Dell 1905FP Review

NOTE: You can find the driver for the Dell 1905FP right here. That way, you don’t have to read my crappy review (although it would make my day if you did!).

Well, my monitor arrived on Thursday. The guy from DHL dropped it of nice and early, around 10:30 AM I believe. I opened up the box, and proceeded to set the monitor up.

The monitor comes in two pieces– the base and the screen. Connecting the two is as simple as pushing them together the proper way. Since LCDs seem fairly delicate and since the screen of this size is bulky, it seems that you have to be extra careful when assembling the monitor. It was a fairly easy process to get it together.

The monitor came with a regular 9-pin monitor cable hooked up to it. I don’t know what kind of people Dell has putting these wires on, but they must have the world’s strongest fingers! I had to use the screwdriver blade of my pocketknife to get the cable off. Popping the DVI cable on the monitor was pretty easy, although big hands like mine made it a bit difficult to screw the cable down nice and snug.

Once I got it hooked up and switched my video card to activate the DVI, the monitor lit up. Let me tell you, this thing is bright! It has an 800:1 contrast ratio, and a brightness of 250.

As I adjusted the monitor, I realized that I really liked the ability to move the monitor in just about any direction I please. This monitor can go down as low as about four inches off the desk, all the way up to probably about 10 inches above! It tilts back and forth and rotates to the left and to the right as well.

One of the best features is rotating the monitor from landscape mode into portrait mode. This is so cool. I find myself rotating the screen orientation around quite a bit depending on what I am doing. For example, if I am viewing photographs, I like landscape mode. If I am designing a template for a webpage, I like portrait mode. It is very nice.

Last night, I thought I had found a bad pixel on the monitor. I noticed a white spot on just about all of my pictures while poking around in Picasa. So today, I set the desktop background at a bunch of different colors, and checked for dead pixels. I didn’t see any.

So, I went back and looked at my pictures, and sure enough, the dead pixel was back. I took a screenshot and took a look, and the dead pixel is actually on the image, and not caused by the monitor. The only thing I can deduce is that my digital camera, a Kodak DX-6490, has a dead pixel on the sensor. Oh well. I’ve taken over 10,000 pictures with it, so I guess I can excuse one dead pixel! It really is a great camera. Unfortunately, Kodak won’t release any firmware updates to address some outstanding issues with the camera, and I would recommend against it and Kodak products altogether as a result. But anyway, this is about the monitor.

One thing I about which I am unsure is the color. It is bright, and it is brilliant, no doubt about that. It almost seems too bright, though. If I compare it to my old CRT, which had very good color I thought, the colors are all noticeably brighter. Like a lot. I’m sure that I just need to calibrate it properly, so if anybody knows of any good sites to direct me on how to properly calibrate an LCD, let me know.

There are some parts of this monitor I think are a bit weak. For example, the monitor driver is nowhere to be found on the disk. It contains only documentation. I downloaded the driver from the Dell website here.

Another weak point is that there is no easy way to rotate the video on the screen when you physically rotate the screen. I had to assign a hotkey using my video card software so that I can change the orientation of the monitor on the fly.

Some people would say that a 20ms response time is a weak point, but for me, it really isn’t a big deal. I don’t watch DVDs, and I don’t really play games. I use my PC mostly for productivity. I manage, arrange, and edit digital photos. I design websites and graphics. I write PHP scripts. None of this requires a fast response time, but they all require a nice, high-quality image.

The last weak point has to do with the built-in USB hub. Yeah, it is a nifty little feature, putting a USB hub in the monitor. The bad part, though, is that when I hit the power button on my monitor, it does the windows “bing-bong” telling me that the USB hub has been disconnected. When I power it back up, I get the “bong-bing” twice– once for the USB hub, and once for the mouse that is connected to it! Annoying!

Anyway, if you can find a good deal on this monitor, I recommend it. I will definitely be looking for another one in a few months so Jaime can have a nice big screen too.

That’s all I’ve got. :)

Mike

NOTE: You can find the driver for the Dell 1905FP right here. That way, you don’t have to read my crappy review (although it would make my day if you did!).

23 thoughts on “Dell 1905FP Review

  1. Thanks so much for the driver information. i was looking for this driver everywhere.

  2. Hi Errol! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)

    You are welcome for the driver. I tracked it down from another site, and lost the URL to credit them.

    It’s a pretty darn nice monitor, huh? I’m really loving mine.

    Mike

  3. Hi Mike,

    Did a search on Google on the 1905FP and your review came up! COoooooL.

    Anyway I just ordered mine and it should be coming by the end of this week. I myself stopped playing games (can’t keep on changing video cards) and do mostly web surfing and other non-high response stuff. ha!

    Cheers!
    Gene

  4. My 1905FP arrived today. Had to replace a Cornerstone p1700 ($1000+) that was on almost constantly for 4 years. So far this Dell looks pretty darn good. I run dual displays and like to have each monitor’s driver labeled. A Google search for Dell drivers got me here. Just installed the driver and now its properly listed in Device Manager. I don’t get why Dell would include a CD without a driver on it. Like you I toned down the brightness and contrast a lot, from 100 to 30ish to make it more comparable to my CRT display. The 1905FP has gotten good reviews and for $350 delivered is lookin’ good from every angle :)

  5. Thanks for the driver info. Looked on the Dell site for it for over an hour…..

  6. Sure thing, WyCyberguy!

    I’m going to go ahead and hilight it so that it is easier to find without reading all my ramblings…!

    Mike

  7. Mike,

    Thanks for the driver.
    Any idea why nothing displays when i plug in my DVI cable? Works fine with analog.
    The monitor displays 2: Digital Input In power save mode Press any key..

    Thanks
    Felix

  8. Hi Felix!

    I had this problem with my computer too.

    I’m running an ATI graphics card, and had to edit my display properties to get it working.

    Right click your desktop and choose properties. Hit the Settings tab, and work from there.

    Here is a screenshot of my settings:

    Setup Screenshot

    I hope that helps!

    Mike

  9. Thanks for the review; I’m getting one of these monitors next week, so I’ve been reading up on it. I like these blog-style reviews because they often mention little annoyances like the USB hub problem that you won’t find in magazine “lab tests”. Regarding that issue, give this utility a try for putting the monitor to sleep on-demand:

    http://grc.com/wizmo/wizmo.htm

    You can create a shortcut to it with a hotkey, and one of the best features is the “shake” parameter so that the monitor doesn’t wake up if you bump the mouse.

  10. Hi Shane! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)

    I’m glad you enjoyed my little review. I’ve had the monitor for about seven weeks, and am still very satisfied with it.

    There are a couple of other little things that sort-of bug me, but they’re not major. For example, when you put the monitor in portrait mode and scroll a long webpage, the screen tends to lag in a noticeable fashion. I’m not sure why it does this, but I suspect it is because portrait mode only supports 60hz refresh rate, while landscape mode supports 70hz refresh rate. It’s really not a big deal to me– it’s more of a small annoyance.

    The other little thing that sort-of bugs me is the wire holder on the back. It’s made of rubber, and doesn’t do a particularly good job at holding the cables. If you rotate the monitor, there is a good chance that the cables will pop out of the cable holder. It’s not really a big deal, and it’s probably actually a good thing. If the wire holder didn’t have a certain amount of “give,” then setups without a lot of slack in the wires could either damage the monitor, or the graphics card. But, there is plenty of slack in my cables, and it still pops out on occasion.

    Considering I paid about $213 for this monitor brand new, and it is still going for $350+, I am satisfied with my purchase.

    Oh, and about Wizmo! It is just what I needed. I now have it setup as my CTRL+ALT+2 hotkey, and it works great. However, I have a shortcut assigned to it, and it doesn’t work so well. I can’t blame Wizmo, though– it’s a Windows issue. When exactly will Microsoft add in a global hotkey manager that actually works, and doesn’t have the ridiculous requirement to place the shortcut on the desktop or in the start menu?

    Here are the hotkeys I have setup:

    CTRL+ALT+1: Alternate between portrait and landscape mode.
    CTRL+ALT+2: Wizmo monitor shutdown (quiet mode– the whole reason in getting it was to shut this thing up!)
    CTRL+ALT+6: Switch the monitor into 60Hz refresh mode (required for portrait mode)
    CTRL+ALT+7: Switch the monitor into 70hz (or is it 75hz) refresh mode (only works in landscape mode).

    That’s all I’ve got!

    Mike

  11. Thank you thank you thank you for the driver info!!! You saved me a lot of time. And I read your review :-) . I just received my 1905fp today, paid about $359, including shipping. I’m bookmarking this page for other tips. Thanks again!

  12. Woot i got one today as well. gaming ghosting isnt bad compared to my old crt will take getting used too. THIS THING IS A BEAST!!!!!!!!!

  13. HI! Read your blog, and it was helpful. GOt a couple questions about the 1905fp. I own one, and for a lot of games, I get a blank black screen that says:

    1: Analog Input
    Cannot Display this Video Mode.

    My PC:

    Dell Dimension 4600
    2.7 P4
    512 MB Ram
    Nvidia Ge Force 5200 Video Card 128 MB (using latest drivers)
    Using latest drivers on the monitor too.

    Any ideas?

  14. If you’re connected to the Digital Input, you need to make sure the monitor is set to use the DVI.

    Try pushing the “-” button on the front (2nd from the left). That button switches between the analog and digital inputs.

    Let me know if it works, and we can work from there…!

    Mike

  15. I’m not using the digital cable — none came with the monitor, so I’m using the analong cable… probably I should buy one…

  16. Oh wait. I misread your comment…heh. You said for a lot of games… I thought you meant you couldn’t get it working in general.

    I wonder if it could be a refresh rate problem. Make sure that the video settings in the game are set for 60Hz or 70Hz– those are the only two refresh rates the monitor supports, as far as I can tell.

    Otherwise, I’m not too sure what the problem could be.

    Mike

  17. Hi I own a Dell 1703fp display. It’s similiar to the other 1700 series. My digital display does not work but analog does. It says 2: Digital Input in power save mode press any key on keyboard or move mouse. Any ideas of how I can fix it? Dell sent me a new monitor and cable but that did not solve the problem. Could it be my video card? Should I reformat? Thanks Everyone

  18. Herman, when I first hooked my monitor up with the digital output, it didn’t work either. I had to go into my video card’s settings and enable the digital output on the video card to make it work. I have an ATI Radeon 9200, and I would assume that a lot of the cards in the same series are the same.

    You should go into your video card utility and check for options to enable the DVI. You could also take your video card model and search at your favorite search engine– something like “radeon 9200 enable dvi” would probably do it.

    You should also make sure you are running the latest drivers for your video card as well.

    I really don’t think reformatting would fix it– it is either a setting, or a hardware issue.

    Mike

  19. I’ve updated the drivers, and I also searched “enable dvi” for my Nvidia GeForce 5200 (128ddr). In the end, nothing worked, it’s still displaying the same message. I’m assuming it’s the hardware because this issue has been like this for 2 years and I’ve been trying to fix it forever. Thank you for the quick reply Mike :)

  20. Hey, I just wanted to say thank you for providing me with the link to the drivers. I just got the monitor around 3 days ago and was desperately looking all over. Thanks Mike.

    // Kas K.