Any twenty-something student or professional will have become used to fitting their lives into small spaces. Live in any of our over-populated metropolises and this particular problem becomes even more acute as the average budget barely stretches to a shoe box. As such, anything that does the job of two or more devices is invaluable. Enter the Samsung SyncMaster LD220HD, a 22in HDTV and monitor hybrid sporting a 1080p LCD panel and a highly tempting £200 retail price.
In terms of features the LD220HD is similar to the Samsung SnycMaster P2370HD we reviewed last year. However, while the P2370HD looked like a traditional monitor (albeit a stylish one), the LD220HD has a lower-profile design akin to a photo frame. Clad entirely in glossy black plastic, its slim bezel and comparative shallowness means it strikes a compact pose despite its sizeable 22in panel. An adjustable leg at the back provides somewhat limited adjustability, but it holds the monitor firmly and has a hole for cable routing.
Being an HDTV and a monitor, the connectivity reflects its versatility. Alongside HDMI and DVI video connections, which are common enough on LCD monitors, are component video and audio, SCART, a headphone jack, and a CI (Common Interface) slot for Freeview subscription channels. There's also a USB port, though it's only for servicing, and an EX-Link port for use with a motorised mount. There are VESA mounts to facilitate the latter. All these connections, apart from the side-mounted CI slot, are at the back pointing outward, making them easy to access.
Naturally a remote is included too and it's a damn good one. Buttons are arranged logically, with important functions like volume and channel controls given prominence, and have a nice positive action to them. We had no problems with range of the remote, either, and it sits very comfortably in the hand.
This excellent remote is teamed with a superb user interface and EPG that has clearly been lifted straight from Samsung's TV division. Menus are thorough and intuitive, even going so far to explain what specific options do, while the EPG is clean, functional and includes picture-in-picture so you can continue to watch a channel while scanning the listings. If you ever wonder what you're paying for from big name brands, such finer details are it.
Should you ever lose or not need the remote these menus can also be navigated using the touch controls on the monitor. These are hidden by default, but tapping near the glowing power icon (and button) reveals them. They work okay and logically, but you wouldn't want to rely on them alone so don't lose the remote!