Picking out a 30-inch monitor is truly a chore!

Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
I have come to the conclusion that picking out a 30-inch monitor is a major ordeal. I have no doubt it would be easier to suck a gumball through a straw, but luckily, I have neither of those things on-hand to test for myself.

As I mentioned in the Gateway XHD3000 review thread, I need to purchase a 30-inch model and was considering that one. I gave the monitor an Editor's Choice and it deserved it... but as always, nagging thoughts kept telling me that there were other options out there.

I quickly discarded the thought of purchasing an XHD3000 simply because Best Buy is the lone place to order it in Canada, and they have been out of stock for a while. So of course, Dell's 3008WFP came into mind, and I've been reading about it online ever since (thanks in part to sbrehm's linking to a particular thread... it set me off!). I have literally read through at dozens of threads relating to the 3008WFP and can now stand firm about not wanting one.

There are many people out there who own the monitor and very few of them are completely satisfied. It seems that backlight-bleeding on that display is truly ridiculous, although its intensity varies between units... it's luck of the draw. To add to that, input lag seems to be a rather large problem. All 30s will have some noticeable input lag, but apparently the 3008WFP showcases some of the worst.

The largest benefits of the 3008WFP is the higher color gamut and the fact that it includes DisplayPort, although its importance is low right now. Still, for a premium monitor, it shouldn't suffer from such intense input lag and bleeding.

I looked around at other competitors, but the main problem there is that none of those have upscalers, which I love. I am confident that no other monitor out there (minus the 3008WFP, perhaps) would make the Playstation/Xbox and Blu-ray movies look so good. The upscaler on the XHD3000 is superb in those regards. It could be better, of course, but at this point in time, I have no complaints. Plus, with those scenarios, I didn't really notice any input lag, so it could be that it will only be noticeable when playing fast FPS PC games.

So... once said and done, I decided to go with the XHD3000. I checked out Best Buy's Canadian web site tonight, and lo and behold... there is stock! Although I really <strike>dislike</strike> despise Best Buy as a company, this is one particular situation where I have little choice. Gateway certainly doesn't make it very easy for Canadians to acquire their products, that's for sure. But on the good side, the display happens to be on sale... with $200 instantly knocked off of its original price, so I can't complain too much.

As I write this, though, the site is down for maintenance, so no orders can be placed. I'll order it once I wake up, and it should be here on Mon or Tues. Here are my personal pros and cons:

+ Comfortable brightness and good color
+ I can hook up the PC, Xbox AND PS3 all at the same time (DVI/Comp/HDMI)
+ Soundbar is good for the small area I live in... I have no room for external speakers
+ Upscaler makes the consoles and Blu-ray movies look fantastic
- No current Linux support... at least until a firmware update
- No high color gamut to boast about
- Upscaler input lag... but sadly, it's not uncommon
- Brightness lowers when upscaler is used... really too bad

+++ I don't have to worry about what monitor I want anymore ;)
 

linnerd40

Obliviot
The XHD3000 looks like an excellent monitor! Congrats on the purchase (or soon to be purchase).

Hmm... it comes to mind though, didn't you just order the dell 2408WFP?

If you are getting both... you are one very lucky man!

-linnerd40

ALSO: Have you looked at the Samsung SyncMaster 305T? Looks pretty good. But, it may not be what you want (doesn't have an upscaler I believe). Just throwing that out there :)
 
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sbrehm72255

Tech Monkey
Dell and Gateway are the prime players in the size that you are looking at as far as I know. There are others, but I'm not at all sure how they compare to them, I giess I should do a little research on the topic and see just what I can dig up.
 

Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
Hmm... it comes to mind though, didn't you just order the dell 2408WFP?

I have more than one computer (I guess this is obvious), and have been meaning to upgrade two different displays forever, so I figured that I might as well get it all taken care of all at once. I have been using a 20" on my main work machine for a while, but needed the upgrade, so that's where the Dell came into play. The Gateway will be shared between two different PCs... one is my Windows machine, the other is the benchmarking rig.

As for the Samsung 305T, it's a good monitor also but doesn't really suit my needs (namely because of the upscaler). I have a friend who bought that monitor a few months ago and got rid of it in order to pick up the 3008WFP (but that was primarily due to the gamut).

Dell and Gateway are the prime players in the size that you are looking at as far as I know. There are others, but I'm not at all sure how they compare to them, I giess I should do a little research on the topic and see just what I can dig up.

This was the common theme I saw all over the place. The Dell is a good choice for superb color, but to be honest, I am not sure I would enjoy that monitor that much. After getting the 2408WFP, I now know how bright their displays are. I'm not sure I could handle that on a 30". The Gateway is not super-bright, but is a lot brighter than most. The upscaler, as I mentioned, is really one of the selling points for me though. It's a super all-around monitor. Best Buy also had the display for $200 off, so it made the deal even sweeter.
 

MacMan

Partition Master
The 30 Inch Monitor You Ignored!

+++ I don't have to worry about what monitor I want anymore ;)[/QUOTE]

I'm surprised that you seemed to ignore one monitor all together, and that would be the one from Apple, a company with a market cap bigger than Dell, HP and many others, Intel included. When it comes to 30 inch monitors, Apple's Cinema Display was the very first out there by over three years.

Recently, CNet did a comparison of Apple's monster with that of Dell's excellent 30 incher. This is what the had to say:


"Apple trumped the Dell in our DVD-playback test, displaying less digital noise and more-realistic skin tones, and it won the more technical rounds, with more-vivid colors and better grayscale differentiation. This is the monitor of choice, especially if you own an Apple computer, since the Apple OS provides additional configuration options."

They also rated the monitor as simply the best "GAMING" monitor ever created! You may find the article's link here:

http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-10442_7-6470175-1.html?tag=feat.3

Apple Canada, we know, would only be too happy to ship you off one of these monitors for evaluation, so why not give them a call? I would love to see you review one, especially in light of CNet claiming that it was the best 'gaming' monitor to be had anywhere! We all know that Techgage readers are gamers, so it would be nice if they could know how well, this 'ultimate' gaming monitor really stacks up?

I have seen this monster at the local hospital and it is lust worthy, the colors and the sharpness is great. The Canadian price is $2,000, but it's not much more than some of the monitors in the top end 30 inch class.

Apple's Mac now commands 14% of the U.S. market; 25% of the total dollar sales of all U.S. computer sales, ( http://news.techwhack.com/7294-apple-mac ) and the main reason, I believe, is the quality that goes into products such as the 30 inch Cinema Display.

By the way, at over 3 years of age, this monitor can be expected to be updated in the not too distant future.
 
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Greg King

I just kinda show up...
Staff member
So yeah. Umm about that.

That monitor has a worse contrast ratio, a horrible response time, and costs more because it's got that good ol' Apple mark up and the best that you can say is that they should be working on an update to this monitor.

Well said.
 
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Kougar

Techgage Staff
Staff member
MacMan, that is an older article... if you can find one comparing an Apple Cinema to the 3008WFP then I'd be impressed. :) Last I'd heard the 3008 had surpased the Apple 30" offering, not to mention was (marginally) more affordable.
 

sbrehm72255

Tech Monkey
2 year old reviews don't hold a lot of water, not in my book anyways, granted Macs as a rule have had great displays, Macs is all I owned for years and years when I lived and worked over in Europe.

They have gotten way over priced IMHO over the years, back in the day in Europe the price difference was extremely small.
 

Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
I'm surprised that you seemed to ignore one monitor all together, and that would be the one from Apple, a company with a market cap bigger than Dell, HP and many others, Intel included. When it comes to 30 inch monitors, Apple's Cinema Display was the very first out there by over three years.

I don't even know how to respond to a post like this... I do recommend learning more about monitors before recommending one, however. That Apple 30" is lackluster at best. It was released three years ago, and its specifications prove it. It might have been the best gaming monitor then, but it's far from being that now. That crown belongs to Dell's 3007WFP-HC, thanks to its specs/price and overall lack of input lag.

Apple 30"
Contrast Ratio: 700:1
Response Time: 16ms
Brightness: 400 cd/m2
Connections: DVI
Scaler Chip: No
Price: $2,100 CAN

Gateway XHD3000 30"
Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
Response Time: 6ms
Brightness: 400 cd/m2
Connections: DVI, HDMI, Component, Composite, VGA, S-Video
Scaler Chip: Yes
Price: $1,500

Why on Earth would I want to pay $600 more for an inferior option? The XHD3000 has a far better response time and contrast ratio, includes numerous connection types that I need and has the upscaler chip that makes my game consoles and movies look unbelievably great. Only an idiot would purchase Apple's display over another at this point in time... no matter WHO they are or what they need it for.

You claim you are not an Apple die-hard, but there's no possible way you can deny it. You are recommending a far more expensive monitor that lacks in every regard when compared to ANY other current 30" model on the market. You need to get with it and realize that Apple is -not- the king of hardware, nor do they even try to be (evidenced by the fact that they have not updated their offering in three full years).
 

Kougar

Techgage Staff
Staff member
Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the 3008WFP replaced the 3007WFP-HC? Only checking because I'd like to keep at least a few of these straight incase I ever stumble across one... :D
 

Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
You are correct, although I'm unsure if Dell admits that, since the 3008WFP is a premium product. The original 3007WFP was discontinued as soon as the 3008WFP showed face, and the 3007WFP-HC in turn became their "budget" monitor.

For the $1,200 price tag, it's well worth it. The specs are great and so is the input lag, which is why it makes such a great gaming monitor. The main downside to me is the backlight-bleeding, but as it seems so far, the 3008WFP is even worse in that regard.

http://techgage.com/viewimg?img=/reviews/dell/3007wfp/dell_30hc_07.jpg&desc=Dell 3007WFP-HC

Going forward, Dell will not be releasing "-HC" monitors. What I was told is that ALL monitors will be considered high-gamut, so the -HC moniker was dropped. There will be no 3008WFP-HC, for example. This is a good thing for the most part though, since it makes the monitor-buying situation a bit easier.

Other than the loss of the -HC displays, I am not sure what we will see from hereon out, eg: what the next upgrade will be. I know other monitors are in pre-production that offer even larger resolutions than 2560x1600, but I still think 30" displays will be the norm for a while. It seems to be a perfect choice all-around. Not small by any means, but not entirely too large either.

The next year in displays is going to be incredibly interesting though. I think we'll begin to see monitors shrink in size, but their resolution not go anywhere. I am sure a 26" or 27" display capable of 2560x1600 is right around the corner... I just don't know who has it. Matt's taking a look at a Lenovo 22" that does 1920x1200... so we are definitely on the right path.
 

sbrehm72255

Tech Monkey
Don't those super high native resolutions make everything way to small on the smaller displays (22" & 24"). Makes things a bit hard to see for us older folks. 1920 x 1200 is pretty small as it is on a 24" display.
 

Kougar

Techgage Staff
Staff member
Hm, well thanks for the info. :) My Dell laptop is 17" and offers 1920x1200... and it was from 2005. Even blown up to 24" I have to shove my face in the screen to make out pixels at that resolution! So I am not that sure about cramming higher resolutions into the same real estate!

Was hoping Dell would have some LED models soon, that was supposed to fix their bleed-through issues. My laptop has horrendous bleed through issues on all four sides, but on the other side of the coin my 2407 non-HC has absolutely zero bleed through or backlighting issues. At the time it depended on which revision display people ended up with...
 
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Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
Well... I agree with you sbrehm. The resolution is small enough, but I still think there are many people who are wanting to experience such a high resolution without taking up so much space on their desk.

I think for 1920x1200, a 22" should the the cut-off, and for 2560x1600, 27" should be. Notebooks are a different story though, of course.

Kougar, I had NO idea that resolution was available on laptops back then... what kind of premium did THAT cost? Impressive.
 

Kougar

Techgage Staff
Staff member
It did have a premium on it, but not horribly so so it seemed like a good upgrade. It was $50 more above the middle option, which was around $50 above the base screen. The screen is the most important part of the computer, after all. :)

At the time they had three different LCD screens, 17" TFT Truebrite WUXGA was the top one. Others were 1600/1680 and 1440 I think. At the time I think it was the Inspiron 9300 17" models that also offered it, the 9400's did for sure. It sucks for movie watching due to the bleed through, but otherwise if no black borders are used it still manages to look good.

I will confess 24" is about the perfect size for a monitor... anything physically larger would just be to huge for a desk! 24" just seems exactly the right mix between size and resolution.
 

sbrehm72255

Tech Monkey
As much as it would be great to have a 30" display, one of those monstors wouldn't work of me really. It wouldn't fit on my desk unless I rebuilt the thing and then my video card wouldn't beable to push it enough to game on.
 

Merlin

The Tech Wizard
As much as it would be great to have a 30" display, one of those monstors wouldn't work of me really. It wouldn't fit on my desk unless I rebuilt the thing and then my video card wouldn't beable to push it enough to game on.
But you could give YOUR monitor to the wife and use the 30'' as a combo monitor/TV

Merlin
 

sbrehm72255

Tech Monkey
Only problem doing something like that is our computer room is down in the basement on the other side of the house from where the living room is. So I'd have to rewire the entire place again and that is one extremely hard task for me to complete these days.

Although have TV and all downstairs would save me from having to fight my way up the stairs when I wanted to watch something on the tele.............;)
 

Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
I will confess 24" is about the perfect size for a monitor... anything physically larger would just be to huge for a desk! 24" just seems exactly the right mix between size and resolution.

I can agree with that for the most part. Using the 24" Dell for the past week or two has been spectacular... I absolutely love the physical size and the resolution. Icons and fonts are perfectly sized and the monitor actually fits on this crap desk. To me, 1920x1200 is a huge improvement over 1680x1050, while 2560x1600 is for ultimate multi-tasking.

Though I don't care to use 2560x1600 all the time, it has come in handy way more than once. I use Linux most of the time, I create graphs for reviews on the Windows machine. Usually whenever I do that, I have Excel, Word, Firefox, Photoshop, Notepad and a calculator on the screen at all times... with no Alt-Tabbing required.

I do admit though, that moving to that resolution can be daunting at first, if not exhausting. It DOES take getting used to, both for gaming and regular use. It can be a perfect size if you can get used to it... the amount of desktop space is simply incredible (4.1 million pixels compared to 1920x1200s 2.3 million).
 

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