Review Price free/subscription
The notebook aspect of this technology is key, since although notebooks with DVI and even HDMI outputs are available, the vast majority of notebooks still only offer D-SUB outputs for video. The lack of digital video output is most prevalent in the ultra-portable notebook market, but even the slimmest, lightest notebook has USB ports. This means that even ultra-portable notebook users can connect digitally to an external monitor - or even several external monitors. And because the SyncMaster 940UX displays have built-in USB hubs, you can plug your keyboard, mouse and other peripherals in via the monitor, so even if you've only got two USB ports on your notebook, it's not a problem.
You've probably noticed from the pictures that the SyncMaster 940UX is a 4:3 aspect ratio monitor, rather than a widescreen display. This was a conscious decision on Samsung's part, since much of the corporate sector is yet to jump on the widescreen bandwagon, and Samsung feels that this is the sector that will be most attracted to the USB connectivity feature initially. I agree with that strategy to a certain degree, but I do feel that widescreen is the way forward, even in the corporate sector. Trust me, once you've used a widescreen display for a while, you won't want to go back.
Image quality wise, I put two SyncMaster 940UX screens next to each other, both connected to the same notebook - one hooked up via DVI and the other via USB. The result was that the USB connected screen looked every bit as good as the DVI connected one. In fact, the display using USB looked subjectively better than its traditional, digitally connected cousin.
When it comes to general image quality, the 940UX gives a pretty good account of itself. Colours are rich and vibrant, without suffering from the garish over saturation the afflicts some LCD monitors. There's a hint of compression at the low intensity end, which is highlighted by the Colour Scales test in DisplayMate. At least there is no hint of colour creeping into the greyscale tests. As always though, the DisplayMate screens highlight weaknesses, but such weaknesses often don't rear their head in general Windows work.
Interestingly, although the driver for the 940UX automatically loaded without incident using a Windows XP based notebook, things didn't work so smoothly using a Vista system. Although Vista recognised the flash drive as a virtual CD-ROM, when I tried to access it, Vista insisted that I needed to load a blank CD in the drive so that I could burn to it. Luckily Samsung also ships a CD with the drivers in the box, and once loaded from the CD, the 940UX worked fine under Vista. It's worth mentioning that the guys from DisplayLink also told me that there will be Mac OS support very soon, which would mean that you could daisy chain Samsung USB enabled monitors from an iMac!
Trusted Reviews is part of the Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Technology Network