Samsung P70 monitor review: Samsung P70 monitor

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MSRP: $315.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Samsung SyncMaster P2370 is low-priced, beautifully designed, and offers very good overall performance with Full HD resolution. Also, it's one of the lightest monitors we've tested of any size.

The Bad The Samsung SyncMaster P2370 includes only DVI as a connection option. Movie performance is disappointing, and it has a wobbly base.

The Bottom Line It skimps on a few features, but the Samsung SyncMaster P2370 is a stylish, low-priced 23-incher with very good performance.

7.1 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Service and support 8.0

Like the Dell Crystal, the $299 Samsung SyncMaster P2370 would look perfect in any contemporary art gallery. Unlike with Dell, however, Samsung doesn't require you take out a second mortgage to pay for style. If you're looking for a low-price 23- to 24-inch model with very good performance that does not skimp on the aesthetics, the P2370 is worth the price. Also, it's thinner and lighter than other monitors with smaller screen sizes. The downsides are that it offers only one DVI connection, it has a high black level when playing movies, and a wobbly base that is easy to push around. The $259 24-inch Dell G2410 has better movie and overall performance but it won't win any beauty contests. If you have the extra funds, we also recommend the 23-inch Dell SP2309Wwith its high 2,048x1,152-pixel resolution; however, it has a lower performance than the G2410.

Design and features
The 23-inch Samsung SyncMaster P2370 follows Samsung's typical monitor design with enough eye-pleasing tweaks to give it a considerably unique look. The display measures just more than an inch in depth--a considerably thin measurement, since most monitors of this size measure well over 2 inches. The bezel measures 1.25 inches on the sides and 1.75 inches on the bottom, where a light gray Samsung logo resides. On the edge of the bezel is a plastic transparent overlay. According to Samsung, this overlay changes color based on the light color in the room. Yet this isn't wholly accurate. As different-colored light passes through the overlay, it only gives the impression that the display is changing color.

The neck of the display is one of the most aesthetically different we've ever seen. It's transparent glass with bluish crystals at the bottom. The glass reflects the crystals, which creates a blue hue within the neck. The effect is subtle, but to the eye it makes the P2370 stand out among other monitors. The oval-shaped footstand is 11 inches wide and 7.5 inches deep, but even with such a wide footstand the display wobbles considerably, even with just a small shove. This is due in part to the display's slightness. The display weighs less than 10 pounds; about 2 pounds lighter than the 20-inch HP 2009m

The bottom of the bezel sits about 2.25 inches from the desktop, but unfortunately, this screen height is isn't adjustable and there isn't a screen rotation or pivot option for portrait mode. The capability to tilt the screen back 25 degrees is the only ergonomic feature included.

If you were thinking of connecting the display to your standalone Blu-ray player, think again. To cut back on costs and to keep the monitor as thin as possible, Samsung includes a single DVI-D as the sole connection option. Neither HDMI nor even VGA connections are included.

Pressing your finger against the bottom right hand corner of the bezel brings up the hidden onscreen display array. The white, glowing buttons disappear after a couple moments of inactivity, however, there is an option in the OSD to show them at all times for easier calibration in the dark. You can also set the OSD to be onscreen for 5, 10, 20, or 200 seconds. The array consists of a Menu button, an Up and Down button, an Enter button, and an Auto button. The Up and Down buttons also double as brightness and preset shortcut buttons, respectively. Picture options consist of brightness, contrast, and sharpness. You can also set the color tone to Cool, Normal, Warm or Custom; allowing you to change the red, green, and blue attributes individually. There are seven presets including Custom, Text, Internet, Game, Sport, Movie and Dynamic Contrast. Each preset changes the color temperature and/or brightness of the display to be appropriate to the task at hand. While not as intuitive as Dell's recent brilliantly designed OSDs--seen recently in the G2410--the P2370 takes only a short learning curve to get the hang of.

The Samsung SyncMaster P2370's 16:9 aspect ratio supports a "Full HD" 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution. This continues the trend of more and more monitor vendors moving toward 16:9 from 16:10 because high-definition content--in particular 1080p movies--can fit onto a 1,920x1,080-pixel screen without distorting the image.

Manufacturer's specifications:
Resolution: 1,920x1,080
Pixel-response rate: 2ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Brightness: 250cd/m2
Connectivity: DVI-D
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? DVI
Backlight: CCFL
Panel Type: TN

Performance
We tested the Samsung SyncMaster P2370 with its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 93 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, besting both the 23-inch Dell SP2309W's 90 and the 24-inch BenQ E2400HD's 85. The P2370 got nearly perfect scores in our color tests, revealing only a slight flaw in its color tracking capability. The Color Tracking test shows how accurately a monitor can replicate the gray scale. The P2370's representation of the gray scale had a slight reddish hue that kept it from being perfect. In our Dark Screen test, backlight bleed through was noticeable on the top and bottom edges of the screen, suggesting that the display would not be able to display deep blacks when playing a movie (see below). The P2370 achieved a brightness score of 239 candelas per square meter (cd/m2)--only slightly lower than Samsung's claimed 250 cd/m2 max. Its tested contrast ratio was slightly above the 1,000:1 claimed by Samsung and came in at a fairly close 1,064:1.

We used the P2370's Movie preset to check out "War of the Worlds" ("WotW") on DVD and "House of Flying Daggers" ("HoFD") on Blu-ray. In "WotW" we found the color quality was worse than expected with slightly washed out faces and a slight yellowish tint. Deep blacks--a critical attribute for good movie playback--eluded the P2370. In "HoFD" we saw more accurate color, but those deep blacks we enjoyed on the Dell G2410 were still nowhere to be seen. Also, picture sharpness was not quite as fine as on the G2410 as subtitles looked slightly blurred. We found that the Dynamic Contrast preset worked best for movie watching. With Dynamic Contrast on, we only noticed the screen darkening on scenes where the screen is 90 percent black or more, such as the end credits and during fades to black. In the DC preset blacks looked darker and the colors, slightly more full.

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