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Gateway SHD-3010 review: Gateway SHD-3010

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The Good Inexpensive; solid black level for an LCD; full 720p resolution; 2:3 pull-down; snazzy floating glass stand; fairly complete jack pack.

The Bad Inaccurate color; nondefeatable edge enhancement.

The Bottom Line While not quite up to the standards of more expensive, brand-name LCDs, this 30-inch set delivers relatively decent image quality.

6.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 5
  • Performance 6

Review Sections

Compared to last year's LCD offering, Gateway's new 30-inch SHD-3010 looks pretty nice. First off, the front of the unit is black, our favorite color in a television frame. Second, this LCD's image quality is noticeably better than many of the budget LCD sets we've reviewed this year, although not up to the standards of Sharp's Aquos models or the latest Samsungs. Still, at this price, it's hard to complain.

While the black front of this panel looks great when compared with last year's nasty, champagne-hued exterior, Gateway can't seem to get on the wagon completely. The champagne color is still present on the sides of the panel and as unattractive to our eyes as ever. See-through Plexiglass connects the panel and the base for a look reminiscent of Sony's recent floating-glass designs (witness the KDL-32XBR950). Unlike the Sonys, however, this Gateway "floats" above the stand, and the effect is quite striking. Buttons for channel and volume control, menu access, input selection, and automatic picture settings are found under the front bezel. The power button, ringed by a lighted indicator, is in the bottom-right corner of the front of the panel.

Compared to the puny remotes that come with most inexpensive LCD TVs, the SHD-3010's clicker seems downright luxurious. Full size, comfortable to hold, and well laid out, it's fully backlit and easy to use, and it even has direct input access. Too bad it's that same old Gateway champagne color.

This LCD sports a native resolution of 1,280x768, which is enough to display full 720p HDTV. All incoming signals are scaled to fit the available pixels. Want HDTV? You'll have to add an external ATSC tuner or an HD cable or satellite box.

Convenience features include independent input memories and single-tuner picture-in-picture. Unfortunately, you can't use the component-video inputs as a PIP source. Aspect-ratio selections, labeled wide on the remote, include Standard, which displays 4:3 sources properly; Widescreen, which displays 16:9 sources properly; Panoramic, which stretches the sides of 4:3 sources to fill the screen; and Zoom, which crops 4:3 sources to fill the screen. All four options work with HDTV and DVI sources.

Inputs include two for high-bandwidth component video, one for S-Video, three for composite, one for VGA, one for DVI/HDCP, one for coaxial, five for RCA stereo audio, and one for stereo minijack connections. There's also one A/V output with composite video. Despite the fact that one of the component inputs is labeled DVD and the other HDTV, they both accept high-def signals. The availability of two computer-capable inputs is a nice touch, and both can handle as much as 1,280x1,024 input, although, as with all LCD monitors, you should use the 1,280x768 native resolution if possible.

Out of the box, with the color temperature set to warm, the grayscale ranged from red/green with darker material to slightly blue with brighter material--as a whole, much better than most competing LCDs. We couldn't access the service menu to perform a proper calibration, so we were limited to user-menu adjustments in our assessment (see the geek box for details). The color decoder showed a noticeable red push, and primary colors showed typical LCD problems: somewhat orangey reds and limey greens. Overall color accuracy is definitely the Gateway's biggest weakness.

The opening scene of Star Trek: Insurrection showed that 2:3 pull-down was present in the video processing. The overturned boats in this scene remained stable, and we noticed few jagged edge artifacts. The Gateway's black levels, while definitely a step above those of the Syntax Olevia LT32HV (one of the better low-buck LCDs we've tested), still weren't quite as deep as those of Sharp's LCDs. In "Chapter 39: The Battle of Hornburg," from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the subtle lines that describe the armor of the evil Uruk Hai warriors prove a challenge to LCD panels' ability to render shadow details. Though the pieces of armor tended to blend together somewhat on the Gateway, details in the faces of the Uruk Hai remained distinct. In lesser panels, these facial features would have been lost.

We also ran our standard suite of HDTV resolution tests on the Gateway and were pleasantly surprised. The panel was able to fully resolve 720p patterns via both component-video and DVI, and the test patterns were extremely clean, even via an analog signal. The result was excellent detail with high-def sources. Unfortunately, we did notice some edge enhancement that turning down the sharpness control couldn't fix.

This Gateway SHD-3010 is certainly a step above lower-priced budget LCDs. If you intend to spend less and get a slightly larger screen, your best bet is Syntax's 32-inch Olevia LT32HV, while we recommend the Samsung LT-P326W if you're willing to pay more for higher style, more inputs, and a better picture.

TEST RESULT SCORE
Before color temp (30/80) 4,850/7,000K Poor
After color temp (30/80) 4,750/7,000K Poor
Before grayscale variation +/- 817K Average
After grayscale variation +/- 856K Poor
Overscan 4% Average
Color decoder error: red +15 Poor
Color decoder error: green -10 Average
DC restoration (See below) Good
2:3 pull-down, 24fps Y Good
Defeatable edge enhancement N Poor

Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.

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