Of course all the options in the world don’t make a monitor good by themselves, so it’s time to see how Samsung’s latest panel technology performs. Naturally the 1,600 x 900 resolution is a bit disappointing as even older 20in monitors fit in 1,680 x 1,050 pixels - but we guess it’s the price you pay for getting a PVA-based panel for well under £200. The F2080 also supports a large number of resolutions below this, from 640 x 350 up to 1,440 x 900 at 70Hz or 1600 x 900 (native) at the usual 60Hz.
On first powering the monitor up, we were surprised by how well its factory settings were calibrated. In fact, this is one of the few monitors to land on our desks that we would be happy to use for non-colour-critical work out of the box. Aside, that is, from turning the brightness down from the usual 100 per cent; note to manufacturers, we don’t need our retinas seared out by default, thank you. A good indicator of this display’s excellent factory calibration was that even after using the Spyder3 Express colorimeter, settings changed relatively little from their defaults.
The F2080 continued to impress throughout our testing. There was no sign of any backlight bleed and backlighting was perfectly even. Unlike pretty much every TN-based monitor on the market and even some displays based on previous PVA panels, Samsung’s little 20-incher also breezed though our colour and greyscale tests. It displayed the subtlest tones with ease and managed simultaneous deep blacks and pure whites, lending some credence to the F2080’s claimed 3,000:1 native (15,000:1 dynamic) contrast ratio. Indeed, in this regard it’s easily one of the best-performing monitors we've yet come across.
Sharpness was also excellent, as tiny fonts were perfectly legible with none of the red aberrations that afflict so many other models. Samsung wasn’t exaggerating too badly with its 178 degree viewing angles either, as aside from some very slight contrast shift at extreme angles they almost rival those of most IPS panel monitors, whether viewing from the side or above/below. So far, the F2080 is living up to its ‘professional’ classification, which is simply superb considering its budget price.