The Joy of Widescreen
I recently purchased a Dell 2007WFP 20.1″ Widescreen LCD Monitor. I will share my thoughts on this monitor. We are all aware the world is moving away from boring square TVs in favor of beautiful widescreen HDTV’s. The human eye sees the world in wide aspect, not a 4:3 square, so why should you look at your PC that way? Recently widescreen PC Displays have become very popular. Game developers are now shipping products with widescreen support right out of the box. The 2007WFP has a native resolution of 1680×1050, which is a 16:10 aspect ratio. Valve Software, makers of Half Life 2, was one of the first developers to embrace widescreen support in their games. Lucasarts included widescreen support for the PC and Xbox verions of Battlefront II. Others have implemented widescreen support via a game patch like Crytek did for Far Cry.
Gaming in widescreen, for me, is a completely different experience than gaming on a standard 4:3 monitor. Games look and feel more immersive. I find myself revisiting older games just to replay them in widescreen. WidescreenGamingForum.com is an excellent resource for PC gamers looking to migrate to a widescreen display. WGF.com also shows you how to run your old games in widescreen through .ini settings and other means.
I find playing games in widescreen adds a different aspect (no pun intended) to the gameplay. The user has a larger view area. Instead of trying to focus on a narrow area in front of me, I now have a more natrual viewing area. My eyes are relaxed, able to see all the action without straining. The action feels like it is happening around me. I am not simply viewing the action, I feel I am part of it. It may sound silly to those would have not gamed in widescreen. Once you try it, you’ll know what I mean!
Working on the desktop is much nicer as well. The added screen “real estate” helps when viewing or editing photos and videos. Browsing the web is much more comfortable. I have Windows Media Center Edition 2005 and on my old 4:3 monitor a widescreen video would be a small band in the middle of the screen. Now I can enjoy movies and HDTV shows in full screen from a comfortable viewing distance.
Overall, I feel like PC gaming is “back” for me. I have a desire to now replay all my old games and conquer new games, all in widescreen! I got my 2007WFP when Dell was offering a $100 off coupon plus free shipping. Keep an eye out on websites like slickdeals.net to make sure you don’t pay full price!
Color Banding and the Fix
It’s rare these days to encounter good customer service, as we’ve recently been reminded. I have always purchased Dell LCD monitors for my home PCs because of the low prices and quality screens Dell produces with partners like Samsung and LG/Philips. I never encountered a problem, but I heard the horror stories if one was unfortunate enough to have a problem. Long hold times, difficult to understand Customer Service Reps, and more. Soon after I ordered, I began to read the horror stories about the “07″ line of Dell LCDs. The initial factory line experienced a problem with color gradient banding, as extensively documented here, and here.
I headed to the Dell Community Forums and to my surpise Dell listened to their customers and responded! All I had to do was send a private message to Chris from Dell and I would be shipped a new monitor with updated firmware that fixed the problem! I sent my PM to Chris on 5/29/2005, and received my new monitor on 6/20/2006 at no cost to me! Now that is what I call service. Dell is to be commended for identifying the problem, listening to customers, and taking quick corrective action. I wish there were more of that out there.