Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW review

£223
Price when reviewed

As the successor to the 226BW, the 22in SyncMaster 2232BW has high standards to meet. And it has nothing to worry about as far as its looks are concerned.

The monitor’s “Pebble” design is new to Samsung’s monitor range with this model, but anyone familiar with the company’s high-definition LCD TVs will recognise the glossy, black bezel with its beautifully curved bottom edge.

Initial setup was a little odd because the bulbous neck doesn’t actually click into place inside the rubber-surrounded slot on the body – it took a bit of pushing before we were certain we’d fixed it together correctly.

Once done, we fired up the Natural Color Pro software utility that comes with it, and followed the calibration wizard; these can sometimes be a little inaccurate, but the resulting picture beat anything we managed ourselves using DisplayMate.

Our technical tests produced mostly excellent results: the 1,000:1 contrast and 300cd/m2 are pretty standard at this size, so the white and black levels were suitably bright and dark. We noticed two tiny faint yellow marks in the top corners but these were only noticeable with a completely white screen. Other than that the backlight was even.

The 2232BW brought out the minor differences between the top few white levels in our contrast test, and did almost as well at the black end. Shades of grey showed no undesirable colour tinting and our gradient tests were smoothly reproduced in both greyscale and colour.

Our one complaint is that it’s lost a little bit of the vibrancy that made the 226BW such an attractive choice for gaming and movies, but it’s still superior to most other monitors we’ve tested recently.

The greens and blues of our 3D Crysis tests really came to life on the Samsung, and video footage from our test HD clip showed off the pin-sharp pixel reproduction and ultra-fast 2ms response time wonderfully.

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The downside with this model is that the stand is fixed in place – it will tilt but there’s no height adjustment or pivot mode – and the range of ports is limited. You get DVI (with HDCP) and VGA, but there are no consumer connections, no USB hubs or even integrated speakers.

The 226BW had none of these frills either, but was still good enough to remain our favourite 22in monitor for a year. And the image quality of the 2232BW is just as good – if not better. It costs a mere £10 more at launch than its predecessor (a price that’s likely to fall) and its style is far more attractive. In short, if you’re after a top-quality 22in TFT, this is simply the best available.

PLEASE NOTE: The 226BW was plagued by reports, on the forums, of Samsung using three different panels of varying quality. For the 2232BW, you’ll be assured of getting the panel we’ve reviewed if you buy from one of these Western European resellers, rather than one of the many sites selling “grey” imports from other territories.

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