Toybox: Huge screen bliss

The main reason for buying Dell's UltraSharp 30-inch monitor is resolution

The reason I decided to buy a new monitor was I had moved over to using a MacBook Pro 15” laptop. I had a great workstation and a couple of good laptops, but after switching to the MacBook Pro I realised I could get rid of a few computers and just live with one.

However, I ran into problems. I had two Dell 24” monitors, which I really loved, but I couldn’t find a way to run both screens off a single laptop cable. Going back to using just one 24” monitor was not an option, but after a bit of research I learnt that my MacBook Pro has dual-link DVI out, which means it is capable of running a huge 30” monitor.

I chose the Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP monitor over the Apple display on price and performance. However, the Apple display is an amazingly designed screen.

The Dell screen costs NZ$2,399 online. It currently has a cash-off offer of NZ$200, but that is still not that cheap. Also, it’s heavy — the instructions include a picture showing that two people are required to lift it out of the box.

But, once out of the box, the screen is really impressive. It looks quite magnificent, with its glass base and brushed aluminium housing. It also has a pretty cool spring-loaded arm so you can adjust the height easily.

The main reason for buying this monitor is resolution, which is a massive 2560 x 1600 pixels. That equates to about 77% more viewable area than with a single 24” monitor. The UltraSharp 3008WFP is also really bright — the contrast ratio is 3000:1 — and it can show a wide range of colours compared with other monitors.

In addition, you can plug in HDMI, VGA, DVI-D, S-video, component, composite and even something I have never heard of: DisplayPort (cable included). You can plug in pretty much every type of memory card and there is even a 4-port USB hub built in.

To sum up, The UltraSharp 3008WFP is pretty amazing, and performance is great. It has definitely helped increase my productivity. According to several studies, the more you can see on the screen, the more productive you can be. Depending on the work you are doing, this monitor has great potential to pay for itself within a relatively short period of time.

However, you quite quickly get used to all the space it offers and start to want a bit more.

On the downside, the monitor does release a lot of heat. The panel gets really hot on top, which I don’t think is that uncommon but is a little surprising. But the biggest drawback is the price. For this money you could buy a new laptop or a very fast desktop. You could even buy two Dell 24” UltraSharp panels for NZ$1,200 each (NZ$700 each for the cheaper non-UltraSharp), which might be more flexible in the long run, but you would have to live with a very wide-screen set-up that has a gap in-between the panels. My advice: if you have the cash, you should consider the 30” monitor.

If you want to work from your laptop and want a big screen, the UltraSharp 3008WFP is a great choice. Just make sure your laptop has dual-link DVI out.

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