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Samsung SyncMaster 245B 24in Monitor - Samsung SyncMaster 245B
The stand is pretty good, although you don't get any pivot functionality – so if you like being able to switch into portrait mode, you'll be slightly disappointed. A bit of investigation revealed that this monitor can actually pivot, but Samsung has disabled the function. The reason for this is that the viewing angle would be so poor if you pivoted the screen that it probably made more sense to take the option out of the equation completely. What you do get is nicely dampened height adjustment, tilt and a twist pad built into the base for easy left and right panning.
The bezel surrounding the screen is reasonably slim for a monitor this size at 16mm. There's a Samsung logo in the centre below the panel, and the model designation at the top left – both are grey rather than white, so don't spoil the sleek, black look of the 245B too much. At the bottom right are the monitor controls. There's a large round power button that glows – you guessed it – blue. Next to this is an Auto button which will auto adjust the monitor if it's connected to an analogue source – this button is inactive when connected digitally. The other four buttons are for Menu, Enter, Up and Down, primarily for navigating the OSD. Pressing the Up button when not in the OSD acts as a shortcut to the Brightness adjustment, while pressing the Down button acts as a shortcut to the MagicBright settings.
MagicBright comprises various preset states – Custom, Text, Internet, Game, Sport, Movie and Dynamic Contrast. I preferred to leave it set to Custom and make my own adjustment, since none of the presets were particularly pleasing to my eye. The Dynamic Contrast option refers to the dynamic backlight feature of the screen. Like many LCD TVs, the 245B can increase or decrease the backlight intensity depending on the subject matter on the screen. This ultimately improves black levels, and should put an end to blacks looking grey, as is often the case with LCD screens. However, while this is vitally important with large screen LCD TVs, I'm not sure how useful it is for a monitor. I guess if you watch a lot of video on your PC you might want to switch this feature on occasionally, but if you're using it mainly for Windows work and even gaming, you're better off switching the Dynamic Contrast feature off. Just for the record, this screen has a real contrast ratio of 1000:1, while the dynamic feature raises that to 3000:1. Meanwhile the 400cd/m2 brightness level is pretty respectable for a screen this size.