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Dell 2709W Review

I just threw out the box. So my new Dell 2709W monitor is officially a keeper.

My last monitor was a Dell 19 (1280x1024) with a 0.294 mm dot pitch. What I wanted was a bigger screen for photo editing and a larger dot pitch for easier reading.

My new monitor is a Dell 27 (1920x1200) with a 0.303 mm dot pitch.

And now that Im all set up Im totally happy with my decision. So Im giving the product a 5 star rating.

But setting the monitor up and learning to work with the larger screen size took more time than I had planned on spending. In the process I learned some things that may help new users.

Select Input Source - My problems started when I turned the monitor on and all the screen showed was a No DVI 2 message. I had connected the monitor to my computer with DVI 1. Did I need a new graphics card with 2 DVI ports? Or would I have to settle for VGA? Turns out all I had to do was follow Step 6 of the quick setup instructions and select the input source with the on screen menu. With only one connection I would have thought the monitor was smart enough to figure out that was the connection I wanted to use. Duh!

Tip. If you are the kind of person that likes a User Manual, there is one on the CD that comes with the monitor. But best to check it out before you hook up your new monitor, as it is of no use if you can't get your new monitor to work.

Upgrade Display Driver - When my computer booted up, the screen was in 1280x1024 mode. No problem. Just change the advance setting to 1920x1200 and I should be good to go. Problem was that when I selected the 1920x1200 setting, the setting would not take. Instead the screen stayed at 1280x1200. I had to upgrade my display driver to fix the problem.

Upgrade Calibration Software - Next I set out to calibrate my Monitor with my trusty Spyder2. But no mater what I tried, I got just awful results. Turns out I needed a free Spyder2 software upgrade that worked with the wide color gamut that this monitor is famous for.

Modify Firefox Settings - Wow! Photo editing was now really fun and the colors were just great with color managed applications that I use like Photoshop. But the color results I saw using Firefox and IE were way too bright and colorful. Grass just isn't supposed to look that exciting. Fortunately I use Firefox 3.5 which can be color managed.

Long story short. Firefox 3.5 has three modes for color management which can be verified/changed by typing about:config in the url bar and then changing the filter gfx.color_management.mode.

The values are:

0=Color management disabled.
1=Full color management.
2=Color management applied only to tagged images. (Default in Firefox 3.5.)

For me, changing the setting from 2 to 1 did the trick. YMMV

For more info Google "firefox 3.5 color management"

Tame Desktop - The big screen is great for photo editing. But way too wide for my tastes for every day applications like web browsing, email, and word processing. So I run these applications at 1280 wide by full height with a left margin of 150 pixels and a right margin of 490 pixels.

The result is that I can now see and use a significant portion of my desktop for all but my photo editing applications. So I put my frequently used icons in the left margin , other groupings in the right margin, and the least used icons in the center.

Useful applications for better organizing and using this space include Desktop Restore, Stardock Fences, Iconoid, FreeSnap, Taskix, Ghoster, and NoteZilla. Or just put a picture of your wife and kids or your dog in the right margin.

Point being, with a big screen monitor, you have some new choices that go well beyond just having wider versions of the applications you know and love. Time to be creative.




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