Dell E207WFP review: Dell E207WFP
Dell's E207WFP's design is pleasing to the eye -- it has a thin outer bezel finished in matte black and its controls are sensibly located. Under the surface, however, it's not all rosy. Its image quality lets it down and the colour reproduction is awful. And now priced at £272 rather than the £155 first listed, it's not so much of a bargain after all
The Dell E207WFP caused a stir in October 2006 when we ran this story of its alleged £155 price tag. The world and its grandmother clamoured after it -- 20-inch widescreen displays typically retail upwards of £300, so the E207WFP was a breath of fresh air.
Sadly, Dell has since raised the price of the E207WFP to a fairly hefty £272 -- which seems like daylight robbery in comparison to the $260 it charges its US customers. So does the "increase" in price ruin its appeal or are we looking a gift horse in the mouth?
The E207WFP makes a good first impression. It ships in a relatively small, light box and though it comes in two separate pieces, it's easy to attach the stand to the screen section. The design of the monitor is pleasing to the eye. It has a thin outer bezel finished in matte black, and its controls are sensibly located on the bottom-right side, facing forwards. The stand, meanwhile, is a boomerang-shaped thing with a silver central section.
The E207WFP comes with just two signal inputs: analogue D-Sub and digital DVI. This doesn't give you a lot of choice, but we can't grumble since most computers use one or the other, if not both. Dell says the DVI port is HDCP-ready (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection), so the screen won't stop you playing copy-protected movies.
Adjusting the display settings is as straightforward as we'd expect from a PC monitor, though this isn't saying much. You can switch the display source between analogue and digital by hitting the left-most button on the front panel, or activate the on-screen display (OSD) menu by hitting the menu button to the right of that. Scrolling up and down is done by pressing the plus and minus buttons, while the menu button doubles as the enter or select button.
The E207WFP runs at a native widescreen resolution of 1,680x1,050 pixels, which lets you view two A4 Word documents side-by-side -- this could seriously improve your office productivity. Its widescreen aspect ratio also makes it ideal for watching movies on. Ordinary DVDs looked pretty good, as did still images of our family photos. The monitor coped well during gameplay, too. Its quoted 5ms response time is difficult to verify, but we didn't see any ghosting during fast-moving scenes.
Unfortunately the E207WFP has more weaknesses than strengths. Its most glaring problem is its questionable image quality. The average user won't notice anything's awry, but there's light leakage from the top-edge of the screen, which showed up slightly lighter than the rest of the screen.
Secondly, and most significantly, it's absolutely awful at colour reproduction and reproducing tones at the extreme ends of the scale. It's unable to distinguish between similar light tones, so it can't properly display the subtle tonal nuances in clothing or flowers, for example. Whereas a rose might look resplendent with its subtle dark and light areas on a BenQ FP241, it'll just look pink all over on the E207WFP.
The monitor is also atrocious at displaying near-white tones. Items that are meant to be slightly grey are reproduced as full white, which could mean you miss out on a lot of detail during image editing. There's also a slightly limited vertical viewing angle, which means images look completely different depending on the angle they're viewed from.
You may be able to see something one day, but adjust the height of your chair and that object may disappear completely. Again, the Average Joe probably wouldn't notice these foibles unless they were pointed out, but they'll really annoy you once they come to light.
Being a budget monitor, the E207WFP doesn't feature much in the way of stand flexibility. There's no height adjustment, no swivelling, no pivoting -- but this is a minor gripe in comparison to the image quality issues.
It's difficult to recommend the E207WFP. It would be hard not to like it if it cost £155 as we first assumed, but it actually costs more than many of its peers. The final kick in the teeth is that us Brits pay £272 while our American counterparts pay $260 (£136). Set an example -- don't buy it.