Samsung SyncMaster 2243BW Wide Screen LCD - HotHardware

Samsung SyncMaster 2243BW Wide Screen LCD

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For each type of product and in each market, there is usually a specific price segment that will provide the best value proposition for consumers, often known as the 'sweet spot'. For quite some time, the 19" widescreen was the sweet spot of the consumer LCD monitor market. Hovering between the cheaper but aging 17" screens and the expensive but only slightly larger 20" screens, the 19" widescreen LCD provided the best value for a long time. However, in the last 8-10 months, LCD monitor production has increased and the price of LCD panels has fallen dramatically. The 20" screens which once seemed like such a poor value proposition, costing up to $100 more than 19" screens despite only offering one more inch of screen real-estate were now within $20. However, the biggest shift in LCD monitor value came with the introduction and proliferation of new 22" widescreens.

Perhaps introduced to help mitigate the large market gap between 20" and 24" monitors, or more likely because it is simply more efficient to produce 22" sheets of glass at the current batch of LCD panel factories, 22" LCDs came in just above 20" models in cost but offered two more inches of screen real estate. Over the last half year, the price of 22" inch LCDs has creeped lower and ever closer to 20" LCDs to the point where they can regularly be found for nearly the same price. A quick look at the HotHardware price matching system reveals that 22" monitors currently start at $190, with 20" monitors starting at $180 and 19" monitors occupying the $160 area. At around $8.5-$9 per inch, the 22" screen size is one of the current sweet spots in the LCD market. This makes the 22" screen size very attractive and luckily most LCD monitor manufacturers have at least one 22" to offer, so there are plenty of models to choose from. Today we will be looking at one of the latest additions to the 22" market segment, the Samsung 2243BW.

Samsung is one of the worlds largest LCD panel manufacturers and they offer an extensive line of LCD products including one of, if not the biggest catalog of 22" monitors of any LCD manufacturer. Samsung's website displays 8 different 22" models and that is just on their US website. There are literally dozens of 22" models that Samsung offers outside of the US, although many of these are nothing more than localized versions. Part of the reason why Samsung has so many 22" models is because they offer monitors tailored to just about any setting, from sleek multimedia sets to minimalistic business models. The Samsung 2243BW we are looking at today is one of the newest members of the 22" LCD line-up and it appears to be aimed at the business market.


Samsung 2243BW 22" Widescreen Monitor
Specifications and Features
Display Size 22" (55.9cm) diagonal and viewable image 
Display Type Thin-Film Transistor LCD Active Matrix, TN panel
Display Viewing Angle 170 degrees horizontal, 160 degrees vertical 
Scanning Frequency Horizontal: 30-81 KHz, Vertical: 50-85 Hz
Input Terminal          Analog (15-pin D-sub VGA) and Digital (DVI-D)
Display Brightness 300 cd/m2 (typical) 
Native Resolution
1680x1050 @ 60 Hz 
Contrast Ratio  DC 8000:1 (1000:1 static contrast ratio)
Display Color 16.7 Million
Response Time 5 ms (GTG)
Pixel Pitch 0.282 mm
Power Source Input Rating: 100 to 240V~
Power Consumption  45W in operating mode, <1W in sleep mode 
Operating Environment 50-104 degrees F, 10-80% RH (non-condensing) 
Storage Environment -4-113 degrees F, 5-95% RH (non-condensing)
Stand Height Adjustable, Pivot, Swivel, Tilt
Mounting  Standard VESA 4-hole 100 mm x 100 mm 
Dimensions 19.9 x 13.1 x 2.8 in. (505.5 x 331.5 x 67.6 mm) 
Dimensions (with stand) 19.9 x 16.4 x 8.6 in. (505.5 x 417.2 x 217.5 mm) 
Weight Monitor with Stand: 14 lbs. (6.35 Kg)
Package: 18.07 lbs. (8.20 Kg)
EMI Standard  FCC Class B 
EPA Energy Star This monitor is EPA ENERGY STAR® compliant and ENERGY2000 compliant when used with a computer equipped with VESA DPM functionality.
TCO Certification TCO'03
Included Accessories
 AC Power Cable, D-sub Cable, Cable Management Clip
Special Features 
MagicBright3, Off timer, Image Size Colour Effect, Customised key, MagicWizard & MagicTune with AssetManagement, Windows Vista Premium, DVI with HDCP, MagicRotation S/W (Pivot) Safe Mode (DownScaling in UXGA)

While the Samsung 2243BW may be aimed at business use, its specifications suggest that it should be capable of quite a bit more than just spreadsheets and word documents. With good viewing angles, decent 5ms response time, good brightness and excellent 1000:1 static contrast ratio, the 2243BW should be well equipped to handle any multimedia you may throw its way. The 2243BW is actually slightly better specified than the wildly popular Samsung 226BW, one of the most widely and highly recommended 22" monitors.

TCO'03 Certification Badge

One sign that gives away the 2243BW's business orientation is the prominently displayed TCO'03 certification badge. TCO is a series of certifications for office equipment that stipulate requirements for products to help improve the working environment. The requirements for each TCO certification focuses on four main areas; ergonomics, emissions, ecology and energy. The certifications are categorized in years, although this does not mean a TCO certification for one year is necessarily better or more up to date than another. Instead each certification is meant for a different class or group of office product. The TCO group of certifications cover a wide variety of products including computers, mobile phones, printers, furniture and of course, monitors. The TCO'03 certification that the Samsung 2243BW bears, for instance, specifically pertains to monitors. TCO'03 certifies that any monitor bearing its mark meets a minimum level of specification concerning display resolution, brightness, contrast, reflections, color reproduction, ergonomics, electromagnetic emissions, electrical safety, energy usage and environmental impact (ecology). All TCO'03 certified displays manufactured after 2006 are also required to meet the RoHS directive. While the TCO'03 isn't a mark of distinction like a THX certification would be for speakers, it does somewhat guarantee that a certified product will be relatively pleasant to use in an office environment.

The Samsung 2243BW is actually a member of a group of monitors that share the 2243 numerical designation. At this time we can only confirm two other members, the BWX and the WM. However, there are reports that a BWP was spotted at CeBIT which uses a different panel with a rather odd native resolution of 2048x1152. According to the official specifications we have seen, the BW, BWX and WM are functionally identical and differ only in peripheral features. The BW seems to be the business oriented model as it is the only one with TCO'03 certification and it sports flat black paint. The BWX offers a 2-port USB hub built into the stand as well as shiny, gloss black paint. Finally, the WM has built-in stereo speakers. All three models may be offered with either a 4-way adjustable stand or a simple stand with only limited tilt adjustment. Which stand you get seems to depend on where the monitor was purchased. For this evaluation, we will be looking at the basic 2243BW with a 4-way adjustable stand.
 

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Mike,

 Thanks for the review.  I think you'd want to point out that almost every single 22" monitor, regardless of manufacturer, uses a TN type display.  It means that the horizontal viewing angle is OK, but the vertical viewing angle is HORRIBLE, very narrow indeed.  The spec they report, 160°, I believe, may represent the point at which text is legible, but color is badly washed out by the time your eye is 30° above horizontal.  Conversely, color becomes progressively more saturated as your eye drops below the horizontal plane that's perpendicular to the display.  This effect is SO PRONOUNCED in 22" monitors that there is a very noticable difference in color saturation between the top and the bottom of the screen.  If your eye is in the middle, you're looking up perhaps 5-10° to see the top and down 5-10° at the bottom.  The same blue in the title bar of a window and the Task Bar will appear sky blue at the bottom of the screen and royal blue at the top.  This is the effect you noticed in your "orange-screen" test.  Go back and use any solid color, and the difference in its saturation between the top and the bottom of the screen, regardless of viewing angle, will knock your socks off unless you're farther away that normal.  These 22" monitors, none of which use true 8-bit color by the way, are therefore UNacceptable for color-critical tasks like Photoshop.  They work very well, though, for gaming and office tasks.

Don't get the idea that I dislike them.  Right now, I'm sitting in front of two of them, one by Chimei and one by Westinghouse.  They're great for nonprofessional use, but I've found it necessary to tilt them away from vertical about 5° to lessen the very noticable difference in color saturation between the top and the bottom of the screen.  A person standing behind the user, watching a game, for example, will find it impossible to see anything.  The only way he can view what's going on is to sit in order to get his viewing angle fairly close to 0°.  I'm not a perfectionist, but the problem with vertical viewing angles on these inexpensive 22" monitors is significant enough that I hope to retire mine in favor of 24" models if the price of the latter ever drops enough to make them affordable for desktop use.

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Hey milleron,

Thanks for the feedback. I know what you are talking about. I am aware that pretty much every 22" monitor currently on the market uses a TN panel but I was unwilling to state that as a fact because as far as I know, there could be some special-interest manufacturer serving some niche somewhere that has a 22" monitor using a different panel tech (however unlikely). I suppose I should have been more critical of the fact that the monitor isn't well suited for applications where color accuracy is mission critical. I'll keep that in mind for future articles. While writing this piece, the audience I had in mind was office users, gamers and multimedia types. My mistake for not thinking more about the graphics and publishing professionals out there, although that demographic generally wouldn't be looking at a 22" anyway since, as you mentioned, they don't typically have true 8-bit color processing.

I've had this monitor in the lab for a couple weeks now and the entire time I've had it side-by-side with a Dell 2407WFP (non-HC). I know the 2407WFP isn't exactly the epitome of color accuracy, but it's a pretty decent screen. Anyway, the 2243BW wasn't horrible in comparison. The viewing angles on the Samsung were alright, although the color accuracy did roll off rather quickly if you went too far off-center, as you stated. Regarding color saturation and viewing angles, I didn't find the issue to be particularly noticeable on the Samsung, although I certainly noticed it with a solid orange fill. However blue, red and green solid fills looked perfectly fine on the Samsung. In the end, I still stand by my conclusion that it is a good monitor for office tasks and multimedia.

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 Very true milleron

My Acer AL2016W has that issue, it might be a 20" widescreen, but the viewing angle is so poor that I actually have viewing issues on the top at virtually every angle! El cheapo monitor, but with it as bad as it is it should not have left the labs.

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You bring up some excellent points. Usually one of the first specs I look at is viewing angle. If it isn't 178° then I assume it is going to be quite poor. With my current monitor the viewing angle is atrocious. There is essentially no angle outside of 0° that doesn't result in horrendous viewing. Another downside to 22" monitors is the resolution. If you are a gamer or want to watch a Blu-Ray you won't be able to take advantage of the higher resolution they afford.

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I wish I knew more about flat screens I'm still using a CRT because I game and do some graphics editing. I don't like the trade offs, what would be a good flat screen to get with a very low response no bleeding and good viewing angles I'd say 20-24 inch.

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