SAMSUNG SyncMaster 244T: Pretty in Big.
Written: Jul 20, 2006 (Updated Aug 16, 2006)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
- User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Use:
Pros:Size, resolution, style, brightness, contrast ratio, pivot, video response, ergonomics, internal PSU
Cons:slightly expensive, 100W power consumption, extreme brightness difficult in dim environment
The Bottom Line: Size matters and Samsung offers a big gun that's both affordable and powerful.
LCD screens have come a long way from small, exotic and expensive to large, common and relatively cheap. Quality improved almost at the same pace as prices tumbled. In fact, a 24 inch monitor with the qualities of the 244T would have easily exceeded $10k two or three years ago. So at a fraction the cost, how does this giant stack up? You're right, that's what we're going to find out. Read on ...
Samsung is one of the big names in the business and it's not just because of the use of Corning glass panels, which are considered amongst the best in the world. That doesn't necessarily translate into a visible advantage, but Samsung sure is still a name to bank on for quality.
IN A NUTSHELL
The SyncMaster 244T offers good reasons to be considered. Besides the street price well below $1000.-, the 1920x1200 pixels in wide screen format, an astounding 500 nits in brightness, 1000:1 contrast ratio and excellent 178 degree viewing angle speak for themselves. The excitement is only dimmed by some quirky menu options and the "high" price for non-professionals.
Professionals: [*****] The SyncMaster 244T belongs in professional applications like CAD and DTP where the content requires a high quality representation. The viewing angle, contrast and resolution are most important here. The 244T excels in all those categories. In fact, that's my current application (CAD & DTP) and the 244T is great for it. Beware of Samsung's MagicColor and other convenience features! MagicColor is boosting colors either selectively or globally and blows any calibration out. Consider to turn this feature off for color critical application (picture processing). Other than that there is hardly anything wrong with this monitor from a 2006 point of view.
Gamers: [****-] A magic 16 ms is required to be in sync with a 60 Hz refresh rate and not show ghosting. However, depending on your video card and application you might not be able to even reach 60 FPS (Hz) and probably may not notice much of that anyway. This is especially true at the native resolution. The sum of 2.3 million pixels needs a powerful graphics card to be fed continuously with fresh data (pictures). From this angle, the 244T can be recommended for enthusiasts only that have the proper firepower. A great feature to offset LCD typical shortcomings may be the MagiColor/MagicBrightness which in this case boosts dark areas and improves traditional weak points like color rendition etc. for entertainment purposes.
Home: [***--] Granted 24 inches can be overkill for most home users and the need to display two letter-sized pages side by side is sure not as important. For standard application bigger may be better, but keep in mind that the graphics card needs to be capable of providing DVI-D signal and hopefully fast enough to feed 1920x1200 pixels with reasonable refresh rates. The price may exceed many home-grade computers and in reality most may be better off with a 19" monitor which are currently available for over $250 (or almost $700 less). In fact, the power consumption of 100W may not be justified if all you do is use 1/2 of the screen anyway (browsing the web).
Follow this link to find out: "How to find the right monitor for you."
Panel Size: [*****] Twenty four inches (61 cm) were not too long ago good sized tv sets, especially when talking LCD panels. Now computer users get pampered with this huge workspace, which basically allows to display two letter sized pages side by side at 100%. The size is accompanied by 1920 x 1200 pixels and the displayable information is simply impressive (or essential for some professionals). At that amount of information it's best to team this up with a powerful graphics board. It's also recommended to use one with DVI-D output, to render details in the best possible quality. (At 2.3 MPx to be served, the detail loss due to the digital-analog-digital conversion can be significant.) The size and brightness demand slightly more power than comparable models by Sony or Viewsonic. With 100W peak power, the 244T is currently on the upper end of modern 23 - 24 inch monitors.
Resolution: [****-] With 0.27 mm pitch the resolution turns out to be a 94 dpi, close enough to the standard Windows resolution of 96 dpi. Due to its size, perfectionists may still feel the need to calibrate Windows to a custom resolution. However, Windows (including XP) typically results in distortions due to a less stellar rendering engine and browsing the web or system text typically becomes ugly and sometimes unreadable. (Especially annoying in MSWord.) Fortunately software like CorelDraw and Illustrator have resolution calibration included and bypass this weakness and allow to keep Windows on 96 dpi and still display the document at a perfect 100%. However, there is rarely a monitor with exactly 96 dpi (ppi) available and Viewsonic and Sony coming in at 98.5 dpi (0.258 pitch) poses similar problems.
Response: [*****] With eight milliseconds of response time, the 244T is on par with most models in today's lineup. For professional use this is typically less important. The 8 milliseconds are not specified on how they were measured but it should be in line with the typical grey-grey numbers, while that implies a black-white-black of roughly 16 ms. With that, video applications and gamers might be happy enough to declare this monitor "perfect".
Display Quality: [****-] Despite the high contrast ratio of 1000:1, the 500 nits brightness easily overpower the black levels at extreme settings and require some reduction anyway. Yet, the 1000:1 contrast ratio helps to render dark areas while elevating bright areas. (Black is still not a true black in dark scenes, while it looks like it with in a bright picture.) The anti-glare coating is very effective and even keeps the typical Grey scatter to a minimum to render good Black level.
The viewing angle of 178 degree in both orientations may be too optimistic, but it still reflects minimal brightness changes under normal use despite the size of the screen and the resulting variety in viewing angles. (In comparison, Samsung's own 904B sports 160 degree and shows annoying visible variation for even slight angles.) Color depth is limited to the typical 24 bit (16 Mio shades) and still at a disadvantage relative to (analog) CRT monitors. Unlike EIZO's flagship, the Samsung internally processes 24 bit only. Overall, the 244T does an admirable job for an LCD screen, though problem areas of the LCD technology are not (yet?) eliminated. (5 stars from a 2006 viewpoint, but still only 4 when measuring it against "perfection")
Ergonomics: [****-] The thin bezel is more esthetically important than for ergonomics and the Silver version actually slightly better due to reduced contrast surrounding the immediate screen. The stand allows adjustment in orientation and tilt with relatively low force, but due to the size of the panel that still requires both hands. There is no traditional height adjustment since it locks in the bottom position and is supposed to be unlocked to raise the screen for rotation only. (Fortunately, the height suits my needs well.)
The viewing angle is superb, but also needed to make the 24 inches work at normal working distance (desktop use). The connector location is in the back, including those one might consider temporary like S-Video. That makes it a little harder to get to. The trunk of the stand sports cable management which works well, and only seems to be limited when using the pivot since it gathers the cable off-center (from the pivot point). MagicRotation appears very similar to a simplified version of PivotPro. Both nVidia and ATI offer the same functionality in their drivers since 2004 which eliminates the need for MagicRotation, especially since it doesn't automatically sense the screen orientation. (Further, for some odd reason, the 24 bit mode of the graphics board is not supported by MagicRotation, but 32bit is ... despite the screens limitation to 24bit color depth.)
Hot/Dead Pixels: [*****] Due to the total of 2,304,000 pixels (6,912,000 sub-pixels) at a 0.27 mm pitch the 244T should be more prone to failure than the relatively benign 1.3 MPx and 0.294 mm pitch of the SyncMaster 940B. Despite the increased likelihood of pixel error, I could not find a single instance of either hot or dead pixels. That's far better than my ViewSonic VP201s that I use at home. (Which also offers slightly higher density.)
Connectivity: [*****] The 244T is sometimes listed as a LCD television, though there is no tuner included. Nevertheless, it hosts an astounding collection of different input signals like DVI-D (preferred), 15 Pin D-Sub (VGA), S-Video and component. The latter two are unusual but helpful for those wanting to hook up a video source without disconnecting the rest (i.e. Camcorder). Since there are no speakers in this model, there are obviously no audio inputs either. While the user can switch between both video inputs, the limitation to one DVI and VGA keeps one of the sources to the analog (VGA) signal and slight degradation. The integrated USB hub sports two connectors which essentially allow to connect two USB devices (i.e. mouse and keyboard) to one USB output of the PC. (Four would be better.) The placement of the two outputs is quite convenient on the left side (in landscape mode), but unfortunately the input (cable from the computer) is there too making for an odd eye sore.
Other Features: [****-] Natural Color is a basic color management systems that's included with the 244T and serves general needs while it does not replace a colorimetric profiling for professionals. Samsung apparently love to imply they're wizzards, judging from the naming of certain features. "MagicTune" consists basically of two modules: MagicBright and MagicColor. MagicBright tries to battle deficiencies of the LCD technology to display dark portions of a picture. It provides four settings: Internet, Entertain, Text and Custom. Notice that none of them reads "True" since it actually is boosting contrast and brightness and that may trick you when working in Photoshop or similar applications that require true colors. MagicColor does similar tricks while boosting colors (improving their Saturation, Gamma and Hue). This also is useful for only media display, while it should be off for professional apps.
© 2006, theuerkorn
- ViewSonic VP201s - 20.1 inch monitor
- SyncMaster 940B - 19 inch monitor
- Planar PX171M - 17 inch monitor
- Colorvision Spyder - monitor calibration
© 2006, theuerkorn
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Amount Paid (US$): 875