With above-average image quality and a competitive price, the Dell 1905FP is well worth the money. The 19-inch LCD retains the basic look and flexible design of its predecessors--though the stand feels a bit sturdier--and it offers the same height adjustment range of about five inches. It also smoothly tilts, swivels, and rotates from Portrait to Landscape mode. You can lock the monitor at its lowest height position and remove the panel from the pillar by pressing a release button, which makes this display easy to transport and store. A rubber sleeve on the back of the neck neatly holds all cables. Finally, the 1905FP retains some nice extra features, including four USB 2.0 ports (two on the bottom and two on the lower left side) and a connector at the bottom of the panel for the optional $49 speaker module. It comes with both DVI-D and analog D-sub connectors and cables.
The Dell 1905FP delivers better image quality than your average LCD. We tested the monitor at its native resolution of 1,280x1,024. Text looked crisp well beyond the range of typical font sizes. Its sharpness matches that of the NEC MultiSync LCD1960NXi. In color performance, it beat or matched all other competitors, save Eizo-Nanao's professional-grade . On CNET's DisplayMate-based grayscale tests, we noticed a slight green tint in the darkest shades and a slight pink hue in the lightest. These color flaws are less pronounced than on most LCDs and shouldn't bother most users. Graphics aficionados, however, should note that we saw mildly washed-out midtone colors in some digital photos we viewed. Still, the 1905FP offers above-average image quality when compared to other similarly priced displays.
As is common for LCDs, the 1905FP had trouble displaying a true black, though it was quite deep for an LCD. In our informal DVD-viewing test, performance was about average on the dark end of the grayscale. We could discern fairly dark tones but did miss some shadow details on the DVD. On the light end, we could distinguish very pale grays against a white background. This indicates that the monitor displays subtle shadings well at the bright end, as you might find in editing brightly lit photos or in viewing exuberantly designed Web pages featuring light text on a colored background. We saw minimal streaking in motion tests but noticed some noise and oversaturated colors.
Dell offers a standard three-year warranty and lifetime, 24/7 tech support via telephone and e-mail. Our one gripe on support is that Dell no longer includes a full printed manual, but it does ship an adequate setup poster. And it includes a detailed manual in electronic form on a bundled CD and on its Web site.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)