New LCD Monitors from Samsung: Roundup of 5 New Models

Today we will review 5 new monitors from Samsung, which have either recently appeared in shops or haven’t yet become available at all. One of them boasts pixel response time of 12msec. You will also see three monitors with an integrated TV-tuner, and more!

by Oleg Artamonov
03/04/2004 | 03:34 PM

Samsung Electronics is a major manufacturer of TFT LCD panels and LCD monitors and we’ve been including products from Samsung into every our roundup of LCD monitors, but this time we will have the entire article dedicated to them.

 

Moreover, the models we are going to introduce to you today either recently appeared in shops or haven’t yet become available at all, which makes us even more excited about them.

One of the monitors to be reviewed was quite a unique thing for our test lab as we haven’t yet encountered a monitor with a pixel response time of 12msec. You will also see three monitors with an integrated TV-tuner today – we have rarely met them before. We have no ready testing methodology for TV-tuners, so I will only inform you about the functionality of these monitors and test them as usual.

Samsung SyncMaster 172X (SDS)

SyncMaster 172X is one of the most anticipated monitors from Samsung. This is the first company’s monitor with a specified response time of less than 25msec. Moreover, “less than 25msec” means 12msec here rather than the already usual 16msec! And this is the full response time!

The design of the case is gorgeous, resembling the case of SyncMaster 171P, which was developed by the Porsche design studio especially for Samsung. The case itself is silver-colored with dark-gray insertions on the base and a dark-gray panel with control buttons at the bottom edge, under the screen. The monitor is compact: the framing around the screen is only 1cm wide, while the case itself is only 2cm deep. As far as I remember, this is the thinnest and smallest monitor I’ve ever tested in our labs.

The Z-shaped “Dual Hinge” base supports this model as well as it supported 172S, 172B and 172T series, although it has been modified for the 172X. Like the entire case, the base is thin and elegant – the older version seems bulky compared with the new one. To keep the control button on the base, the engineers had to append a small “box” at the back of the panel.

The stand allows changing the height of the screen (at the minimal height, the bottom of the case just lies on the base) and its tilt from zero (vertical position) to 90° (the screen is folded into a single thing with the base). Regrettably, the portrait mode is not available, it is only for expensive SyncMaster models (173T and 173P). If necessary, you can hang the monitor on the wall by folding the base and using the fastenings included with it. You won’t need any additional corbels – the monitor sticks to the wall with the bottom surface of its own base.

There are both analog and digital inputs, but you receive only one cable – an analog D-Sub. The power adapter is external and I consider this fact an advantage, since this reduces the monitor dimensions and allows locating the monitor on the table in a more comfortable way (we have a thin low-voltage cord running to the monitor, rather than a thick 220V power cable). The power adapter can be placed somewhere where you don’t have a chance to trip over it – behind your desk, for example.

As I have mentioned, the monitor control buttons line up at the bottom of the case. They can be pressed easily, there is nothing wrong with them. Quick buttons are assigned to auto-adjustment, to switching between the inputs (the “Exit” button) and to the brightness setting.

The menu follows the unified SyncMaster style: if you have ever seen an LCD display with the blue menu from Samsung, you saw them all. There are three color temperature settings: “User Adjusted” (by default, the real color temperature of white is 5720K and of gray – 7160K and the image seems colder than it should be), “Reddish” (white is the same, but gray is colder, 6430K, with a noticeable pinkish tint), “Bluish” (the temperature of gray grows to 8050K, while white remains the same).

By default, the brightness control stands on 80% and the contrast on 50%. To achieve a screen brightness of 100nit (1 nit = 1 candela per square meter), I reduced them both to 40%. The MagicBright button allows switching between the user-defined setup and three presets of brightness and contrast. The Text mode sets 33% brightness and 45% contrast (this corresponds to 100nit screen brightness, which suits exactly for working with texts), the Internet mode means 54% brightness and 50% contrast (I think it suits mostly for working with graphics, photos and so on), and the Entertain mode has 78% brightness and 55% contrast (for playing games and watching movies). The user cannot adjust these presets – when you try to change the brightness or contrast controls, the monitor leaves the MagicBright mode, switching to User Adjusted.

Note that you can set the screen brightness very low, so it’s quite possible to work with the monitor in full darkness.

The viewing angles are excellent as you should expect from a PVA matrix. No, this hasn’t been a typo! The monitor does use a PVA matrix, although the manufacturer’s website says “TN+Film”. There is no color distortion – only if you move really far aside from the center of the screen, you see some changes in the contrast. I also have no concerns about the color reproduction – the monitor was equally good at displaying photographs and smooth color gradients.

The color curves, however, have a small, but noticeable flaw: the monitor makes some colors look too bright, mostly in the “dark” part of the range. We also see the common problem of many LCD monitors as they reduce the level of red, but increase the level of blue, which leads to a “cold” image with a color temperature higher than what has been set up in the monitor settings menu.

The response time measurements brought no surprises now that we know that the monitor has a PVA matrix. As you know from my previous roundups, PVA matrixes are distinguishable for their low pixel response time on black-to-white transitions, but this response time grows dramatically when there is little difference between the initial and final states of the pixel. This has a simple explanation: the response time is the time it takes the liquid crystals to turn by a certain angle.

On the one hand, the angle is smaller if the difference between the initial and final states of the pixel is small. On the other hand, the speed of the crystal’s turning is proportional to the applied electrical field. LCD panels are controlled by voltage, so we need less voltage to turn a cell by a small degree, and the electric field is weaker. Thus, there are two controversial tendencies: the rotation angle is smaller, but the speed of rotation is lower, too. Different matrix types arrange crystals in different ways, so the manufacturing technology determines what tendency wins in this particular case. The maximum response time of TN-Film matrixes falls on average rotation angles, and this time is the smallest when the pixel is turned by the smallest or biggest angle. The PVA technology produces a higher response time as the rotation angle diminishes. The following graph is a good illustration of the fact:

The contrast ratio proved to be good, above 400:1. However, this is no record for PVA matrixes, which can show a twice higher contrast ratio. When working with a bright screen in a dim room, you may notice that the black color is really dark-gray. On the other hand, this result is very good compared with what we get from typical monitors with TN+Film matrixes.

I’d like to turn to the response time measurements once again. As you see, the pixel rise and fall times are about equal by SyncMaster 172X. On the one hand, this produces a high total response time, but if you compare this to a typical monitor with a 25msec matrix (22msec rise and 3msec fall), the PVA matrix will surely look visually better. For example, if we had a thin line moving around a screen that has the pixel rise time much higher than the fall time, one end of the line (which switches on) would be blurred, while the other wouldn’t be blurred at all (3msec is too low to be perceived by the human eye – that’s closer to CRT monitors). As a result, the width of the moving line would change greatly. On a monitor with equal pixel rise and fall times, both ends of the moving line would be blurred and the line would keep its width, only by changing its brightness (for example, a black line on white background would look dark-gray). The latter effect looks subjectively better than the changes of the width, as it is closer to the natural “blurring” of fast-moving objects.

Quite contrary to the manufacturer’s claims at the company website, this monitor is unsuitable for dynamic computer games as it uses a PVA matrix. If you are into 3D shooters such as Counter Strike or Unreal Tournament, you will hardly like this monitor: the image will become blurred at sudden movements, and if the action goes on indoors, with low contrast, the blur will become simply unacceptable. Keeping this in mind I can conclude that SyncMaster 172X with its PVA matrix becomes a perfect choice for working with text, images, drawings, especially now that 17” LCD monitors on MVA and IPS matrixes have nearly left the market. Excellent viewing angles and contrast ratio, good color reproduction and response time on “black-to-white” transitions are the key advantages of the PVA matrix over TN+Film matrixes in the above-enumerated tasks. And those features are packed into the beautiful case of SyncMaster 172X here.

It may turn out, though, that Samsung starts putting fast TN+Film matrixes into the 172X series monitors and this will change them completely. SyncMaster 172X will become yet another gaming model. You can easily distinguish between TN+Film and PVA matrixes when shopping. Just look at the screen from below: the top of the TN+Film matrix will become dark, while PVA matrixes will provide a pure picture.

Samsung SyncMaster 173VT

This model surprised me twice even before I started my tests. First of all, only the Japanese site of Samsung contains some info about this product (regrettably, my Japanese is far from perfect). Anyway, even this kind of description made clear that the monitor must have a 12msec matrix. Well, the 172X was a disappointment, let’s try the 173VT. Secondly, this is the first LCD monitor in our test lab to feature a touch screen. For technical reasons, we didn’t have a chance to test this interesting function in great detail.

Externally, this monitor doesn’t look like a regular Samsung product. It looks plain, without any innovational design solutions. The front panel of the case is silver-colored, while the back panel and the base are black. The power adapter is integrated into the monitor, so the case is thicker than the above-described SyncMaster 172X. The monitor stands on a simple round base that allows changing the tilt of the screen. For hanging this device on the wall, you’ll need a VESA-compatible bracket. The only distinguishing traits of this product are the glass of the touch screen that covers the matrix and its cord built into the bottom of the case.

As you see, this monitor is equipped with only one, analog, input. So I am inclined to think that the “T” in “173TV” means “Touch Screen” rather than “T series”, which does feature a DVI input.

The control buttons are below the screen, on the right, and don’t follow the traditional Samsung style, either. Quick access is for the brightness control, for auto-adjustment and for switching the MagicBright modes.

The menu design is easily recognizable. We have the Samsung’s traditional neat and handy white-blue panel.

When you choose “User Adjusted” in the color temperature menu, the real temperatures are 5720K white and 7800K gray by default. “Reddish” means 5610K white and 7070K gray, and “Bluish” – 5740K white and 8950K gray. Some tones of gray have a little of pink in them when “Reddish” is selected, that’s why I used “User Adjusted” with the default settings.

The brightness control initially stood on 80% and the contrast on 50%. To achieve a screen brightness of 100nit, I set 43% brightness and 50% contrast. Again, the MagicBright feature is available with its three modes: Text (40% brightness, 50% contrast), Internet (57% brightness and 50% contrast), Entertain (86% and 58%, respectively).

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.

Samsung SyncMaster 510MP

“MP”-marked models have been traditionally coming with an integrated TV-tuner and the 15” 510MP LCD monitor is not an exception.

The regular-shaped case looks very attractive. It is painted silver (the back side is black) and you can mistake the material for aluminum from a distance. Being a multimedia monitor, the 510MP has built-in speakers, but you shouldn’t be misled by the large perforations on the front panel. The two speakers have a size typical for monitor solutions of the kind, in other words, they are small as usual. Well, you have an option of plugging any speakers to the headphones socket anyway.

The power adapter is integrated into the monitor. Adding the TV-tuner with the accompanying stuff, we have a relatively big case, although it doesn’t look bulky. The round silver base allows changing the screen tilt in a very narrow range (when you tilt it far back, the monitor may lose its balance and topple over). If necessary, you can fold the base up completely, but unlike models with the Dual Hinge support, this one requires a VESA-compatible bracket to be hung on the wall. You can purchase this bracket optionally.

Only one analog input is available, but there are numerous audio/video connectors: two audio inputs (3.5mm mini-jack and two coaxial RCA connectors), four video inputs (a high-frequency input for an ordinary TV antenna, a composite input, S-Video and SCART).

S-Video, composite and RCA audio inputs are placed on the side of the case. This grouping of the connectors is made on purpose: the audio input on the back panel turns on when you work with the computer, but when you switch to one of the side video inputs, the second audio input is enabled.

With the two purely television buttons (they switch between TV-channels), we have an abundance of controls. There are independent buttons for choosing the input, for controlling the speakers volume and for switching between MagicBright modes. On the other hand, you have to get deep into the menu for brightness and contrast settings – quick access is not implemented for them.

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.

Samsung SyncMaster 710MP

This is an exact clone of the previous model, SyncMaster 510MP, in everything, save for the screen diagonal – it’s now 17”. I was a bit confused about the name of the product: although it is called “710MP” everywhere, there is a “1710MP” marking on it. I don’t know why this ambiguity occurred, but I will call this product the way Samsung, its manufacturer, and other sources do it.

There is no need to repeat my words about the exterior, functionality, inputs and setup –SyncMaster 710MP fully copies the monitor we have just discussed, so let’s get straight to the tests.

The default color temperature of this monitor corresponds to 6030K white and 7950K gray. Like with the 510MP model, you don’t have any presets here. You can only change the color temperature by adjusting manually the RGB settings.

The viewing angles are quite average for TN+Film matrixes: the top of the screen becomes dark when you view it from below, and white becomes yellowish when you look at the screen sideways.

By default, we have 80% brightness and 50% contrast. By reducing these settings to 33% brightness and 40% contrast, I achieve a screen luminosity of 100nit. There are the same three modes of MagicBright available: Text (43% brightness and 45% contrast), Internet (57% brightness and 50% contrast) and Entertain (69% brightness and 60% contrast).

The color curves look as if the monitor has been calibrated for gamma = 2.5-2.7 and most of dark colors look darker than they should be when we use the sRGB standard 2.2 gamma.

SyncMaster 710MP showed a better responsiveness than the previous model, but nothing changed principally as it also uses a 25msec TN+Film matrix.

The level of black was fluctuating around 1nit and this made it impossible for the contrast ratio to be higher than 250:1. This is not actually bad, but this number refers to the maximum screen brightness. When you work in a dimly lit room with reduced screen brightness, you will surely notice the backlighting of the black color and the contrast ratio won’t exceed 100:1.

Alas, SyncMaster 710MP is even worse than 510MP as a computer monitor – its characteristics are poorer. This again confirms my point that you should regard these products as LCD TV-sets with an additional ability of connecting to the computer. SyncMaster 710MP may become a very good inexpensive TV-set – its drawbacks won’t be of much importance when you use it this way.

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.

SyncMaster 173MP is equipped with DVI and D-Sub inputs as well as two audio inputs, connectors for TV and VHF antennas (the simplest version of the latter – a long wire with a connector on one end and a plastic loop on the other end – is included with the monitor), SCART connector, S-Video and composite inputs. One of the audio inputs is a 3.5mm mini-jack, and the other consists of two RCA connectors. Like in the above-discussed monitors, the second audio input belongs to the same group as SCART, S-Video and composite video inputs and turns on when one of these inputs is enabled.

The beautiful and colorful menu with icons and other graphics interface offers you an abundance of settings.

You can change the name of each of the signal sources as it is shown in the list. The name is selected from the manufacturer’s prefabricated list including words and abbreviations like “VCR”, “DVD”, “Cable STB”, “Satellite STB”, “A/V Receiver” and so on. When you switch between the inputs, the monitor automatically excludes empty connectors from the list (it’s impossible to identify connection for the SCART connector, so this input is always available in the menu). Thus, if you’ve got only your computer connected to the monitor, you will have only three options for the video source: D-Sub (or DVI, if you attached the monitor to the computer across this interface), the integrated TV-tuner and the ubiquitous SCART.

The TV- and FM-tuners can be set up automatically or manually. Besides that, it is also possible to change the order of channels for the TV-tuner and assign a five-character name to each channel (consisting of Latin letters and numbers).

It seems that the audio tract of the FM-tuner is used when displaying TV programs since you can enable this tuner only when you work with the computer. The FM-tuner works in a range of 88..108MHz and can remember as many as 60 radio stations.

The TV-tuner is highly functional, too, especially as far as the ways of outputting the picture onto the screen are concerned. The “Picture-in-Picture” mode is simply splendid here:

First of all, we have the classical “picture-in-picture” mode, when the first image is outputted in a window, and the second - on the whole screen.

Of course, you can swap the pictures. Moreover, you can change the size of the window (not at your wish, though, but choosing one of two available variants), its position (four variants – in four corners of the screen) and transparency (four variants from opaque to transparent).

You can make the two images occupy two halves of the screen and you can also choose if the images should be stretched vertically or not.

The Virtual Dolby Surround technology is meant to enhance the sound quality, but its effect, although hearable, is quite negligible on the humble integrated speakers. Well, I actually dislike such “sound-enhancing” technologies as they often transform music into something quite different from what the sound producer intended. Timbre controls are also available, but they don’t have any positive effect on the integrated speakers, though may be useful with external speakers or headphones.

The monitor uses a TN+Film matrix, but the viewing angles are acceptable. The common problem of this technology – narrow vertical viewing angles – is noticeable, though…

By default, brightness and contrast controls are both set to 50%. The Entertain mode sets them to 75% contrast and 50% brightness, the Internet mode means 56% contrast and 50% brightness, and the Text mode produces 43% contrast and 50% brightness. If you drag the controls to zero, you dim the screen down completely, which is quite an unusual thing for an LCD monitor. Thus, it’s quite possible to work with SyncMaster 173MP even in an absolutely dark room without any problems. 100nit screen brightness is achieved by setting 45% contrast and 40% brightness.

Unlike its above-discussed less expensive mates, this monitor has a few color temperature presets: “Normal” (10,340K white and 13,790K gray), “Custom” (by default, 10,260K white and 13,830K gray), “Cool” (10,640K white and 13,150K gray), “Warm” (9,060K white and 11040K gray) and “sRGB” (8,260K white and 12,950K gray). When you switch into the sRGB mode, the screen brightness grows considerably, while the brightness, contrast and MagicBright switch controls become locked.

The color curves don’t look good. SyncMaster 173MP increases brightness for most color tones, and green is too intensive in bright tones. Thus, a bright picture will have a slight tincture of green.

I haven’t expected anything extraordinary from my measurements here as I already learned the behavior of TN+Film matrixes from my previous experience. SyncMaster 173MP is a little slower than specified, but overall behaves like a regular monitor with a TN matrix.

This monitor cannot boast a good contrast ratio: 200:1 only, and the level of black is above 1nit. In practice, this means that it won’t be comfortable to work with this monitor under an insufficient external light (and, accordingly, low screen brightness) as you will see dark gray instead of the normal black color.

So we’ve got an excellent LCD TV-set with a few minor drawbacks. I can’t say we discovered any serious problems, but we may wish such a top-end device had no drawbacks at all. The inaccurate color reproduction setup and the low contrast ratio are the main disadvantages of SyncMaster 173MP.

Conclusion

Five LCD monitor models from Samsung we have reviewed today made a very pleasant impression. These are really very good products, selling at reasonable prices.

The situation with SyncMaster 172X has become quite mysterious. Notwithstanding the manufacturer’s claims about a 12msec TN matrix, it has a regular PVA matrix. This dramatically changes the range of possible applications: fast TN matrixes suit for gaming monitors, while PVA ones, on the contrary, make a good office monitor, but are quite bad at displaying action-full computer games. Thus, you should consider 172X if you are searching for an office monitor. If you want to buy a SyncMaster 172X for games, I strongly recommend that you check out the matrix type before the purchase. You can easily tell a TN matrix by its relatively narrow viewing angles, especially vertical ones.

SyncMaster 173VT is undoubtedly an exciting and interesting product with its sensor screen, but I was more interested in its 12msec matrix. The monitor did show excellent pixel response time plus a much higher contrast ratio than widespread 16msec matrixes have. I am sure such characteristics promise a bright future for 12msec matrixes, especially in gaming monitors.

SyncMaster 510MP and 710MP are LCD TV-sets in the first hand. Yes, they can be connected to the computer, but they would be just average monitors with 25msec TN+Film matrixes. As TV-sets, they can find their customer due to their good characteristics and beautiful exterior.

SyncMaster 173MP LCD TV-set is highly functional, but is not free from some technical flaws. Once again, you should regard this device as a TV-set, rather than a computer monitor, since its monitor features are quite average, but its TV capabilities include a DVI-input for connecting to the computer, an FM-tuner and rich setup options.

Color Coordinates of RGB Filters (CIE x,y)