Samsung SyncMaster XL24
The XL series had begun with the 20-inch XL20 and it is only after a long while that Samsung complemented it with larger models, starting with the 24-inch XL24.
The monitor is based on a widescreen S-PVA matrix with a native resolution of 1920x1200 pixels. It features LED-based backlight and a color gamut of 123% NTSC (for comparison, regular desktop monitors and notebooks have a color gamut of about 75% NTSC and 45% NTSC, respectively). The monitor is declared to have a maximum brightness of 250 nits, a contrast ratio of 1000:1, a response time of 8 milliseconds (GtG) and viewing angles of 178 degrees both vertically and horizontally.
The XL24 features the traditional exterior design of Samsung’s professional models. It is just larger than usual. The case is matte black. The metallized dots in the bottom left corner make up the word LED.
Included with the monitor is a detachable sun visor. It is metallic and painted matte black on the outside and trimmed with black velvet on the inside. In short, it is very top quality.
The kit also includes an X-Rite Eye-One Display 2 calibrator I mentioned above together with Natural Color Expert software, a DVI cable, a power cord, and a user manual.
When I wrote about the monitor’s dimensions I meant its thickness, of course. The XL24 is not slim as you can see. The high heat dissipation of the LED backlight is the main reason. It is less economical than fluorescent lamps and requires more cooling.
You may wonder how it can be if LED backlight helps save power in notebooks. This is a different case. Desktop monitors use triads of red-green-blue LEDs, which are not economical but ensure the larger color gamut. Notebooks use white LEDs which are economical but provide no advantages in terms of color gamut.
Therefore the XL24 has to use a fan to cool the backlight. The fan is located at the monitor’s back panel, near the connectors, and is rather quiet. It won’t be audible in an office environment. You may hear its soft hiss at home only if you’ve got a quiet system case.
The monitor’s stand allows to tilt the screen and adjust its height (from 120 to 220 millimeters from the desk to the bottom edge of the matrix). You can also turn the screen around and pivot it into portrait mode. The default stand can be replaced with a VESA-compatible mount if necessary.
The monitor has two DVI connectors: a digital DVI-D and a universal DVI-I. You can connect your graphics card’s analog output to the latter via an adapter (I wouldn’t recommend such connection for a 24-inch monitor, though). The input of the integrated USB hub can be seen nearby.
The four USB ports are placed in pairs on the side panel. The ports are too close to each other in each pair, so you can only plug cables or very thin flash drives into them simultaneously. That’s not a big problem, though. I guess even two USB ports would suffice for most situations.
The control buttons are placed in a row in the bottom right of the front panel. Their labels are white and visible even in semidarkness. The buttons provide quick access (bypassing the main menu) to selecting a color gamut (the Mode button; I described the available modes in the previous section), to the Brightness and Contrast settings, to choosing an input, and to the automatic adjustment at analog connection.
The Power button is highlighted in white at work. Below it, on the band that seemed opaque, the name of the current color gamut mode is displayed. If this illumination distracts you, you can turn it off in the monitor’s menu.