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May 07, 2007

Head-to-head: Dell 20" LCD vs. Dell 20" LCD

E207WFP 20-inch Widescreen Flat Panel LCD Monitor

2007WFP Wide-Screen Black Flat Panel Monitor, LCD with Height Adjustable Stand

So, Dell now sells two different 20-inch wide-screen LCD displays. The value model has only 3 digits in its part number -- the E(conomy)207WFP -- and sells for $120 less than the 2007WFP, currently $219 for the economy and $339 for the deluxe.

Is the pricier display worth the extra money? How can you tell? I happen to have one of each on my desk, and have been using them side-by-side for the last 3 weeks.

After 3 weeks, I can't tell the difference between the image quality on the 207 from the 2007. I'm using both the DVI and VGA connectors, and colors look consistent, response time is acceptable (Dell says faster on the cheaper model!) and apparently identical for each display, and the controls are the same across both display models.

Why would anyone spend the extra $120? The more expensive display offers a stand that enables easy pivoting and height adjustment, and a number of extra interfaces: S-Video, composite, and 4 USB ports. The plastics are of a higher quality, and contrasting silver and black on the pricier model, where the cheaper model has a coarser grain one-color charcoal plastic that's similar to my home display, the last-generation Dell 2005 WFP.

In practice, I find that neither stand gets the display as high as I would like in landscape mode, so I have to use books or boxes to build a platform under the stand. That platform has to be taller with the cheaper display. Since I'm also using a KVM switch with one of the monitors, I'm not using the USB ports on the display (the KVM switch lets the mouse and keyboard change at the same time the video switches), but I do find myself pivoting the 2007WFP into portrait mode pretty regularly, to test public display layouts or look at big chunks of code. You could pivot the cheaper display in conjunction with a 3rd-party VESA-compatible mounting system, but not with the stock stand.

Which monitor works for you, then, may be a matter of which monitor you want to pair it with. If you're looking for a 2nd display to work with an Apple display, you might prefer the 2007 WFP: You gain the option of portrait mode, and the silver plastics coordinate with recent Macs better than the charcoal. If you've already got a pivotable display, though, and don't see running two portrait-mode displays, the E207WFP is a steal of a deal at less than $250 (it lists for $259, and is almost always on sale).

May 7, 2007 in Reviews | Permalink

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