The Dell 2005FPW belongs to an ever-growing family of enormous wide-screen LCDs that includes the and the Planar PX212M. These wide displays are perfect for juggling multiple windows or working with extremely wide (or long) documents and spreadsheets. Manufacturers of these extrawide LCDs hope to tempt graphics pros, video editors, gamers, and movie fans by including extra features such as video-input ports, PIP (picture-in-picture), PBP (picture-by-picture) capabilities, and extra USB ports. The Dell 2005FPW has all of the above, and its image quality is more than good enough for most business uses. Plus, when you emerge from the mass of open windows and spreadsheets on your desktop, you can enjoy a movie in the PIP window.
The first thing you'll notice about the Dell 2005FPW's design is its extreme width-to-height ratio. The display area is 17 inches wide and just less than 11 inches tall, giving the display an image aspect ratio of 16:10. This shape is sweet for DVD watching or looking at two letter-size images side by side. By contrast, architects, designers, or anyone else who needs to view an enormously long vertical image (such as that of legal documents) need only rotate the panel to Portrait mode. The 2005FPW's looks are bland, though the sparkly, matte-silver plastic stand and trim provide a touch of panache. The bezel is matte black along the top and the sides, shiny black along the bottom, and it measures a svelte 0.75-inch wide all the way around.
For its size, the 2005FPW is quite adjustable. In Landscape mode, the neck telescopes 5 inches and in Portrait mode, it telescopes about 3.5 inches to bring the panel to a towering height of 23.5 inches. The 2005FPW is slightly wobble-prone, but you can make the unit more stable by locking the display into place at its lowest height. The Dell 2005FPW tilts 5 degrees forward and 20 degrees back, and it swivels 40 degrees to the left and the right. A pair of cupped, thick rubber panels hold cords in place at the base of the neck. The cable management system works well unless the cords become twisted around each other. If that happens, it's easy to accidentally unplug the power cord when pivoting the panel.
The 2005FPW has both digital and analog inputs, as well as S-Video and composite-video ports. One downstream and four upstream ports make connecting peripherals a breeze. Speakers and a headphone jack don't come standard, but you can add both with Dell's AS500 Sound Bar. Picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture functionality allow you multitask--or play and work at the same time.
One feature the Dell 2005FPW could use is bundled pivoting software. The user guide CD-ROM has detailed information about which graphics cards are best for rotating the operating system and what to do with other graphics cards, and it points users to the Dell's Web site for updated drivers. However, it would be much nicer if the 2005FPW came with easy-to-use pivoting software like Portrait Displays' PivotPro.
The Dell 2005FPW turned in a solid performance on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based image-quality tests. Text is clear, sharp, and easy to read. The grayscale tests show a bright white at the high-intensity end of the scale and a decent black at the low-intensity end, though we saw some compression on the dark end. We saw some greenish tints in the midrange, but they were not pronounced. Screen uniformity tests show the 2005FPW to be slightly brighter in the corners than in the center, and some colors, most noticeably red, look slightly pale in the lower corners of the screen. The 2005FPW did not fare very well on our DVD and gaming tests. We saw lots of noise, as well as streaking and ghosting, but the details were generally good.