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The SyncMaster F2080 and SyncMaster F2380 have the following highs:

  • Excellent contrast ratio
  • Good viewing angles
  • Superb ergonomics
  • Two DVI inputs
  • Neat exterior design

And the following lows:

  • High response time
  • Loss of darkest details in shadows
  • Gamma and tonality shift when viewed from a side.

Recommended usage:

  • Design drawings, CAD/CAM applications
  • Simple processing of photographs
  • Movies and games that don’t require a fast matrix
  • Text-based applications and spreadsheets

I had expected the new monitors from Samsung to be worthy successors to the highly popular but out-of-production SyncMaster 215TW that was based on an S-PVA matrix and offered good viewing angles and low response time for reasonable money.

Alas, the F2080 and F2380 are not a full-grown replacement to the 215TW. Although better than their predecessor in some respects, they are inferior to it in others.

There is no fundamental difference between S-PVA and C-PVA matrixes when it comes to such typical shortcomings of PVA technology as the shift of gamma and tonality when the screen is looked at from a side and the loss of darkest details when you look directly at the screen. The viewing angles of C-PVA matrixes are symmetric, and that’s all. The neat reproduction of dark details on some S-PVA matrixes was obviously due to the deliberately increased level of black rather than to some properties of the LCD matrix. This helped solve the problem at the expense of a minor reduction in contrast ratio.

Then, C-PVA based monitors boast a fantastically high contrast ratio of over 1500:1, according to my measurements. They are far superior to the SyncMaster 215TW as well as to most other monitors currently available.

Unfortunately, the response time of the new models is not good enough for dynamic games. It is going to be all right for office applications and for watching movies, but I’d recommend a gamer to take a look at these monitors alive before purchase. Perhaps their response time won’t be satisfactory to you and you will prefer another model.

Talking about the professional positioning of the F2080 and F2380, I can recall a serious opponent from NEC. It is the MultiSync P221W based on an S-PVA matrix. The P221W is indeed superior to the new monitors from Samsung in color accuracy, setup opportunities and response time, but it is also considerably more expensive.

Thus, the SyncMaster F2080 and F2380 are very good monitors for work that does not call for super-high color accuracy as well as for home if you don’t play dynamic games and don’t mind the high response time of the LCD matrix. They are not truly universal, but I have no doubt they will find a lot of applications. Although C-PVA matrixes have retained all the typical drawbacks of S-PVA in terms viewing angles, they are still far superior to the widespread TN technology in this respect. Their contrast ratio is many times as high as that of TN matrixes, too. And as for the price factor, the new monitors are just a little more expensive than TN-based ones. Thus, they fit into the niche between TN-based products and expensive professional monitors in terms of both pricing and parameters. This niche is so sparsely populated at the moment that the F2080 and F2380 may prove to be its only occupants. Theoretically, they have such opponents as the Dell 2209WA (a 22-incher with S-IPS matrix and affordable price) but when it comes to practice, this model from Dell can be found not in all cities and not in all countries whereas Samsung’s products are far more widespread.

I think that Samsung’s new monitors are going to be interesting for people who are not satisfied with the viewing angles and overall ergonomics of today’s TN-based monitors but cannot afford professional products based on S-PVA or S-IPS matrixes.

An option to adjust the level of black is on my wish list now. I don’t think it is too difficult to implement. With such an option, you could choose between higher contrast ratio and more accurate reproduction of darks. I would also prefer DCC-II response time compensation with appropriate acceleration, but I doubt it is possible without making the monitors more expensive.

And finally, Samsung promises new models of S-PVA based monitors this fall. They are going to be more expensive but will also have better parameters.

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