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Samsung SyncMaster 173T

The characteristics of this model are practically the same as those of the above-described SyncMaster 173P. Like the 173P, this monitor is based on a PVA matrix. The design of the 173T, however, steps away from the elegant and memorable 173P. We have a neat and compact case without any gaudy decorations – you may know it from the N series models. The base is different, with integrated speakers. Yes, earlier, Samsung used to build speakers into the case, but now they are in the base, or rather in the pole, which is made bigger exactly for that particular purpose. There you also find the amplifier and the volume and timbre controls.

Of course, the sound quality remained principally the same. The super-compact buzzers can only give voice to Windows, ICQ and similar programs, but won’t suite for listening to music. On the other hand, such speakers may be good in an office, plus the monitor has a headphones output.

The monitor features standard controls: a row of buttons in the bottom of the case and a white-and-blue screen menu. Of course, you can use the MagicTune utility, if you wish.

The default brightness and contrast of the SyncMaster 173T stood at 80% and 50%, respectively. By setting them to 30% (brightness) and 33% (contrast), I made the screen shine with a luminosity of 100nit. If you drop these settings to zero, you practically extinguish the screen, but the response time grows considerably at that.

The monitor offers three color temperature presets: “User Adjusted” (5690K white and 6380K gray), “Reddish” (produces a slightly pinkish picture with 4870K temperature of white and 5510K temperature of gray), and “Bluish” (6450K white and 7460K gray).

The viewing angles are perfect; the color reproduction is good, without any artifacts in smooth color gradients. I also couldn’t notice any defects in the distribution of the backlight.

At the same time, the color curves say that the monitor setup is not ideal. First, the gamma value is evidently lower than it should be (and halftones are lighter than necessary), and second, the monitor doesn’t distinguish between some darkest tones, especially dark-blue.

I was very much pleased with the response time of the SyncMaster 173T. The pixel rise time was considerably (twice!) lower than by the 173P and other monitors on PVA matrixes I had reviewed in my previous articles. I think this is an accident, though. I doubt Samsung uses a better matrix in its second model of the 17” series than in the first model (I mean the 173P, of course). Anyway, I will pay more attention to PVA matrixes from Samsung in the future: if this response time reduction is not a mere accident, it means a serious breakthrough in PVA technology, which so far has only one and probably the only one serious drawback – slow response time.

The contrast ratio of the SyncMaster 173T is high, reaching 1000:1 at 100nit screen brightness. This is far above the specification. The maximum brightness was at the same level as with the SyncMaster 173P.

The SyncMaster 173T is quite interesting as a monitor for work – like other devices on PVA matrixes it is badly suited for games, but is an ideal choice for working with text, with vector graphics and so on. Our measurements show that it only loses to its elder mate, the 173P, in the color reproduction, so the 173T may be considered as a low-cost alternative to the 173P. Accordingly, you may want to pay attention to it if you need a monitor for work, but you don’t wish to pay extra money for such decorations as an aluminum case or an elegant design. Both monitors offer practically the same functionality.

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