Samsung SyncMaster 940nMikey 7 comments
LCD flat panels have dropped in price dramatically recently, with 19 inch models even being justifiable come time to convince our better halves.
I use 2 LCD's - won't have it any other way. And after having to surrender the 19 inch Viewsonic to my daughter two weeks ago I was left with a single screen.
All you single monitor users are probably saying 'boo fricking hoo' right about now but to anyone who knows the joys of working on 2 screens you all understand how I felt. It only took less than a day before withdrawal symptoms started to kick in.
So while secretly researching my 'replacement', the Samsung SyncMaster 940n took my fancy above all others because of its great price to feature set ratio.
So let's have a look at the specs in brief.
- Size: 19 inches
- Contrast Ratio: 700:1
- Response Time: 8ms
- Input Connectors: 15pin D-sub
- Weight: 5.5kg
- Special Features: MagicTuneTM with Asset Management
- Warranty(P/L/Backlight): 3 Year on-site DigitAllexpress swap service
- Pixel policy: Samsung's Zero Pixel Defect policy
Full specs can be found on the manufacturer's web site.
This is the first LCD I have owned with a black form factor, which is a refreshing change for me. The buttons are justified to the lower right of the frame, with the power button the only one that lights up. The buttons are more sensitive than some other screens I have known.
Setup was as simple as it gets with the base screwing into place with no need to refer to the manual. The back plate snaps into place concealing the mains and d-sub connector headers.
On factory settings I thought the contrast was a little high and the brightness a little low. This made my Polyview V396 sitting right next to it look dull in comparison. Trying to colour match screens of different brands is quite challenging, but eventually I got the Samsung looking good.
My Photoshop gradient test revealed that the Polyview handles gradients slightly better but only at the darker end which was a surprise. But the Samsung's black was darker which makes up for it a little. Photographs look brilliant and editing in Photoshop bears no problems.
I have been used to playing games with 8ms response times for a while now, so playing on the Samsung was not a new experience. That being said, having a blacker plane means playing games in the dark is slightly better than when playing on a screen where black closer resembles dark grey.
This has always been one of the downsides to LCD panels. Having a backlight to drive the display means even black will have a 'glow' to it. This is not really an issue however unless you work with dark applications (space games) with the lights off. It will be interesting to see how OLED technology handles dark situations when it eventually supercedes LCD.
As expected movies are as good as they get in both DVD and DivX formats. No ghosting was present even during fast action sequences. Watching the same movie side by side on each both monitor shows the Samsung to have a slightly better image quality which was unexpected considering the gradient test earlier. Compression artefacts are slightly less noticeable, but you really have to be deliberately looking for differences to notice.
I have recently started using ClearType which essentially renders the edges of all onscreen text anti aliased. Although this is far superior on the Macintosh, it is still OK on the PC. Text renders on screen as good as expected even without ClearType enebaled.
The onscreen display is your typical 5 button navigation combination to access all menus. All the usual adjustments are present, including Samsungs trademark new technology, Magic Colour.
At first glance MagicColor appears to be nothing more than a series of preset colour/contrast/brightness combinations. But if want Samsungs version:
"MagicColor" intelligently enhances color automatically for areas that need color correction. MagicColor selectively improves color through three modes: Intelligent Mode, which enhances color quality except specific colors whose changes are easily recognized; Full Mode, which is a full color enhancement that includes skin tone color; and Demo Mode, which displays the improved image on the left and the original image on the right.
The 5 modes revealable are:
- Demo: (shows split screen mode, with Magic Color activated on the left and deactivated on the right.
- Full: MagicColor activated
- Intelligent: MagicColor detecting optimal settings
- MagicZone: Apply MagicColor to a certain part of the screen.
- Off: MagicColor deactivated.
- My personal preference with MagicColor is to leave it off, as the colours are just way too vibrant - even for an LCD.
Dead Pixel Policy.
This was a pleasant surprise. My first Samsung (from about 2 years ago) had a lousy pixel policy. The new zero dead pixel policy means even just one dead pixel anywhere on the screen guarantees me a replacement monitor.
This is testament to the improved LCD manufacturing process that evolved over the years. Any company that can provide a zero dead pixel policy must have confidence in their product. I am happy to report I have no defective pixels.
The Samsung SyncMaster 940n is one of the better LCD monitors I have purchased. It is thin, vibrant and has a good warranty and pixel policy.
Putting it through the paces of Photoshop, Games, and general office tasks all week has been nothing less than expected.
At a price of only $340 (lower if you shop around), a 19 inch LCD of this quality and feature set is a no-brainer decision for anyone looking for an excuse to dump the old electron gun or to join the ranks of us dual monitor elitists. There is no excuse at this price.
To date, the best monitor I have purchased. Certainly a great buy.