PRODUCT: Dell’s UltraSharp 3007 WFP widescreen LCD display
PRICE: Approximately $1,200
- 2560x1600 native resolution (using a dual link DVI video card)
- 700:1 contrast ratio and viewing angles of almost 90 degrees side to side
- a multi-card media reader as well as USB 2.0 hub
“From my cold dead fingers.” That is the stock answer I give to people who walk into my office and ask if they can take my monitor. Even when they’re joking, I shoot them a glare that would drop a rhino at 15 feet. That is how much I am enamored with the Dell 3007WFP widescreen LCD display. This display, to be subtle, is freaking awesome. And it has a drop-dead impact on anyone who first sees it. Without a doubt, it is impressive.
Dell captivated the display market with its ever-impressive 2405- and 2407WFP 24-inch widescreen flat panel displays. These displays are increasingly popular with gamers and CG professionals. Touting a native resolution of 1920x1200 they handle a huge desktop with aplomb. Now imagine adding a full six inches diagonally to this, and you get the 30-inch widescreen display. Clocking in at a whopping 2560x1600 native resolution (using a dual link DVI video card), this screen can display anything you run, without the need for a secondary screen.
I have been running Autodesk Maya and Adobe After Effects comfortably on this screen for weeks now, and I have never found myself wanting for desktop space. In full screen, Maya affords me huge work windows as well as plenty of room for torn off palettes and menus. My After Effects desktop becomes a sprawling workspace; working on SD clips leaves an incredible amount of room for the Timeline and Effects Controls.
Working on HD clips is a pleasure as well, since a full 720p frame takes up maybe 25 percent of the screen while 1080p displays a full frame with still adequate room for the timeline and work windows. And you can still fit a couple Internet Explorer windows for your shopping and news fixes. This would be a dream desktop for any post professional, from CG guys and gals to editors and compositors. Not to mention that LCD screens are typically kinder on the eyes than CRTs.
ANGLES, COLOR AND MORE
The 3007WFP features a 700:1 contrast ratio and viewing angles of almost 90 degrees side to side. This makes showing your work to a room full of clients quite easy. There is little degradation in the image brightness at even extreme angles from the side, so pull up a few chairs behind you for dailies — everyone will get a good view. However, the jury is still out as far as color on LCDs is concerned. Color calibration is better left to CRTs, and even though the 3007WFP looks great, I still need to check final frames on a calibrated CRT in a Flame bay before feeling comfortable sending out a shot. But that goes for pretty much all LCDs at this point: CG lighters and compositors will want a calibratable CRT somewhere for color reference.
Fortunately, you do have brightness control in the lower right hand corner, on the handsome black and silver one-inch bezel that surrounds the screen. The range of brightness you can control is quite nice, especially for late night, tired eyes. Though any other control over color, gamma, etc. will have to be handled by the video card or OS. Again, you’ll more than likely have to count on a calibrated monitor for true color reference.
Input options are limited on the 3007WFP with only one Dual Link DVI input, unlike the input friendly Dell 24-inch display that sports VGA, DVI, S-Video, Component and Composite. So you are limited to a DVI-input only, though it does support HDCP. And to use the high native resolution that DVI output needs to be a dual link connection, so check with your video card specs to make sure you can run the screen at 2560x1600. Lower resolutions work pretty well, but native resolution on any LCD is best; I would recommend staying at native for sure.
The Dell’s desktop stand is lightweight and gives you very good positioning capabilities for the screen, with telescoping height adjustment and tilting up and down, as well as 90-degree side-to-side swiveling. The screen’s case is VESA-compatible if you wish to mount it on an arm or wall mount (check out Ergotron’s capable mounts).
In comparison to Apple’s 30-inch display, the Dell doesn’t seem as rich in color, though it seems much crisper to my naked eye, even though the specs for both screens are pretty much the same. Where the Dell really takes off from Apple’s offering is the addition of a multi-card media reader and USB 2.0 hub, as well as its price. You can pick up the 3007WFP for a street price of about $1,200. Less than six months ago, you were looking at a cool $1,800.
For $1,200 you just can’t go wrong with this amazing screen. The only other option I see is paying a little more for two Dell 24-inch screens with a pair of Ergotron LX desk mounts. But that still can’t surpass the “wow factor” you get with this.
If you are in the market for a huge desktop and a mega-impressive screen to display your work to demanding clients, this will surpass your needs.