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Samsung SyncMaster 174T

Users have got accustomed to viewing Samsung’s LCD monitor models with the “T” index as expensive products on PVA matrixes, equipped with a digital input. This time however Samsung has adjusted its naming system somewhat and the 174T does have a DVI input, but is based on an ordinary 25msec TN+Film matrix.

The design of the monitor’s case is fully analogous to the above-described 173T, but the base comes from the N series, without any speakers. This base allows rotating the monitor around the vertical axis, changing the screen height and tilt and turning the screen into the portrait mode.

You control this monitor like the SyncMaster 173T: we have a traditional white-blue menu and a row of buttons in the bottom of the front panel of the case. Of course, like the previous monitors, this one can be controlled from the computer with the MagicTune utility.

The monitor does have a TN+Film matrix and the viewing angles are not very wide: the difference in brightness of the top and bottom of the screen is perceptible, especially if you move down from the center. The horizontal viewing angles have a wider swing and don’t cause any discomfort at work, although they have got still a long way to go to PVA and IPS matrixes.

By default, the brightness control is set to 80%, and the contrast to 50%. To reach a screen brightness of 100nit, I dropped both settings to 30%. The menu offers the usual choice of three color temperatures: “User Adjusted” (by default, it produces 5930K white and 7660K gray colors), “Reddish” (corresponds to 5850K white and 5950K gray, and like with the 173T, the screen becomes pinkish in this mode, although there should be no pink color), and “Bluish” (the temperatures are 6080K for white and 11,510K for gray).

I’ve got no gripes about the color reproduction: smooth gradients are displayed with more precision than on the SyncMaster 172X. This seems to be resulting from a slower, but better from other points of view, 25msec matrix.

Our measurements, however, showed that the color reproduction of the 174T is set up less neatly than in the previous monitors. This model displays dark tones a little darker than they should be, while light tones are somewhat brighter than necessary, especially the blue color.

At lower contrast and brightness settings, at 100nit screen brightness, the situation changes – now all the colors are darker than they should be. In other words, the gamma value is higher than 2.2. Moreover, the monitor doesn’t reproduce some of the dark tones of blue (not many of them, though).

The response time is typical for a 25msec matrix. As I used to note in my previous reviews, such matrixes only differ from 16msex ones in one respect: the pixel rise time of fast 16msec matrixes tends to 12msec in the right part of the graph.

The contrast ratio of the SyncMaster 174T turned to be low. It is slightly better than 250:1 at maximum. At reduced screen brightness, the level of black dropped very little, so the contrast ratio was very small. Thus, in a dim room, you will see that the black color is really dark-gray on the 174T.

In comparison to the other monitors, reviewed above, the SyncMaster 174T is a little weaker, mostly because of the low contrast ratio of its matrix. On the one hand, the digital input and the portrait mode put it above the main stream, but the image quality corresponds to cheaper models. Thus, the purpose of buying the 174T seems questionable: it only differs from better value SyncMasters (172S, 173S, and 173B) by its digital input and the portrait mode. So if these features are not vitally important to you, think about other models. Well, the price of the 174T is low enough, so it will surely find its customer, too.

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