Samsung SyncMaster 2243BW Wide Screen LCD - HotHardware

Samsung SyncMaster 2243BW Wide Screen LCD

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The Samsung 2243BW has an understated design that is quite typical of workhorse LCD monitors. Covered from top to bottom with a plain, flat black paint, the most exciting visual feature of the 2243BW is the white Samsung logo on the bottom bezel. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, we found the 2243BW to be quite attractive in its own way and we can definitely appreciate the 2243BW's minimalist design. While it isn't as fancy or flashy as some multimedia monitors, the 2243BW's simplistic design will be at home in a wide variety of environments.


The 2243BW features a very thin bezel that is about half an inch all the way around. This means it is an excellent candidate for multi-monitor setups where the thin bezel will minimize the disruptive space between panels. A blue power LED is located at the bottom right corner of the screen, at the end of the row of touch-sensitive buttons (more on those later). There are no other LEDs on the 2243BW. The power LED emits a gentle blue glow when the screen is powered on and flashes when the screen is in a power-saving state. Located at the top right corner of the bezel is a painted-on label touting the screen's 8000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, along with TCO'03 and Energy Star stickers.

The sides and back of the 2243BW are equally plain and simple. The top of the monitor is lined with a row of vents which help the monitor dissipate the heat generated by its back-lights. There are also two other rectangular vent areas at the bottom of the screen, located at each corner. In the bottom-right vent is a standard Kengsington Lock port. The stand is attached to the monitor via a VESA 75mm compatible mount.

     

The 4-way adjustable stand that came with our 2243BW is quite a robust unit although definitely not the best we have seen. The stand offers tilt and height adjustment, although both of these adjustments have rather limited ranges of movement. The screen can only tilt around 15-20 degrees up or down and the height is only adjustable by about 4 inches. The screen can also be pivoted 90 degrees into portrait mode, however the stand's height adjustment is too limited to allow this without also tilting the screen upwards. Lastly, the base of the stand can rotate 360 degrees.

Overall the base of the stand is very firm and stays planted where you place it, but we found the screen to be free to wobble around. Any time we touched the screen it would wobble on the stand for a moment, although it never seemed like it was in danger of toppling over. We were a little disappointed that the stand didn't have built-in cable management features but it did come with a small cable clip to help tie the various power and input cables neatly together. Overall, we liked the stand and found it to be average in quality. It should be perfectly acceptable except in situations where it will be adjusted frequently.


The 2243 series only offers basic DVI and VGA inputs. This means it is limited to monitor duties since there is no way to hook up component or composite video cables without an adapter. Considering that the 2243BW isn't being sold as a multimedia solution, this is perfectly acceptable. The 2243BW doesn't have a built-in USB hub like some other monitors on the market, but the 2243BWX's stand does. Judging from the diagram in the manual (the 2243BW and 2243BWX share the same manual) the 2-port USB hub is completely contained in the stand so it is theoretically possible for any 2243 series monitor to have a USB hub, however we have only found specifications listing the BWX with a USB hub.
 

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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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