Samsung 2232GW review: Samsung 2232GW

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Stellar image quality across a variety of tasks; great-looking design.

The Bad Sparse feature set; costs more than other 22-inch LCDs.

The Bottom Line The Samsung 2232GW delivers where it counts with excellent image quality, but Dell has a 22-inch LCD that delivers the same level of performance and more features for less money.

7.6 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 4.0
  • Performance 9.0
  • Service and support 7.0

The Samsung 2232GW looks like an entertainment-minded LCD upon first glance, with its piano-black bezel and stand, its glossy screen coating that results in rich colors and smooth edges in movies and games, and its fast 2-millisecond pixel response time. The 22-inch wide-screen LCD performed well in testing, too, delivering a solid image across a variety of tasks. However, it ultimately falls short of the Dell SP2208WFP because it lacks many of the features found on Dell's 22-inch consumer-friendly LCD while costing roughly $60 more. There's nothing wrong with the Samsung 2232GW, but we prefer the Dell SP2208WFP for its lower price, equally stunning image, and added features such as an HDMI connection, USB ports, and integrated Webcam.

Design
The Samsung 2232GW looks more like an HDTV than desktop display, with its rounded corners and glossy black bezel. The only button to grace the front is a round power button highlighted by a ring of blue light. The five onscreen menu buttons are hidden underneath the bottom edge, but they are easily accessed and marked with subtle gray icons. The thin 0.75-inch bezel widens along the bottom to where it's 2-inches thick at the center beneath the screen.

You'll need some muscle to connect the stand to the display upon setup. The ball-and-socket connection requires a bit of force to fit the two pieces together. The wordless installation sheet features vague illustrations to guide you. Once connected, you'll find that the only adjustment offered is tilt, and not much at that. The oval stand is relatively sturdy, but the monitor is more prone to wobble than the Dell SP2208WFP and its rectangular base.

Manufacturer's specs:
Resolution: 1680x1050
Pixel-response rate: 2ms
Contrast ratio: 3000:1
Connectivity: DVI, VGA
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? DVI

Features
There's not much to report in the features department. Your video connection options are the standard VGA and DVI--no HDMI or component here. Also absent are added bonuses found on other LCDs, including the Editors' Choice award-winning Dell SP2208WFP, such as USB ports, an integrated Webcam, or an optional speaker bar.

The DVI port does provide HDCP, so you can view Hollywood's high-definition copyrighted material. As with any 22-inch display, the native resolution of 1,680x1,050 means you won't be able to display 1080p video without scaling. Like the Dell SP2208WFP, the Samsung 2232GW boasts a fast 2ms (gray-to-gray) pixel response time, which means the monitor handles moving images--movies, TV, games--with ease. Also like the Dell, the 2232GW features a glossy screen coating--Samsung calls it MagicClear--that helps smooth edges and brighten colors, but can also lead to distracting reflections in a brightly lit room. Given the sparse feature set, this Samsung monitor might be a better offer with a matte finish for use as a basic productivity display.

Performance
Although we found the features lacking, the Samsung 2232GW's performance is excellent. It put up a composite score of 89 on our DisplayMate suite of tests, which is ahead of the pack and trails only the 90 that the Dell SP2208WFPT scored. We're happy if a display breaks 80, which means an 89 thrills us. It also proved itself to be very bright, but despite claims of a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, it finished in the middle of the pack at 863:1. In anecdotal testing, it excelled with movies and games, which wasn't surprising given its glossy coating and fast 2ms response time. As opposed to the Dell SP2208WFP, whose image appeared a touch too warm at its default settings, the Samsung 2232GW was slightly too cool at its default levels. It was a simple fix to lower the blue level, however. The display offers a number of presets, which are easily accessed without even needing to use the onscreen menu. Simply pressing one of the menu buttons below the display lets you cycle through presets for Text, Internet, Game, Sport, Movie, and Dynamic Contract, and Custom. The Movie preset worked well, resulting in accurate skin tones for the Tenenbaum clan in The Royal Tenenbaums.

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