With its easel design, champagne-metallic finish and excellent-sounding embedded speakers, the Samsung SyncMaster 172MP doesn't look like your average 17-inch LCD--nor is it. For less than $800, this cleverly designed, Mac- and PC-compatible multifunction display doubles as an HDTV-ready television--once you attach the included TV tuner. The 172MP offers only an analog connection and ships with the necessary cable.
You can also hook up a VCR, a DVD player, or a camcorder via the composite, component, and S-Video jacks on the back panel. The 172MP even has a picture-in-picture option so that you can keep an eye on the game while you work. Couch potatoes will appreciate the display's wide, 170-degree viewing angle and the included remote control for changing channels and adjusting the volume from afar. For the deskbound, the 172MP offers a set of stylish, silver button controls on the bottom bezel that respond to a very light touch.
The 172MP's onscreen menu for adjusting the picture is well designed and easy to navigate. The display also boasts good picture quality with sharp focus for text and Web graphics and a low pixel-response time of less than 25 milliseconds for smooth video viewing. The bad news is that the monitor's easel design makes it impossible to raise, lower, or swivel the display, although you can attach it to a wall with a &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Evesa%2Eorg%2Ffdmipr%2Ehtm" target="new">VESA-compatible mount. Samsung backs this display with an industry-standard, three-year parts-and-labor warranty.
The SyncMaster 172MP goes beyond the functionality of a typical LCD, but it costs more and sacrifices adjustability. If you don't need all that multimedia jazz, try the comparably priced 19-inch Sharp LL-T19D1, or if flexibility is essential, the 19-inch HP L1925.