Samsung’s new monitor series, P2x50, P2x70 and F2x80, feature an updated onscreen menu. It has a revised design, but its structure and content have largely remained the same.
The menu has five sections with settings. To be exact, the Information section offers no settings but only shows the current display resolution and refresh rate.
The first section contains Brightness and Contrast settings. There is also a Sharpness setting that should better left as it is. Changing the default value only makes the picture worse. Then, you can also choose a MagicBright mode here (but it is handier to do that with the dedicated button, without even entering the menu), adjust the image for analog connection, and choose a response time compensation mode.
MagicBright technology offers five modes with different levels of screen brightness that you can choose quickly by pressing a single button. This is very handy. When switching from an office application to a movie or game, you only have to press the MagicBright button a couple of times to get the screen brightness you want. You don’t have to enter the menu and adjust the Brightness setting in there. As opposed to similar technologies from other makers, MagicBright is not encumbered with any color-enhancing features (but color temperature is also changed in two out of the five MagicBright modes). Your own monitor settings do not get lost: you can access them by choosing the Custom mode. This is all highly useful if you often have to change the brightness of your monitor’s screen.
Dynamic Contrast is listed among the MagicBright modes, too. In this mode brightness is changing constantly basing on the currently displayed content. It is for this mode that the fantastically high contrast ratio of 1:150,000 is specified, but Dynamic Contrast is only useful for movies.
There are three response time compensation modes available in the menu. The Faster mode is selected by default, but, running a little ahead, I would advise you to select Fastest. The Normal mode disables response time compensation altogether.
Next goes the MagicColor section. MagicColor is a technology for adaptive color saturation adjustment that works in either of two ways: it makes all colors more saturated or all colors except skin tones. Some people may like it, but generally speaking, the purpose of all such technologies is to transform accurate colors into pretty-looking ones.
Then, you can adjust color temperature manually with three sliders or switch between preset color temperature modes (Normal, Cool, Warm). You will see below how accurately these modes are set up.
The Color Effect option enables image discoloring with subsequent toning: sepia, aquamarine, etc. I don’t grasp the practical purpose of it.
The Gamma option allows to choose one of three values of gamma compensation.
In the Size and Position section you can specify the position of the menu on the screen and control the display of visual content with resolution and aspect ratio other than the monitor’s native ones (the Image Size option).
In the PC mode (these modes are selected in a different menu section) the Image Size option can be set at Wide (the image is stretched out to full screen) or Auto (standard display resolutions are reproduced with correct proportions; the list of supported resolutions can be found in the user manual).
In the AV mode you can choose between aspect ratios of 4:3 and 16:9 or enable support for typical cinema formats (480p, 576p, 720p, 1080p) that will be automatically fitted into the screen and scaled up with restrained proportions.
The Setup & Reset section offers a lot of settings that don’t even fit into one menu screen. Here they are:
- “Reset” resets the monitor’s settings to their defaults
- “Menu transparency” changes the transparency of the onscreen menu background
- “Language” is the language of the onscreen menu
- “Off timer” is a timer for turning the monitor off automatically
- “Auto source” enables automatic selection of the input with video signal (otherwise, you will have to switch between the inputs by pressing a button)
- “PC/AV Mode” means the above-described modes for working with nonnative image formats
- “Display Time” is the time to display the onscreen menu
- “Customized key” is the function of the quick button that can be used without entering the main menu. I guess its default function – MagicBright – is also the most useful, but you can reprogram it to switch image scaling modes or turn MagicColor on/off.
So, the menu structure has not changed over previous models of Samsung monitors while its design has become somewhat prettier – if you care about your monitor’s menu design at all. Despite the professional positioning of these models, the F2080 and F2380 have exactly the same settings as standard monitors and do not offer any special functionality. I would like to have a larger selection of color temperature modes and the option of adjusting the level of black I mentioned in the previous section. By the way, NEC’s S-PVA-based monitors offer such adjustment.
Still, Samsung should be given credit for developing a clear and logical menu structure. The menu works fast and the MagicBright feature is free from any color enhancements such as similar technologies from other makers come with.