Dell 3008WFP-HC, 30 Inches of Widescreen SwankS

Dell has gone monitor-crazy lately, and adding to yesterday's rollout of its gorgeous Dell Crystal monitor, now the company's updated its 30-inch display line, and this one's called the Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP-HC. We've had one in-house here for the past month, beholding its huge expanse and basking in its 2560x1600 resolution. The main events with this display are its clean new design that looks rather plain from the front but shiny and especially luxurious from the back, and its ability to connect up to DisplayPort, the new standard for computer monitors that will make things a lot easier for such high-resolution displays.

Dell 3008WFP-HC, 30 Inches of Widescreen SwankS

Dell 3008WFP-HC, 30 Inches of Widescreen SwankS

Dell 3008WFP-HC, 30 Inches of Widescreen SwankS

Dell 3008WFP-HC, 30 Inches of Widescreen SwankS

Dell 3008WFP-HC, 30 Inches of Widescreen SwankS

Dell 3008WFP-HC, 30 Inches of Widescreen SwankS

Dell 3008WFP-HC, 30 Inches of Widescreen SwankS

Check out the gallery and you'll see the 3008WFP's brushed aluminum housing. The base is piano black, shiny glass that supports the cantilever arm. That's a nice architectural touch, but you lose the ability to raise and lower the height of the monitor.

When we first hooked up and plugged in this display, we were shocked at how bright it was, using a conventional fluorescent backlight (we had hoped for LEDs, but no) to pump out a quoted 3000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and brightness that was so brilliant, we had to back it off a bit. Dell has also built in its TrueColor technology, pumping out a 117% color gamut that makes the other monitors we had sitting next to it look like they were nearly black and white. Yes, these colors are almost infinitely adjustable, too, so artists and even the keenest eyes won't be disappointed.

Like other Dell monitors, there are plenty of places to plug in whatever suits your fancy, including four USB ports, and slots for nine different types of flash memory cards. That works especially well for those of us who keep our workstations in separate locations from our workspace.

That brings up the DisplayPort connectivity, which we weren't able to test because there aren't any shipping DisplayPort graphics cards yet, but when there are, one of the advantages of that new spec will be the ability to daisy chain monitors. That means that one cable coming from your computer (that might be setting off on a server closet somewhere) can hook up to one of these displays, and then connect to another one beside it, giving you dual displays with just one cable leading back to the mother ship. Nice.

Besides that up-to-date connectivity, you can also plug just about anything else that generates video into the bottom side of this display. That means you can plug in HDMI with HDCP support, VGA, two DVI ports (but you'll need dual-link DVI for that magnificent 2560x1600 resolution), audio outputs from the HDMI, S-Video, composite, component, but it's not easy to plug these things in because all those ports are hard to reach. Sure, they're hidden away, out of sight, and you only need to plug in things occasionally, but it would've been nice to have this huge patch bay a bit more accessible.

Running our suite of DisplayMate obstacle course graphics through this monitor revealed spectacular resolution, worthy of the name UltraSharp. We found it to be an expansive, yet expensive display, but still a great value for its $1999 price. It's the best display we've seen. [Dell]