Review Price £192.19
Samsung SyncMaster B2230HD - Connectivity and Testing
Connectivity is fair. Since it lacks a DVI port, you'll need to use one of the two HDMIs if you're hooking up a computer, leaving only one digital connection free for consoles and set top boxes. As an alternative there is a VGA input, though as we’ll get to later, this is best avoided. Another HD input is via Component.
While its tuner is theoretically HD capable, the B2230HD is fitted merely with a DVB-T, rather than DVB-T2 tuner, so you won’t be able to receive Freeview HD broadcasts – just standard-def Freeview, which is a shame. There is a Conditional Access Module available though, so you will have access to terrestrial TV pay options. The only strictly standard-def input is the single RGB capable SCART input.
You’ll also find a single USB input, which pleasingly is media compatible. The manual states that it only supports flash storage and not USB hard disks, but it worked for us with a USB stick and a Toshiba portable hard drive. From both we were able to smoothly play Divx-encoded AVIs, MP4 and MKV formats, as well as display pictures and MP3 files – though it would not recognise Apple lossless files. Aside from this and RMVB though, nearly every video format is supported, including ASF, MP4 and WMV, while picture support includes Motion JPEG and on the audio side we have MP3 and LPCM.
In terms of audio connectivity there’s a 3.5mm line-in, a headphone socket, and both optical and analogue audio outputs. Finally, there’s also an ExLink port that enables you to remote control your monitor/TV via RS-232, should you wish to do such a thing with a 22in display.
When you plug in and connect up the monitor it automatically turns on with an accompanying audio chime. Feature wise, the Picture-in-Picture mode only works with the TV aerial and another source – you can’t mix and match inputs. You can at least choose which image has audio, the size of the box and in which corner you want it though.
There are three ‘MagicBright’ presets, Standard, Movie and Dynamic, and one quirk we noticed is that when it switches input it automatically defaults to the Dynamic picture preset, which needs to be looked out for as this tends to deliver a picture that's a tad overcooked. Also in the feature set is an eco-mode, which simply reduces brightness.
Our initial testing began by hooking up to a laptop via the VGA connection - and this did not provide a favourable impression. Using this connection colours were simply all over the place, and the red background of the tabs in our chosen theme for the Chrome web browser were so far off we could hardly make out the text. Whilst there was reasonable sharpness, whites were also way off and colours in our test photos looked positively psychedelic.