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Dell UltraSharp 2405FPW 24″ Wide-Aspect LCD Monitor Review

Dell UltraSharp 2405FPW 24″ Wide-Aspect LCD Monitor Review


Dell UltraSharp 2405FPW 24-inch Wide-Aspect LCD Monitor Review

dell

Image courtesy of Dell website

I’ve had my 2405 for just over a year; I was one of those folks who had to have one when they first came out. I realize the 2405FPW is no longer the biggest LCD offered by Dell, but due to the $2,199.00 price tag on the 3007WFP (the current champion), I feel more people will be inclined to spend $799.00 (or less) on a 2405FPW. This review focuses on basic user functionality rather than trying to quantitatively gauge color saturation or response times.

 

What You Get

To begin, let’s review the specs for this monitor. All the below facts are courtesy of Dell’s website.

  • Diagonal Size: 24"
  • Display Type: Flat Panel Display / Active Matrix TFT – Desktop
  • Depth: 9"
  • Features: 100 mm VESA Mounting, Height Adjustable Stand Included, Detachable Panel mechanism
  • Height: Compressed: 22", Extended: 25"
  • Weight: 22.1 lbs
  • Width: 22"
  • Image Max H-View Angle: ±89°
  • Image Max V-View Angle: ±89°
  • Color Support: 16.7 Million
  • Connectivity Technology: Cable
  • Device Type: Flat Panel LCD Monitor with Height Adjustable Stand
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 22" x 9" x 22" to 25"
  • Dimensions (WxDxH) / Weight: 22" x 9" x 22" to 25" / 22.1 lbs
  • Enclosure Color: Midnight Gray
  • Image Aspect Ratio: 16:10
  • Image Brightness: 500 cd/m²(typical)
  • Image Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 (typical)
  • Max Resolution: 1920×1200 (WUXGA)
  • Max Sync Rate (V x H): 76 Hz x 81 kHz
  • Power Consumption Operational: 80 W (maximum)
  • Diagonal Size / Viewable Size: 24" / 24"
  • Port(s) Total (Free) / Connector Type: 15-pin D-sub / DVI-D / S-video / Composite / Component / 4 x USB 2.0
  • Compatibility: PC

Complete description on Dell’s website

You immediately know that you have something different here from the sheer size of the box that the 2405FPW comes in. Even after seeing the dimensions on Dell’s website, I was unprepared for the size of this box. Here’s a quick shot of the box standing next to my fireplace.

box

As usual, Dell does a fine job packing its products securely. Even with visible signs of minor damage to the outside of the shipping box, the contents passed an intense physical inspection with flying colors.

accessories

Opening the box, I found the following equipment:

  • Blue VGA to VGA cable
  • White DVI to DVI cable
  • Standard Power Cable
  • Black USB 2.0 A/B cable
  • Dell Product CD
  • Monitor Base
  • LCD Screen
  • Graphical Instruction Sheet

To give you all an idea just how big this monitor is, I placed a standard 8½” x 11” sheet of paper, and the Dell Product CD on the monitor face.

screen_size

Here’s a look at the back connection points for the 2405FPW.

bottom_inputs

The connection points on the back are the same for both the 2005FPW and the 2405FPW. It supports the usual lineup of S-Video, Component, DVI, and VGA inputs. There is also a USB A/B port for connecting the card reader on the left side to your computer, along with two more “hidden” USB ports. The power connector for the 2405 is a straight-in connection, and does not use a brick like its little brother, the 2005FPW. The card reader on the left hand side is what sets the 2405FPW off from other Dell LCDs. Where the smaller Dell LCDs only have side USB ports, the 2405 has a multiple card reader. This USB card reader supports CompactFlash I & II, SD / mini-SD cards, Sony Memory Stick / MS Pro, Smart Media and Hitachi MicroDrive. I can say from experience, just having 2 conveniently placed USB ports is a great plus. I used the card reader to download the pictures for this review from my digital camera. Your system will see each of the card readers as separate drive letters.

side_io

Setting up of the 2405 was a breeze: just attach the base to the LCD using Dell’s standard VESA clip and plug in the assorted cables. This monitor has five available video settings on it and is PIP (picture-in-picture) capable. VGA is video setting one and DVI is setting two.

 

Making the Switch

Before I bought the 2405, I was using a 21” Sony Trinitron E500. This 70-plus pound beast had a beautiful picture and a max resolution of 2048 by 1536 at 65 Hz. I have to say, I was a bit worried I might lose some crispness or depth when switching to the big Dell LCD. Happily, this was not the case. The 2405 easily matched the Trinitron’s image capabilities. Yes, the colors may appear a bit “different” to some when first switching from a CRT to an LCD, but the purchase of a quality LCD will minimize this change. Another huge bonus was the 2405 takes up less than half (9”) of the 18.8” depth of the Big Sony and freed up what feels like acres of desk space.

The overall picture can only be described as amazing. We all know how much trouble TFTs can have displaying the color black, but that is not the case with the 2405. The black tones are deep and strong and the colors are vivid and vibrant. My BFG 6800 Ultra OC was easily able to give this large LCD all it needed to perform at its best. Some of Dell’s older LCDs had problems with back lighting, but, again, this is not the case with the 2405. Dell has definitely corrected that problem here. LCD quality control is obviously doing their job correctly as well, because I have yet to find a dead pixel either.

For standard office use, the 2405 is amazing. I’m currently finishing a master’s degree and have been using the 2405 to write a lot of papers, draw Visio diagrams, create Excel spreadsheets, and design PowerPoint presentations. The outstanding width of this screen makes it easy to display two pages of any Word document side by side with gorgeously clear text all the way down to 8 pt size. Using programs like Photoshop or Illustrator is a joy with this LCD. I have never had any problems with tearing or artifacting while running normal applications.

Now to the important stuff: GAMING!

Gaming Experience

I have Far Cry, Halo 2, and Doom 3 loaded on my system. My computer stats are as follows (only listing equipment related to video performance):

  • ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe Motherboard
  • Intel P4 3.0 w/ 1 Meg L2 Cache
  • Antec Neo-Power 480 watt PS
  • Corsair TWINX1024-4000PT 1GB DDR500 XMS4000 Ultra-High Bus Speed Dual-Channel Memory w/Platinum Heat Spreader
  • BFG 6800 ULTRA OC Video Card

All games were run at 1200×1600. Since these are still images, I let the games use their internal defaults to determine Anisotropic Filtering. I am pleased to report that I saw absolutely no ghosting or lagging. This LCD handled everything the BFG 6800 could throw at it. I apologize if some of pictures appear fuzzy; this has nothing to do with the monitor and everything to do with my shaky, no-flash camera. I tried to pick out the best shot of each game. DOOM3 was the hardest – it’s so darn dark!

First, a wide scene shot with water from the game Far Cry.

farcry

The 6800 Ultra OC video card allowed me to run Far Cry (R. 1.3) at my imposed default of 1200×1600 with all the eye candy set to the game’s maximum settings. It was a very close race as to which game was my favorite, and Far Cry was a VERY close second to Half Life for outstanding visual impact. This game looked phenomenal. I actually found myself looking around at all the extra detail the 6800/2405 combination allowed. Blades of grass, buildings, mercenaries, monsters, were all rendered at the maximum visual quality allowed by the game’s programming. It was worth getting owned by the various AI baddies a few times just so I could enjoy the view!

Here comes a cityscape from Half Life 2. This game looked particularly magnificent on the 2405FPW.

halflife2

I cannot find a single thing wrong with how Half Life 2 looked on the 2405. It is almost like the designers programmed HL2 with a monitor like this in mind. The images are so beautiful, life-like and HUGE on this monitor; I never thought I would experience true physical synergy with a video game, but I actually found my heart racing and having a slight case of vertigo as I crossed the bridge superstructure in the Highway 17 Level! Again, the 6800/2405 combo wins the award for outstanding teamwork. The 6800 pumped out the detail and the 2405 displayed it perfectly. Hurling large circular saw blades at big, screaming bugs was never more fun! HL2 is my favorite game played on this big LCD to date.

And last, but not least, a fiery image from Doom 3.

doom3

While DOOM 3 was a visually impressive game, I have to say it was my least favorite of the three reviewed games. As many other reviews have stated, DOOM 3 is DARK to the extreme. Not dark as in foreboding, sinister, or evil…. It’s just “I walked into another @#$%^&* wall DARK!!” The 2405 had no problem with the blackest of blacks either. Some video purists still might find some fault with the how an LCD like this produces a “deep black,” but not I. The images looked great to me.

In defense of DOOM 3 creators, the level of detail here was also worthy of letting a demon or two wax the stuffing out of me to enjoy the view. Of the three reviewed games, DOOM 3 was the only game that “appeared” stretched when run at 1200×1600. This stretch was not overbearing and easily forgotten after a few minutes of exacting revenge on the minions of Hell for messing up my Mars Research Facility.

 

Conclusion

After a year of use for both regular duties such as homework and bill paying, and some intense gamming, I am thoroughly pleased with the performance of the 2405FPW. This LCD will be a welcome addition to the desktop of anyone willing to spend the money on it.

I bought this monitor in March 2005 on sale for $1,004.00. At the time, it had a regular price of $1,199.00. I would have given it 9.0 out of 10 with the 1.0 loss due to the $1,200.00 price tag. Now that the 2405 is in the sub-$800.00 price range, it may make more folks interested in going for the extra size. Also, due to this huge price drop over the past year, I can easily give back the 1.0 lost because of price, moving the 2405FPW up to a perfect 10 out of 10 at its one year use mark. Anyone wanting a large wide screen LCD will enjoy putting a 2405 into service.

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Highs

  • Incredible visual clarity
  • Ease of set up
  • Extra I/O ports on the side
  • 12 ms response time great for gaming

Lows

  • Price – Lower, but still $800.00
  • Some may think it is too big

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