SyncMaster 173VT does have a TN+ Film matrix – the viewing angles are smaller than other types of matrixes offer. The onscreen image becomes yellowish when you look at the screen at an angle of about 45° sideways. When viewed from above (30°), the colors become inverted, and when viewed from below – the image becomes dark. However, the angles are not very bad, as I encountered monitors on 16msec matrixes that left a much worse impression. SyncMaster 173VT allows finding a position when both parts of the screen (top and bottom) have practically the same brightness. There is one drawback, though. If you look at the screen perpendicularly, or from below, black letters on gray background receive a bright halo, which greatly worsens their readability. So while black text on white background looks OK from a 1-meter distance, the menu items of the text processor you are working in are not very beautiful.
The color reproduction is good enough, not worse than many modern monitors on 16msec matrixes produce. There are no visual artifacts, but the color curves are far from perfection. SyncMaster 173VT reproduces light tones brighter than they should be, and dark and middle tones – much darker.
My measurements of the response time provided an excellent result: SyncMaster 173VP is the fastest monitor I have tested so far. The full response time is only 11msec and the maximum pixel rise time on black-gray transitions is only 22msec. Let me remind you that my main argument against 16msec matrixes was their ability to show high speed on white-black transitions only, while many of these monitors don’t differ from 25msec matrixes on black-gray transitions. SyncMaster 173VT brings down the response time by several milliseconds in every case – and no monitor with such a matrix has ever shown a maximum pixel rise time below 24msec. Of course, the improvement of 2..4msec is not a technological breakthrough, but definitely a significant step forward. I hope other monitors on matrixes like that will show no worse results.
The contrast ratio surprised me even more: I have already become used to expecting something like 1nit black, or 0.5nit at best from TN+Film matrixes, while SyncMaster 173VT had the record-breaking 0.11nit black! So, the contrast ratio varied from 400:1 to 800:1, which was just an excellent result for fast matrixes. Few TN-matrix monitors ever showed a similar contrast at high screen brightness (for example, only Acer AL1721 reviewed in our previous roundup produced something like that), while the contrast ratio of the 173VT model at low screen brightness is simply unique.
SyncMaster 173VT is an excellent choice for a gamer. It’s not good for office work because of its narrow viewing angles, average color reproduction setup, lack of the digital input and the above-described problem with “haloes” around characters. As for dynamic computer games, SyncMaster 173VT is probably the best gaming monitor I’ve ever tested thanks to its low response time combined with a high contrast ratio (very high for a monitor with a fast matrix!). The touch screen may be a superfluous feature for a gamer, but I hope Samsung will also release a 12msec monitor without the touch screen feature.