Review Price free/subscription
So, let's see how the 225uw works out in use. Ergonomically, the lack of height adjustment is probably the SyncMaster 225uw's biggest failing. To make up for it, Samsung has implemented some of the easiest cable connections you're likely to find on any non-pivoting monitor. This is because the ports at the back (including power) are angled out, rather than down, making them simpler to see and connect. The one disadvantage is that cables protrude from the back a bit more than usual, but on the other hand this also makes them easier to keep tidy.
The headphone, microphone and powered USBs, meanwhile, are located on the left-hand side of the monitor for convenient access, where they are discreetly hidden behind the bezel. Of course an integrated webcam will never offer the placement flexibility of a stand-alone model, but it does save space and wires. In a nice touch, the web camera rotates inward when not in use, preventing dust or dirt from getting on the lens.
However, this is also a potential weakness. On our sample the hinge was loose (possibly due to previous use) and it was difficult to make the camera maintain its position. Camera quality is acceptable for the resolution, with sharp static images and, disappointingly, some blur over moving shapes. The dual array microphone is more impressive, picking up my voice clearly at a distance of over a metre despite ambient noise.
The speakers are actually slightly better than what you would likely expect considering their rating. At about half their maximum volume they don't distort too much, and they're capable of a modicum of base and treble. Most importantly, they're adequate for voice material, which is their intent. Together with its audio ports for non-intrusive office use, the SyncMaster 225uw makes for a complete communications device.
Moving on to the OSD, a major point of annoyance is that it appears to be impossible to switch off the menu's beeps. This is especially aggravating in a piece of hardware intended mainly for the office, and is not the only irritation. Unlike the fabulous implementation on the Toshiba Satellite A300-177 notebook, here the touch-sensitive buttons once again live up to my generally low expectations by being awkward and inaccurate. I understand Samsung wanting to keep the bezels of its display clean, but in this case buttons could easily have been mounted out of sight in the gap beneath the silver ridge.
As things stand, you have to apply the entire surface of your finger-tip to an area just above the actual icons on the bezel to get a response. And be sure to release in time, otherwise you'll accidentally move down five steps instead of one.
Overall, the 225uw's OSD is quite similar to that on the Samsung SyncMaster 226cw, except it lacks the options for dynamic contrast or overdrive, since this office monitor does neither, and due to its communications emphasis, the usual brightness/contrast button is replaced by a volume shortcut.