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Dell is well known for churning out good-quality but slightly frumpier versions of the latest technology, be it an handheld. This time, it's a 30-inch LCD that could be the country cousin of Apple's Cinema Display line--if by "country" you mean the Hamptons. The Dell 3007WFP, priced at $2,199, is indeed several hundred dollars cheaper than its Apple equivalent, but the 3007WFP actually offers more adjustability, a better array of features, and a charming design. Our only quibble: we wish that Dell would have added S-Video ports and improved the video playback to make this monitor a complete media package.
The Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP is both big and bright. In fact, the Dell 3007WFP's outward appearance is almost as nice as what's inside the frame. Its narrow black bezel is capped with silver bars along the top and bottom edges, and a heavy Y-shaped metal stand features a brushed silver coating that gives the design a retro space-age look. We're very impressed with the display's flexibility, especially for its large size: the panel tilts about 5 degrees forward and 15 degrees back; the neck swivels where it meets the stand, which allows you to turn the panel 45 degrees to the left and the right, and it also telescopes 3.5 inches in height. There's no portrait/landscape pivot, but with a display this size, such a function would be ridiculous--even hazardous.
The Dell 3007WFP accepts only a digital input (cable included), and it requires a top-of-the-line graphics card to support its 2,560x1,600 resolution. On the back, there's a 12-volt audio jack for connecting the optional 10-watt Dell Soundbar speakers ($29), along with one upstream and four downstream USB 2.0 ports for connecting peripherals and powering the media-card slots located along the left edge of the display. There are two media-card slots along the monitor's left side: one reads CompactFlash cards, the other is a combo slot that reads SmartMedia, Secure Digital, Memory Stick, and MMC cards. The card slots show up as drives on your PC, so you can easily transfer files to and from them. What's missing from this display (and available on the smaller ) is video inputs. Limiting a display this big to your computer seems a terrible waste of space and money--it should do double duty as a TV or movie screen.
As with the Apple Cinema Displays, there's no onscreen menu for adjusting the settings on the Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP. The only adjustment function is brightness, and the only buttons on the display are three buttons along the bottom bezel that power the display and increase and decrease said brightness. You can install a utility (included on the install CD) that adds a Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP tab to your Windows Display Properties dialog box, but all this does is let you adjust the brightness with a slider bar or disable the panel buttons altogether. Since other 30-inch displays also lack image adjustability, we're not surprised Dell chose to forgo this feature, though color purists may bemoan this lack of adjustability.
We tested the Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP with CNET Labs DisplayMate-based tests, and it performed quite well. Text looked very sharp even at sizes as small as 6.8 points, and the contrast was excellent. We noticed that light grays exhibited a reddish hue, and there was some compression (missing steps of light gray) near peak white, which looked slightly dingy. The display handled both grayscale and color spectrums beautifully: they were smooth and evenly stepped with almost none of the bright spots or the color effects we see with many LCDs.
The Dell 3007WFP's screen was also very uniform throughout testing, with none of the bright edges or swaths of brightness we usually see across a dark screen. Despite the monitor's 11-millisecond response time, DVD performance was a little disappointing. There was a lot of digital noise throughout the image (often it's just relegated to large areas of background color) and ghosting, which reduced the sharpness of the picture, making it look a bit blurry and soft-focused. Given its size, we suspect that many consumers would use this screen for watching DVDs, which makes the ghosting and the digital noise all the more disappointing. Most games don't support the monitor's 2,560x1,600 resolution, but when tested with World of Warcraft, a MMORPG, colors looked vibrant, and we didn't notice any ghosting.
The Dell 3007WFP comes with an industry-standard three-year warranty on parts and labor. This can be extended to four years for $149 or five years for $199. Dell's Web site offers quantities of tech support options (ostensibly to be helpful to the customer, but also to keep customers from making expensive support calls). There is a live chat feature, along with user forums, e-mail support forms, driver downloads, white papers, and searchable databases. Toll-free phone support is available 24/7.
|Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP||Avg watts per hour|
|On (Default Luminance)||142.14|
|On (Max Luminance)||142.14|
|On (Min Luminance)||61.65|
|Annual energy cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$43.37|