Annie Oh rates this 4/5
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Gateway FHD2303L Review From: Gateway

Pros
Clean, modern design. Delivers relatively good high definition quality.

Cons
The image it produces just isn't that crisp; the monitor is hard to adjust.

Verdict
It's a good entry-level monitor, but don't expect perfect quality.

Is the Gateway FHD2303L Monitor Really Worth the Hype?

Earning CNET's Green Pick in 2010, the Gateway FHD2303L Monitor ($179.99) is as affordable as it is stunning, although a few kinks don't make it ideal for movie play. Though a crisper resolution is preferable, it's still an excellent entry-level HD monitor that works best for casual computer users. Here is my review.

Pros
  • Clean, crisp design
  • Easy to use controls
  • Good, high definition quality
Cons
  • Not good enough for 1080p watchability
  • Hard to adjust screen tilt
  • Stand isn't sturdy enough

Design

The Gateway FHD2303L Monitor is as smooth as it is thin--a glossy, smoke finish gives it a modern look, with only a small, embossed logo marking the front of the monitor. Thanks to the glossy finish, it's also easy to clean, though dust can accumulate often.


Though the Gateway is relatively thin, don't expect it to be the thinnest around; depth-wise, it measures 0.8 inches, so it's still slightly thicker than your average modern monitor. The rectangle stand adds to its thickness and weight, with only a small, plastic neck keeping it upright, which I wasn't pleased with. It doesn't appear like this is a monitor that can handle a lot of heavy use, and so I'd advise being gentle with it. A set of controls line the right side of the Gateway, and all of its cords are kept neatly under the back panel. Overall, it's decently designed, but don't expect it to be as good as pricier models, such as the Dell UltraSharp U2711 or Samsung PX2370.

Display

Although I wasn't completely satisfied with the Gateway's resolution, it was still very good considering its price--in fact, I'd venture to say it's the best budget-level monitor currently on the market. For starters, color saturation and depth is excellent here, and color loss seems to be minimal. Brightness levels can be adjusted on the side panel--you'll need to click a few times to lighten or darken the LCD display. Visibility was also good, regardless of brightness levels, with text and pictures visible even in microscopic sizes. CNET reports fonts are visible down to size 6.8, which is remarkably good.

Where this display falters is in the sharpness of the content, however--although it was definitely good, it just didn't seem sharp enough to me. The content was slightly dull, which didn't become obvious until I began watching videos. Even when video resolution was set to 1080p, the content looked slightly blurry--and it was an eye sore. Color degradation also seemed to occur when watching video, though not enough to be obvious.

Features

Feature-wise, there isn't much to say about the Gateway FHD2303L; customization is sparse, and this serves best as a basic-use monitor. As I mentioned before, the side panel allows you to make various changes, such as changing brightness levels and accessing the menu. The menu is where you can make the most advanced changes--from adjusting contrast levels to fiddling with the gamma feature. You can also reset your default controls through the menu. For improved viewing, the neck tilts back by 10 degrees, though it was difficult to do so, and I feared the neck would break at any moment.  For improved capability, it also works seamlessly with computer mice, such as the Logitech G9X.  

Verdict

Although it's a good budget-level monitor, it doesn't deliver the crispest resolution, which disappoints me. Still, most standards computer users won't find this a problem unless they stream movies or videos online. My recommendation: Get it if you want to save money. If quality is a bigger concern, however, shell out an extra $300 for a Samsung PX2370; the image is crisper.
Date Reviewed: May 29, 2012, 2:35 pm
Reviewed by Annie Oh
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