### Samsung SyncMaster 2263DX

According to the specs, the SyncMaster 2263 is an ordinary modern monitor based on a TN matrix.

Well, after I read through the specs closely, including the small print, I found one interesting thing: the viewing angles are measured for a contrast ratio of 10:1 rather than 5:1 as is usual for TN matrixes.

To remind you, the viewing angles of LCD matrixes were originally measured as the angle to the normal at which the contrast ratio in the center of the matrix is as low as 10:1. The method was not perfect because the result depended on the matrix’s specified contrast ratio (the higher it was, the wider the viewing angles), did not account for color distortions possible if you looked at the screen at an angle, did not specify what changes the image went through at viewing angles from zero to the specified one, did not count in possible changes in the corners of the screen (the diagonal viewing angles are usually worse than both horizontal and vertical ones). However, the method was the same for all matrixes, and that was good.

Eventually, as TN technology was rapidly developing, the manufacturers decided to pull up the characteristics of this matrix type to those of the more expensive S-IPS, PVA and MVA technologies at least on paper and introduced a new measurement method specifically for TN matrixes: the viewing angles were measured for a contrast ratio of 5:1. Of course, this relaxed measurement led to better numbers in the specs: the angles improved from 140 to 160 degrees in a moment! The matrixes proper didn’t change, though. It’s like, “You’ve bought our monitor and are not satisfied with its viewing angles? Don’t worry – you can download a new user manual and learn that the angles have become wider by 20 degrees!”

So, it is not surprising to see a TN matrix with specified viewing angles of 160 degrees. It is also not surprising that such a matrix still gets darker on your looking at it from below and lighter if you look at it from above. It’s just different angles, not like with *VA or IPS. It’s like a kilo of apples and a kilo of oranges. You’ve got a kilo of both, but the taste is different. Just don’t compare them.

Now you understand why the SyncMaster 2263DX specs are somewhat odd. The number of 160 degrees is okay, but the mark “CR>10” is unusual.

Does it mean TN matrixes have improved to the level of *VA and S-IPS in this respect? Unfortunately, not. First, *VA and S-IPS already come with specified viewing angles of 178/178 degrees. Second, the difference is obvious to the eye. The matrix type of the SyncMaster 2263DX can be told easily by the darkening of the image on your looking at the screen from below. There has been some progress since previous generations of TN matrixes – both the viewing angles (the real, not specified, angles) and the contrast ratio have improved – but TN technology is still a long way to compare to the other matrix types.

The other specs are typical enough. The contrast ratio is 1000:1. This number is normal for the current generation of TN matrixes. Our measurements show that the new monitors have an ever-deeper black. I used to regard contrast ratios of 200:1, 300:1 and 400:1 as normal, good and excellent when talking about TN matrixes, but now these numbers have increased by a hundred. The maximum brightness is the same as 90% of monitors have.

The response time of 5 milliseconds (ISO) is quite normal, too. And it indicates a rather slow matrix, by the way. Like with the viewing angle measurement, the manufacturers use two methods to measure the response time, ISO13406-2 and Gray-to-Gray. The latter method counts in all transitions between all possible halftones in all possible directions while the former measures the black-white-black transition only, which is the fastest transition on matrixes without Response Time Compensation. The ISO method is used for RTC-less matrixes to ensure a lower specified response time.

For TN technology, the divide is at 5 milliseconds. If you see this number specified, you can be sure the matrix doesn’t have RTC and its real speed is rather low. If the specified response is 4 milliseconds, the matrix has RTC and is likely to be fast indeed. As our tests show, the difference in real response time between 4ms and 5ms matrixes may be three- or even fourfold.

The monitor has a glossy plastic case but the LCD matrix has a matte coating. This compromise is quite logical: many people are attracted to the black gloss of the case but there are also many users who don’t like glossy screens producing lots of glares. If you’ve got a light source or a brightly lit object behind your back, a matte matrix will only produce a barely visible halo whereas a glossy one will act like a regular mirror.

Well, Samsung has been noted to produce pairs of models to suit everyone’s taste, e.g. SyncMaster 961BW with a matte matrix and its glossy-matrix mate 961GW. Perhaps, we’ll soon see an all-glossy version of the 2263DX, too.

The stand allows adjusting the tilt of the screen only. Moreover, the screen cannot be tilted forward, but only backward. So, if you are going to watch movies on your monitor, the 2263DX won’t be very convenient: the poor vertical viewing angles of the TN matrix are added up with the lack of tilt control.

The monitor can be installed on a standard VESA mount, but the fasteners are used for the mini-monitor’s mount by default.

The stand features an original design. It is detachable, but is fastened using a special clip rather than screws. When you assemble the monitor, the top steel plate is inserted into the monitor’s case to a click. Be careful: the 2263DX must not be carried with the screen down, you holding it at its stand.