As technology moves forward at a breakneck pace and as more individuals take on pro-level photography and video editing tasks, the need for larger LCD monitors with higher screen resolutions increases. Gateway has been relatively quiet on this front: A few releases here and there between R&D whitespace, then out of nowhere they deliver a gargantuan LCD with some of the most impressive stats seen in years. The Gateway Extreme HD 1600p 30″ LCD, or XHD3000, is a high-def dream, boasting multiple inputs, a one-trillion-operations-per-second video processor, Picture in Picture and a lot more. Read all about this stunning LCD and decide if it’s right for you.
Features and Design
The very first thing one will notice about the Gateway Extreme HD monitor is the sheer size. It’s massive and absolutely dwarfs 20″ and 24″ monitors. The XHD3000 has a very common black and silver color scheme – glossy black body and brushed aluminum accents and base. It looks more like an HDTV than a computer monitor.
The XHD3000 has an antiglare coating on the screen. This is a welcome departure from the super popular glossy LCD monitors released so often in 2007. The antiglare coating works wonders for improving wide viewing angles and it keeps glare and other reflections off your screen so you can focus on your work, not on the rest of the office behind you.
The brushed aluminum base is much smaller than one would expect for a 30″ LCD. It’s less than 15″ wide and, surprisingly, only a wee bit larger than the average base of Dell’s 20″ LCD. The XHD3000 base has a large opening which can be used to place office supplies, USB hub, a small backup hard drive or whatever you prefer.
The design team at Gateway did a very good job arranging the array of ports and video connections on the bottom of the XHD3000. Each type of video input and audio/USB output has a clearly designated and marked space, and nothing is cramped. For added convenience, four USB 2.0 ports are located on the bottom of the XHD3000, and two USB 2.0 ports are raised to the bottom left corner of the monitor – perfect for USB memory keys or flash card adapters.
The XHD3000 has amazing 176-degree viewing angles left to right and top to bottom. It’s truly impressive – something you have to see in person to fully appreciate. You can literally stand at the very edge of the LCD screen and see the entire 30″ spread almost as clearly as if you were standing directly in front of it.
Gateway promotes the XHD3000 monitor with the tag line “Quad-HD”. What exactly does this mean? It’s simple – the 1600p resolution is a little more than four times that of 720p HD resolution.
Silicon Optix Realta HQV
The XHD3000 has an integrated Silicon Optix Realta HQV video processor, which is designed to increase the clarity and detail of images on screen, whether stills or moving video. “HQV” is an acronym for “Hollywood Quality Video” and refers to the Teranex video processing chipset that performs one trillion operations per second. It handles deinterlacing, noise reduction and more for beautiful image quality.
If you connect the Gateway Extreme HD monitor to a 720p, 1080i or 1080p HD video source, the XHD3000 will upscale that video to 1600p.
The Gateway xhd3000 is beautiful to look at
High Quality Audio
The XHD3000 monitor comes with a removable speaker bar with eight high-performance speakers. The eight speakers are aligned in such a way as to give a 3D sensation to the sound coming from DVDs, games and system audio. The sound is much more impressive than any built-in audio in LCD monitors. Built-in speakers in LCDs are almost always tinny and anemic, whereas this speaker bar can deliver much more enjoyable audio with acceptable bass, mids and highs.
The XHD3000’s power brick is huge – larger and heavier than a standard dictionary. The monitor uses roughly 168 watts; understandable for a 30″ behemoth, but certainly much more than 20″ and 24″ LCDs. The XHD3000 uses about 19 watts of power when in sleep mode.
The high-performance speaker bar
The 6ms response time is pretty impressive for a 30″ LCD. Average/acceptable response time for this size LCD is 16ms. The XHD3000 has a somewhat misleading 400 cd/m² brightness. Why misleading? Because the screen brightness seems brighter than other LCD screens with 400 cd/m² brightness. The aspect ratio looks like 16:9, but it’s actually 16:10. A quick tap-tap-tap on a calculator will demonstrate this screen ratio. Expect to get about 50,000 hours of HD goodness with this monitor. 50,000 hours is equal to about 11 years of use at 12 hours per day.
Wall mounting is possible with the XHD3000. The included stand can be removed and replaced by a VESA wall mount.
The stand and neck use a composite metal and is very adjustable
Setup and Use
Setting up the Gateway Extreme HD 30″ monitor is pretty easy, but it takes a little muscle and coordination. It’s a huge monitor, and though it doesn’t weigh as much as one would expect, its size alone makes unboxing and setup a bit of an exercise.
When removing the monitor from its box, you’ll notice that the base is permanently attached. It doesn’t elevate up and down, but it does swing side to side and will angle forward and back for the best viewing angles. Remove the power brick, cables and any driver CDs.
Plug the power brick into a surge protected outlet and connect the adapter end into the monitor. The tip of the power adapter looks like a PS/2 computer port. Make sure nothing else gets shoved into that port as it could cause serious damage. Once the power is hooked up, the monitor will switch from off to a sleep mode. Pressing the little blue power button on the bottom right corner of the monitor turns the beast on and off.
Decide what devices you’ll be connecting to the Gateway Extreme HD monitor. It can take up to six input devices at once – DVI or dual-DVI, HDMI, VGA, Component cables, Composite cables and S-Video. Most people will use dual-DVI for use with a well-equipped computer. In this scenario, plug the dual-DVI cable into the monitor and then into your video card. If your computer is on, the 30″ LCD will almost instantly light up with your computer screen. Whether you’re using Linux, XP, Vista, Tiger or Leopard, adjust the screen resolution to your preference.
When using the Gateway Extreme HD monitor with a dual-DVI cable and a video card that supports dual-DVI, one can set the screen res to two ideal settings – medium res (1920×1200) or full res (2560×1600). 2560×1600 renders a massive desktop, absolutely perfect for Final Cut and Photoshop. That screen res is mind-blowing and, if your eyes can handle the tiny icons, it’ll have a dramatic effect on productivity. If you’re wary of using 2560×1600, you can scale down a notch by using the next best resolution – 1920×1200.
If you’re using the Extreme HD monitor with a standard DVI cable, a video card that doesn’t handle dual-DVI or if you’re using the ancient VGA interface, you’ll only be able to squeeze 1920×1200 pixels out of this monitor. To be very frank, if you’re going to invest $1300 USD on a 30″ monitor that can support up to 1600p HD video, you shouldn’t insult the hardware with old-school video cards and cables. Invest just a few more dollars on a proper video card and cable and your on-screen world will change.
If you’re going to connect the Gateway Extreme HD monitor to an HD or Blu-Ray DVD player, a high-def camcorder, high-def gaming system or an Apple TV, use HDMI or Component video. To hook up other goodies like standard def camcorders, cable boxes, etc., use Composite or S-Video.
The Gateway Extreme HD monitor has a great 6-port USB 2.0 hub built in. This is handy for USB memory keys, printers and an endless list of possible device connections. We at Digital Trends appreciate Gateway including six ports instead of the boring 2 or 4 ports that other LCD monitors have.
There are plenty of inputs on the XHD3000
Picture in Picture
Using the Extreme HD monitor for a combination of live TV and computer work is possible through a great feature – PIP, or Picture in Picture. While Photoshopping your latest RAW images for example, you can select live TV from a cable box, DVD player or even an HD/Blu-Ray source and have it play in a corner window. The PIP can be used for non-computing sources as well – watch an HD movie on the main screen and have another cable TV show running in the PIP box. The only downside to using PIP when computing is that the PIP box renders that area useless for programs. The PIP window can’t be quickly moved or minimized like a QuickTime or VLC window can.
To set up the PIP window, click the Menu button on the Extreme HD monitor’s remote control and scroll one tab to the right. The PIP window can be moved to any corner of the screen and can be increased and decreased in size using the remote. In fact, a PIP window can be enlarged from about 3% of the screen to nearly 75% of the screen in just a few seconds.
Because the Extreme HD monitor can connect to six sources at once, it makes it ideal for use with DVD players, gaming systems, etc. Gateway includes a universal remote control that handles on-screen menus (monitor settings, PIP, etc.) as well as a growing list of video input devices. You don’t have to use the universal remote, but it is nicely designed (albeit pretty vanilla), fits well in the hand and is easy to use.
One of the most exciting aspects of the Extreme HD 30″ monitor is the wide viewing angles. Unlike many large-format LCD monitors whose viewing angles are restricted to near-direct-view, the Gateway Extreme HD LCD can be viewed from almost 180 degrees with a minimal amount of distortion. It’s simply amazing. Whether you’re looking at the monitor from a near 90-degree left or right, or if you’ve got the monitor sitting well above your head, it just doesn’t seem to matter. What you see at an angle is almost exactly how you see it straight on. Our Digital Trends minds are still boggled at how awesome this is. Let the max-res Photoshopping begin!
Control screen setting with the included remote control
HD, Blu-Ray and More
The Gateway Extreme HD monitor can handle up to 1600p HD resolution for video. This means that it’ll easily handle (and almost scoff at) 720p, 1080i, 1080p videos. Don’t have any high-def video at 1600p? Don’t worry – someday you will, and the Extreme HD monitor will be able to process and view it in its full glory. Until then, you can view stills and upscale/enlarged videos at 1600p.
How does high-def video look on the Gateway Extreme HD LCD monitor? How does a 12-cylinder Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG drive? Stunning, better than expected, almost sinfully good. With the 1000:1 contrast ratio and 400 cd/m² brightness, the on-screen colors look beautiful and properly saturated. Black pixels are deep and rich. Whites are brilliant. With the proper HD content, there is little to no pixilation. Standard DVDs look gorgeous when viewed at standard res, and though they get upscaled as you increase the video playback screen, going max res leaves understandable artifacting. The same can be said for online content, whether YouTube, Vuze or trailers. It all depends on native res and encoding quality.
No matter what you watch on the XHD3000, it’s going to look very, very nice. The most difficult part of watching such sexy HD content on this LCD is knowing that at some point, we’re going to watch video on other screens and that many of them will look wretched in comparison.
The Gateway Extreme HD 30″ LCD monitor (XHD3000) is more than just a beautiful monitor – it’s a full-fledged HD video display that will upscale even the most gorgeous 1080p HD movies to 1600p; the colors, brightness and clarity are all very impressive. Stills and video look breathtakingly accurate. The 2560×1600 screen resolutions makes computing a sincere pleasure and can be a serious productivity enhancer, especially for spreadsheet enthusiasts, Photoshoppers, video editors and any hard-core multitaskers.
The XHD3000 has some impressive stats and a very competitive price point of $1699 USD. With such a serious piece of hardware, we recommend physically testing a sample of this monitor before committing to the $1699 purchase. But we also feel confident that you’ll be satisfied (if not blown away) by this 30″ LCD screen once you get it on your desk.
• Huge gorgeous display
• Eye-popping 2560×1600 screen res
• Truly amazing viewing angles
• Up to 6 video inputs at once
• 720p, 1080i, 1080p and 1600p HD video resolutions
• High Def Picture in Picture
• Impressive sound quality from sound bar
• Universal remote control included
• Touch-sensitive, bezel-controlled menus
• Screen height cannot be adjusted
• Menu navigation can be finicky
• $1699 out of range for most people