Pros Excellent price, massive inputs, good SD, excellent HD picture clarity
Cons Proper calibration not possible, DVI/HDMI black screen bug
Summary I have had this TV for about 3 weeks. I am pleasantly surprised at its rendering of SD (standard definition) channels. Looked much nicer than other plasmas I have seen. The price of this unit in Canada is at least 1200-1500 less than Panasonic HDTV's, and close to those no-name brands you see at Costco and elsewhere, which look pretty bad when you see them on display. Blacks on this TV are quite black and not greenish as with some other brands. Colors are good, and the picture is bright enough for use in a sunlit room. Viewing HD and 1080i upconverted DVDs is simply AWESOME. I love the massive amount of inputs on the TV. The remote is a thing of beauty with very bright blue LED lights that match the onscreen slider control colors.
There is a problem if you use and HDMI/DVI cable (instead of an HDMI/HDMI cable, which works great) or an HDMI/DVI adapter .. you get a blank screen for about 2 seconds every 10 minutes or so. Its a bug ... Dell can fix via firmware update in future, I hope. Also, the color temp reverts to blue if you change presets and go back to your custom preset. Also, the set doesnt save any RGB calibrations done to it, so a pro calibration is pointless, since the settings would revert back to factory settings. However, you can do your own calibrations via THX Optimizer/AVIA/DVE, which do help quite a bit. Still pro calibrations would make the picture even better .. oh well.
Overall, a solid value. Not quite up to the elite Panasonic/Pioneer plasmas, but certainly much better than the bargain basement ones, and better than direct competitors like LG/Samsung.Updated
Some quick notes:
- I have not noticed the "black crush" exhibited by the 50" Dell plasmas on this 42" .. blacks are well defined and show detail in darker scenes.
- Dual tuners are really great. I have one connected to analog cable and the ATSC tuner will be used to recieve Over The Air (OTA) HD channels once I get an antenna.
Pros Not Available
Cons Not Available
Summary Having used Dell computers for years, I felt fairly "safe" in trying this plasma. I'll stick to their computers.
Picture quality just wasn't very good. I had dropped pixels within the first week. Returned it. Checked locally and found an LG that looked much better. Mentioned that I had returned a Dell due to dead pixels already, he commented that Dell buys their screens from LG. Supposedly LG manufactures their own screens at about 95% top quality. Anything that doesn't meet their standards are sold to other manufacturers. Dell being one of the other manufacturers that buys them. Don't know if it's true, but it makes sense.
Pros the only good thing is its cosmetically
Cons 2 replacements in 3 months, 2nd replacement dead 3months later, TV out of warranty, NO-FIX-AVAILABLE
Summary I had the original W4200HD for ~1 year, the TV began to have a very audible hissing sound, called Dell Tech Support, they replaced with a W4201C.
When I got the W4201C, Picture is relatively sharp given it's HD. However, only during the bright scene. The picture looks HORRIBLE in dark scenes. Even though advertised as 10000:1 contrast ratio, black levels were totally unacceptable. Worse than the 1st generation W4200HD
There is a bug with the colour temperature setting. It defaults to BLUE all the time after u switch off the TV, Dell has no fix for it.
However, that's not the whole point, continue to read, and you will understand why I rate it a "1".
3 months into the replacement, the W4201C had 2 vertical black bars on the screen.
Called Dell tech support again, they insist that this TV is no longer under warranty (the replacement W4201C warranty only lasts up to my original warranty)
They would not service, replace my TV. Hence, I am screwed! I asked a few TV repair center, they have no idea how to repair this Plasma TV. So, this TV will be waiting for the garbage truck since no one knows how to service it. That's $3000 down the drain in a little less than 1.5 year.
2 replacements in 3 months.. either that's unlucky of me or it really says something about the reliability of Dell's plasma TV. Read the Dell Forums, and you will see lots of unhappy customers like me.
Final advice.... STAY AWAY FROM DELL PLASMA. IT'S A NIGHTMARE WAITING TO HAPPEN.
Pros Super picture in well-lit scenes; looks good in room
Cons Really bad experience with Dell
Summary The Cnet reviewer has this pretty well nailed. Blacks are very good except in certain circumstances when they show purple splotches. If you are looking at a well-lit scene, the colors just jump out at you perfectly. If you are looking at a scene where the backround is pure black (e.g. a 'talking heads' news show), then you see pure black which is good. But there is an in-between zone where you will occasionally get splotchiness. This is not too noticable if your room is well-lit but it is noticable if you are viewing TV in a dark room. I have not had a chance to test other plasmas on the black thing but I would guess the W4201C is not too different from the rest in its price range. All in all, I am happy with the TV.
I cannot, however, recommend it because buying it necessarily exposes the consumer to the risk of having to deal with the Dell customer support system. My issue went unresolved for 3 months with hours of emails and phone calls and many unkept promises until a conscientious forum moderator saw it and pulled some strings for me. Just think about that for a moment: a customer needs an inside friend in order to get service. If it sounds like the old Soviet Union, then you know what my experience was like.
This is a good TV but there are lots of TVs out there that are just as good or better. Buy one from a company with a proven track record.
Pros Excellent Picture
Cons Very Short Life Span
Summary Bottom-line....Spent almost 3 Grand for a tv that only lasted 23 Months, Very Disappointed. Good luck getting help from the foreigners at Dell or the local Jack Legs around your way. STAY AWAY FROM THIS TV....FAR FAR AWAY.