Color gradients are reproduced perfectly. You don’t lose dark halftones if you reduce the brightness or contrast below their defaults, but increasing the latter above the default value (75%) leads to a loss of light halftones, which begin to be displayed as pure white.
Alas, the viewing angles get to be the main, and negative, first impression from the 245B. The horizontal angle is more or less comparable to that of the other matrix types, but the vertical one is just too bad – the top of the screen gets dark as soon as you lower your head just a little. For other matrix types the position of the eyes at the same level with the top edge of the screen is dictated by health considerations (the eyes should be half-covered with the lids to prevent them from drying up), but for the 245B this is in fact the only position from which the monitor’s screen looks more or less uniform. A few centimeters lower – and the top of the screen gets dark. A few centimeters higher – and the bottom of the screen becomes brighter.
The 245B has a standard color gamut, which is somewhat larger than sRGB in the area of greens and almost coincides with it in reds and blues.
The gamma curves don’t look good at the default settings. They differ from each other and are much lower than the theoretical curve. This means the image looks darker on the screen than it should be.
The curves become normal at the reduced contrast. They look almost ideal now.
The color temperature is set up well enough. The difference between the temperatures of different levels of gray is but slightly higher than 1000K. You can also note that the Warm mode is not in fact warm producing a color temperature of 6500K on average, and gray looks considerably colder than white in it. Most users are going to prefer the Normal mode which yields a somewhat cold color (your perception of it depends on the ambient lighting of your workplace, of course) but has small temperature dispersion.
The matrix in the SyncMaster 245B doesn’t have Response Time Compensation. As a result, the response time average is 14.4 milliseconds GtG. It’s clear why the manufacturer declares the response according to the ISO method (as opposed to the GtG method, it only measures the speed of a transition between black and white, which is in fact the shortest for TN matrixes) – they would have to write a full 15 milliseconds there otherwise.
So, the 245B is not a fast monitor. It is far slower not only on RTC-enabled TN matrixes (there are no such matrixes among 24” monitors, though) but also than RTC-enabled *VA matrixes discussed in this review. Hopefully, there’ll soon be an updated model (like SyncMaster 246B? or 245BF?) with RTC and a specified response time of 2 or 4 milliseconds.
The 245B has a good contrast ratio, nearly matching the PVA-based 244T in this respect. The two monitors also have similar values of maximum brightness.
So, the SyncMaster 245B is a good product overall. It is neat and practical, with a good setup and a much lower price than its competitors based on other matrix types. I can see only two drawbacks in it: it lacks Response Time Compensation (if you want a monitor for playing games, you may find the 245B too slow) and it has narrow vertical viewing angles.
Alas, the problem of narrow viewing angles of TN matrixes becomes even worse as the screen size grows up. The standard measurement method refers to the reduction of the contrast ratio in the center of the screen at different angles of view, but if your head is level with the center, you see the sides of the screen at an angle – and this angle is larger if the screen is larger (if you don’t move your head away from the screen, that is). As a result, using a large monitor with a TN matrix may prove inconvenient even in office applications, let alone watching movies or viewing photographs. Many users complain about the irregularity of the brightness of the screen even on 22” monitors: the top of the screen is darker than the bottom, which is actually the consequence of small viewing angles (this irregularity vanishes if you look at the screen a little from above).
So, before purchasing the SyncMaster 245B, take a look at it alive. Think about its possible applications and how it will stand on your desk. It’s quite possible that it would be better for you to add some money and buy a VA-based model with much wider viewing angles, for example a SyncMaster 245T.