Westinghouse W3301 30-inch LCD

Westinghouse W3301 30-inch LCD

westinghouse copy.jpgIt’s a good thing it’s big, because it looks best from afar

Month Reviewed: February 2005
Verdict: 7
URL: www.westinghousedigital.com

Westinghouse probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think about computer LCDs, but the company is a big player—at least in terms of screen size. While most of Westy’s offerings are LCD TVs, the largest panel in its lineup—just shy of 30-inches diagonal—offers DVI alongside all the other inputs you’d expect from a multimedia monitor, making our group of power users take notice.

As always, our first order of business was to introduce the monitor to our faithful friend DisplayMate (www.displaymate.com). Unfortunately, the relationship was not without conflict. Most notably, the display suffered color-tracking issues, evidenced by shifting hues among the various steps of Display Mate’s grayscale ramps. In other words, there was a lack of balance between the red, green, and blue channels, causing tinges of these respective colors to surface at different gray-scale intensities. On a similar note, while the WW3301 did a fine job distinguishing between white and very light grays, the light grays were consistently pink in hue, despite the monitor being set at a “cold” color temperature. This should be a warning to anyone who’s concerned with color accuracy.

Also of note is the display’s 0.5mm pixel pitch—nearly twice as coarse a pitch as that of the 23-inch LCDs we reviewed in December. The pitch explains the visibility of the screen’s pixel grid when viewing content up close. It also results in less-than-impressive text reproduction, with fonts of 10.5-point and smaller appearing blown-out. Legibility was compromised even further with serif fonts and reversed text (white type against a black background). Granted, with a display this large, you’re likely to be at least 3 or 4 feet from the screen, in which case these matters are less critical.

In our Need for Speed: Underground gaming test, the W33001 performed adequately. Running with an interpolated resolution of 1024x768, we didn’t notice any streaking, but we did see what looked like subtle texture-filtering issues in the foreground, which we haven’t experienced before with the ATI 9600 graphics board we used to test the LCD.

In the end, the W33001 makes for a fine TV, a nifty game-console companion, a respectable display for DVD movies, but just a so-so display for PC games. It’s also an impractical monitor for day-to-day desktop computing, to say nothing of digital image editing. --Katherine Stevenson

+ Seven Seas: Lots of connection options.

- Six Sigma: Color tracking issues and a large pixel pitch.

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