The viewing angles of the SyncMaster 173P are excellent, like they should be with a PVA matrix. The specification says they have been enlarged from 170° to 178° in this model, mostly by making the screen framing thinner. The viewing angles are really limited by the plastic framing that rises above the screen level if you measure them according to the standard methods. The color reproduction is beyond criticism, too, as smooth color gradients look perfect and there is no trace of “jaggies” or irregular brightness distribution. Moreover, the monitor was shining evenly in dark, without any light spots where the backlight lamps were.
By default, the brightness setting is set to 80%, and the contrast setting to 50%. To reach a screen brightness of 100nit (1 nit = 1 candela per sq. meter), I dropped the brightness control to 38% and the contrast to 30% (I should warn you against taking these values as a reference – they may be different in another sample). You can work with this monitor in a dim room without problems, setting the brightness and contrast settings to their lowest (you should know, though, that it is not recommended to look at the screen in full darkness, because it hurts the eyes – there should always be a light source, however dull, like a desk lamp).
Besides the independent regulation of the RGB settings MagicTune offers three variants of the color temperature: Normal, Reddish and Bluish. The first temperature results in 6070K white and 6290K gray. The second setting corresponds to 4580K white and 5090K gray; the third one to 8350K and 7830K, respectively. As you see, the monitor is originally set up carefully, since there is a small difference between temperatures of different colors. Note also that the color temperature settings are blocked when you switch to the DVI input – the monitor automatically enters the Normal mode.
As we might have expected, the color curves look very good, save for blue, which is slightly lower than should be. This is evident because the temperature in the Normal mode is below the necessary 6500K.
The response time of the SyncMaster 173P turned to be typical for a PVA matrix. It is exactly 25msec on black-white-black transition, but when there is a small difference between the pixel initial and final states (for example, when a gray object is moving on a light-gray background), the response time exceeds 100msec!
The contrast ratio is excellent. It is over 700:1 at low brightness and the luminance of black is practically invisible even in darkness.
The SyncMaster 173P is, beyond doubt, among the best monitors in its class. I had had some apprehensions about the lack of the control buttons, but the program for controlling the monitor proved to be much better than any onscreen menu. The excellent design, aluminum case, portrait mode, the possibility of placing the panel in practically any position you like, very good color reproduction and excellent contrast ratio all make this monitor an excellent choice for both office and home. That is, if you buy a monitor for work, not for games. Regrettably, the low response time of the PVA matrix make the SyncMaster 173P unsuitable for dynamic games. If you need good responsiveness, you’d better take a look at the following model…