30-inch LCD puts plasma on the run

It looks and acts enough like a plasma monitor to fool even experienced reviewers, and it can even outperform plasma monitors at showing text, but the NEC LCD3000 costs a lot less.

This LCD would make a good personal monitor that can also do the occasional presentation

When NEC-Mitsubishi told me about a new large-screen LCD, I thought it must be one of the 21-inch models that are beginning to flood the market. Then the 30-inch LCD3000 arrived, and I was startled to see how much it looked like a plasma monitor, with the same thin bezel and large plastic feet.

In back were numerous input ports, just like those behind a plasma monitor. NEC wisely provided two metal handles, although carrying this 35-pound unit would probably still be a two-person job.
In my tests, the LCD3000 showed all the advantages inherent to LCDs when compared with plasma, plus a couple of disadvantages.

On the plus side, it had no problems displaying either text or photographs. Most plasma monitors can display one or the other exceptionally well, but not both. Given the fast-response nature of plasma, text display usually gets lower priority. But the LCD3000 displayed text perfectly without any flickering or squaring of round characters.

Good text

For a second opinion, I asked GCN Lab reviewer Carlos A. Soto to step in and take a look at a new plasma monitor I was testing. I showed him the LCD3000, and he expressed amazement at how great text looked on the 29.5-inch viewable screen, saying he'd never seen a plasma monitor display a word processing document so well. Not until I told him it was an LCD did he doubt it was plasma.

The LCD3000 was no slouch at images, either. Photographs appeared in true color with no missing portions. Fine elements such as the veins of a leaf looked crisp and not at all washed out. I could set the resolution as high as 1,280 pixels by 768 pixels for fine details.

The monitor had no phosphorus doping, and I did not see ghosts even after leaving an image on screen for an entire day.

The LCD3000 accepted numerous video inputs'BNC VGA, DVI-D, component, composite and S-Video'plus NTSC television and 15-pin monitor connections, all arranged along the back of the display. They were easy to reach assuming good access to the back.

The LCD3000's best use would be as a personal monitor for a user who needs to keep multiple windows active at once. It could double as a good presentation monitor for conference rooms.
As a display monitor it was quite good, but probably not quite as good as plasma for presentations. Like all LCDs, it could not display optimally in sunlight, whereas plasma looks good in any environment.

The viewing angle was large but somewhat restricted, at about 170 degrees. People at the edges of a room would have some trouble seeing images and text.

But as a large combination monitor, or as one heck of a great personal monitor, the LCD3000 really shines.

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