- Review Price: £222.00
There’s one word to describe Samsung’s latest Touch of Colour (ToC) monitor: wow. Ever since its introduction in Samsung’s television range we’ve been fans of the ToC design, but its first implementation on a monitor, the rose-tinted T200, left us distinctly less impressed. However, Samsung’s new EcoFit SyncMaster P2370 more than makes up for its predecessors.
After a short hiatus, the 23in form factor appears to be making a comeback. For those avid readers who might be remembering the recent announcement of Samsung’s QWXGA (2,048 x 1,152) 23in monitor, we’re sorry but this isn’t it; the P2370 sports a 16:9 panel with a Full HD resolution of ‘only’ 1,920 x 1,080. But quite aside from this being plenty for many users, this monitor is as much about the chassis as the panel it holds.
There’s a multitude of reasons why the P2370 looks better than the aforementioned T200 or even the 24in Samsung T240HD. First of all there’s the titular Touch of Colour. Rather than the blatant red strip of its predecessors, this latest range has not only changed the colour to a (in my personal opinion) nicer blue, but its integration is now also far subtler. In fact, with the monitor assembled you might have a hard time spotting it.
You see the monitor’s ‘leg’ is now beautifully transparent, with a small blue section underneath it casting reflections into it. Just like the T200 this monitor has a transparent plastic ‘shield’ on its bezel, which extends beyond the bezel’s edges, but again its implementation is far more attractive.
It now extends equally everywhere and its edges are both thinner and more rounded, giving a smoother and more coherent overall appearance. This transparent covering also helps fingerprints to be less visible and though the piano-black base is still as susceptible as ever, Samsung provides a cleaning cloth to keep it pristine.
Together with the transparent ‘leg’ and subtler ToC, the other major change from the SyncMaster T-range is this monitor’s slimness. Unlike the rather bulky T200, the P2370 measures only 47mm at its thickest point, with its smoothly tapered edges making it appear slimmer still. This makes it slimmer than the headline-grabbing BenQ V2400W, though admittedly that was a larger 24in 16:10 display. There are a couple of negatives, though. First, that its very wide bezel means the P2370 actually takes up more space than most 24in monitors both lengthwise and in height; secondly, the stand is pretty but not very functional, offering only tilt adjustment.
Samsung’s most stylish monitor to date is nearly as attractive from the back as from the front. Its back is a single smooth slope without any grilles, vents or screw-covers, while the connections (which face straight out) are the only thing marring its surface, and they’re kept as small as possible. First off there’s the power plug, which is small and round as the P2370 has a modestly-sized external power brick. Not only was this a necessity to keep the monitor as slim as it is, but the thin little cable looks far better than a regular thick kettle lead would.
Video connectivity is limited to DVI, which with its large, clunky plug does ruin the aesthetic somewhat. You might be wondering why Samsung didn’t simply go for the much smaller and more graceful HDMI, but the answer is simple: VGA compatibility, since this ancient standard is still used by most netbooks and many cheap notebooks. As a fully digital standard, HDMI doesn’t support analogue (except with special converters costing upward of £150), whereas DVI does.
Of course, Samsung could have gone with DisplayPort, which is not only sleek but fully interoperable and already found on monitors such as the Dell-UltraSharp-2408WFP and excellent HP LP2475w. However, this plus the necessary adapters might have added to the cost. As is, you get DVI-to-DVI and DVI-to-VGA cables in the box.
Getting back to the design, this SyncMaster’s sleek looks aren’t spoiled by any buttons, as the P2370 uses a touch-control system. When turned off the only indication is an inconspicuous power icon painted onto the bezel, which when pressed lights up in white. The rest of the ‘buttons’ are purely LED-based and can be either set to stay on or merely appear for a few seconds after pressing to the left of the icon.
Though this touch-based system and the OSD are both attractive and responsive, they’re not always logically implemented. The first button calls up the OSD menu, while the second one acts as ‘Down’ and cleverly allows you to customize it for different functions including brightness and colour presets or aspect ratio settings. Next we have ‘Up’/Brightness, and Enter/’Input selection’. No, that’s not a mistake or a typo; for some reason beyond our understanding, the SyncMaster P2370 has a dedicated source-switching button despite only featuring a single input – very odd, indeed.
Also quite odd are the ‘Colour Effect’ settings introduced with the SyncMaster T-range, which allow you to turn the entire screen into greys, green, aqua or sepia. Someone might find a use for such things, but we’re at a loss to think what those might be.
There’s a large selection of other modes and presets, too. MagicBright includes fairly well-configured Text, Internet, Game, Sport, Movie and Dynamic Contrast presets and there’s a Custom one to store your own settings.
Thankfully this monitor doesn’t suffer from inbuilt speakers, so it’s time to get onto the image quality. Unfortunately, this Samsung’s TN panel doesn’t live up to the chassis in which it’s housed. Starting off with the greyscale performance, it put on one of the worst shows we’ve seen in a long time, utterly failing to distinguish between an alarmingly large number of darker shades. In fact, almost half of them were virtually indistinguishable, as opposed to the one or two usually blended on TNs these days.
There was also some minor backlight bleed from the bottom of the screen and very slight banding, both of which are common enough. Less common were noticeable signs of dithering and text wasn’t particularly sharp either. Worst of all, though, are the P2370’s viewing angles: horizontal ones are quite good for a TN, but vertical ones are so poor that there is only the narrowest angle from which colours remain remotely accurate.
After such criticism you might think the P2370 is not worth bothering with, but that’s not necessarily true. Keep in mind that some of the previous image-quality criticisms are only relevant under specific circumstances; for everyday usage and office work this Samsung SyncMaster is perfectly adequate. Even films are quite watchable if you don’t mind the loss of dark detailing and slightly noisy playback, offering punchy colours and good motion handling. However, if you’re at all serious about your entertainment or do any graphics work, this is not the screen for you.
Another redeeming feature is the P2370’s frankly stunningly low power consumption: it uses a maximum of 30W and only 1W in standby. Not only is this the lowest figure for any similarly-sized display we’ve come across, it easily beats even 19in monitors like the ViewSonic VX1962wm! Thus, if you’re after a Full HD display that isn’t too large or heavy (the P2370 weighs just 4.1kg), while also maintaining frugal power consumption, this makes for a compelling option.
As to value, the SyncMaster P2370 is not actually available to buy yet, but pre-order pricing online seems to hover between £200-250. This is likely to go down after the monitor has been out a few weeks, but even at the current price of £222 the P2370 is quite cheap given its eco-friendly credentials and designer looks. If a fancy chassis is all you’re after though, the BenQ V2400W has come down to around the same price since its review, offering different but equally attractive looks, a far thinner bezel, triple inputs and more screen real-estate.
If you’re after some versatility while still maintaining classy looks, Samsung’s own SyncMaster T240HD comes with more connections than you can shake a stick at (including multiple HDMIs, digital audio and component), a built-in TV-tuner and remote, all for around the £250 mark. Of course, you do lose the slimness and you’re stuck with a touch of red plus more than double the power consumption, but if bang for your buck is what you’re after then it’s a good alternative.
Samsung’s SyncMaster P2370 makes a stiff competitor for BenQ’s own designer monitor in the looks department and is arguably more attractive, but doesn’t offer the same connectivity and its image quality is somewhat underwhelming. However, not only is it competitively priced, it offers incredibly low power consumption and light weight into the bargain, matching the style with some substance.
Score in detail
Image Quality 6
|Screen Size (inches) (Inch)||23 in|
|Response Time (Millisecond)||2 ms|
|Brightness (Lumen)||250 Nitlm, 250 cd/m?lm|
|Dot Pitch||0.265 mm|
|Horizontal Viewing Angles||170?|
|Vertical Viewing Angles||160?|
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