The next step of our testing program is measuring the monitor’s max brightness and contrast ratio in three modes: at the default settings, at the maximum brightness and contrast settings, and at the settings that produce a 100nit white.
These are rather average results. The max brightness is above 200nits, which is more than enough for gaming and for watching movies even under bright ambient lighting. The contrast ratio is 300:1, which is an average result, too. To remind you, you should not compare the measured contrast ratio with the specified one because we use a ColorVision Spyder Pro calibrator, which is not very accurate on darks but provides a correct qualitative picture. So, the different monitors can be compared in terms of contrast ratio only within our reviews. We are going to transition to a more precise calibrator in near future – Spyder 3 Elite.
Besides the ordinary user-defined brightness and contrast settings, the SyncMaster 2263DX offers Samsung’s traditional MagicBright technology, a set of predefined modes you can switch between by pressing one button on the monitor’s front panel. Each mode is meant for a specific usage scenario. It is handy. For example, you usually need a brighter screen for games and movies than for text applications, but it takes time to enter the menu and change the brightness setting. It is much easier to press one button once or twice and get the desired level of screen brightness. After you’ve finished watching the movie, you can get back to the previous level by pressing the same button again.
The question is if these modes are set up properly. What’s the purpose of a quickly selectable mode if it distorts colors, for example? That’s not a theoretical apprehension – such modes are available in monitors of many brands (LG’s f-Engine, ASUS’ Splendid, NEC’s DV Mode, etc) but our tests prove that their setup is often sloppy or even downright bad.
I’ll check out MagicBright technology in two steps. First, you’ll see the level of brightness in each mode. Then, the gamma curves will show us if there are any color distortions.
Well, I have no gripes about brightness: the Text mode is bright enough for ordinary office lighting (you may want to set the monitor up manually for the mild evening lighting at home). The Internet mode is brighter, and the others modes are brighter still. By the way, Game, Sport and Movie differ in color temperature, too. It’s normal in the first mode, cold in the second mode, and warm in the third mode.
The gamma curves in the Text mode are roughly the same as at the monitor’s default settings. There are no serious distortions of color reproduction. The Internet mode is no different from this.
The contrast setting is higher in the Game mode as is indicated by the characteristic bend of the curves in the top right of the diagram. The distortions will be barely noticeable in practice – you can only spot them in a special test rather than in a dynamic game.
The Movie mode doesn’t distort colors at all – the curves are shaped properly and go close to each other.
Thus, the MagicBright modes are quite useful in the SyncMaster 2263DX: they are just bright enough for their intended applications and do not provoke serious color distortions. If you buy this monitor, try using the MagicBright button – it is quicker and handier than the manual setup in the onscreen menu.
Thus, the SyncMaster 2263DX – I have been discussing it separately from the additional 7” display so far – is an ordinary modern 22” monitor with a TN matrix. It is beautiful and ergonomic and free from both serious drawbacks and notable advantages in terms of color reproduction.
- Appealing appearance
- Uniform brightness
- Properly set-up MagicBright modes
- Slow matrix
- No screen height adjustment
- Text-based applications (documents, Internet, etc)
- Viewing and simple editing of photographs
- Movies and games that do not require a fast matrix
But of course, it is the additional 7-inch mini-monitor UbiSync7 that makes the SyncMaster 2263DX special. I’ll discuss this accessory in the next section.