capsule review

Dell UltraSharp 1908WFP 19-Inch Wide-Screen LCD Monitor

At a Glance
  • Dell UltraSharp 1908WFP

    PCWorld Rating

    Stylish monitor has the tilt, swivel, and height adjustments usually found in bigger LCDs, but its performance is lackluster.

For a small monitor, the UltraSharp 1908WFP offers a lot of physical flexibility. While many rival 19-inch wide-screen LCDs and some larger models are content to offer merely tilt, Dell goes the extra mile to provide a particularly easy-to-maneuver height adjustment, swivel, and pivot.

The 1908WFP may boast a tantalizing collection of features, but its text and graphics performance was at the bottom of the 19-inch-wide pack. The combined text and graphics score from our panel of judges was Good, but other monitors, such as the Samsung 932GW or AG Neovo E-W19, fared better. This monitor was particularly unimpressive in brightness and contrast tests, practically failing to display discernible dark black and light squares.

A four-port USB hub built into the display is useful for connecting USB peripherals, such as Webcams and flash drives. The on-screen display (OSD) sports a newer interface that makes it even easier than previous Dell models to navigate the sometimes confusing panel adjustment options. The main menu appears horizontally at the bottom of the screen in big colorful icons, while vertical submenus appear above it. The OSD includes presets for common viewing profiles, such as Game, Multimedia (video), and Desktop (office apps and other text-heavy tasks).

The 1908WFP's angled silver stand has a narrow rectangular hole to thread power and video cables through. Older DVI cables with fatter cords do not fit but fortunately, more recently made ones, including the one that came with Dell's monitor, slide in just perfectly. The 1908WFP's thin bezel, high-quality plastics, and judiciously applied silver accents produce a modern and striking design.

The Dell monitor, which we tested against other monitors for our February 2008 feature "The Wide World of Monitors," has good movie-playback capabilities. In my screening of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, it displayed good contrast, as well as superb reds, blues, and greens. The video, however, appeared grainier than in most other monitors we tested. The actors' skin tones came out convincingly natural and gold and copper tones in a fall scene were brilliant.

The Dell UltraSharp 1908WFP's offering of full physical adjustments on such a small monitor is attractive. But its text and graphics test scores, the lowest of the monitors we tested, make it less enticing.

--Roy Santos

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Stylish monitor has the tilt, swivel, and height adjustments usually found in bigger LCDs, but its performance is lackluster.

    Pros

    • Full set of physical adjustments
    • Stylish design and integrated USB hub

    Cons

    • Lackluster performance
    • Poor graphics contrast
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