Widescreen 20 inch LCD panel questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dblissmn, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. dblissmn macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2002
    I am thinking of getting an LCD monitor -- moving my current Dell 17in panel to the office for use with the Powerbook, and getting a 20 inch widescreen format one (or 1600x1200 format) for home use with my PowerMac G4.

    Obviously, the Apple Cinema Display and Dell 2005fpw monitors are high on my list. As I am ordering a 12 inch Powerbook in a couple of weeks I have an opportunity to put the Apple one on three-year AppleCare, otherwise I wouldn't be considering it.

    Here are my questions
    1/ How reliable are the two displays? (I aim to keep the display a lot longer than the three years on the warranty)

    2/ Which one has better color fidelity, especially in shadows (decent shadow separation is important due to photo editing)? And on a related note, seeing as they both have the same LCD panel, which backlight is better, more even, less leaky, etc.?

    3/ Dell displays generally don't play nice with the Mac on lowering the brightness on DVI. The only way to control it on my 17 inch was to lower the red, green and blue sliders to about half as directed by the Spyder2Pro. How do you lower brightness on the 2005fpw?

    4/ How is Dell support these days on matters such as exchanges, repairs, and hold times?

    5/ Anything else you'd consider, either 20 inch wide screen, or 20 inch 1600x1200?
  2. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    I have both of these monitors, and like yourself I have tried them both with my previous 12" powerbook (as well as my powermac) so I can safely answer your question.

    1) Very reliable in my experience, as you are getting Applecare you get three years cover with an Apple display should anything ever go wrong. The dell is cheaper but if you add the extra 3 years cover it's going to cost you the same.

    The dell has USB 2 ports, and the screen rotates, but the 12" powerbook doesn't support screen rotation so its a redundant feature.

    The Apple has the extra firewire alongside USB handy due to the limited number on your powerbook.

    2) Colour Fidelity. Easily the Apple. Not that the Dell is crap, just that from sending stuff to the printers I found the reproduction is far more accurate on the apple cinema display. Not hugely different on the Dell, just not the same accuracy though.

    The Dell is more leaky lightwise. When both monitor are on black screensaver, you can see light leaking around the bottom of the Dell, the Apple seems more perfectly lit.

    3) Dell -Press the - button and choose brightness, then press - again to reduce it. Dead simple, but not as nice as the side panel on the mac.

    Turning the powerbook off - when the screen goes to deep sleep / powersave the Dell yellow standby lights remain on unless you press power again, it seems more wasteful of energy than the apples which when turned off, simply turn themselves off.

    4) Dell support has been alright in my own experience. Maybe because Dell and Apple european headquarters are in Ireland, I've found them both as helpful. Some instances Apple have been worse than Dell, sometimes vice versa, but overall both 4 out of 5.

    5) I bought one of the original ADC 20" cinema displays. The backlight died and eventually Apple gave me a full refund. At the time I paid 1580 Euro for it, subsequently the new DVI displays came out and were half the price, so I considered a 23" Cinema to replace the 20" ADC because of the extra resolution, but then decided instead to get 2 20" instead and have not regretted it.

    Overall I prefer the Apple Display. Ok it doesnt have screen rotation, but thats a non issue with a 12" powerbook. Your Apple Care will cover it anyway and the Brushed Alluminium matches the powerbook perfectly. With your 12" sat on an iCurve stand, hooked up to the Apple 20" you will have a swankly looking system, that gives better colour reproduction than the dell.

    The Dell is cheaper if your not bothered about buying extra waranty, but its base is a cheap round piece of plastic. and the cables often hang down below the monitor, the clamp to hide the cables is too high on the back. Good monitor but not the same quality as the Apple.

    Go for the Apple you wont regret it.

  3. dblissmn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2002
    Thanks for the suggestion. Just a quick question, though -- the Dell warranty in the US is automatically three years and with the way Dell US is discounting, even with sales tax, it comes to about $320 cheaper than the Apple Cinema Display. Does that affect your recommendation any?

    (admittedly, if the Dell has difficulty being profiled, that would make the distinction moot . . . . but is that typical of that Dell display? But I wondered if you're using the stock profile or using hardware profiling such as a Spyder)

    I was disappointed to hear about the backlight leakage. My Dell 1704fpv with my desktop G4 PowerMac has no leakage at all. But it is at the very high end of the 17 inch monitors; the 2005fpw is (at least in the US) cheaper than all the widescreens so I have been wondering what the catch was.
  4. DeSnousa macrumors 68000


    Jan 20, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    From what I've read on these forums. The Dell and Apple 20" use the same monitor just a different case :)
  5. dblissmn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2002
    Same panel, but not the same backlight, and I recall reading that at least early on there were troubles with the Dell backlight. The Apple display also seems better put together to me -- but maybe not enough to justify the extra cost if Dell has their backlight trouble sorted out.

    My question on DVI adjustment comes from my Dell 1704fpv display that I will continue to use with my desktop machine . . . the range of brightness adjustment on DVI with the Mac is minimal (though just noticeable), forcing you to resort to adjusting the RGB sliders individually to control brightness. I have no idea what, if anything, I'm doing to the backlight with this or anything else, but with improvisation I have fumbled around into a zone where it more or less works, is color balanced to my Spyder's satisfaction and mine, and doesn't blind me. However I would not want a re-run of this messing around with the second display, not least because with the 1704, any brightness adjustment also means re-profiling the monitor.

    For reference the computers it has to work with are an upgraded Digital Audio (early 2001) PowerMac G4 with Radeon 9000 DVI, and a new Powerbook 12" with GeForce 5200 DVI.
  6. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    Sure you can put the ACD under apple care, but the dell has a 3 year warranty and you can buy a 5 year warranty for something like $50 more. I looked at a ton of reviews, This One helped the best.

    I can get the ACD with my student discount for $699. The Dell is on sale for $434 through Tuesday. Yes the apple monitor may be slightly better performing, and it is definitely better looking. But to me that isn't worth over $250 more.

    That being said, I just ordered the 2005FPW today. It's on sale in the US for $434 .... I ended up paying $463 with tax and shipping. I don't think this deal can be beat.

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