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Samsung SyncMaster 226BW - Samsung SyncMaster 226BW
The OSD is fairly comprehensive. You’d expect the Brightness and Contrast controls but there are many colour other adjustments available too. The Magic-Color option provides a colour boost, with a demo mode splitting the screen in two to show its effects - more on that later. Color Tone lets you choose between Cool, Normal, Warm and Custom and you can manually adjust the Red, Green and blue Colour levels and Gamma. In the Image adjustments option you can adjust Sharpness. Coarse and Fine are also listed available but these options are not adjustable.
Pressing the second OSD button from the left brings up the MagicBright menu with each press selecting one of seven presets – Custom, Text, Internet, Game, Sport, Movie and Dynamic Contrast.
I set up the monitor on my desk as a replacement for the Acer AL3316w 22in model, and even aside from the much more aesthetically pleasing housing I could tell straight away that the image quality was better. The viewing angle was superior with the whites of the screen not fading to yellow when moving off centre, which was an immediate plus. General Windows, Office and browser use was excellent with 226BW delivering a bright clear white, while text was sharp and easy to read.
The figure imprinted at the top right is a claimed Contrast Ratio of 3000: 1 but only when the Dynamic Contrast preset is selected. This setting actually automatically brightens or dims the monitor depending on the content, which sounds great. However, I would recommend avoiding this setting. This boosts colours at the top end, but it merely makes for overblown images, which aren’t great to look at.
If a display is too bright it makes prolonged viewing more stressful so the Text or Internet settings turned down the brightness level so you can sit in front of the display for longer periods. If you’re gaming or watching a movie then the Sport or Movie settings are preferable. In the other modes you’ll be getting a contrast ratio of 1000:1 which isn’t bad for a desktop LCD monitor.
Indeed, when watching both standard definition and high definition content I was impressed by the detail and contrast on offer particularly in darker scenes with good motion. The screen also isn’t as overly reflective as some displays are.
The native resolution of 1,680 x 1,050 is just shy of full HD in terms of vertical resolution, so it’ll have to scale down for Full HD and scale up for 720p content, but the screen dealt well with both.
The Magic Color option I mentioned earlier does what it says on the tin but like Dynamic Contrast it washes out the high end so you lose subtle colour graduations. It makes Windows more vivid but I would make sure it’s turned off when photo editing.