Samsung SyncMaster 226BW review

£187
Price when reviewed

During the Samsung SM226BW’s six-month A-List reign, we haven’t seen another 22in TFT come close to dethroning it. This month’s Labs provided its sternest test yet, but once again it passed with stunningly vibrant flying colours, even if it wasn’t by quite as large a margin as it had previously enjoyed.

Samsung SyncMaster 226BW review

See also: Read our review of its successor, the SyncMaster 2232BW.

The styling instantly appeals, as no other TFT comes close to matching its sleek glossy black and silver lines, and the image quality is similarly impressive. We had to tweak the colour settings a little to try to eliminate a slight blue tinge to everything, but once we enabled the MagicColor feature we simply sat back and enjoyed a beautifully vivid experience. It’s one of the few colour-enhancement settings we’ve ever seen that genuinely works well.

If we wanted to pick holes, there was still slightly too much blue, particularly next to the more natural tones of the Iiyama, but we could easily forgive this as videos, games and photos have a real punch to them that few here can match. Gradients were perfectly smooth, the white level was impressive and – despite a very tiny amount of light bleeding through at the bottom – blacks were good, too, as you’d expect from a panel with a 1,000:1 contrast ratio.

The SM226BW does away with frills like speakers and USB hubs; the stand swivels and tilts but doesn’t raise or lower, and a panel on the rear keeps the cables tidy. All things considered, it was a close call between the Samsung, Iiyama and ViewSonic, but the SM226BW’s excellent quality and style at this price won out.

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