Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dell UltraSharp¿ 1907FP (Black) 19" LCD Monitor - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

After using the previous model (Dell UltraSharp 1905FP LCD monitor) for almost a year, I noticed that its power button, which has always been very stiff, became so stiff, I had to apply way too much force to it. Upon further inspection, I discovered that it became crooked and was, in fact, broken.

A call to Dell technical support produced a promise to send me a replacement monitor of the same model within a couple of days. Unfortunately, when I received a hefty box from Dell, I discovered that it contained a new model 1907FP. I will explain why I say "unfortunately" below.

Dell UltraSharp 1907FP

The monitor is a 19-inch digital LCD flat panel TFT (Active Matrix) with both digital DVI-D and analog VGA inputs. It also features a built-in USB 2.0 hub with 4 jacks, including two on the side (I used one of them to connect my iPod, another for a memory card reader).

Unlike some other models, this monitors has no external power supply - the AC power cord connects directly to the monitor, which I like. The stand lets the screen tilt, rotate and move up and down. It locks the screen in the lowest position and unlocks it at a push of the button on the back of the stand. There is a also a VESA mounting bracket.

On paper, the 1907FP looked better than my older 1905FP in some respects and worse in some others. It has much faster response time of 8ms (gray to gray) vs. 16ms of the 1905FP. Its brightness is higher by 20% (300 vs 250 cd/m^2). But its contrast ratio is less than the 1905FP (500:1 vs 800:1) and the angle of view is only 140/130 (H/V) degrees versus 170 for the 1905.

I also heard that the manufacturers improve the response time by switching form the more color-accurate 8-bit models to less color-accurate 6-bit models. I am afraid the 1907 is one of the results of the switch. I could see the result and I was not happy.

Unfortunately since consumers most of the time care about size and prices, but not over specifics, the newer models can perform slightly worse as long as the price is lower and people will buy them.


The monitor is rather heavy and sturdy, aside from its stand, which seems to be only marginally large enough to support the monitor’s weight. The jacks on the rear panel are sturdy and well-marked.

The rear panel has a VGA input, a DVI-D input, USB input and two outs, 110-240V AC input and a DC out for the optional Dell soundbar (compact speaker bar that can be attached directly under the monitor). The side has another two USB outs.

The 1907FP improves on the controls of the 1905FP. The front-panel buttons are not as stiff and the response time when switching inputs (analog/digital) improved dramatically.

The menus are typical colorful Dell menus, pretty descriptive and easy to use. Just as in the previous model you cannot adjust contrast or geometrical parameters when using DVI-D input.

One of the control buttons switches between digital and analog inputs. The delay is much shorter than in the previous model.

I have used the monitor with both DVI-D and VGA inputs.

Picture Quality

The problem with this monitor is its performance in the area of picture quality. The images are sharp and clear, especially over the DVI input (I use its native resolution of 1280x1024 at 32 bit color). I mostly use this monitor over DVI with the Chaintech XGI Volari V3 DVI-equipped video card and over VGA with a Dell Dimension 3100 computer. The monitor is very bright if you approach 100% of its brightness in the menu. The default contrast is very high. And I am sure the response time is great for gamers. But there are disadvantages comparing with the previous model (1905FP).

First of all, however much I tried, the colors just look cartoonish and overly saturated. The gradations in photographs are coarse, which was definitely not the case with the 1905. No doubt this is the result of use of a 6-bit panel instead of the 8-bit one to reduce response time. The contrast ratio also suffers.

This will not be a big deal if you do not work with photos but only use business applications and/or games. But I work with photos and find this kind of tradeoff unacceptable.

And another, very annoying, issue with this monitor is its viewing angle. Whereas my old monitor had 170-degree viewing angle, this one is rated at 130/140 (vertical/horizontal). Although on paper the difference seems minimal, in reality it is huge. If you look at the new monitor at an angle even slightly different from the optimal 90 degrees, the contrast and brightness change dramatically. So much so that it is difficult to distinguish yellow unread emails in Hotmal from the read white ones.


Obviously, as with any fixed-pixel display, this monitor works best at its native resolution of 1280x1024. If you try to use different resolution, the resulting image will not be as crisp, but still usable.

If you get this monitor and see that the letters are not sharp, it might be an indication that the resolution of your video card is not set to the display's native resolution.


The USB hub works very well, but only when the monitor is on. Because of this, I keep the monitor on at all times when the computer is on, relying on the power settings in windows to make the monitor go to sleep after a minute of inactivity.

The USB ports are located as follows: two on the side of the monitor and two on the back panel facing down.

I Am Sending This Thing Back

I had to call Dell again and request that they sent me the same model as I had before. Originally the tech rep told me that they do not produce the 1905FP anymore and they cannot send one to me. He also stated that the new monitor cost the same as the old one. I pointed out that it currently sells for less than what I bought my 1905FP for, even though at the time I got a great deal at $287 (the new 1907FP sells now for $246).

After going back and forth for almost an hour, he told me that he has, quote “great news” for me. They decided to give me a, quote “top of the line” model that currently sells for $460+. When I asked him what model it was, he said it is 1905FP. Which is the same model I had before. When I told him that, he said that the “model number might be the same, but this is a different, top of the line monitor”. Yeah, sure.

I received my 1905FP monitor yesterday and sent the 1907FP back. The new “top of the line” model turned out the same as my previous monitor. And although it still has stiff buttons and slow DVI/VGA switching, the image quality more than makes up for it.

Pros:Price, sharp, bright image, USB hub, no external power supply, response time, vivid colors 
Cons:Narrow viewing angle, inaccurate, cartoonish color, slightly flimsy stand

Bottom Line

The Dell 1907FP is an excellent 19-inch LCD monitor with both DVI and VGA connections and a USB hub. I recommend it, but only if you do not intend to work with photos and do not need a wide viewing angle. It has a fast response time and bright, sharp images. But I myself am not satisfied with it and opted out for the previous model (1905FP) instead.

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