Samsung SM244T review
The widescreen TFT is steadily becoming less of an extravagance and more of a standard. Higher resolutions are slowly becoming more mainstream too, and the 1,920 x 1,200 resolution offered by TFTs on this spread give an opulently spacious Desktop for less money than you might think.
There’s a certain workman-like design to the SM244T; the screen slides up and down the central trunk of the stand to adjust the height from 445mm to 548mm, while pivoting the screen splits this trunk in two for roughly 30 degrees of rotation. It’s left looking ugly next to panels such as the Dell 2405FPW, which makes use of a telescopic stand, and the NEC MultiSync 20WGX2, which has a cunning turntable stand for elegant rotation.
We’re not fans of the side-mounted USB uplink port either, which leaves cables hanging awkwardly from the left of the screen. The OSD also lacks elegance, with big blocky text and an unintuitive row of buttons to navigate through the various options.
There are plenty of options for adjusting the panel’s behaviour: gamma correction, picture-in-picture and the MagicBright/MagicColour menus can be used to adjust the screen depending on use. The former has presets, such as Text and Entertainment, to quickly dim the screen to make it easier on the eye when working, or increase the brightness to an impressive 500cd/m2 for films and gaming. The Full MagicColour setting comes in handy here since it injects some extra vibrancy by adding a little more saturation.
With a pixel width of 1,920, this screen is capable of showing up to 1080p HDV content, although there’s no HDCP input to handle HDV under Vista. Our test films were generally handled well, especially with the MagicColour adding extra vividness. However, despite the quoted 1,000:1 contrast range, shadowy scenes still lost detail, with dark greys appearing black. Thankfully, we saw few signs of lag or blur, thanks to the 6ms grey-to-grey response time. Viewing angles are easily generous enough to have a family or group of friends enjoy whatever’s onscreen too.
Apart from the restricted tonal range, colour handling is excellent, with our technical tests revealing little to worry about. Both colour and greyscale ramps were smooth, with no banding evident, and strong bright colours fading evenly to black. While we saw the same lack of definition in the darker areas of photographs, overall image quality and vibrancy were good.
However, the biggest downside of all for the Samsung is the Dell 2405FPW, which actually costs £100 less and offers slightly better quality, as well as a more robust and elegant design. You’ll also get neater cabling (the uplink cable for the four USB ports plugs in at the back of the panel) and a bank of media card slots supporting all the major formats. It’s going to take something special to challenge the Dell, and this Samsung doesn’t quite cut it.