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Where the 245B does work well is as a gaming screen – one thing that's good about a TN panel is the fact that it can switch very quickly, with Samsung quoting a grey-to-grey response time of 5ms. Not that I feel response time is that much of an issue of course. Generally, anything with a 16ms off-on-off response time isn't going to give you problems with moving images when gaming. All that said, the 245B makes a very competent gaming monitor, with no hint of motion smearing. Also, because you tend to remain in the "sweet spot" when playing a game, the colour and intensity shifts don't rear their heads.
Video is watchable, but this screen is no match for even an average high definition TV. Black levels are pretty disappointing, even when you enable the dynamic backlight, with dark areas in scenes always looking more grey than black.
Input wise, you get an HDCP compliant DVI port and an analogue D-SUB, and that's it. There's no component video input, no HDMI and not even a USB hub. Also, the lack of 1:1 pixel mapping means that even the HDCP support on the DVI port isn't that useful, since any high definition source you connect, such as an HD DVD player or PlayStation 3 will be scaled to the full resolution of the panel.
Despite the 245B's shortcomings, it's the price that will attract potential buyers, and at £346 including VAT, this is by far the cheapest 24in monitor we've seen. Of course a big part of that cost saving is due to the TN panel, and you've got to decide whether you're willing to compromise image quality for the sake of cost.
The Samsung SyncMaster 245B is definitely a value focussed 24in display, where hitting a price point was clearly the goal over offering great image quality. If you're looking for a 1,920 x 1,200 monitor for gaming and you're on a very tight budget, then this is definitely an attractive option.
Scores In Detail
- Image Quality