Samsung SyncMaster F2080 – 20in LCD Monitor Review - Samsung SyncMaster F2080 Review

When it comes to connectivity it’s once again obvious that Samsung is targeting enthusiasts and professionals rather than the average consumer. There’s no HDMI to be found but twin HDCP-enabled DVI ports and a good old VGA connection are plenty for this type of monitor. There’s also a physical power switch, and the F2080’s pivot function makes plugging in the provided cables a cinch.

Below the lower bezel is a thin silver strip with dark-grey icons denoting the controls. These are physical buttons running along the strip’s base with Braille-like markings, making them easy to use even in the dark. Here you’ll also find a thin white LED strip, which aside from the round metal stand is the only curve to be found on the F2080. It’s very subtle and stylish, which is good since – surprisingly – you can’t turn it off. Though not an issue in a lit environment, in a darkened room it can be distracting, so it’s an odd choice on Samsung’s part – especially since the power LEDs on many of its multimedia monitors can be turned off.

Getting back to the buttons, they offer crisp feedback and are well-placed. First on the list is Menu, which also acts as a Back button. Next we have a button that functions as down in menus or can be customised to switch between MagicBright, MagicColor, Color Effect or Image Size (Auto or Wide), more on which later. The third button acts as a brightness shortcut or up in menus, while Source doubles as an Enter button. Finally there’s a dedicated Auto button next to the Power one, which we question the usefulness of on a high-end display such as this but is handy for those still hooking things up through analogue VGA.

Menus are just as understated as one would expect given the rest of this monitor’s aesthetics. Despite only being three-tone they’re attractive, well laid out and easy to use, and as you’d expect they offer a wealth of options. A rare but welcome feature is that the menu remembers the last main section you were in when you left it.

Picture allows you to adjust all the usual settings including brightness, contrast and even response time, the latter of which is important given that overdrive processing (the technology used to increase response time) can have a negative effect on image quality.

Color gives separate RGB settings as well as full control over Tone and Gamma, though not the traditional colour temperature presets which might be a bit off-putting for some. Then there’s the aforementioned Color Effect, which allows you to turn everything on your monitor Grayscale, Green Aqua or Sepia – we guess it could be fun in a presentation, or to quickly preview a colour effect without having to switch to an image editor.

MagicBright, meanwhile, offers a range of seven brightness presets, including Dynamic contrast and a Custom mode which allows you to adjust brightness and contrast to your liking. Despite its business rather than multimedia leanings, there is also an AV option which optimizes for video content and limits you to digital inputs. MagicColor ‘improves’ colours for entertainment material like films and games especially, and offers a Demo mode in which you can compare the effect applied across half the screen. Finally Automatic Source Selection is a welcome addition but you can turn it off if you prefer.

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