Samsung SyncMaster 205BW – Widescreen Monitor Review - Samsung SyncMaster 205BW Review


There are six buttons located on the bottom right corner of the bezel, with the power button equipped with an obligatory blue light. There’s an Auto Configure button for when you’re using the analogue D-SUB input, a Menu button, up and down buttons and finally a Select button. The down button doubles as the MagicBright shortcut, which gives you five defaults to choose from – Text, Internet, Game, Sport and Movie. Obviously there’s a custom setting too, so that you can configure your brightness, contrast manually.

Also in the OSD you’ll find Samsung’s MagicColor setting. MagicColor analyses the image on the screen and adjusts the colour settings to (allegedly) create the best possible colour balance. There’s a handy feature where the 205BW will split the screen in half with one side showing the current settings and the other showing MagicColor. Personally I’d leave MagicColor switched off though, since the result is very oversaturated colours that can be quite hard on the eye after a while.

A 20in monitor with a resolution of 1,680 x 1,050 is obviously going to appeal to the gaming market, so the 205BW needed to put in a good performance during some high octane frag-fests. On the whole this Samsung vindicated itself well during some heavy Counter Strike: Source, Unreal Tournament and Quake 4 sessions in the office. The quoted 6ms response time ensured that there was no smearing or lag issues, even when using a 2000dpi mouse, although some people are more affected by this than others. Likewise video playback was admirable, with the 205BW exhibiting a superb viewing angle, just like its big brother. If there’s one criticism it’s that the 205BW has trouble resolving detail in low light scenes – this is a common problem with LCD displays, but I’ve definitely seen better.

Firing up DisplayMate proved definitively that the 205BW is no match for the 215TW when it comes to image quality. The 205BW has a few problems at the low intensity end of the scale where detail can be lost. If you try to rectify this problem by adjusting the contrast you just lose detail at the upper end instead. The result is that photographs or video with part of the frame in semi-darkness can be a problem – basically you’ll lose detail that should be visible in the darker areas.

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