The monitor’s brightness and contrast settings are set at 100% and 80% by default. I dropped them both to 50% to achieve a 100nit brightness of white. Color gradients are reproduced without a flaw at any brightness/contrast settings.
The monitor’s contrast is too high at the default settings as is indicated by the sudden bend of the gamma curves in the top part of the graph. Light image tones are reproduced incorrectly with this setup, so I don’t recommend you to raise the contrast setting above 70% (it is 80% by default).
It’s better at the reduced contrast: the curves look well, without serious defects, and the monitor reproduces the entire range of color tones. There is no problem with the bottoming-out of the blue curve which we have seen on the SyncMaster 203B.
The color temperature is set up somewhat worse here than in the previous model, but well enough for this monitor’s class (to remind you, I’m talking now about one of the cheapest 20” monitors). These minor defects won’t become a problem at everyday use.
I measured the response time of this monitor on black to gray transitions only, but it’s clear even from this 2D diagram that the monitor has an ordinary, even though not the slowest in its class, TN+Film matrix without response time compensation. The full response time is 7.2 milliseconds on a black-white transition, i.e. a little higher than the promised 5 milliseconds. So, the monitor isn’t exactly fast, but it will satisfy an undemanding user, especially since it has no worthy competitors in its price category and the above-described 20” models on TN+Film aren’t any faster.
The 204B beats the record of its predecessor, delivering a contrast ratio of over 400:1. That’s an excellent result for a TN+Film matrix.
In fact, the SyncMaster 204B doesn’t differ much from the SyncMaster 203B except for the resolution of the matrix. Otherwise, the two monitors have similar parameters and an identical design, so the choice depends on what native resolution you prefer: 1600x1200 with small pixels or 1400x1050 with large pixels. Speaking in general, the SyncMaster 204B deserves my praises as it is one of the best models in its class and is quite capable of satisfying not-very-demanding office or home users. If you seek for a higher image quality, consider monitors on other types of the matrix.