The answer for the computer addict with a budget
Crisp and clear, simple and space-saving design
SLIGHT ghosting in games, if any at all
The Bottom Line:
An LCD monitor of better value can not be found, especially when Dell has special offers
I must confess that I spend much more time staring at the computer screen every day than I should. After staring at a CRT (a poor one, at that) for extended periods of time, I would begin to feel a slight strain on my eyes. When it came time to purchase a new computer, I decided to go with a flat-panel. I wanted somewhat of a large size, but all 19" and 20" LCDs I could find were ridiculously expensive. However, I managed to find a tremendous deal in Dell's 1800FP monitor.
I play several computer games, including Counter-Strike, Quake III, and Battlefield: 1942. Gaming on an LCD is typically a completely different experience than gaming on a CRT. That is not the case with the 1800FP. Sometimes when using an LCD monitor, there will be a "ghosting" effect, which looks like everything leaves a trail. However, this monitor does not suffer from that effect as do many other LCDs - the ghosting is slight, if there is any at all. Of course, this all depends on the set framerate of each game. I have noticed, at times, that games look better on slightly lower framerates because of the refresh rate of the monitor, which is not the case with a CRT. Those who use their computer MOSTLY for games should strongly consider buying a CRT. However, for those who use their computer for everything, this LCD will display games perfectly fine.
Text on the 1800FP is extremely sharp and clear, making it much easier to see than on a CRT. In 1280X1024 resolution, the font was readable down to 6pt font. Images on the LCD are incredible. Slight details in the image that would not even be seen on a good CRT can be seen easily on this monitor. Web browsing is certainly a treat, except for the fact that most sites aren't optimized for a 1280X1024 resolution.
Speaking of resolutions, although the 1280X1024 looked absolutely incredible, the lower resolutions really weren't anything special. In fact, some looked relatively poor. This could be a problem for those who do not want to use a high resolution (for me it hasn't been a problem, I love having "more space to work with"). Also, one must keep in mind that this monitor has two connectors, one digital and one analog, and that the digital will have significantly better picture. I have been running the monitor on a GeForce3 64MB using the DVI (digital) connector. The 18.1" viewing area of this monitor is about the same as that of a 19" CRT.
The viewing angle is very wide, as far as I can tell. Although I don't know the actual angles, they seem to me much better than most I have seen at retail stores. Concerning retail stores, a perspective LCD buyer must keep in mind that often the retail stores hook several monitors up to one computer. This is achieved by using a signal splitter to send the picture to more than one display - this can significantly reduce the quality of the picture. If an LCD appears very fuzzy, it MIGHT not be the actual monitor (many times it is). I bring this up because my 1800FP is five times clearer and sharper than any monitor I have ever seen in a retail store.
Let me stress to the buyer the importance of waiting for the online sale, for ANY product, especially one from Dell. Here's why:
One day I visited the "Peripherals" section of Dell.com to find the costs of each monitor manufactured by the company. Seeing that the 17" and 18" inch monitors were almost the same price (about $30 at the time), I became interested in the larger of the two. I knew, of course, that for such a small difference in price, the image quality of the 17" model would be slightly better. I do it all on my computer, however, play games, use Word and Excel, watch DVDs, and surf the web - it all looks outstanding on the 18". (I must also confess that I based my decision to go with the larger monitor because of user reviews on cnet.com - it was risky to do, but turned out amazingly well.) Anyway, the 1800FP was priced at $599, still a little too expensive for my tastes. This of course was on the Home and Home Office section, however - Upon returning to the website, I went to the Small Business section instead. To my surprise, it was $150 off for the weekend! In addition, I used a search engine to search for "Dell Coupon Codes" and found two valid ones that knocked the price down to an incredible $380. On top of that? FREE SHIPPING. I ended up purchasing the 18" monitor for what was truly an unbeatable price. It is VITAL, especially when buying from Dell, to wait for periodic sales and free shipping, and to search for coupon codes to take off a significant portion of the cost. I realize that is not an option for everyone, however, especially for those who cannot simply use an older monitor while waiting for a pricedrop.
This monitor is worth every penny of the full $599. It has amazed me while gaming, typing essay assignments, navigating the internet, and watching movies. Are there LCD monitors out there with better dot pitch? Yes. Are there those with better contrast ratio? Yes. However, we all know how ridiculously expensive LCDs are. For the value, even at full price, the Dell 1800FP Flat Panel monitor beats anything out on the market - I challenge you to find a better monitor for the price.