Samsung SyncMaster T220HD 22in LCD TV/Monitor Review - Samsung SyncMaster T220HD Review

Next up is the setup menu, where you can adjust date, time, language, sleep timer and the red power-LED’s brightness under the perplexing name of Light Effect. You can also enable a ‘tune’ (a few notes) to welcome you whenever the monitor is switched on.

Above this you’ll find the audio menu, which contains a surprising amount of options. First, there is a mode selection, including Music, Movie and Speech. Then we have an Equalizer, SRS option, Automatic Volume Control and the option to switch the ‘TV speakers’ permanently on or off.

The most important menu option, however, is the top one, which deals with the screen itself. I was pleasantly surprised to find the brightness set to a sensible medium level (45/100), but the T220HD was still eye-searingly bright. Interestingly, this was a result of a separate backlight adjustment option set to its maximum of ten. Thankfully, lowering it to five made a world of difference compared to the bleached-out mess the screen presented before.

Another area where the T220HD demonstrates its versatility is in the choice of aspect ratio options, of which Auto Wide (stretching the image to its maximum width without distortion or clipping), 16:9 and 4:3 are the most useful.

With many key aspects comprehensively covered, the T220HD has given little reason for complaint so far, but as ever, the most important element of any display is its image quality. After a bit of manual tweaking in Standard Mode, with brightness in the low fifties, contrast around 70 and backlight on five or six, subjective impressions were very good.

Fortunately, jumping into DisplayMate did little to change my mind. To start off, the grey-scale performance is really impressive – always keeping in mind we’re dealing with a TN panel here. Amazingly, the T220HD managed to distinguish between even the darkest shades, though it couldn’t quite manage the lightest two.

There was a touch of backlight bleed along the bottom of the screen and a slight hint of banding. However, don’t be too discouraged by these factors; the excellent tonal reproduction, great contrast and likewise remarkable vertical viewing angles more than make up for the panel’s shortcomings. The only traditional weakness it retains to an annoying extent is that viewing the panel from below causes dramatic contrast and colour shift. However, if you’re in this position – for example, watching TV from a seat lower than the display – the generous forward tilt will sort it out.

Watching films on the T220HD is also a visual pleasure. You’ll probably want to avoid the Movie mode, since despite deepening blacks it will lose you quite a bit of detail in those dark areas of many films. Instead, leave it in Standard mode and fine tune the main settings. Alternatively, rather surprisingly, Dynamic mode actually offered an acceptable compromise too, darkening your viewing material less than the Movie mode did while making an appreciable difference in contrast with only minimal loss of detail.

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