Articles: Monitors

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This is a typical menu from Samsung, quite user-friendly, which offers typical settings for that class of monitors, without any extras. Quick access is provided to the auto-adjustment feature, to switching between the inputs, to the brightness setting and to the MagicBright modes (preset brightness/contrast combinations).

By default, the monitor’s brightness and contrast are set at 100% and 75%, respectively. Brightness is controlled by means of pulse-width modulation of the power of the backlight lamps at a frequency of 330Hz. The monitor displays color gradients without even a slightest defect.

The gamma curves look well at the default settings, except for the blue curve which bottoms out too much.

The curves get closer to the theoretical ones at the reduced brightness/contrast, but there is a new problem with the blue curve: the monitor doesn’t differentiate between the darkest tones of blue, about 10-15% of the entire range, reproducing them all as black. So, the gamma compensation setup can be viewed as good, but not perfect.

As opposed to that, the color temperature setup is blameless. The monitor can’t match the NEC LCD2190UXi, but is set up just perfectly for its own class. Even in the Cool mode, traditionally problematic for LCD monitors, the different levels of gray differ by an acceptable 400K (a difference of 1000K and more can often be seen on many other monitors).

The monitor doesn’t have response time compensation, yet I measured its gray-to-gray transitions so that we could better compare it with other models. The average response is 15.3 milliseconds with a maximum of 36.0 milliseconds. It means that the monitor is fast in its class (but only in its own class because it can’t stand a comparison with RTC-enabled matrixes).

There is no RTC, so there can’t be RTC artifacts. That’s why there’s only one diagram here.

The contrast ratio is surprisingly high at 360:1. This is better not only than other monitors on TN+Film but even than MVA matrixes offer. Samsung’s monitors have always featured a high contrast ratio, but those were mostly PVA matrixes where you could indeed expect it. Here, a very good contrast ratio is provided by an ordinary TN+Film matrix.

So, the SyncMaster 203B can be characterized as an inexpensive yet very nice monitor. Very nice for its price, I’d say. Its disadvantages are only due to its matrix type: TN+Film technology still cannot provide really good viewing angles and its speed is not very high without response time compensation. Otherwise it is a well set-up, neatly designed and easy-to-use monitor offering all the functionality you may require, from digital input to portrait mode. The competing Acer AL2017 just stands no chance against the SyncMaster 203B, which also costs less money! If viewed as it is, without any comparisons, the 203B will suit nicely for office work as well as for not-very-demanding home users, especially if you want to read text easily thanks to its increased pixel size.

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