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Samsung P2350 23" LCD Monitor Review
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Date: Jan 26, 2010
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: Mathew Miranda
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Introduction

Samsung is the largest and one of the more popular consumer electronics companies in the world. Besides its hugely successful HDTV lineup, the company also makes some equally exciting LCD monitors. Samsung's offering of flat panel displays have proven to be stylish, dependable, and competitively priced. Generally, we've come to find that Samsung PC monitors deliver a healthy balance of performance and affordability though not on the bleeding-edge of technology but more targeted to the mainstream. In addition to its own line of monitors, Samsung even manufactures a multitude of the actual LCD panels found inside the the products of its competitors.             

Today we're taking a look at one of Samsung's most affordable displays. Just don't assume its nominal cost equates to inferior quality right from the start. The SyncMaster P2350 is a widescreen LCD monitor that features Samsung's Touch of Color (ToC) design, a piano black cabinet, a 1920 x 1080 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio, 2 ms response time, and 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. This value oriented 23" monitor does not offer speakers or a ton of connectivity options, but its performance and low price tag promise to make it an enticing option for those who want the most bang for their buck. Keep reading as HotHardware takes a look at the P2350 to see if this screen has what it takes to be on your short list...
  

Samsung SyncMaster P2350 23" Widescreen Monitor
Specifications and Features
Display Size 23" wide 
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Aspect Ratio           16 : 9
Brightness 300 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio
DC 50,000:1 (1000:1)
Response Time 2 ms (GTG)
Viewing Angle 170º horizontal, 160º vertical 
Display Type Twisted Nematic (TN) panel
Display Viewing Angle 170 degrees horizontal, 160 degrees vertical 
Connectors D-SUB, DVI-D
Input Terminals
D-sub, DVI
Power Consumption  43W in operating mode, 1W in stand by 
Speakers No
Stand Non-adjustable
Dimensions (with stand) 21.9" x 16.4" x 7.5". (WxHxD) 
Weight 10.6 lbs
Included Accessories
Power Cord, D-sub Cable, Cleaning Cloth,
Cable Arrangement Link, Stand


The native resolution of 1920x1080 provides a comfortable desktop area for most working environments, as well as full resolution high definition video playback and HD gaming. Although the P2350 uses a common TN panel with 6-bit color depth, it sports a lightning quick 2 ms response time that helps to minimize motion artifacts during movies and games. With a retail price around $200, lets see what else this monitor has to offer.     
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Design, Build Quality, & Connectivity

The P2350 is an attractive monitor that mirrors the look of Samsung's line of LCD televisions. Its flaunts a modern design and is appropriate for a variety of computing environments. Although it isn't flashy, the display arguably looks more expensive than its asking price. Moreover, we don't feel that the high gloss finish is distracting at all, but it does show dust very easily. Keep the included cleaning cloth handy to wipe down the monitor from time to time.     



The P2350 is about 2" thick. It features bezels that are 0.8" along the top and sides, while the bottom bezel measures 1.5" thick. Similar to other Samsung monitors, the model number is found on the top left corner while the company logo and OSD buttons occupy the bottom edge. We also find an Energy Star symbol next to the 50,000:1 Dynamic Contrast label on the top right corner of the monitor.


 

The P2350 comes with a simple, non-adjustable stand. Considering its price point, we halfheartedly accept that. But at the very least we would appreciate the ability to tilt the screen, instead of relying on the user to come up with creative ways to bring the monitor to an optimal viewing angle. However, a different issue arose immediately after pulling the P2350 out of the box and putting it together. The screen droops forward about 1" when sitting on the stand. Take a look at the pictures above and you should see the sag we're talking about. For clarity, the stand itself is stable but the screen seems to sit loosely upon the arm, which allows it to lean forward.      




P2350 Ports - AC Power, DVI, VGA

As for connectivity, the P2350 only offers two standard choices, DVI or VGA. If you're looking for DisplayPort, HDMI, S-Video, or Component ports, this is not the monitor for you. In addition to the DVI and VGA connectors, the only other option on the rear panel is the power connector. With no speakers attached to the monitor, the lack of HDMI or audio port isn't a deal breaker but something worth considering for those who prefer using an HDMI connection.    

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Controls & OSD Options


The Samsung P2350 is controlled by six, touch sensitive buttons along the bottom right corner of the monitor's bezel. We'll go over the function of each one, and also take a look at the menu options that come with the P2350. 


LED Back-lit Touch Buttons

From left to right, the six buttons are Menu, Down, Up, Enter, and Auto. Samsung designed back lit labels for each button that light up for a few seconds when pressed. After about 10 seconds, the labels disappear until another button is pressed. We admit that the disappearing labels look kinda cool, but we quickly found the option to keep the labels lit.

We're not huge fans of touch-sensitive buttons. Aesthetically, they can provide a much cleaner, modern look to a monitor bezel and we totally dig that. The problem lies in the general responsiveness of touch buttons in comparison to push buttons. We found the act of navigating through the monitor's options a bit annoying. At times, the initial tap is registered but it normally took three or four attempts for the desired result. You can imagine the difficulty this caused while traveling through different menus while adjusting multiple settings. 

Although we found the touch sensitive buttons bothersome, we'll concede that most users configure their monitors infrequently and don't spend much time going through OSD options. Nevertheless, we haven't come across any touch button monitors that we've loved. Traditional push buttons might not be as sexy, but they would get the job done right the first time and we can't complain about that.

Samsung P2350 On Screen Display (OSD)
Menus and Options




Samsung P2350 Menu Options

The P2350 features five main menus. We found the OSD system to be intuitive and simple to navigate. 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 done by hitting the Enter button.

The OSD menu also offers two options unique to Samsung monitors: MagicBright and MagicColor. The MagicBright menu consists of 7 presets for brightness and contrast. The options include Text, Internet, Game, Sport, Movie, and Dynamic Contrast. 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. Pressing the Up button will activate the Brightness option. 

The MagicColor menu allows you to preview and activate this feature of the monitor. MagicColor is a dynamic gamma filter function that aims to enhance the colors displayed on the screen. The OSD menu has four options: Off, Demo, Full and Intelligent. In Demo mode, the screen applies filtering to the left half of the screen while the right half does not have MagicColor activated. Full mode activates the 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.
 
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Everest Image Quality Testing

 

We put the Samsung P2350 through an assortment of monitor diagnostics using Everest Ultimate Edition from Lavalys. These test provide a few key test patterns that allow us to evaluate various aspects, such as color accuracy, and uniformity.  After running through all of the tests that were relevant to LCD monitors, we captured a few that had points of interest.

Everest Ultimate Edition  
Monitor Diagnostics
everest.jpg
 
Everest Ultimate Edition is a popular system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning Everest Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. Complete software, operating system, and security information makes Everest Ultimate Edition a comprehensive system diagnostics tool that offers a total of 100 pages of information about your 




Monitor Diagnostic Screens

In order to test the P2350, we entered the menu and reset the monitor to its factory defaults. Once this was done, all relevant tests were run and image quality was noted.

One of the most important steps in monitor calibration is the proper setting of brightness and contrast. To check this, we ran Everest's calibration test which provided excellent results. In addition, gamma screens revealed the appropriate outcomes. White patterns, black patterns, and sharpness tests also produced desired results. Moreover, grid tests using an assortment of colors placed on black and white backgrounds consistently displayed satisfactory visuals.   

Solid fill test screens are useful in checking the monitor's color uniformity. They also allow us to check for dead or stuck red, green or blue sub-pixels. While no dead pixels were found, the orange and gray tests showed noticeably darker areas towards the top of the display.
This is a characteristic of the TN panel technology used by the P2350. It comes from the panel's relatively poor color-accurate viewing angles, as revealed by the solid-fill tests. Unfortunately, we noticed a fair amount of backlight bleed during the black solid fill screen. The bleed was apparent along the bottom edge of the display and extended the entire length of the screen. We concede that all LCDs exhibit some backlight bleeding, but this test revealed a level that would be an issue for most users. 

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Subjective Analysis


Test patterns like those offered by Everest can be extremely useful for diagnostics and gauging a monitor's performance. This is especially useful to people who need their monitor to be perfectly calibrated for design work and photography. However, the P2350 is a widescreen monitor with a 6-bit panel and consumers won't necessarily purchase it exclusively for work. We'll conduct some real world tests with high definition video content next, and give you and idea of how well the monitor stands up to the sort of content is was designed to handle.

Subjective Tests
HD Movie Playback, Gaming and General Use


Clash of the Titans HD Trailer

We spent a lot of time watching videos on the P2350. Blu-ray, DVD, and HD home movies provided us with a broad range of video material to analyze. We found that the monitor responded well, with vivid colors and very minimal blurring. Along the bottom of the screen, back light bleeding is definitely a problem, as it became increasingly noticeable in dark scenes and particularly during videos that used letterboxing. To clarify, letterboxing is the use of black bars above and below a video in order to maintain its aspect ratio. 



Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Any reason to fire up Modern Warfare 2 is a good one. We wanted to see how the P2350 performed during fast paced gaming with a variety of scenes, focusing on motion blur and image quality. After several hours of testing, we did not observe any issues with ghosting or motion blur. Obviously, the monitor's 2 ms response time deserves some recognition here. Unfortunately, the back light bleed along the bottom edge was also apparent during scenes that featured dark colors.

As for general usage, the monitor performed a variety of tasks easily without issue. Using the monitor's MagicBright settings to tweak the screen to our liking, tasks like web surfing and word processing went smoothly and were easy on the eyes. The Internet preset adjusts brightness to lower levels, while the Text setting dims the display even more. We admit these presets were slightly more comfortable on our eyes during long hours of use.
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Conclusion



Performance Summary: Our initial testing of the Samsung P2350 yielded some promising results. The P2350 performed up to par in almost every test we conducted, with the exception of the black solid fill screens where backlight bleed was an issue. When we conducted our video playback and gaming runs, the monitor continued to excel with regard to color reproduction. We detected very little motion blur in movies and absolutely none while gaming. However, backlight bleeding became more noticeable during our subjective analysis, especially in dark scenes. In addition, viewing angle performance could be improved, but that's the case with all TN panels of this class.  


 

With an asking price around $200, the P2350 could be an enticing option for mainstream consumers looking for a relatively large screen, that won't break the bank. In this case, Samsung has taken an economical TN panel and combined it with an attractive enclosure featuring their popular "Touch of Color" design. But competition is fierce at this particular price segment, with a myriad of screens featuring similar specs at a wide range of prices. We found similar monitors with asking prices as high as $300 and as low as $170. From this data, the P2350 is towards the lower end of the price spectrum which enhances its appeal.

The SyncMaster P2350 was designed for budget conscious consumers and in this regard it delivers. Besides being affordable, the screen's color reproduction and fast response time provides users with a satisfying visual experience. Furthermore, we think gamers would probably enjoy their experience with this display. However, the monitor is not perfect. Backlight bleeding, a shaky stand, and finicky touch buttons are all areas that need attention and should be improved upon.  Today, there are plenty of choices for consumers who want an affordable, HD capable monitor. And while the P2350 does have its flaws, at its price point it deserves a look.


 

 

  • Affordable
  • Fast 2ms response time
  • Modern cabinet design
  • Bottom edge backlight bleeding
  • Wobbly stand
  • Difficult touch buttons
  • Only two connection ports
  • Limited viewing angles


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