Dell UltraSharp 1704FPV

With its characteristic half-moon silver stand, Dell's UltraSharp 1704FPV closely resembles its predecessor, the UltraSharp 1703FP--and it lives up to the high standards set by that earlier model. In our tests, it rated very well across the board. There are monitors that display better text, and others that display better graphics, but for overall balance it's hard to beat the Dell.

The 1704FPV's stand complements the screen's quality, with a full set of smoothly working physical adjustments: tilt, height, swivel and pivot. The four USB 2.0 ports come in handy: the two on the left edge of the bezel are ideal for USB keys; the less-accessible second set, on the back of the panel, are more suitable for PDA cradles or other devices that tend to stay on your desk. In an unusual take on cable management, the 1704FPV uses two squeegee-like rubber pieces to hold cables in place against the stand. These long pieces of rubber look tidier than the usual plastic cable clips, and they feel more secure.

The screen adjustment buttons could be better marked, and we'd like to see screen pivot software included. PivotPro software currently costs extra, so if you plan to use portrait mode often, you may want to add that price to this monitor's overall ticket.

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