Samsung SyncMaster 245BW 24" Widescreen LCD Monitor Reviews
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Samsung SyncMaster 245BW 24" Widescreen LCD Monitor

31 ratings (7 Epinions reviews)
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Wonderful Monitor

Jan 14, 2010 (Updated Jan 19, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:

Pros:Size, sharpness, color, response, features, price

Cons:None

The Bottom Line: See my Bottom Line at end of review


NOTE: This review was done a long time ago and received all "Very Helpful" reviews but for some reason was moved or deleted, having lost all $ built up from the review (Arrrrghhh!). So this is just a re-post of that review.

In my graphic design business, I’ve pretty much always used Samsung because of their consistent high quality display, accurate color reproduction, and adjustment features. I’ve tried other brands and models but stick with Samsung. I don’t particularly like their flat panel TVs but their computer monitors are great.

In September 06 I bought a 20.1 inch Samsung 204B for $319 and it’s been a reliable, accurate workhorse for color magazine layout and whatever other client needs I have. That is until it bit the dust a couple weeks ago. As a highly recommended practice, I’d turn it off every evening and if I was gone during the day for any period of time to help save the backlight and extend the longevity of the monitor. But I guess it was destined to live a short life. The demise began by struggling to come on when I’d press the power button in the morning, flickering and eventually coming to life. After a few days of this and fearing it may never come back on, I just left it on. It was fine for a couple weeks, then one morning I walked into my office and the screen was blank with the blue light ring around the power button blinking. I tried powering it off/on via the main power switch in the back but got nothing. I also tried a different power cord and DVI cable, but again just a blank screen. It would seem that even after being careful to preserve the backlight, it had illuminated its final job the night before. Thankfully, I have a 17 inch LG Flatron as a backup and was able to complete some jobs that were in progress with deadlines. The LG is a good monitor but not as accurate color, and it’s small for what I do.

But now I faced another issue: what will I replace the 204B with? Every time I’d go to Best Buy I’d snoop around the monitors and knew that everything is now widescreen. My immediate reaction was "great…I don’t want a widescreen because my 42 inch plasma TV stretches everything unless in HD and as a graphic designer I can’t be seeing circles that look like eggs." However, after talking to some colleagues and checking my fairly new ATI video card, I discovered it can handle just about any resolution up to 2048x1536, and includes the native resolutions of 22 and 24 inch widescreens. At least I wouldn’t have to buy a new video card. So I began the usual online research, reading hundreds of reviews, both professional and user. I also spent a few hours at Best Buy playing with several monitors to see what adjustments they had, and just get a feel for what’s available.

The 24 inchers looked really nice, but at a price. I liked the display of the Samsung 245BW but didn't like the $499 price. So I checked out the 22 inchers and ended up going against my "norm" and got an LG for $329. It was actually pretty good but I had a hard time getting a true white or gray and it didn’t offer nearly the color adjustments of my defunct 204B. I never did get a true white or gray. The biggest problem was an actual loss in vertical real estate compared to the 204B which is taller because of the standard 4x3 aspect. When laying out magazines, it’s preferable to have the pages as large as possible, and I was used to seeing them a certain way, so the vertical page size wasn’t much larger than my 17 inch 4x3 monitor. The LG 17 inch runs at 1280x1024 and the LG 22 inch ran at 1680x1050. Not much difference between 1024 and 1050.

The next day I had to go to SAM’s to do some shopping and somehow wandered into the computer monitor aisle (now how’d that happen?!) and they had the Samsung 245BW for $399. Hmmm. Needless to say, I had one in my cart faster than you can say antidisestablishmentarianism. Let me say here that it blew the LG away in color and sharpness, and is significantly better than my old 204B. The 400 cd/m2 brightness and 3000:1 contrast provides quite a viewing experience. This is an impressive monitor.

IN THE BOX
You get the Samsung 245BW, height/swivel/tilt-adjustable stand, power cord, DVI and VGA cables, CD, warranty, and quick setup guide.

APPEARANCE/CONSTRUCTION
The 245BW is a 24 inch black bezel (frame) widescreen monitor (I prefer black bezels over silver or gray) with a 3/4 inch frame around the screen. Unlike the 204B, the 245BW’s frame is glossy but hasn’t been a problem. The frame depth is 1.75 inches, where it meets up with another 1.25 inch raised area that basically handles the stand attachment on the back. The vertically adjustable stand is pretty solid with a large round base on a swivel and the 245BW remains remarkably stable when typing or gaming. The 245BW is an impressive looking monitor. Construction appears to be typical solid Samsung. Fit and finish are top notch. At the top left on the frame is "SyncMaster 245BW" in light gray against the black which allows it to be seen but not stand out as a distraction. The more visible silver paint SAMSUNG logo is centered in the bottom frame. At the bottom right of the frame are the MENU, MAGIC BIGHT, BRIGHTNESS, ENTER/SOURCE, AUTO, and POWER buttons which I’ll cover later. The main power switch is located on the back next the power cord input.

SETUP
Setup is a breeze with Windows Vista Home Premium…no CD needed. You just need to make room on your desk for this 24 inch wide monitor. Thankfully I didn’t have to move too many things out of the way. I got the 245BW positioned on my desk, used the same power cord and DVI cable I had hooked to my 204B, set the res to 1920 x 1200 and BAM!!! What a beautiful display right out of the box.

DISPLAY QUALITY
The 245BW’s display quality is nothing short of excellent. Lighting is even from corner to corner, whites are white, grays are gray, reds are red (not orange), text is sharp as a tack. The only adjustment I had to make out of the box is lowering the brightness a bit. With a brightness of 400 cd/m2 and contrast ratio of 3000:1, it can be a bright display, although not really objectionable or eye-straining at 100%. Contrast is excellent and images appear smooth with smooth gradations. As with just about any LCD display, when viewing normally, the top portion of the screen appears just a bit darker than the rest. I’ve seen this effect in every LCD display I’ve used, no matter the brand and have simply become accustomed to it. I found a nice photo online of Edinburgh, Scotland that I’m using as a desktop and with the 24” screen it looks like a large framed photo when you walk into the room. Brilliant color. And with a 5ms response time, things move smoothly. I haven’t seen the edge bleeding on black or dark images that some reviewers have complained about. Could have something to do with their video adjustments.

Gaming is a joy on this monitor, though I'm not a die hard gamer. I like gaming on occasion to take breaks from graphic design. But when I do turn myself loose on the bad guys in Quake III Arena (told you I wasn't a die hard), I like to see sharp, detailed images with smooth movement and the 245BW delivers.

ADJUSTMENTS/SETTINGS
The 245 BW has all the settings you need for reaching the color/brightness/contrast you need for your work. Plus it provides several presets, including Text, Internet, Game, Sport, Movie, and Dynamic Contrast, as well as a Custom setting for personal settings.

Press MENU and you can scroll through settings for Brightness/Contrast, MagicColor (Off, Demo…where you can see an image as half with MagicColor and the other half without, Color Tone {Cool, Normal, Warm, Custom}, Color Control {RGB}, Gamma {Mode 1, 2, 3}, Image Control (Course, Fine, Sharpness, H-position, V-position), OSD (Language, Transparency, Display Time for menus), Setup (Auto Source, Image Reset, Color Reset), and Information.

To the right of MENU, Press the Magic Bright button and scroll through the Text, Internet, Game, Sport, Movie, and Dynamic Contrast presets or select Custom and do your own tweaking.

To the right of the Magic Bright button is the Brightness button. Obviously adjusts screen brightness.

Next is the Enter/Source button which when pressed on its own will select Digital/Analog mode. This button is also used as an Enter button to select choices within the menu system.

Next is the Auto button that adjusts image position when using VGA mode. This button is inoperable when using DVI.

Next is the Power button with a small blue illuminated power icon in the center when power is on.

Located on the back beside the DVI and VGA ports is an audio power connector.

SPECS
Specs can be found on the Samsung web site: www.samsung.com and type 245BW into the search box. I'd originally provided the direct link here to the specs page but Epinions apparently is no longer allowing "long words" in the body of reviews. :(

BOTTOM LINE
Large displays have plummeted in price over the past couple years and there are many choices available. Much depends upon your needs, pocketbook, and space. And warranty coverage enters into the equation. The Samsung 245BW has a 3 year limited warranty, while many other brands are only one year. And Samsung’s warranty options are great. Remember my 204B that died? For some reason I thought it had a one year warranty, but it’s three. I’ve only had it for about 16 months so I’ve opted for Samsung’s free swap/exchange option where they send another 204B to the nearest UPS store. The UPS store contacts me when the replacement comes in, I bring in my dead monitor, the units are exchanged at the store and my old dead monitor is shipped back to Samsung all at no cost. I just walk in, swap them out, and I’m on my way. So I’ll have a nice backup in case this 245BW develops problems. As for the 245BW, the wide screen has opened up more space for having two magazine pages open without InDesign’s or Photoshop’s floating toolbars and menus covering the work area. Display quality is top notch and provides accurate colors that I need for graphic design. I’ve seen prices as low as $359 but you can’t go wrong at $399 at SAM’s especially since other vendors are selling it at $500 or more. And SAM’s return policy is among the best. I’d recommend the Samsung 245BW to anyone looking for a high quality 24 inch display with plenty of adjustments and is available at an affordable price.

Complaints? My only complaint is that it runs a bit warm, but so does the 204B. And it’d be nice to have a dedicated button to adjust contrast, as was done with brightness. Other than that, this monitor is fantastic.

As with most of my reviews, I’ll be updating this one as I spend more time with the product…good or bad. If something comes up that warrants posting, I’ll do so.

BTW, just as a point of information, the 204B that died was made in China. The 245BW was made in Mexico.

UPDATE 1/14/10
Still loving this monitor. I'm laying out four local magazines with it, along with some web sites and the 245BW has been excellent in every way.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 399
Operating System: Windows


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