Dell UltraScan P992 19" CRT Monitor

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Dell's P992 is a superb monitor for professional imaging.

Oct 9, 2003 (Updated Jul 18, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:

Pros:Excellent focusing from corner to corner, attractive and functional housing, easy to use adjustment controls.

Cons:Heavy and more space consuming than LCD Panels, but far better picture quality.

The Bottom Line: Highly recommended for its truly exceptional picture quality at a modest price.


For reference, I use this monitor primarily for graphics editing, photo editing, web site development, and document creation.

Introduction

I purchased this 19" monitor as a replacement for its little brother, the Dell Trinitron 17". The only reason I was willing to part with that monitor was because I needed more desktop area for photo and graphics editing. What I got was more than just additional space - several features of P992 are noteworthy improvements over Dell Trinitrons of the past. I chose this monitor over the Lacie Electron Blue because picture quality is comparable (the Lacie might be slightly better) but the Dell was considerably less expensive. I've also had great experiences with Dell's customer support because they stand behind their products.

Physical Features

Dell's latest housing for this monitor is dark gray, which I consider more attractive than the old beige. Actually, the housing has also been physically redesigned to be more ergonomic and more organic-looking. A definite improvement and my compliments to the Dell design team.

The size of the the front of the housing is approximately 18 inches wide by 16.5 inches high. With the base, the height increases to 17.8 inches. Front front to back, it is 18 inches deep. It weighs 56 lbs (25.5 kg).

The P992 is rated as an Energy Star complaint device, which indicates its power consumption is low enough to be in accordance with the EPA's energy-saving power standards.

Installation and Operation

According to the Monitor Quick Setup Guide, this monitor is compatible with all Windows operating systems, except those older than Windows 98. A CD is included with the P992 that contains the monitor driver and a user's guide. After unpacking the monitor, installation takes only a minute or two. The monitor-computer interface cable is permanently attached to the rear of the monitor. The power cable is removable. Both are very well shielded. Adjusting monitor orientation is accomplished by gripping the sides of the monitor and moving it on the moderately-sized swivel base. A slightly larger base would have been even nicer, but this one is definitely one of the smoother bases I've used.

Dell's dark gray housing surrounding the screen is functional, not just attractive. It helps reduce the amount of reflected light in my work area, which is especially important for photo editing. The large round power button is much nicer than the old square power button that always seemed a little flimsy. The small monitor adjustment buttons are easy to access (no silly panel to open up) and press in with a decided "click." The adjustment menu that pops up when you press any one of them is intuitive and provides for quick adjustments.

After color-calibrating the monitor, I've noticed that the screen takes a while to "warm-up." Basically, I've adjusted the desktop to perfectly fill the entire physical screen from corner to corner. When it's turned on after being off for a couple hours, the projected desktop does not fill the physical screen completely for several minutes. Over those several minutes, it gradually reverts back to the geometry I selected. I suppose this is common with a lot of monitors, but I find it curious that it did not behave this way until after it was color calibrated (using Adobe RGB system).

Picture Quality Features

The Dell P992 features Sony's flat screen Trinitron technology, which provides some of the best picture quality available anywhere for any price. I've used Trinitron flat screen computer monitors and TV sets for several years now and I continue to be impressed with the quality. Not only does the Trinitron picture tube provide superior color rendition, but when mated with a flat screen, it also provides a totally useable screen area from corner to corner. No more out of focus corners. Indeed this makes the monitor look (and work) bigger than it actually is. Most graphic designers prefer a 22" monitor and I would certainly love one myself, but this monitor works great in the meantime for the reasons mentioned above.

According to Dell's Quick Monitor Setup Guide, the "ideal" resolution (desktop area) is 1024 X 768 pixels. I have mine set to 1162 X 854 and it works great. Dell's online specifications indicate that the P992 will support up to 1600 X 1200. On a 19" monitor, these resolution capabilities are well-suited to image editing.

Compared to almost every other monitor I've tried, eye strain is significantly less with the flat screen Trinitrons (again, Lacie may be just slightly better). In order to obtain such perfect focus, Sony places two very fine hairs across the screen. When you try this monitor for the very first time, you'll notice these against a white background. Afterwards, you'll completely forget they're there. In no way do they interfere with graphics or photo editing.

Conclusions

For the price, I doubt you will find a monitor with better picture quality. The Lacie Electron Blue is its only real competition, but is more expensive. Perhaps the only way to improve this monitor would be to include a light-reduction hood to assist with graphics and photo editing, as is included with the Lacie monitors.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 300
Operating System: Windows


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