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At the default settings the gamma curves are acceptable, but not without flaws. They differ much between each other. The blue curve sags at the middle, and the characteristic bend in the top part of the red curve is indicative of a too high contrast.

Reducing the contrast setting helps again. The curves are now much closer to the theoretical one. You can improve them further by slightly reducing the value of gamma in the menu.

This color temperature setup is among the best I’ve ever seen on a 19” monitor except for models specifically meant for image-processing applications (e.g. NEC’s LCD1990SXi). The temperature dispersion in the Warm and Normal mode is within 200K. The Cool mode is somewhat worse, yet the temperature dispersion is within 700K in it, too. This is indeed a superb setup you can rarely have from a TN matrix.

The color gamut is standard, but the red point is not displaced from its theoretical position as it is in many other monitors. It means this monitor covers the sRGB space to the full, without any omissions.

The response time diagram resembles the SyncMaster 932BF: most transitions are very fast, but there are a few that take much more time to be performed. The resulting average is 4.7 milliseconds but the maximum is as high as 17 milliseconds. On the other hand, most users are unlikely to tell this monitor from its fast-matrix classmates – they all seem equally fast when viewed with the naked eye.

It’s like with the previous model again: most transitions have no error at all, but some are accompanied with an RTC miss as high as 65%! The average is 9.1% which is quite a good result for the RTC mechanism on a TN matrix. In practice, you can indeed see a light trail behind a gray image moving on a lighter background, but I guess this won’t be a big problem for a majority of users.

The contrast ratio is an impressive 400:1 and higher – just excellent for a TN-based monitor.

The Samsung SyncMaster 961BF is a good monitor for your home PC. With its stylish exterior, good color reproduction, abundance of setup options, fast matrix and impressively high contrast ratio, this monitor proves that 19” TN-based LCD monitors are not yet limited to office use. The downside is the high RTC error on certain transitions, narrow viewing angles (typical of TN technology, but you feel them more acutely when you’re dealing with such a good monitor!), and a very high price. Anyway, the SyncMaster 961BF is an excellent choice for a home PC, including a gaming PC.

 
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