PC owners, rejoice: Gateway has unveiled its latest 24” widescreen LCD monitor, and it’s a doozy. This glossy-coated behemoth delivers impressive image quality; more ports and connectors than you can shake a stick at; and a fast response time that will please gamers and movie-watchers alike. It’s even relatively affordable at $500 – or at least is compared to other 24” LCDs. While the optional speaker bar integrates easily onto the display’s chassis, you’ll probably want to save your money for a set of regular speakers if you’re a gamer. Still, it’s a hardly a show-stopping drawback for what’s otherwise a highly-recommended unit.
Features and Design
The FHD2400 is a 24” widescreen LCD with a 16:10 aspect ratio. Its native resolution is 1920×1200 at 60Hz, and it features a glossy coating as opposed to a less glare-sensitive matte coating.
The base of the unit is detachable and connects to the back of the LCD via four thumbscrews. The base can be raised or lowered to fit one’s ergonomic needs, and it also pivots to switch between landscape and portrait mode. Gateway further includes EZ Tune software that allows for easy configuration of the panel’s various brightness and contrast settings. There’s even an auto-pivot feature that will sense when the LCD’s been swiveled and automatically change the desktop orientation.
Happily, the rear of the panel is loaded with input ports including VGA, DVI, HDMI, component video, composite video, S-video and two USB 2.0 connectors. The monitor’s HDCP compliant as well, so a PC with an HD DVD or Blu-ray drive can play copy-protected content with an appropriate display adapter. However, note that while the package includes VGA and DVI cables, as well as a USB cable, you’re on your own if you go the HDMI route.
A glance at the display’s technical specs further reveals a fast 3ms response time as well as brightness levels that clock in at a welcome 400 cd/m2 (candelas per square meter). What’s more, when it comes to contrast, the general rule is anything above 500:1 is good – cheerfully, the FHD2400 rings in at 1000:1. The unit also features a 160º viewing angle to boot. Staying true to past HD models, the FHD2400 utilizes a DCDi Faroudja video processor to showoff 1080p HD goodness. Gateway claims the Faroudja chip is a unique hybrid, and although we are unsure of what that means, all that matters to us is that image quality is superb – which it is.
The FHD2400 further includes picture-in-picture support, so you can stream one video source to the little picture window while continuing to view a second source in the foreground. Though it doesn’t include the same number of viewing options as its 30-inch big brother, the XHD3000, you can move the PiP window around to all four corners, and also toggle its size between small, medium and large.
Furthermore, the FHD2400’s on-screen display (OSD) is software-based instead of controlled via a row of buttons located on the display itself. Press one main button and the rest of the soft-touch buttons light up on the side of the display. You can tweak all the advanced settings, select inputs, control display levels and even adjust the volume of the optional speaker bar – it’s pretty cool, actually.
Image Courtesy of Gateway
Use and Testing
The FHD2400 comes unassembled out of the box, meaning the base is detached from the panel and you have to secure it yourself. Thankfully, there’s a handy quick setup guide included with purchase featuring color photos that is very easy to follow, and Gateway includes a well-written manual as well to help folks get everything configured properly.
The first step in the setup process is to connect the base via four easily managed thumbscrews, and the next step is to attach the requisite cables, but there’s one small problem… The “arm” of the base that attaches to the back of the panel is very wide and extends over the location of the DVI port, which makes installing that cable difficult. To ease installation, we find it works best to remove the arm and install the cables first, then reattach the arm – a bit of a roundabout solution.
Once off and running with the included DVI cable (a VGA cable is included in the package as well), we installed the optional speaker bar. It snaps easily onto the bottom of the LCD, and then connects to a PC’s soundcard. Finally, we connected the included USB cable to take advantage of the unit’s four USB 2.0 ports, of which two are located on the side for easy access, and two are found on the rear for permanently-attached devices such as a hard drive or a printer.
If you want to reduce desktop clutter, an optional speaker bar snaps onto the bottom of the FHD2400.
Our initial impression of the monitor was extremely positive, in that it appears to be very bright, more so than other 24” displays we’ve seen in the past. (Including the 24” model we’re currently using already.) The glossy coating is beautiful too, and adds a surprising touch of richness and warmth to digital photos in particular.
Next we installed the EzTune software, which allowed us to easily calibrate the monitor and basically bypass the OSD, which can be a bit tedious to navigate. We like the EzTune software a lot, as it allows easy access to all of the display’s controls and also includes two super-cool features. The first being auto-pivot, which will flip the display automatically if you rotate the panel into landscape mode. (This is much easier than doing it manually.) As for the second, picture an anti-theft mode you can enable that requires a thief to enter a PIN number to make the display work on another computer. Sure, it won’t help you get your stolen monitor back, but look on the bright side – at least you’ll be able to take some comfort in knowing that the scumbag who swiped it won’t be able to use it down the road.
Gateway’s EzTune software makes calibrating the display a breeze, and also offers a few cool extras too.
To test the FHD2400, we browsed several high-res photos that we use to evaluate color saturation and reproduction, watched a number of movies, and ran DisplayMate. Our initial impression was quite favorable, and to date, we still find very little to complain about whether viewing snapshots, screening films or running the odd benchmark test. Hues are rich and vivid, and color graduations from black to white prove smooth and natural-looking. Games also run fluidly with no visible ghosting or smearing. In short, the overall image quality of the FHD2400 is simply fantastic.
As for the optional sound bar, it costs $44, easily snaps onto the bottom of the panel, includes six internal speakers and boasts a lowly 7W output. At first blush, we assumed we’d hate performance, given how small the unit is and how we much prefer a subwoofer and satellite arrangement. Nonetheless, it just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover: We ended up being quite impressed by the gizmo.
Not only does the speaker bar help in reducing desktop clutter… It actually sounds better than expected given its small size, and there’s even a hint of detectable bass. Obviously though, the device is intended for use with basic audio tasks such as enjoying the odd YouTube video or listening to voice recordings. Bearing this in mind, if play at high volumes is important (say, for bumping the latest 50 Cent album or immersing yourself in some new jaw-dropping game), you’ll be happier with a dedicated satellite and subwoofer setup.
All in all, the FHD2400 is a well-rounded display with a lot of excellent features and gorgeous image quality. You’ll find the unit easy to setup and calibrate, and its wide array of ports make it compatible with HD optical drives as well as PCs and game consoles too. Occasional design quibble aside (see aforementioned DVI cable issues, and note that vertically-oriented ports can be difficult to access), once it’s up and running, you’ll have few issues apart from being unable to rotate the panel left or right. And that’s what we call a good look.
• Bright and crisp
• HDCP compliant
• Tons of ports
• Hard to connect devices to rear of the panel
• Can’t rotate display