Articles: Monitors

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Samsung SyncMaster 215TW

A good but not exceptional widescreen model in its specs, this monitor was hot news since its first announcement in the spring because Samsung voiced the expected price for the 215TW, a mere $570. It was an incredible number for a 21” monitor on a PVA matrix considering that even good 20” models cost over $700 then. So, where’s the catch?

As opposed to the previous model, the 215TW resembles the inexpensive 20” monitors described above in this review, but with some differences. The control buttons are not bulging now but flat – this seemingly small thing has had a great effect on the monitor’s appearance. There are integrated speakers under the screen. Samsung’s designers found a lucky solution for them: the speakers are sunken one centimeter relative to the monitor’s face panel and do not make it look bulky as is the case with many other models. There is a headphones output on the panel with the speakers.

The SyncMaster 215TW comes in two color schemes: black and silver-and-black.

The monitor’s native stand allows to change the height and tilt of the screen, to turn it around the vertical axis (the rotation circle is in the base of the stand, so the monitor turns around as a single whole) and to pivot the screen into the portrait mode, although a widescreen 21” monitor becomes too tall in that mode, to my mind.

The height can be adjusted from 8 to 18 centimeters above the desk surface, so the monitor can be adapted even to tall computer desks (like the one I have myself). The stand can be locked with a wire pin for transportation. The native base can be replaced with a standard VESA-compatible mount.

The monitor’s inputs are divided in two groups: one group includes an analog D-Sub, a digital DVI-D, a component YPbPr and two audio inputs (one for the computer inputs and the other for the component video).

The power adapter is internal.

A few more connectors can be found on the left panel: an S-Video, a composite video input with an accompanying audio input. So, the monitor lacks a SCART connector, but it is one of the few models with a component input.

The control buttons are located in the bottom left of the case. Quick access is provided to the MagicTune modes (five in total plus a user-defined one), to the brightness setting, to switching between the inputs, to the auto-adjustment feature and to turn on the Picture-in-Picture mode. There is an average-brightness blue LED in the Power button. Unfortunately, this button starts to blink when the monitor is “asleep” which may be irritating. I think it would be better if it just changed its color into the traditional yellow.

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