Subjective Analysis and Conclusion -
If there's one area that's paramount to a display's performance rating here at HotHardware, then obviously it would have to be image quality over a wide range of applications. Here's where the XP17 shines, literally, with it's powerful 450:1 contrast ratio.
Viewing angle -
XP17 also has a very wide and forgiving viewing angle. During testing we worked with multiple application scenarios, peering at the display from above or from the outer angles of our work area. In any situation, this panel delivers a viewing angle as good or better than our current all time favorite high end display, the 21" Dell 2001FP. It's also one of the brightest displays we've worked with in quite sometime and we found ourselves turning down brightness levels just a tad so that colors were a bit more rich.
Color saturation and uniformity -
In the area of color saturation and uniformity, the XP17 scores high marks with us as well. However, since this LCD is actually based on a 6-bit (16.2M colors or 24 bit emulation) panel to achieve its 16ms response time, it doesn't quite compare to other 25ms 8-bit panels or the aforementioned Dell 2001FP, which also has a 16ms response time but achieves the full 16.7M colors or true 24 bit precision. This limitation of the XP17 will most likely only be noticed by the most discriminating end users. However, if you are comparing a 6-bit panel to an 8-bit panel, side by side, the color saturation differences are somewhat obvious.
Resolution scaling -
The XP17 performed marginally in this area, driven by a DVI connection, which was the best setup we could configure, in terms of image quality. At native resolution, the panel is fantastically crisp and clean with edges of screen fonts precision perfect. Also, at 1280X1024, the image area is definitely dialed into its sweet spot with this panel. It was very easy on the eyes at native res. However, when we dropped down to 1024X768 and below, things got considerably more fuzzy. We'd give the XP17 a B or B+ here, if grammar school metrics were being utilized. Desktop screen fonts were fairly crisp and scaling down a notch wasn't what we would consider distracting, but we're pretty particular in this area. Gaming at 1024X768 was actually fairly impressive as well. All told, it's advisable to stick with the XP17's native 1280X1024 resolution for desktop applications but if you have to drop down a notch to game, you should be OK.
Pixel response time and gaming -
This area of our analysis will be short and sweet. One word fits for the Shuttle XP17 in this criteria, "fast". We drove through many different gaming engines, from FarCry to UT2004 and even a bit of Doom3 toward then end of our testing. The XP17 performed admirably in all cases, with very little if any ghosting or image artifacts in fast moving action. Again, we would have liked a bit more contrast and saturation in our color palette with the XP17 but there's one thing for sure, this thing flips pixels quickly.
The Shuttle XP17 17" Flat Panel LCD display has an MSRP of $649 which includes the custom carrying case. This puts the XP17 a bit on the high end of the 17" LCD scale, in terms of price. In fact, panels from Samsung and others with competitive pixel response times, can be had these days for around $500. However, they'll come with a considerably larger footprint with their bulky bases. The XP17's strong suit is definitely its elegant, sleek design. It has a very compact form factor and is extremely portable.
Image quality wise, the XP17 is about on par with many of the latest high end 17" LCDs on the market. However, the allure of that polished glass face plate, definitely is easy on the eyes, as long as your lighting conditions are right and glare is in check. In the final analysis, this new entry from Shuttle in the flat panel display market has to be considered along with the rest of the field in its class. In general, we'd say Shuttle hit the mark with a nice combination of elegance and function in the XP17. However, better deals are available, if you want to stick with that bulky standard full base model that we've been living with all this time. We're giving the Shuttle XP17 an 8 on the HotHardware.com Heat Meter.