Samsung SyncMaster XL20 LED Backlight Monitor - Samsung SyncMaster XL20



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After you start the program it will ask you to place the calibrator in the centre of the screen. This has a suction area to make it stick. At first I didn’t want to do this too hard so as not to cause any damage but after it fell off I had to push a bit harder and it did leave small marks on the screen. You might want to instead tilt the screen to prevent it from falling.

When you first launch, you can adjust maximum brightness, black level, gamma, and white point. You set these to your liking and then once it’s going it emits a series of colours and patterns that the calibrator reads. However, there’s no progress bar and it’s impossible to tell when the process has finished – it just keeps going. I waited over 20 minutes before hitting escape from the program to find that it had completed. However, on another system I quit earlier and the process hadn’t finished. A dialogue box does come up when it’s done, but it appears underneath calibration tests, so you can’t see it. This is something Samsung should sort out, it need to be much more user friendly.

Once done you can save the profile. This takes a few seconds as it actually saves the profile to the monitor, and you can switch to this using the Mode button on the bottom right, with the options being, Custom, SRGB, AdobeRGB, Emulation and Calibration. As you select each one, the name of the profile is actually lit up along the bezel, making it very easy to see, which is a nice touch.

While all this is theoretical, as soon as I set up the Samsung I could see that it looked different to any other display I’ve used. What’s noticeable straight away is the white point – it looks truly white, unlike the mottled yellow, or bluish tinge that most LCDs tend to offer. The level of brightness and its even intensity can be detected even in Windows. Moving Windows about in Vista, I could make out patterns in the Aero theme that I’ve never noticed before. Text is also stunningly sharp.

When it came to viewing photos, I found that the colours jumped from the screen – they really popped. I actually found that sometimes it was almost too intense, looking slightly unnatural, particularly in the reds. As such, it is vital that a screen like this is calibrated correctly, otherwise your images can look almost hyper-real.