Samsung SyncMaster 173MP
I was most curious about this new model from Samsung, SyncMaster 173MP. It is a 17” LCD TV-set of the highest class that can be connected to the computer along both analog and digital interfaces. It carries TV and FM tuners inside and supports the “picture-in-picture” feature.
They deliberately smoothed the case up, leaving no square angle, when developing its design. The device is large so it’s rather hard to believe it is only 17” in the diagonal. It doesn’t look bulky or massive, however, thanks to this sleekness of the case and a well-chosen color gamut. A black framing surrounds the screen, making it look even larger, while the rest of the case is made of silver-colored plastic. Regrettably, there are painting defects. Where the silver case changes into the black part, you can see a rough edge between the panels where the paint ends (the painted plastic is black). They should have used plastic of the color close to silver for the painted parts or lay the paint thicker so that the sudden color change didn’t catch the eye.
The massive base only allows adjusting the screen tilt in a very narrow range. If the angle is too big, the device may just topple over. If you want to hang it on the wall, use a standard VESA-compatible bracket.
The integrated speakers are placed into the silver “ears” at the monitor sides. Regrettably, I couldn’t find out the size of the speakers, but their sound is pretty average: the volume is enough to fill a small room with music, but low frequencies are missing altogether and the reproduction of high frequencies is not quite true to life. Well, this monitor is equipped with a headphones socket and you can use it: sound was really quite good in my Sennheiser PX200 headphones. You can plug active stereo speakers into this socket, too.
The right side of the monitor carries large control buttons. Quick access is denied to brightness and contrast controls, like in 510MP and 710MP models, so you can only control the sound volume, switch the tuner channels, select the input, disable the FM-tuner and enable the “picture-in-picture” mode without accessing the menu.
173MP comes with an infrared remote control unit, like junior models. The RC is a cute thing, painted silver, dark-gray and light-gray colors. Although its shape is quite weird (flat top and rounded bottom), it is easy to hold in the hand. I can only come up with two remarks: first, it is again quite unclear why they made four independent buttons for controlling the volume and switching channels and, second, the exaggeratedly angular case design, without a single rounded corner, suits more to SyncMaster 710MP rather than to the sleek 173MP.