Everyone has their own idea of the perfect display size, determined by some mystical combination of applications used, available desk space, viewing distance and resolution -- tempered by a degree of techie feng shui and a hearty dose of budgetary reality. Remove our budget ceiling from the equation -- it's much less than the £1,041 list price Dell has given the UltraSharp 2707WFP -- and we'd have to say that 27 inches is our new sweet spot. Anything smaller is too small, and the 30-inch screens are too big: the 16-inch-high screen on the 2707WFP perfectly complements the adjoining Sony Artisan CRT on our desk.
If we didn't need exceptionally accurate colour, the 2707WFP might even suffice by itself: it's large enough to view two A4 facing pages at actual size, a dizzying number of Adobe Lightroom image thumbnails and twice as many rows and columns in Excel or Access as are visible on the CRT -- not to mention providing enough space to make Outlook's right-hand preview pane layout practical.
Design and features
As you'd expect, the 2707WFP is pretty easy to set up. The solid glass base provides an unshakable ballast. You can quickly route all cables through the neck, thanks to a slide-off plastic cover. The two USB ports in the back are nice for routing the cables of more permanently attached devices, while the side ports can be used for quick hookups to USB flash drives and such.
Although the 2707WFP has most of the features you'd consider essential in a display, it had some notable omissions. We'd much prefer two DVI connectors with a VGA adaptor option rather than one of each. And no HDMI at this price seems a little stingy.
We also found the colour controls in the on-screen menus lacking -- PC Normal, PC Red (warmer) and PC Blue (cooler) lack context in the world of photography or video and seem to just make the display really red or really blue. You can adjust the individual RGB outputs, but it's a pain. We would have preferred to have seen colour temperature settings for the experts and meaningful presets for movies, graphics, work and so on for more casual users.
Thankfully, there are presets on the analogue input: Standard and Vivid. Additionally, it does offer PC Mode and Mac Mode, which we assume refer to the standard 1.8 and 2.2 gammas, respectively. Unfortunately, the manual isn't specific -- it explains modes with the unhelpfully tautological explanation of 'To achieve the different color mode for PC and Mac'.
Dell fares better on the non-display options, such as the built-in CompactFlash, SD/MMC, Memory Stick and SmartMedia card slots, which mount on your system when you plug in the upstream USB cable. The card slots perform quite zippily, as expected of a USB 2.0 transfer rate. There's also, as previously mentioned, a total of four USB 2.0 ports -- two in the back and two in the sides. The side ports are especially nice for those who like to keep their PC system boxes out of the way; they can still snap in a USB flash drive without much effort.