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Old 08-15-2006, 03:00 PM
Jason Dunn
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160
Default Dell 2407WFP 24" LCD Screen Colour Banding Still a Problem

Remember how I posted about this issue back in May? Well, it's been three months since the issue was blown wide open in this Dell forum thread (with an amazing 900+ posts), and in those three months I've been longing for new monitors. There's certainly nothing wrong with my dual 20.1" 2001FP monitors - they are a good size, have great colour, and zero dead/stuck pixels. But every other LCD screen I have is wide screen, and the thought of 48" of screen space (two of them side by side) was tempting.

So when Dell Canada had a recent "Dell Deal of the Day" promotion on, I waited patiently for the monitors to be offered on sale. Sure enough, they were: a mere $749 CAN ($674 USD) each. Considering I paid over $1100 USD three years ago for each of these 20" LCDs I have now, that was a tempting price. I can remember paying $950 CAN ($855 USD) for my first dual-LCD panel setup, two Samsung 17" LCDs from Costco - it's amazing how much prices have dropped and sizes increased! The question at hand with the 2407WFPs was whether or not Dell had fixed the colour banding problem: as much as I wanted these new monitors, I wasn't going to drop $1500+ on two monitors that were flawed. So I made sure that when I ordered them I had a no-questions-asked option for return. Getting the monitors proved to be a hassle - the call center in India canceled my first order without telling me - but once I had them set up, I was in awe. They looked SO good!

I was impressed with their brightness and colour reproduction, and immediately loaded up some digital photos and looked closely for banding problems. I could see none. I loaded up a new game, Titan's Quest, and took the monitor and my new XFX 7600GS video card for a spin - 1920 x 1200 resolution was a bit much for that card, but dropping the quality settings a bit smoothed things out. Working in Windows was amazing - as you can see in the picture above, I had space on the left monitor for Outlook, Windows Live Messenger, and Outlook Reminders to stay open all the time. The left monitor was for my browser/Word, IM chat windows, and my active workspace. Fantastic productivity!

I used these monitors for about a week, then I realized that if I was going to keep them I had better look closely into whether the banding problem was really fixed. I read through the Dell thread and, much to my dismay, saw messages from people saying that even the newest "fixed" revisions of the monitor had banding problems. They also said that the newer monitors were using a Samsung panel, instead of the LG panel, and that the problem was even more pronounced. The desktop wallpaper you can see in the photo above was essentially one big red gradient, and when I compared how it looked to my 17" Fujitsu notebook, I could see a very obvious difference. Wanting to test further, I found a program called CheckeMON that had some help tests. I ran the colour spectrum test and compared the results, simultaneously, on the 2407WFPs, the 17" Fujitsu notebook, and my Dell 26" LCD TV. The results were horrible - the 2407 banding was brutally obvious. I even called my wife down to ask her if she could see a difference between any of the monitors, and she immediately spotted how bad the 2407WFPs looked.

There's nothing worse for a geek when his new tech has to get boxed up and sent back, so I resisted returning them at first. I reasoned "Well, I didn't notice it at first, so maybe it's not so bad?". Then I thought about the money these cost and how I didn't want to settle for anything less than really great monitors. The final straw was discovering a dead pixel on the left monitor - I'm extremely ticked off by dead pixels, so that sealed the deal. I phoned Dell yesterday, and a very helpful representative was aware of the banding issue and was told it was fixed. When I told him it was most certainly not fixed, he didn't argue with me, and instead processed my return immediately. The monitors will be picked up today, and I'm already back to working with my original 20" monitors.

I typically have a lot of faith in the Dell brand, and up until this point have been extremely impressed with their monitors - in fact, Dell monitors are the only brand of monitors I buy any more because they are such high quality while still being affordable (especially if you catch a good deal). This issue has shaken my confidence in Dell, and I'm now going to be very gun-shy about buying a new Dell monitor unless I'm convinced there are no issues with it. I can only hope that Dell will learn from their mistake with these monitors and ensure it never happens again.

Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys mobile devices, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog. He really wishes he could have kept those nice big monitors.
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