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Testing

 SyncMaster T190

The 19-inch SyncMaster T190 is the junior model in the Touch of Color series. It is a widescreen monitor with a native resolution of 1440x900 pixels, with response time compensation and dynamic contrast mode. Like every other model of the series, it is based on a TN matrix.

The monitor has 100% brightness and 75% contrast by default. To achieve a 100nit level of white – this is a reference point at which the monitor’s color reproduction at low brightness is checked out – I lowered both settings to 25%. The T190 regulates its brightness by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 360Hz.

Color gradients are reproduced without problems at the default settings but look slightly banded at a reduced level of Contrast.

The monitor has a standard color gamut. It loses some yellows because its point of green differs from the sRGB one. Take note that the monitor’s color gamut is equal to or larger than the standard sRGB color space but does not coincide with the latter in shape.

 

The average nonuniformity of white brightness is 5.5% with a maximum of 16.9%. For black, the average and maximum are 5.1% and 17.4%, respectively. The pictures show that the corners of the screen are darker on a white background. When displaying a black background, the screen has a brighter center.

The gamma curves are acceptable at the default settings except that the blue curve sags somewhat.

At the reduced settings the three curves just merge into one and into the theoretical curve for gamma 2.2 (it is black) through most of the diagram.

The color temperature setup is very good. The different grays do not differ by more than a few hundred degrees in any of the modes. I can only find fault with the absolute values: the image is a bit too cold in the Normal mode.

You can correct this easily, though. Go into the Color Control menu and select the following values: R=57, G=50 and B=48. This will yield you a color temperature of about 6500K, just as the sRGB standard requires. The Custom column in the table above shows the effective temperature of different grays with this setup. Of course, I can’t promise that you personally are going to be satisfied with 6500K – this is only what the sRGB standard recommends. You can also set the monitor up for any other value if you have some patience or a hardware calibrator. When you have set the color temperature up, you should reduce the monitor’s brightness with the appropriate setting to the level that suits your workplace.

When the color temperature values of different grays are mapped on the CIE diagram, it becomes clear that the monitor has a deviation towards greens. You can only notice this in the Warm mode, though.

The monitor’s max brightness is even 10% higher than specified. The static contrast ratio is higher than 700:1. The above-described manual setup of color temperature (the Custom column in the table) lowered the maximum of brightness, yet it is still high enough for games and movies.

The MagicBright modes are set up correctly. Each of them has as much brightness as is necessary for the intended application. There are no serious color distortions. Take note that the Text mode is bright enough for a well-lit office and may be too bright for a home environment. So, I guess you may want to set the monitor up manually for working with text and switch into a MagicBright mode for games and movies.

The last column in the table corresponds to dynamic contrast mode. It was filled in in two steps. The level of black was measured on a black screen. The level of white was measured on a white screen. Of course, we had enabled the Dynamic Contrast mode before the test. The value of the level of black is in italics because our calibrator actually reported 0, which would yield an infinitely high contrast ratio. Like any tool, the calibrator has certain measurement accuracy. It is this accuracy, 0.02 nits, that you can see in the table. Thus, the monitor’s effective dynamic contrast ratio is no lower than 16,000:1.

As I wrote above, the SyncMaster T190 offers three modes of response time compensation which is referred to as RTA technology here: Off, Mode1 and Mode2. Mode1 (you can see the corresponding diagram above) provides an average response time of 8.4 milliseconds (GtG) with a maximum of 19.3 milliseconds.

The average level of RTC errors is 5.4% with a maximum of 36%. It means that RTC-provoked artifacts won’t be too annoying. Unfortunately, I found artifacts when scrolling black text on a white background when a low level of contrast was set in the menu. So if you use your T190 for work rather than for games, you should turn RTA off altogether.

Mode2 provides an average response time of 5.4 milliseconds (GtG) but one transition in light halftones took as long as 26 milliseconds. It doesn’t affect the overall speed, though.

I want to note the difference between the RTA modes. If you look at the diagrams, you can see that the transitions fall into two groups. Some are performed at about the same speed in both modes while others are accelerated in the second mode. In other words, response time compensation is just turned off for some transitions in Mode1 but goes on working for other transitions.

This peculiarity of Samsung’s monitors made some reviewers who performed their response time measurements on black-gray and gray-black transitions only believe that the monitor had no response time compensation in Mode1 and was rather slow overall. This is not true as you can see. So if you read a disappointed report like “the manufacturer promised us 2 milliseconds but we have a response time of many times higher than that,” you should inquire about the measurement method. In fact, you can just look at the diagrams. If you see two-dimensional graphs like those we gave up using some three years ago with the arrival of response time compensation technology, you must know that the measurements are performed for transitions from black only. A true picture of the speed of a matrix can only be obtained by measuring the time it takes to perform all possible transitions. Of course, the results of such measurements can only be represented as a 3D histogram.

But let’s get back to the monitor.

The reduction of the response time is accompanied with an increase in the level of RTA artifacts: 12.4% on average with a maximum of 68.5%. These artifacts are conspicuous in games as well as at work.

The SyncMaster T190 might be regarded as a typical 19-incher if it were not for two special things. First, the T190 is one of the most beautiful monitors available. Its exterior design is superb. Second, the T190 proved to be set up quite well, at least in comparison with other inexpensive TN-based monitors. It needs neither calibration nor manual adjustment for home use. Thus, I can recommend the SyncMaster T190 as one of the best home-oriented 19-inch monitors selling today.

 
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