More than any other TV we evaluated, Gateway's LCD illustrates the importance of adjusting image quality rather than going with the vendor's default settings. Out of the box, the Gateway produced the worst colors we saw in this roundup. Color saturation bordered on psychedelic and was most pronounced at the red end of the spectrum. Even the palest people appeared bright pink, while subjects with darker skin turned orange or red.
When we dug into the on-screen menu, we were surprised to see that color saturation was set at only 50 percent. (Even at a setting of zero, the screen was still colorful.) Pushing the color level down to 20 percent (and raising the brightness to maximum) improved image quality dramatically.
One problem that did persist, however, was a slightly higher level of shimmer and fuzziness in both DVD and NTSC TV images than we saw on most other televisions. We saw this both when we viewed TV images stretched to fill the 15:9 screen and when we switched to 4:3 mode.
We tested HD content by viewing IMAX movies encoded in the Windows Media High-Definition Video format. Color quality (after adjustment) was average--neither stunning nor dull.
Perhaps the best-looking feature of the Gateway is its price. At $1500, it was the least expensive of the five LCD TVs we reviewed.
The side-mounted, 5-watt stereo speakers produce plenty of volume. They do distort sounds at the highest settings, but it's hard to imagine the need to push the volume any higher than about 30 on the 1-50 scale. Unlike most other TVs, the Gateway doesn't have a simulated surround sound option--which we missed in DVD movie scenes with music and action. However, it is the only TV we have seen with an output for attaching a separate subwoofer to add low-range oomph to the integrated stereo speakers.
The TV, in fact, is quite loaded with ports, including a set of component video connections, a pair of S-Video ports, and a trio of composite inputs. It also has both DVI and analog monitor ports for attaching computers. And the DVI port supports HDCP, meaning it can receive copy-protected material. Moving the TV to access the ports or adjust its position is made easier thanks both to its ability to swivel about 15 degrees in either direction and to a convenient carrying handle behind the top of the screen.
The Gateway's remote control is by far the largest we saw in this roundup, with room for some buttons not found on other TV remotes. For instance, while other TVs provide a single button for toggling through video inputs, the Gateway's remote features a separate button for each input source. It also produces a signal that can bounce off a wall or a ceiling and reach the TV--sometimes even when you are aiming in the opposite direction.
Attractively priced, the Gateway 23-inch LCD produces middle-of-the-road image and audio quality (after adjustments) for both standard and high-definition television programs and for DVDs.
This story, "Gateway 23-Inch HD-Ready LCD TV" was originally published by PCWorld.