- Bright, sharp display quality
- easy setup
- works with PCs and Macs with DVI or ADC connectors
- built-in 2-port USB hub.
- Stand and frame feel a little flimsy
- picture frame design uses more desk space than pedestal-mounted displays.
Although Apple's displays continue to surpass all others in our image-quality tests, the Formac Gallery 1740 comes close -- and in other ways, it's actually better than the Studio Display. Formac’s monitor is less expensive for what you get, and it's a good buy for PC or Power Mac users who want more connectivity and flexibility -- plus a little more screen real estate -- than Apple's Studio Display offers.
The Gallery 1740 is better than Apple's displays in a number of ways. For a start, at 17.4in. across the diagonal, it's bigger than Apple's 17in. Studio Display. The Gallery 1740 has the same 1,280 by 1,024 native resolution as the Apple Studio Display, but it surpasses the Studio Display in brightness, contrast ratio and pixel-response time (a faster pixel-response time makes video look smoother). The Gallery 1740 also supports legacy and cross-platform hardware better. Apple's current displays can be used only with newer Macs that have an ADC connector. The Gallery 1740 has an ADC connector, but it also offers a DVI version (which we tested) with an ADC-to-DVI converter for only £30 (ex. VAT) more -- about a quarter of what you'd pay elsewhere -- so you can use the display with any DVI-connected PC or older Mac. With all these additional benefits, it's still less expensive than a Studio Display -- £629 (ex. VAT) with the DVI converter, £599 (ex. VAT) for ADC only.
So how can Formac give you a bigger screen with some better specifications for a lower price? Branding may have a lot to do with it, but Formac also seems to have cut some corners in the frame construction. The Gallery 1740 emulates the Studio Display in its physical design; a clear, plastic picture frame surrounds a grey or white border and is supported with a rear arm. The monitor looks nice, but compared to traditional, pedestal-mounted flat-panel displays, it uses more desk space and isn't as adjustable. Our bigger concern, however, lies in the sturdiness of the Gallery 1740's frame. It feels a bit thin and flimsy overall compared to the Studio Display's, and wobbles a bit, although it seems in no danger of tipping. More worrisome is the flexibility of the frame surrounding the display. Press the on/off button or anywhere on the frame, and the screen image distorts temporarily, as any LCD does when you press on it. This may not be a real problem, but we were concerned about the cumulative impact of pressing the on/off button every day.
Luckily, the flimsy-feeling construction is one of our very few complaints about the Gallery 1740. In most other respects, it's a well-designed monitor that's easy to use. Setup is simple: plug it in, turn on the computer and it works. The three controls along the bottom of the display's frame control power and brightness; there are no complex on-screen utilities to master. The 16-page paper manual is adequate, covering system requirements, installation and configuration, maintenance and troubleshooting.
Whether you use the Gallery 1740 with its ADC connector or DVI converter, you'll probably like what you see. Formac designs its own electronics and screen using technology licensed from Fujitsu. We tested the display using the DVI connector on a Dell Dimension 4100 PC running Windows 98, and also used the Gallery 1740 with a Power Mac G4. Either way, the results were stunning. Text quality was excellent; scaled fonts looked pure and true. Still and moving images displayed deep, pure blacks and vibrant, bright colours. The Gallery 1740's wide 160-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles made it easy to view even from an off-centre position. Its overall image quality didn’t quite match Apple’s Studio Display, but it did surpass the Apple unit in some areas. There was slightly less streaking and ghosting, for example, due to a 10ms to 25ms pixel-response time compared to the Studio Display’s 40ms. Also, the Gallery 1740 is slightly brighter and has a higher contrast ratio (400:1 versus 350:1).
When it comes to service and support, Formac bests Apple in yet one more way: It offers a three-year warranty on parts and labour (but only one year on the backlight) compared to Apple's paltry one-year plan for everything. Formac’s Web site provides links to drivers, updates and manuals, and support is available via telephone or email.
Macintosh users may be losing some brand cachet with the Formac Gallery 1740, but they lose little in the way of image quality compared to Apple's Studio Display. The Gallery 1740 offers nearly the same great-looking picture (and a slightly bigger one) for a fairer price, and it also offers cross-platform compatibility and your choice of ADC or DVI connectivity. Although we have slight reservations about the sturdiness of the construction, we still think it'd be a very good buy.
|Extras||2 USB ports|
|Display size||17.4 in|
|Native resolution||1280 x 1024 pixels|
|Contrast ratio||1 : 400|
|Vertical scan rate (max)||50 - 75 Hz|
|Horizontal scan rate (max)||30 - 82 KHz|
|Pixel size||0.27 mm|
|Vertical viewing angle||160 °|
|Horizontal viewing angle||160 °|
|Pixel response time||25 ms|
|Digital video input||DVI-D|
|Service & support|
|Standard warranty||3 years (backlight one year)|
|Display technology||TFT (active matrix)|
There are currently no prices available for this product.