Samsung SyncMaster 2493HM Widescreen Monitor
The Samsung 2493HM is controlled by six buttons along the bottom-right edge of the monitor's bezel. At first glance, it appears that these are merely labels and the buttons must be hidden, possibly under the bezel, facing downward towards the desk. However, this isn't the case; the 2493 features touch sensitive button technology.
Touch sensitive buttons located at bottom right corner of screen bezel
We are quite weary when it comes to touch-sensitive buttons. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but rarely do they work as well as traditional buttons. Thankfully, we found that the buttons on the 2493HM worked quite well, although not quite as well as standard buttons. The touch sensitivity is set at an appropriate level and a light tap is all that is required to activate a button.
The buttons themselves offer no feedback whatsoever. They do not depress, light up or make any sounds to inform you that they have registered your input. This is a bit inconvenient but didn't present any serious problems since the buttons operate the monitor's on screen display and inputs generally result in immediate visual feedback.
While the buttons worked well, there is one major flaw that makes them difficult to use. Like the rest of the text and symbols on the monitor, the buttons were labeled with a dull, gray, non-reflective paint. While this may help the overall aesthetic appeal of the monitor by maintaining the sleek, all-black appearance, it does create a visibility problem. The button labels were difficult to see unless there was direct light on the bezel of the screen and they proved to be invisible in low-light conditions.
This in combination with the button's total lack of tactile feedback makes them difficult to use except in bright conditions with plenty of ambient lighting. We wished the buttons had back-lighting that would turn on when any one of them were activated. It is easy enough to stab at the corner of the monitor to activate one of the buttons, but navigating the on-screen menu system without proper lighting proved difficult and frustrating.
A sampling of Samsung 2493HM OSD menus
The Samsung 2493HM's OSD system is identical to that found on other new Samsung models such as the 2243BW we reviewed earlier this year. We liked the OSD system on the 2243BW and nothing has changed for the 2493HM. Everything about the OSD system on the 2493HM is identical to that found on the 2243BW so instead of writing the same things all over again, below is a direct quote from our 2243BW review.
We found the OSD system to be easy to navigate and it offers a lot of options. Pressing the 'Menu' button brings up the OSD main menu. Vertical menu navigation and value adjustment are both achieved with the up and down arrow buttons. Horizontal menu navigation is achieved with the 'Menu' and 'Source' buttons, where the 'Source' button serves as the "right" button while 'Menu' acts as the "left" button.
Besides the usual brightness, contrast, gamma and color adjustments, the 2493HM's OSD menu also offers two menu options unique to Samsung monitors; MagicBright and MagicColor. The MagicBright menu consists of 7 presets for brightness and contrast. Each one is labeled with the presets intended purpose. "Text" for reading and writing text documents, "internet" for surfing the web, "game", "sport" and "movie". The "custom" preset is set at the factory for optimal all-purpose viewing. The last preset activates the screen's Dynamic Contrast capability. All of the presets, except Dynamic Contrast, can be customized and modified by the user. The MagicBright menu can be accessed on the fly by pressing the "down" button when not otherwise viewing the OSD. This will automatically bring up the MagicBright menu and allow you to scroll between presets. The menu automatically disappears after about 3 seconds of inactivity.
The MagicColor menu allows you to preview and active the MagicColor feature of the monitor. MagicColor is a dynamic gamma filter function that aims to enhance the colors displayed on the screen. The MagicColor OSD menu has four options; "Off", "Demo", "Full" and "Intelligent". In Demo mode, the screen applies MagicColor filtering to the left half of the screen while the right half does not have MagicColor activated. Full mode activates MagicColor filter for the whole screen while Intelligent mode offers a more moderate level of filtering. The color and gamma adjustment settings, including the MagicColor menu, are not available when Dynamic Contrast is enabled.
It is clear from Demo mode that MagicColor makes a significant difference in the colors the screen displays. However, we found that Full mode was too strong and it would often bring out colors too much, making certain things appear over-saturated. Intelligent mode was more consistent. Regardless of the mode used, users who care about consistent monitor calibration may want to avoid this feature.