Author Topic: Samsung SyncMaster 204B  (Read 1127 times)

Offline scuzzy

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Samsung SyncMaster 204B
« on: Feb 19, 2006, 11:42 AM »
My wife's old MAG LT865B LCD monitor recently bit the dust after close to 3 years of service. I spent a couple days searching for a replacement and finally settled for the Samsung SyncMaster 204B (20.1") Twisted-Nematic LCD monitor. I purchased it at a local Best Buy for $529 + tax. (Note: I bought the black model, which I could not find listed at Samsung's site. However, the specs are identical to the linked silver model.)

The rated response time is 5ms, although I don't know if it's gray/gray or black/white. I can't find the spec anywhere. The native resolution is 1600x1200, listed viewing angle is 160?(H) / 160?(V), brightness is 300 cd/m2, and the contrast ratio is 800:1. The monitor comes standard with a full 3 year warranty (parts/labor/backlight).

The monitor has tilt/height/swivel adjustments and a round stand that sits on a built-in lazy susan. Turning the monitor left/right is easy enough, as is the tilt adjustment. Raising/lowering the monitor is a little less friendly, and swiveling it from portrait/landscape is difficult thanks largely to Samsung's poor cable management.

I have not noticed any appreciable ghosting in my use of the monitor in day to day tasks. I can honestly say that I've never seen a faster LCD monitor, and I really have to look for motion blur to notice it. I have not tried gaming with this monitor, but watching action movies on it is a pleasure.

The monitor comes with both digital and analog connections, and cables are included for both. Thankfully there is no power supply brick to deal with. I chose the digital connection, which is mated to an ATI Radeon 9600XT video card. The monitor also comes with various software (Magic Tune with asset management, and MagicColor), none of which I bothered to install. The only thing I would be interested in is the software for portrait/landscape modes, but my ATI video card software already provides a simple enough method to switch between the two.

The color is uniform across the screen and quite pleasant. Brightness is equally uniform, which I keep at 30%. The monitor has excellent contrast, which makes viewing easy on the eyes. It does have an easily accessible "MagicBright" mode that makes it very easy to switch between preset modes of Custom, Text, Internet, Game, Sports, and Movies. Each mode seems appropriate with the exception of Sports, which casts an unusual blue tint across the screen; it's quite noticeable and distracting. This mode might be correctable with the MagicColor software, but since I did not install it I cannot comment.

The sharpness at the native resolution of 1600x1200 is top notch. Most surprising, however, is how well the monitor displays non-native resolution settings. Although the sharpness is lost, it still performs admirably well compared to other LCD monitors.

Adjustments are easily made thanks to Samsung's placement of the six clearly labeled buttons along the bottom right. The buttons are Menu, MagicBright/Up, Brightness/Down, Enter, Auto, and Power. Since I chose the digital connection, the Auto button is disabled. The menu is straight forward and easy to navigate.

Portrait mode works, but not as well as I expected. While in portrait mode, text appears slightly blurred, and viewing from left/right angles gives what seems like a slight inversion of colors. It's nothing serious, but it can be distracting.

Anyway, I'll wrap this up with the following:

PROS:
  • 1600x1200 resolution provides great sharpness and makes the most of the 20.1" screen
  • Performs well at non-native resolutions
  • Color saturation, brightness, and contrast are great
  • Black levels are very good.
  • Ghosting (motion blur) is barely noticeable
  • Both digital and analog cables are included
  • Adjustment buttons are clearly labeled with an easy to use menu system
  • Not a single dead/stuck pixel
  • Thin bezel (about 1/2", or 13mm)
  • Best standard warranty that I've seen
CONS:
  • Poor cable management makes some adjustments difficult
  • Portrait mode could be better
  • No USB ports
  • I can only afford one
  • Does not make coffee  ;D
CLOSING THOUGHTS: To discuss this monitor, please click on the following link: Hardware Discussion: SyncMaster 204B
« Last Edit: Mar 04, 2006, 10:58 AM by scuzzy »
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