P-6831 LCD Quality

Given that we know there are at least two different LCD models available with the Gateway FX P-series notebooks, it's important to make it clear that we are reviewing the 1440x900 WXGA+ LCD. The LCD on our particular notebook comes from Samsung, the LTN170X2. As usual, we are dealing with a TN panel, which means worse viewing angles and 6-bit colors. The good news is that the pixel response time is better than older notebook panels (16ms vs. 25ms), and the backlight is rated at 200 nits.

While Samsung states that the contrast ratio is 500:1, it seemed much worse in person and testing confirmed that at least on our particular model the contrast ratio was much lower. Images appeared to be washed out in comparison to other recent notebooks, although we did notice the improvement in brightness. Let's start with a look at brightness levels and contrast ratio.


Display
Quality

Display
Quality

Display
Quality

The white levels are good for a laptop, coming in at over 200 nits. Unfortunately, black levels scale proportionately, and the result is a relatively poor final contrast ratio of around 250:1. We've mentioned in the past that marketing has gotten a bit carried away with the importance of certain specifications, contrast ratio and response time being two of the biggest culprits. The thing is, such specifications are important when they fall below a certain point. It's difficult to tell the difference between a 2000:1 and a 1000:1 contrast ratio, but the difference between 500:1 and 250:1 is very blatant. We're not quite sure why our test results and the LCD specifications differ so much; it could be that Gateway cut some other costs related to the LCD and that's why the contrast ratio is much lower than expected. It's not enough to make us actually recommend against purchasing the P-6831, although if you demand a high-quality LCD you might want to look elsewhere or use an external display.

A new addition to our LCD testing is a look at color gamut. This is something we have wanted to add previously, but we hadn't found any good utilities for generating the appropriate charts and data. We recently found out about Gamutvision, a utility developed by Imatest LLC. They were kind enough to provide us with a copy of their software, and it does exactly what we need. We compared the color profiles of all previously tested laptops to the Adobe RGB 1998 color profile. Below is a chart of the gamut volume for the Gateway P-6831 FX, along with a graph showing the percentage of the Adobe RGB 1998 gamut from the various laptops. Prepare to be disappointed….


Laptop
Display Quality


We commented in the past about how great the LCD on the ASUS G2P looks in comparison to other laptop LCDs. We now have some more detail as to why it looks better. Nearly all of the laptop LCDs we have tested provide less than 50% of the Adobe RGB color gamut — and note that there are more exacting standards than Adobe RGB 1998. The G2P sets the high water mark at 73.28%, while the vast majority of the other notebooks fall under 50%.

More Information on NVIDIA Drivers Display Quality, Continued
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  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    You'll need to connect an external LCD and run at 1280x1024 to get comparable 3DMark06 scores. Without an external LCD, 3DMark06 will drop the resolution to 1280x800. I'll test that right now to let you know how the system I received benchmarks. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    FYI, here are my results for 3DMark06 at 1280x800 (the default using the laptops LCD):

    Overall Score: 7005
    SM2.0 Score: 3282
    SM3.0 Score: 3430
    CPU Score: 1448
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, March 29, 2008 - link

    Could be that Gateway is just going to upgrade the CPU for free. I'm sure the T5550 will improve performance slightly in some situations, but after all it's only a 10% CPU performance increase. I really wish you could customize the build a bit; I'd want a T8300 and the 1920x1200 LCD personally. That would probably increase the price to $1700-$1800, but that's still better than the alternatives and you wouldn't have to sacrifice in those areas. Although, I do wonder what type of LCD they use for the upgraded model... hopefully the same LG.Philips as the Clevo, as it's quite good. Reply
  • marsbound2024 - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    I work at Best Buy and I am very sure that the batteries typically installed on our FXs do NOT jut out from the back. They absolutely are flush with the unit. However, I do believe it is a smaller mAh obviously. The last time I dealt with an FX at Geek Squad I absolutely do not remember a jutting battery pack. Not sure if others can speak to this or not, however. Reply
  • ap90033 - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    I dont work at best buy, but I HAVE ONE AND IT DOES STICK OUT. Silly head... I bet you work in Geek Squad. LOL Reply
  • marsbound2024 - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    I do work in Geek Squad... not that I like it or even think it is true IT. I have bigger plans, but for now I'll take what job I can get at my age. I realize the jokes about Geek Squad, but I don't care. My intelligence is greater than what may typically be represented by GS Agents.

    Anyways, I verified for myself that the laptop's battery is flush. In fact, I will take a picture with a digital camera to prove it.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    I'd love it if you could check on this. If the standard battery is 2600 mAh instead of 7800 mAh, you'd be looking at 1/3 the battery life that I got in testing. :| Reply
  • marsbound2024 - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    By the way, the Gateway FXs could have been upgraded, but I am sure our display remained the same as far as what battery it has. Reply
  • marsbound2024 - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    I checked on this already and am 100% positive that what we have at Best Buy, at least on display, is a battery that is flush with the unit. I will take it out and tell you what mAh it is. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    Note that Gateway's website lists 2600 mAh for all the batteries on all the P-series FX notebooks, and obviously I received a 7800 mAh battery. Since they Gateway pictures show the battery poking out, and given the power requirements, I have to think they really are shipping larger batteries. The only 2600 mAh batteries I've seen are for 12" and smaller ultra-portables, which end up offering less than two hours battery life on those laptops. Who would want a 20 minute battery life on a larger notebook!? Reply

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