About a month ago I reviewed the Samsung 215TW and decided that it was one of the best widescreen monitors that I’d ever seen. Among the ever growing ranks of 20in widescreen displays, the 215TW set itself apart by using a 21in panel and coupled this with an enviable array of inputs. The only downside to the 215TW was the relatively high price. Now I’m looking at the far cheaper 20in Samsung SyncMaster 205BW, so how does it compare to it’s bigger brother?
Like the 215TW, the 205BW is a stylish looking display with a very slim silver bezel surrounding the screen. Also like the 215TW, the 205BW exhibits full vertical adjustment – the dampened movement makes it easy to position the screen at the perfect height for any user. The 205BW doesn’t sport a twisting base like its big brother though, so if you want to pan the display left or right you have to twist the whole unit on the desk. Also missing is the pivot function, so if you’re keen on working in a portrait format, this isn’t the screen for you. That said, just having the vertical adjustment puts the 205BW ahead of pretty much all the 20in widescreen competition.
Connection wise you’ve got both DVI and D-SUB at your disposal, but none of the component video goodness seen in the 215TW. That said, the DVI port on the 205BW is HDCP compliant, just like its big brother. It’s great to see that Samsung is rolling out HDCP support on most of its monitors, since we’ll be playing back lots of HDCP protected content once HD DVD and Blu-ray drives start to appear, not to mention Vista.
The 205BW does have a slightly lower response time than the 215TW at 6ms compared to 8ms. Thankfully the lower response time doesn’t come at the expense of colour depth, since the 205BW still uses an 8-bit panel rather than a 6-bit model. This means that the 205BW has the full complement of 16.7 million colours at its disposal. Unfortunately it doesn’t mean that the 205BW can match its big brother when it comes to colour fidelity and image quality, but more on that later.