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Samsung SyncMaster 710T

The SyncMaster 710T is the senior model of the 710 series, and it looks exactly like the above-presented 710N, save for the availability of a digital input. So, there’s no need to dwell upon the exterior, menu structure or other such things – it’s all like with the 710N, but the 710T comes with a base that allows for a height control and a portrait mode. I only want to say that this monitor is a well-thought device, poising no problems before the user.

To set this monitor up you may use the MagicTune utility, like with any other new model from Samsung. Sometimes users complain of MagicTune’s refusing to work via a DVI connection, but I had no problems whatsoever – the utility worked correctly in pair with a GeForce Ti4800SE graphics card. So, it’s probably the graphics card or its driver that don’t support DDC/CI that’s to blame for the problem. Of course, this only refers to the 710T model – we didn’t carry out any investigation in our labs as to the compatibility of the MagicTune utility with different LCD monitors.

Talking about the MagicBright feature, here’s a piece of good news for the Linux community: the ddcontrol project has been recently announced which is developing a monitor control utility for this OS. The project originated from the merger of two independent projects: Linux DDC/CI control by Nicolas Boichat and Linux DDC/CI Tool by Oleg Vdovikin. Although there’s no release at SourceForge as of time of writing this, you can already download console versions of the utilities from these sites. The utilities are distributed under the GPL license, so the project is open for all people who are willing and capable of developing new or testing the available versions.

But let’s get back to the monitor. Black vertical lines on a gray background cast a subtle white shadow to the right, but it’s less visible than on the SyncMaster 710N. In fact, you can only see it when you want to see it. This shadowing persists when the monitor is attached via the DVI interface, so it’s not a problem of the analog connector or cable. But again, in this case the shadow is so subtle that I can’t call it a serious drawback.

Selecting the “Cool” color temperature setting in the appropriate submenu, you get 6770K white and 8060K gray. The “Normal” setting produces 5630K and 7590K temperatures, and the “Warm” setting – 5060K white and 5920K gray. So, the difference between the temperatures of white and gray is big enough in this model, too.

The brightness and contrast settings are both at 80% by default. To achieve a screen brightness of 100 nits, I adjusted the controls to 42% brightness and 50% contrast.

The gamma curves look much better than on the SyncMaster 710N, but not without sin – the light tones are too intensive. But this defect vanishes at the 100nit screen brightness.

The response time graph looks impressive, though. This monitor confirms that it has a 12ms matrix inside (the full response time is 9+3ms), but also shows the absolutely best black-gray time among all monitors we’ve ever tested in our labs! Until today we thought a pixel rise time of 25 milliseconds was an excellent result. The 710T has a pixel rise time of 17ms at most! I must confess this is the first time in my practice that an introduction of a faster matrix noticeably affects not only the black-white transition (which is the specified matrix speed), but also black-gray transitions.

The contrast ratio is good, too. It is about 300:1 – that’s no record, of course, but better than many competing models have.

Looking similar to the 710N, the SyncMaster 710T is overall better! It has a better color reproduction and is almost free from the problem with the white shadows from vertical lines. And what’s the most thrilling thing, this monitor has the absolutely best black-gray pixel transition time! Like the previous models, this will suit for office work, too, but if you’re choosing a display device for games and movies, you should certainly consider this one. There’s only one downside – the current price of the 710T ($470 and higher) looks a bit of an overstatement.

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