About two years ago I looked at the 30in Apple Cinema Display and was amazed at how useful a 2,560 x 1,600 desktop display could be. At the time there wasn’t a competing product available, and the price of the panel was over £2,000. Since then, other manufacturers have got in on the 30in display act, with Dell making the biggest splash and also helping bring the price down. Now Samsung has entered the market with the SyncMaster 305T and as is usually the case with Samsung these days, it has got pretty much everything right.
The SyncMaster 305T looks surprisingly sleek for such a large screen. Since having this display on my desk, I’ve become somewhat desensitised to its size, and now it doesn’t seem in any way large. In fact, I’ve gone as far as to put a 21in 1,600 x 1,200 screen next to it in portrait mode, in order to make my desktop space even bigger. At only 20mm, the bezel surrounding the panel is pretty slim for a screen this size, while the matt black finish gives it a suitably stealthy look. The bezel has also been kept quite clean, with a single Samsung logo at the bottom in the centre, and the model name at the top left.
At the bottom right are the power button and brightness controls, and these are the only controls you’ll find on the monitor. There’s no OSD and no controls over colour, contrast or anything else. The 30in Apple Cinema Display was completely void of adjustment options too, as is the Dell 30in screen. This isn’t as big a handicap as you may first think though, since pretty much all graphics card drivers will let you adjust the colours, gamma curve, contrast and just about anything else that you may want to tweak.
Even without tweaking the settings using the graphics card driver, the 305T turns in a stunning performance when it comes to image quality. For heavy Photoshop work this screen is the perfect companion. Not only does it provide you with copious amounts of canvas space to view very large images, but the images are reproduced with unprecedented sharpness.
Loading up a batch of high-quality 8-megapixel images, taken with a Canon EOS 1D MkII and L-Series glass, the 305T performed flawlessly. This screen manages to pull every ounce of detail out of low-light areas of an image, but not at the expense of vibrancy or even black levels. In fact for anyone that does a lot of high resolution image editing, the 305T will be a godsend, not just from an image quality standpoint, but also when it comes to productivity – as anyone who uses Photoshop will tell you, the more of a high resolution image you can fit on the screen, the easier it is to edit.