Samsung SyncMaster XL20 LED Backlight Monitor Review - Samsung SyncMaster XL20 Review

The XL20 has a viewable diagonal area of 20in, one inch less than the NEC Spectraview, so there’s one area of cost cutting already, albeit a small one. As you would expect for a monitor this size, the resolution is 1,600 x 1,200. With the same vertical resolution as a 24in, and about the same physical size, you could imagine pairing this with a conventional 24in display for everyday work such as browsing and email, and having this next to it for specialist, colour accurate work. However, when you run the colour calibration you have to switch to single display mode.

The monitor already has the stand attached in the box and only requires the removal of a holding pin. Once removed this enables the stand to move upwards when required – the height adjustment is very useful. The monitor also sits on a swivel stand making it easy to turn your display round to show an image to a colleague. The display can also be titled forward and back and be fully pivoted 90 degrees, giving you plenty of flexibility.

The monitor weighs 7.2Kg, which isn’t quite as much as I expected. Build quality is satisfactory, but it could do with more polish. Part of the cover for the stand can come off if you’re not careful and you can easily bend the hooks for the monitor hood if you’re not careful to line it up with the slots on the sides.

On the right hand side you’ll find two USB downstream ports and one upstream for connecting to your PC. This is handy, especially for connecting up the supplied calibration unit.

Round the back you’ll find two DVI ports, though be aware that there’s no mention of HDCP compliancy, so you won’t be able to watch HD DVD or Blu-ray movies using this display. The power supply is integrated and there’s an override switch for it.

Once you’ve got the monitor set upon the desk you’re going to want to run the profile software and calibrate the screen using the Eye-One Display 2. However, as I’m running Windows Vista this naturally enough brought with it its own problems. I installed the monitor driver that comes on the disk, but this essentially just gives a name to your screen in Windows and passes on basic information regarding its supported resolutions and refresh rates.

I then installed the Natural Colour Expert (NCE) but then found that the system couldn’t find a driver for the Eye-One. It seems that, at least for Vista, you need to go right here on the Samsung web site and download the a USB driver as well as the latest version of NCE for Vista. Part of the challenge is that the text in the USB driver installation wizard doesn’t display in English, so you have to guess the right buttons to press. All part of the fun, I guess. Once done you should install the Eye-One and manually point Windows to the driver. Once done, NCE will load.

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