SyncMaster 510MP comes with an infrared remote control unit that is powered by two AA batteries. This thing lies cozily in the hand and offers you much more buttons that the front panel of the monitor, but its design is rather questionable. First of all, the rounded shapes and the gray color of the RC don’t match the rectangular silver monitor. Secondly, it’s not quite clear why they made four buttons for volume control and channel switching instead of using the available four buttons “up”, “down”, “right” and “left” as many TV-sets do – these buttons are not used anywhere save for the menu. Anyway, this control is much easier to use than the control buttons on the monitor.
The screen menu is large, about the size of the screen itself, probably for the user to discern everything from a distance when watching TV. The structure of the menu has nothing in common with ordinary menus for Samsung monitors. All the settings are now split into four big groups (for example, all TV-tuner-related options belong to one group, and another group contains only the monitor settings). You don’t have much freedom in setting SyncMaster 510MP up: for example, there are no presets of color temperature.
Unfortunately, the monitor cannot identify what inputs are in use at a given moment, so when switching between the computer and the integrated TV-tuner by pressing the Source button on the front panel or on the remote control, you have to browse through all options, so it appears even faster to do that in the main menu. You can choose a name for each of the signal sources from the list of possible names. For example, if you have a game console attached to the S-Video, it makes sense to rename it into “Game”.
The most disappointing limitation seems to be the missing “picture-in-picture” mode (when two images are displayed onto the screen at a time). Thus, SyncMaster 510MP can display an image from the computer or from one of the video inputs, or from the TV-tuner, but not simultaneously.
The monitor uses a TN-Film matrix, and the viewing angles are surprisingly good, causing no serious discomfort.
By default, the brightness control stands on 80% and the contrast control on 50%. When you use the MagicBright feature, its Text mode gives you 20% brightness and 45% contrast, the Internet mode uses 39% brightness and 50% contrast (these settings make the screen shine with a luminosity of 100nit), and the Entertain mode produces 84% and 60%, respectively. You switch between the modes using a single button on the monitor or the remote control unit. By the way, MagicBright works with the image from the computer as well as with the one coming from any of the video inputs.
The color curves have proper shapes, there is nothing to comment upon.
The response time of SyncMaster 510MP is typical for the slow 25msec matrix: the pixel rise time varies from 20msec to 34msec.
The low level of black results in a good contrast ratio (300:1 in average).
Overall, SyncMaster 510MP is a very appealing inexpensive model. It boasts good characteristics both as an LCD TV-set and an LCD monitor; its functionality is adequate and its design is superb. However, I think the term “TV-set” with reference to SyncMaster 510MP is more appropriate than “monitor”, since it doesn’t offer anything exceptional as a monitor, while the lack of the “picture-in-picture” feature means you can’t use your computer and watch TV channels at the same time. In this case, you may want to purchase a monitor and a TV-tuner independently. But if you ergard SyncMaster 510MP as an inexpensive LCD TV-set that can be connected to your computer, it may look quite advantageous.