When I first heard about Gateway's XHD3000 Extreme HD 30-inch monitor, I actually thought, "Here is the one screen to rule them all." You guys were excited when we told you about it a week ago, but you wanted to know more about how it holds up. It has a few flaws, sure, but given the fact that it has a built-in HQV upscaler and inputs for all of your video sources, it is uniquely advantageous in the gadget-cluttered home.
You plug in everything you own, and it takes charge. I tethered a PS3 (HDMI), an Xbox 360 (component), a Mac (VGA) and a PC tower (DVI), and I still had room for video iPod (S-Video) and Nintendo Wii (composite). Can you think of anything else to plug in? If your answer is, printer, keyboard, mouse and external hard drive, you're in luck, because the thing has a built-in 6-port USB hub too.
Since it has the HQV Rialta upscaler, everything scales to fit its native 2560x1600 resolution, what Gateway is calling 1600p. Naturally, most of the sources are going to be a lot less than that, but everything, even good old 480p, looks amazing stretched to full size. The biggest complaint about the Dell UltraSharp 30-incher and the Apple 30-Inch HD Cinema Display is their lack of video inputs for alternative video. "No HDMI" is a commonly seen "con" in posts about either one.
The flipside, native resolution, is one of the monitor's big bummers. Even though everything can be upscaled to fit the 1600p screen, only computers with dual-link DVI-D cards can support the native resolution in a 1:1 way, so in this instance, it suffers the same limitation as the Dell and the Apple. The reason this sucks is that you can only do picture-in-picture if you're running native resolution with DVI. So you can't, say, PIP an Xbox game while watching a Blu-ray movie on the PS3. Hey, it sounded like a fun thing to do.
The XHD3000 excels as a monitor, but it's a decent LCD TV as well. I'm not going to say it's devoid of motion-blur, or that it's contrast ratio is mind-blowingly impressive. I wish it had 120Hz technology, but in general it is at least as watchable as any of the bestselling Chinese LCDs on the market, if not better.
Because you wouldn't want to mar the look of the thing with speakers off to the sides, it comes with a removable sound bar that mounts snugly to the XHD3000's chin. The sound is great, and the monitor acts as a switch for all of your audio inputs, including RCA stereo plugs, 3.5mm PC jacks and optical input. It also has digital outputs and a headphone jack.
The thing is ideal for college dorms and small apartments, with three issues that you should keep in mind:
1. It gives off an awful lot of heat. It really does. Both the screen and the power source could keep you warm in the winter, though that may not be a bad thing.
2. It only has one HDMI input. I would much rather it have two or three (or four) and maybe give up the composite video and S-Video in exchange. I got a cable box and a DVD player, both without a jack, you know?
3. The price is $1,700. In addition to being just plain expensive, this is a tricky price point because, by Thanksgiving, it will be the price of at least some 40- or 42-inch 1080p 120Hz LCDs, most of which will have lots of inputs. That may not be the PC gamers' fantasy, perhaps, but a much better fit for console gamers. Of course, when you compare it to the $1,500 Dell UltraSharp and the $1,800 Apple HD Cinema Display, it's not such a bad deal at all.
So what'll it be, boys? $1,700 is a commitment, but this thing can manage all your stuff. That and winter's coming, and space heaters are not cheap. [Gateway]