Samsung SyncMaster 226cw - SyncMaster 226cw

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


Office use is pleasant, offering a comfortably ‘dim' text mode where fonts don't lose any of their clarity or sharpness. The main caveat is again the lack of height-adjustment, or any other adjustment for that matter. Since the SyncMaster 226cw's minimal adjustability doesn't make it particularly suitable for professional use, we decided to give it a thorough run-through in games and movies, where its 1000:1 native (3000:1 dynamic) contrast ratio and various entertainment profiles ought to make it a worthy contender - and are glad to say that overall, it is.

The dynamic contrast implementation is very unusual in that there is no provision to turn it on or off; instead its activation is preset specific. But thankfully, in a marked improvement over the dynamic system on Samsung's previous 22in Pebble 2232BW, and like LG's alternative with its recent Flatron L206WU, it really does enhance the experience, making the 226cw's decent blacks even deeper without noticeable loss of dark detailing.

For movies, this is a very good display, as long as you keep in mind the limited viewing angles. Detailing is sharp, colours are vibrant enough without being oversaturated, and counting in the captivating blacks, this is definitely one of the better TNs. The ‘movie' setting makes images slightly warm, but I like the effect. If you prefer something cooler, go for ‘sports', which offers a more accurate colour reproduction. The only niggle is that Samsung doesn't manage to avoid the shimmering effect that plagues so many LCD monitors with film material.

However, the one area where the 226cw excels is in games. With overdrive turned on there is no visible ghosting or tearing, and all the advantages that help make it a good movie display make it great for gaming, especially as the shimmering and viewing angles are no longer factors. If you want a 22in to game on, this is definitely one of the better choices, as it will show you every single detail, including subtle colour tints you might not have noticed before. Though at around £230, you do pay for the privilege.

For the consumer interested in colour work or a rugged, versatile display, the SyncMaster's biggest problem can be summed up in two words: ViewSonic VP2250wb. The ViewSonic offers far superior ergonomics and viewing angles, better build quality and a USB hub, as well as an even wider colour gamut. But the Samsung does have sleek looks, a lower price and significantly less backlight bleed in its favour.

It's also worth keeping in mind that the BenQ G2400W offers a larger screen (albeit with a similar lack of adjustability), the capability to display Full HD video and more inputs for a similar price. Of course it doesn't offer as much detail, black depth or richness of colours, so you have to decide according to your priorities.


The good news is that Samsung's attractively-styled SyncMaster 226cw offers a rich and subtly differentiated colour palette and excellent contrast with deep blacks and pure whites. The bad is that it suffers from narrow viewing angles, some banding in dark tones and a complete lack of adjustability apart from tilt, which turns it from a good monitor into a merely average one. Surprisingly, its main strength is as a PC gaming display, where the high price can be somewhat justified by a vivid and extremely detailed experience.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 7
  • Image Quality 7
  • Features 7
  • Design 8

Ron Royce

June 19, 2008, 3:02 am

I read this review after sending two of these back and I can't believe we saw the same product.

OK, first the good points...colours were vivid, very fast panel response and it does look very good on the desktop. It functions well although the out-of-the-box settings were, to be frank, awful.

Now the bad. Both my samples had horrendous light leakage and my test game, Doom 3 (old but great for showing up black level problems!) was ruined by a red 'sunset glow' at the bottom of the display. I also found the viewing angles to be very poor, especially in the vertical plane. Backlighting was very uneven and the panel suffered with quite excessive mura. I found the perimeter backlight method to be a major distraction as well, which I felt was a major contributor to the poor black levels I experienced on both samples. Using powerpoint I displayed a background of 20% white and the lack of uniformity from bottom to top of the display was staggering. I can't believe a company like Samsung would allow this past QC.

From the samples that I had I am suspecting we have another 226BW instalment here? Your thoughts would be appreciated.

I decided to spend a lot more money in the end after looking at several 22" monitors and being thoroughly underwhelmed by what was on offer, and now have a LaCie 324, which I am very pleased with. Fabulous colour, excellent, uniform black level, viewing angles are very good with moderate colour shift off angle but nothing like as bad as a TN. More importantly it passed the Doom 3 test :) This shows that you do indeed get what you pay for. It is a worthy replacement for my old IIyama Vision Master Pro 454, which finally gave up the ghost this week but was a stunning CRT monitor... RIP


July 1, 2008, 4:33 pm

I wouldn't be suprised if this was "another 226BW instalment", since in terms of backlight bleed especially our experiences seem to have been very different. The viewing angles were poor on my model too though. If one wants a decent-quality monitor, one's best bet right now is still a non-TN 24in, like the LaCie you have - nice choice, btw :)

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