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Samsung SyncMaster 970P

The lifecycle of the 173rd and the 193rd series proved to be short. Just as the arguments on was it at last possible to play games on PVA matrixes were reaching their climax at various Internet forums, there came the news that the 173P+ and the 193P+ would soon be taken out of production and would be replaced with SyncMaster 770P and SyncMaster 970P models with a yet lower response time.

We only managed to find a sample of the senior 970P model for this review, but I think that most of its results can be extrapolated to the SyncMaster 770P since these two models make up a pair similar to the above-described 173P+ and 193P+. In other words, the size of the screen is the single important point of difference between them.

The SyncMaster 970P is made in a completely new case no other monitor from Samsung has ever had before.

The front panel of the 193P+ was made of aluminum (of painted aluminum when the case was red, blue or black), but the case of the 970P is wholly made of smooth white plastic with decorative light-gray inserts. There is not a single metal thing here – even the Power button has lost its chromium plating and is now made of translucent plastic.

A long folding “leg” is fastened on the rather massive rectangular base. Besides the top and bottom joints, there is now a third joint exactly in the middle of the “leg” thanks to which the 970P permits to adjust the height of the screen in a wide range, just like monitors with classically designed stands (the screen height range was rather limited with the 193P+ and its screen also moved forward and backward as you changed the height). And like with the 193P+, the screen can be positioned horizontally or even upside down. You can fold the monitor up and mount it on a wall or pivot the screen into the portrait mode.

The single control here is the Power button, located in the center of the stand and made of translucent plastic. It is highlighted with a blue LED at work. This button also switches between the monitor’s inputs – you should press and hold it for a few seconds to do that. The rest of the monitor setup must be performed through the MagicTune utility (as far as I know, version 3.6 works normally with the 970P). Unfortunately, the above-mentioned DDCcontrol utility does not yet support the 970P, so all Linux users who want to buy this monitor have to wait for a new version of the utility or, if the monitor is already purchased, contact the authors of the project and help them add the 970P support. You should run the console command “LANG= LC_ALL= ddccontrol -p -c -d” and send the output data to the DDCcontrol mailing list at the address ddccontrol-users@lists.sourceforge.net.

The monitor’s connectors are implemented in a curious fashion. The 193P+ has them at the back of the stand, but the stand of the 970P has a non-detachable “tail”. The tail ends in a box with a power and a DVI-I connector (you can attach either a DVI-D or, via an adapter, an analog D-Sub interface to this connector). To tell you the truth, I can’t comprehend the point of this solution. The monitor’s stand is larger than the 193P+’s, so I don’t think anything prevented putting the connectors on its rear panel. The box itself is not handy as you can’t detach it from the monitor and it doesn’t have its own fastening while the length of the cord is only about 20 centimeters. And the strangest thing is that there is virtually nothing inside the box, besides the two connectors…

So I hesitate to judge the exterior design of the SyncMaster 970P as against the earlier models. It has its strong points like the wide range of screen height adjustment, but it has bad points, too, like the odd box with the connectors, the rather big base, and the use of plastic instead of aluminum. So choosing between the design of the 193P+ and the 970P is a matter of personal taste.

 
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