Samsung certainly looks to be staying at the cutting edge of design. Its daring new crystal ‘touch of colour' black rose televisions, like the Samsung LE32A656 32in LCD, are proof of this. In fact, this design is proving so favourable that it is being implemented in its monitors, like the T200 (of which a review is coming soon!). With red and orange all the rage these days (for another example just take a peek at LG's Scarlet TVs), it's easy to forget that plain old black can still make for a timeless look to be reckoned with.
That's exactly what you get with the Samsung SyncMaster 225uw. The moment I took this monitor out of its box, I was in love. Maybe it's because of the dearth of monitors that aren't afraid to be square, but the 225uw's chunky yet stylish profile instantly appeals. Yes, the corners are curved a bit, but the whole thing just looks like a solid slab of pure coolness. This is the kind of monitor you might expect to find in the film ‘Equilibrium', to match the daunting architecture.
Though Samsung refers to it as ‘lacquered', the 225uw's finish consists of a similar high-gloss piano black to most of the competition. Thanks to a combination of clean, broad lines and a complete adherence to a single coating, it manages a sense of class many others lack. No inlays, strips or bases in other materials to be found here; the only exception being a very slight, narrow silver ridge set in the lower bezel, which enhances rather than detracts.
The 225uw's sense of solidity is helped by a not inconsiderable weight of nearly 8Kg, though build quality is not as reassuring and the 225uw creaks audibly when any pressure is applied. The monitor comes in one single piece, so no assembly is required. However, you can detach the stand for wall mounting, and it is compatible with any 100mm x 100mm VESA mount. The stand itself is again a flat square, and feels eminently solid. The 225uw offers no swivel, height adjustment or pivot (though a very generous amount of tilt), but that's somewhat forgiveable considering this monitor brings some unique features to the desk.
On the back of the display you'll find a USB connector in addition to the usual VGA and (HDCP compliant) DVI ports. In addition to carrying data to a two-port integral USB hub, it powers all the SyncMaster 225uw's extra features. It carries audio to twin 1.5W hidden speakers, supplies the 3.5mm microphone and headphone jacks, and drives a 2.0 Megapixel web camera and built-in array microphones.
The 225uw's panel specifications certainly seem low-key compared to most other 22in TN monitors on the market. A 700:1 contrast ratio doesn't sound very impressive when compared to the 10,000 dynamic figure claimed by the LG Flatron W2252TQ we reviewed previously, while a 5ms response time seems positively pedestrian. But here one needs to keep in mind two things: first, that the 225uw is oriented mainly towards business users, and second, that these could well be real specifications, rather than over-inflated marketing specs.