Samsung clearly expects you to make the most of all the inputs at your disposal and has included a Picture-in-Picture function. This means that you could hook a cheap Freeview box to the 215TW, and keep an eye on the footie while you carry on working – what more could you ask for!
Samsung’s MagicBright profiling feature is in evidence once more. Pressing the MagicBright button on the front fascia will toggle through Text, Internet, Game, Sports and Movie settings, while a Custom setting will let you tune the brightness, contrast and colour calibration yourself. This is a useful feature for anyone that doesn’t want to take the trouble of adjusting their monitor settings for different tasks, and on the whole the MagicBright default settings were pretty good.
The 215TW that I received for review is finished in matt silver, but it is also available in black. The bezel surrounding the screen is reasonably slim and attractive, while the seven control buttons on the front fascia are unobtrusive and don’t spoil the clean lines. The speaker bar is, as mentioned, very small and looks more like a design feature than a speaker housing. As always, design is purely subjective, but I really like the look of this monitor.
Samsung quotes an 8ms grey-to-grey response time, which is not as low as some of the ridiculous numbers that other manufacturers are quoting. But then Samsung has tried to ensure solid image quality by sticking with an 8-bit panel, rather than dropping to a 6-bit panel in an attempt to lower the response time. The result is a full 16.7million colours, as opposed to around 16.2million offered by a 6-bit panel employing dithering.
I’ve never been particularly obsessive about response time anyway, especially since the quest for the lowest possible number often results in a degradation of image quality. But if you are worried about the 215TW’s ability to switch fast enough, don’t be. I played a lot of games on this monitor using both a PC and an Xbox 360 and it coped admirably. The Xbox 360 looked particularly good, and if you want an affordable screen that can double as your PC and console display, the 215TW should definitely be a contender for your cash.