, your wallet will appreciate it.
  7. killmoms macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Widescreen if you do a lot of spreads. And yes, it would be worth it to go with the 24". 1900 x 1200 (true HD!) is a lot of space. If I could've afforded it, I would've bought it instead of the Dell 20" widescreen (which is still fantastic, btw).
  8. desenso macrumors 6502a


    May 25, 2005
    I currently have an Apple 23" and a Dell 2005fpw (the 20.1" wide). The apple is not the newest line, it's the older acrylic one... I understand the newer models are more bright. On that note, the Dell is EXTREMELY bright. It also has, in my opinion, nicer features (different inputs, etc). However, the Apple is better quality, particularly in Photoshop.

    The 2005fpw is not Dell's best line - backlight issues hurt the colors. I notice this, but not enough to make anything of it. If I had the cash to spare I'd probably buy an Apple, for looks and for quality. However, the 24" Dell is a gorgeous monitor, and a great buy... if you're pressed for change, go with the Dell. There's nothing like a huge monitor.
  9. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Well, another opinion from someone who owns an Apple 20" and has set up a Dell 20" widescreen for a local business.

    The Apple monitor is great--stylish, essentially zero desktop footprint thanks to the design of the "foot", nice screen, and I like how small it is since the power brick is on the floor (and isn't huge), rather than build in to the monitor. Also no vents to collect dust as a result--it's completely sealed (even the buttons aren't physical).

    The Dell monitor has a functionally identical screen--it may not be quite as bright as the Apple screen, and the coating *might* be a little granier-looking (could also just be my imagination or Windows), but unless you put them side by side there's no significant difference for my untrained eye. It's not an ugly monitor, and it does have the additional advantage of height adjustment, it can rotate to a portrait orientation, and has more inputs (VGA, at least--might have others as well).

    The Dell's disadvantages are that it's much fatter on account of the built-in power brick (still minor--it's not that thick), the vent holes in the back could collect dust, if you intend to put it next to the wall it must be about 4-6" farther away on account of the stand design (the Apple can be nearly flush), the foot is a big ring that takes up more desk space (and feels a bit more flimsy), and there's no firewire ports (does have a USB hub like the Apple display, though).

    Oh, one other difference: You can have the Apple monitor set so that the power button turns just the monitor off, or puts the whole computer to sleep; this isn't an option on the Dell, and might be useful if the front of your tower isn't easily accessable.

    Bottom line: Both are nice monitors. I prefer the Apple, but the Dell does have a copule of advantages, mostly the additional inputs and rotation. Whether the Apple display is worth as much more as it costs will depend on how important style is to you and how much of a premium desk space is.
  10. VanMac macrumors 6502a


    May 26, 2005
    Rampaging Tokyo
    I would say regardless of Dell or Apple, get as much realestate as you can afford. For the type of work you are doing, the more pixels the better:)
  11. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    fact: the physical screen (glass and such components) are made from the SAME manufacture for the apple 20" and the dell 20". . . .the only difference b/w the two is the components that drive the monitors. the dell has a more complicated system which a VGA, DVI, s-video and composite video input. while the apple monitor ONLY has a DVI port. so if you have to chose b/w the two, go for the dell. . . youll get more for your money. BUT should you have the money for a 23" apple, it by far is better than the rest simply because it supports 1080i HD. which means it has the best resolution of the lot. so yeah. thats my thoughts. go for the 23" apple if youve got the cash. otherwise go for the dell.
  12. nospleen macrumors 68020


    Dec 8, 2002

    Just buy the 30" Apple!! You know you want it...;)
  13. Xephian macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2005
    United States
    Go for the 2405FPW. Large display at 1920x1200 at a good price of ~$750 with coupons.
  14. rikers_mailbox macrumors 6502a

    Sep 27, 2003
    Now that you mention it, and I look closer, I think you're right on that. The Apple display has a different (better?) coating. Apple's is a bit glossier, Dell's is softer.

    Also, Dell's black bezel reflects the dock and menu bar more than the ACD.

    Ok, so they're not the *same* displays... but the Dell is still a killer deal.
  15. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005
    Dell 24 vs Apple 23...by the numbers

    >>>>From barefeats.com...again, an *Apple* fan site:

    Dell advertises a 1000:1 contrast ratio, although PC Magazine measured an actual 612:1. That's still impressive when you consider Apple's 23" Cinema has a claimed contrast ratio of 400:1.

    PC Magazine measured the brightness at 499 cd/m2 (500 claimed). Again, impressive when you compare it to Apple's 270cd/m2.

    Dell's response time is 12ms compared to Apple's 16ms.

    Though Dell claims a similar viewing angle to the Apple 23" Cinema, we observed a washing out of the colors as the viewing angle increased. Not so with the Apple LCD displays.

    The Apple Cinema displays have one adjustment: tilt. The Dell has four adjustments. You can adjust the tilt, the height, and the direction. You can even pivot it 90 degrees to go from Landscape to Portrait mode. We tried the Portrait mode on our G5 Power Mac. Using ATI's Displays utility, we were able to rotate the screen image 90 degrees to match the pivoted Dell screen. (I assume the Windows PC drivers do it automatically.)

    The Dell 24" LCD not only has DVI and VGA inputs for your computer, but they also added Composite, S-Video, and Component Video inputs. I have a small 13" TV set in my work area which is connected to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and DVD Player. The TV set can go away now that we have the Dell display. When not actively used for testing, we can use it to watch HD video on a 24" widescreen. The input selector button lets you switch between inputs without having to disconnect or connect cables.

    Even if we are using the Dell 24" as a normal computer screen, we can still watch a video feed from our DVR or DVD player. That's because it has a Picture-in-Picture (PIP) mode that lets you display the video feed a small secondary window while most of the screen is displaying what's happening on your computer (or vice versa). That's especially helpful since it doesn't require any of our PowerBook or Power Mac's resources to pass through the video. There's also a Picture-by-Picture (PBP) mode so you can see two inputs side by side, though that's of dubious value.

    It occurred to me that the Dell 24" would make a great video output device while editing in Final Cut Pro (assuming you have an S-Video or Component Video output card or box).

    I have read complaints about the grays in the Apple 23" Cinema looking pinkish and the blacks being less than black. We hooked up both displays simultaneously to our G5's X800 XT. We went to the Desktop & Screen Saver tile in System Preferences and selected the first Desktop image in "Black & White" folder called "Lightning." The Dell 24" was truly black at the bottom of the image. The 23" Cinema was dark gray. We selected the Flurry screen saver and clicked Test. The 24" Dell was black in the background while the 23" Cinema was dark gray.

    We went back to Desktop images and selected the second image in "Black & White" called "Mojave" which had a lot of gray especially at the top. The Dell 24" was gray while the 23" Cinema had a pinkish hue along the top edge. We selected the Apple Image called "Jaguar Aqua Graphite" (third row). The 23" Cinema showed a definite pinkish hue along the top and left of the screen while the 24" Dell was gray all over. We created a 1920x1200 light gray image in Photoshop CS2. It had a pinkish hue all over it on the 23" Cinema, especially around the edges. The 24" Dell displayed a uniform gray all over its screen.

    The "blackness" issue was observed when I was helping the San Diego Supercomputer evaluate the 23" and 30" Cinemas for their Visualization Lab. They use their screens to display intricate colorized scientific simulations. At one point, we turned off all the lights in the lab to see if the black screen was truly black. It wasn't truly black on either Cinema display. They described it as "backlight leakage." They rejected the Cinema displays as a serious contenders in their search for the ultimate LCD display for their lab. They were disappointed since they loved the "loook and feel" of the Apple Cinema displays -- especially the 30 incher.

    In its favor, the 30" Cinema display did NOT exhibit the "pinkish grays" we saw on the 23" Cinema.

    When I pressed the Brightness/Contrast button on the front of the Dell LCD, Contrast was greyed out. The reason I was going there is because the colors seemed to be a bit washed out when sunlight came through my skylight. So I went to the Displays tile under System Preferences. I set Gamma to "Native." Suddenly the colors are much richer and the washed out look is gone. Apparently, the Dell's native setting is roughly 2.2 for Gamma. The reason it looked washed out was because the default Profile assigned to it by OS X gave it the typical Mac display setting of 1.8.

    I have to give Apple's 23" Cinema its due. It does have a better dot pitch at .25 vs .27. It has both FireWire and USB 2.0 ports. The colors don't fade as the viewing angle increases.

    And it looks sexier on your desk with the thin, smooth anodized aluminum bezel and curved stand. Dell chose a "midnight" gray plastic bezel with silver on the edges and stand. I suppose it is as attractive as plastic can look but the Apple Cinema makes better desk "sculpture."


    23" Apple Cinema

    24" Dell 2405FPW
    Native Resolution
    Dell: 1920x1200
    Apple: 1920x1200

    Apple: Contrast Ratio 400:1
    Dell: 1000:1

    Apple:Brightness 270cd/m2
    Dell: 500cd/m2

    Pixel Response
    Dell: 12ms

    Apple:Dot Pitch .25
    Dell: .27

    Apple: DVI

    Dell: DVI, VGA, Composite, S-Video, Component

    Apple: Adjustments

    Dell: Adjustments:
    Tilt, Turn, Raise

    Pivot 90 degrees:
    Apple: No
    Dell: Yes

    USB ports
    Apple: 2

    FireWire ports
    Dell: none

    Apple: Anodized Aluminum
    Dell: Plastic

    Price (MSRP)
    Apple: $1299
    ($1099 refurb)

    Dell: $1199
    (as low as $779 with special discount codes)
  16. rikers_mailbox macrumors 6502a

    Sep 27, 2003
    ... there are these things, they're called hyperlinks....

    besides, that article has no mention of either 20" displays. Its only marginally helpful to the topic at hand.
  17. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005

    >>>Smarta$$...starting to sound like me :)

    Just trying to make a point...and save someone the "trip". Also...seems to me...if the person is considering an Apple 23" at $1300...they would be EXTREMELY interested in the Dell 24" at $779. I don't consider getting a better...bigger display that is $520 less "marginally helpful". Not in any way whatsoever.
  18. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 27, 2004
    Yes this was very helpful... man the 24" is tempting... It is $950 with the coupons right now so it would put me back almost twice as much as the 20" Should I just make the investment and be done with it or would the 20" be fine? People who have owned both I really need your help now haha! I have officially decided to choose between the 20" or 24" Dell.

    20" is $511
    24" is around $950
  19. macbaseball macrumors 6502a


    Feb 27, 2005
    Northern California

    Get the 24 so you can watch HD at full res...

    That's the only regret I have about my 20.
  20. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005
    >>>It's just money...right?;) Joking aside, you won't go wrong either way, but you will keep the 24 a LOT longer than you will the 20. The 24 is in another class all together...1920x1200. With h.264 and HD dvd...that HD capability is going to come in VERY handy. I have the 24 and I don't see myself changing monitors for a long time....Good luck!

    PS: whichever you get...be sure and set the gamma to native!
  21. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 27, 2004
    I went with the 20"... I thought about the 24" but I just could not justify that kind of money at this time. Plus, I am in college so lugging that 24" home every now and then would be less than pleasant haha. I ordered at 5:00 p.m. yesterday (the monitors said they would take 5-7 days to ship) and it shipped by 7:30 p.m. haha. Go Dell for speedy service!
  22. cube macrumors P6

    May 10, 2004
    I can tell you this: the 24" is not big enough.
  23. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 27, 2004
    Haha nothing is ever big enough when it comes to screens (and some will argue other things......) or fast enough with it comes to computers :D
  24. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    I'm glad to hear that you got the 20" widescreen. Ever since I switched to widescreen 4:3 just seems tacky to me. The 20" is a nice sweet spot in price and screen resolution. :p
  25. FocusAndEarnIt macrumors 601


    May 29, 2005
    30" big enough? :p

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