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Samsung SyncMaster LD220HD - 22in HDTV Monitor - Samsung SyncMaster LD220HD
No new monitor could do without an outlandish contrast ratio claim. Samsung is no less guilty and the LD220HD has "50,000:1 dynamic contrast" etched into the top corner. In tangible terms the native rating is 1,000:1, brightness is 300 nits and the quoted grey-to-grey response time is 5ms. These are all par for LCDs based on TN panel technology and it's difficult to glean much from them.
We'll deal with Freeview TV performance first, which is about as good as you could demand from a cheap, non-specialist TV trying to cope with Freeview's increasingly fuzzy transmissions. It's perfectly watchable and doesn't suffer from any alarming or distracting issues, but it'll rarely astound you.
We were pleasantly surprised by the speakers, though. These are housed at the rear, projecting upwards from a vent at the back, and provide decent clarity with a little depth, too. Bass obviously isn't a strong point and the speakers struggled with the guitar heavy opening theme to Casino Royale, but on the whole clarity is excellent and the SRS TruSurround HD processing adds a little 'oomph' to proceedings.
Viewing angles are good enough, too, particularly for the kind of small room this display is likely to be used in. Samsung has also implemented a somewhat odd mode called MagicAngle. This looks to compensate for any contrast lost from viewing the screen from an angle, be it slightly below (Lean Back Mode 1/2), above (Standing Mode) or from the side (Side Mode).
All this boils down to is adjusting the brightness and contrast, which is of occasional but fairly limited use. We found the first of the two lean back modes (the least extreme one) was useful from time to time, particularly as the natural angle of the screen is slightly upward, but beyond this it wasn't really necessary.
Much the same can be said for the usual variety of picture modes available, which vary depending on what source you're using. We'd especially avoid any that makes significant use of the Dynamic Contrast mode. Anything above the 'Low' setting lacks the speed and subtlety to be usable, with changes in brightness far too obvious and distracting. It's not as if such measures are strictly necessary either, doing very little to enhance any type of content.