It's probably fair to say that Samsung has taken the monitor market by storm. Although the company always made pretty good monitors, even going back to the days of CRT, with its DynaFlat range, it's in the past couple of years that Samsung has really started to pull ahead of the competition. Recently it seems that Samsung has something of a golden touch when it comes to monitors, marrying superb image quality with great design and reasonable pricing.
A good example of Samsung's recent monitor prowess is the SyncMaster 215TW. This 21in widescreen display is such an impressive piece of kit, that none of the new generation of 22in displays have managed to dethrone it. In fact three of the guys in the office have actually put their hands in their pockets and bought a 215TW, even though it has never been what you might call a cheap option.
I was therefore very curious when I heard about the Samsung SyncMaster 245B – a 24in widescreen monitor with a street price well below £400. Considering how impressed I was with Samsung's high-end 24in screen, the SyncMaster 244T, I couldn't help but wonder what compromises had been made to reach such an attractive price point. But before we start talking compromises, let's look at what you are getting for your £346.
Like pretty much every other 24in monitor, the 245B sports a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,200, which is becoming a very desirable option for a number of reasons. The most obvious plus point of a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution is that it gives you a lot of desktop real estate and allows you to have several windows open at once. But another significant advantage to this resolution over the 1,680 x 1,050 resolution seen on 20, 21 and 22in widescreen monitors is the ability to display 1080p high definition content.
When it comes to 1080p video, a 1,680 x 1,050 resolution screen simply doesn't have enough physical lines at its disposal, not to mention that the full HD standard resolution is 1,920 x 1,080. With that in mind, a 1,920 x 1,200 screen obviously has enough lines for a 1080p high definition signal, but having too many lines can also be an issue. Basically, for the best quality 1080p image on a 1,920 x 1,200 screen, you need 1:1 pixel mapping, which unfortunately the 245B doesn't have. This means that if you plug in a device that's outputting a 1080p signal it will be scaled to fit the full resolution of the screen, thus affecting the sharpness of the image and the overall aspect ratio.