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Samsung SyncMaster 172N (SHN)

I guess you see the traits of the N series in this monitor: very thin framing, elegant case and relatively massive base. Well, SyncMaster 172N uses a different base than 171N I reviewed in my previous articles. It is smaller, it allows changing the height and tilt of the screen as well as rotating it around the vertical axis. The portrait mode is also available.

SyncMaster 172N comes with one analog input as it belongs to the inexpensive series from Samsung. It uses a TN+Film matrix, so the viewing angles are normal.

By default, we have 80% brightness and 50% contrast. The MagicBright feature is available, you enable it by pressing the “-“ button. There are three modes: Text (45% brightness, 50% contrast), Internet (65% brightness, 55% contrast), Entertain (75% and 65%). You cannot change these presets: the monitor leaves the MagicBright mode when you try to move the brightness control.

The menu offers three color temperature settings: “User Adjusted” (by default, it corresponds to 5820K for white and 7720K for gray), “Reddish” (5210K and 6780K), and “Bluish” (6210K and 9140K). As you see, there is a considerable difference between the temperatures of white and gray. In fact, the color temperature is controlled at the expense of gray in this monitor, while the temperature of white never reaches 6500K.

Auto-adjustment works well, but not perfectly well, so you can always resort to manual adjustment (“Fine”) in order to create an ideal image quality, so that’s not a problem.

By setting 32% brightness and 40% contrast, I achieved a screen brightness of 100nit. Power of the backlight lamps is modulated at a frequency of about 310Hz.

The color curves are smooth, as the measurements of the color temperature have suggested, and the blue color is too intensive. But the overall shape of the curves looks as if the monitor was calibrated for gamma 2.7, rather than 2.2 (which is the industry standard sRGB). So, if you care about correct color reproduction, you should calibrate this monitor. Otherwise, a big portion of color tones will be darker than they should actually be.

The response time coincides with that of the previous monitor, the SyncMaster 172S. That’s good enough for a 25msec matrix.

The contrast ratio has grown since the 172S: it’s twice higher, although the maximum brightness is even higher than in the previous model.

So SyncMaster 172N is a good representative of the middle class with its good response time, acceptable contrast ratio, and adequate color reproduction. I can’t say it would make an ideal monitor for working with photographic images, but if you are a home or office user without any specific requirements, SyncMaster 172N may suit you well. The portrait mode deserves another mention, since it is very useful when you are working with text.

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