For gaming I fired up a favourite game – Trackmania Nations. It only really gets to come out for monitor testing but it’s fun, with plenty of motion and lots of colour, though mainly green. It looked great with the smooth images and good colour and high native resolution making for a great experience. To see how a twitch game would fare I used Counter-Strike: Source, and that too was fine.
Some displays tend to struggle with shadow areas but the contrast ratio and the adjustable gamma curve option on this monitor means that you won’t have a problem, whatever the ambient light conditions.
In our DisplayMate test, the 226BW put in a very good performance; so long as the extreme Dynamic Contrast mode wasn’t used. Colours were vivid without being overdone and colour fading was excellent. There was a hint of banding in the 256 Intensity Level Colour Ramp test but it was only really evident with the Dynamic Contrast mode.
Suffice to say then that with the looks, features and performance, the Samsung 226BW is definitely our pick of the 22in bunch. However, as another Samsung’s display that gives it the most competition in the form of the 215TW.
This is still our benchmark for widescreen monitor quality and it also has the advantage of Component and S-video inputs, which makes it much more flexible, especially for use with consoles. Of course, you lose an inch to the 226BW and it costs more and for that matter isn’t quite as stylish, so the choice is there. In the end it’s still our favourite widescreen display but if you don’t need the extra connectivity and want the larger size then the 226BW comes recommended.
The Samsung SyncMaster 226BW combines a stylish housing, and great features such as HDCP compatibility on its DVI port, with very impressive image quality. It’s a combination that means that it wins an award and makes it the pick of the 22in bunch.
Score in detail
Image Quality 9