Formac Gallery Xtreme 1900
Formac's niche has long been Mac-oriented LCDs that mimic (and once matched) Apple's unusual design sensibility. But the company's designers have fallen behind the times. The new Gallery Xtreme 1900, a 19-inch LCD, offers lovely image quality at a reasonable price, but its easel-like design looks bizarre next to a PC and even clashes with the latest iterations of cool, white Macs.
If you've seen Apple's latest LCD line, the Cinema Display, you'll understand why the Formac Gallery Xtreme 1900 looks so clumsy by comparison. The Gallery Xtreme 1900 is shaped like an easel, with a clear-plastic outer casing that blends into two little front feet covered in nonskid black rubber and a third foot that kicks out of the back panel to stabilize and tilt the display panel. The tripod approach is problematic because it limits the adjustability of the display. You can tilt the panel backward a good amount, but you can't tilt it forward or get it to stand straight up (which irked our Labs technician considerably). You also can't adjust the height of the panel, and because it has three widely separated feet, you can't just prop it up on a dictionary or a riser--you'll need something more like a monitor raft. Add to that the lack of Portrait/Landscape pivot or left/right swivel, and you have one inflexible LCD. The Gallery Xtreme is VESA compatible, though, and MacMice sells a wall-mounting kit specifically for it.
The Gallery Xtreme 1900's color scheme--a clear-plastic frame with a shiny, black bezel--is similarly ill conceived; it doesn't match those of the new Macs or most PCs. The frame's construction felt a bit flimsy, almost as though you could pry the panel from the frame (not that we tried). The display comes only with a DVI connector, though users with older Macs can buy an ADC-to-DVI connector. Unsightly cable dangle is not a problem, as the display sits low on the desktop. Also, only one signal cable extends from the panel; halfway down its length sits a small box called the Formac Display Connector, or FDC, which has ports for a USB cable and the DC cable. There are two USB ports on the back of the display for connecting a mouse and a keyboard, but if you've chosen the DVI option, you must connect a USB cable (provided) between the USB ports on the FDC and your computer to use them.