The Gateway FPD2185W widescreen LCD monitor is big -- 21 inches, to be exact. It's also rock solid, according to our Help Desk Administrator Nate Burt. "There were no slowdowns or glitches, and the picture was crystal clear," he said of the clarity at the highest resolution (1680x1050).
At an affordable $599.99, the widescreen LCD monitor includes multiple inputs, an easy to operate side control panel, a 16:10 aspect ratio, and an adjustable stand.
The stand offers 35 degrees of tilt, 35 degrees of left/right swivel, 4.1 inches of height, and a 90-degree pivot for portrait mode. Gateway's EZTune software comes standard, so when the monitor is flipped to vertically view Web pages, the screen image automatically flips with it.
Function buttons -- for brightness, contrast, balance, color temperature and gamma settings -- are mounted on the panel's right edge, where you can also set up the picture-in-picture (PiP) function.
In addition to connections for composite video (RGB), component video (RCA), and S-Video signals, the Gateway FPD2185W includes various video inputs -- for DVD players, camcorders, cable or satellite boxes and game consoles. When using the PiP feature, you can watch a movie in the corner while surfing the Internet, and set the level of transparency so the full screen is still visible behind the PiP window.
The PiP window size and location can also be changed, and the main window input can be flip-flopped with the PiP input.
Because the FPD2185W has an 8-ms gray-to-gray pixel-response rating, its display of DVDs and video games was nearly flawless. You can also watch a standard movie in widescreen or panoramic view by changing the aspect ratio, or fill the whole screen with a cropped widescreen image by using the zoom mode.
There's also a power jack for the optional speaker bar, which isn't necessarily worth getting. The sound quality is poor, and when you connect the speaker bar to the display bottom, attaching the DVI cable is troublesome. The monitor comes with a 90-degree offset VGA cable, but the DVI cable lacks that offset, so you must remove the speaker bar to connect the VGA, and then attempt to reconnect the speaker bar.
Analog video and USB cables are included with the monitor purchase, but DVI, composite and component cables will cost extra.
The FPD2185W comes with a one-year warranty that can be upgraded to a three-year warranty for an additional $30.
Compared to the typical 17-inch flat panel, this monitor is nothing short of fantastic.
It swivels, it tilts, and it has PiP and several video inputs. For an LCD that can easily handle a variety of multimedia needs, the Gateway FPD2185W is an affordable solution.
- -- Analog (VGA): 15-pin mini d-sub VGA
-- Digital (DVI-D): 24-pin DVD-D (supports 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i). Includes HDCP (high-bandwidth digital content protection)
-- Composite video
-- Component Y Pb Pr (supports 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i)
-- AC power input
-- USB 2.0 B-type (PC input)
-- USB 2.0 A-type (PC input)