Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ review: Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.3
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 8.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ offers great movies and games performance and has a useful onscreen display. The monitor is aesthetically pleasing and is compatible with Nvidia's 3D Vision Kit. We saw cleaner textures in fast-moving games in the 120Hz mode.

The Bad The Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ is expensive for what it offers. It only supports DVI. There's no screen height adjustment, rotation, or pivoting.

The Bottom Line The Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ is the best choice for 120Hz 3D stereoscopic gaming on the PC, with great movie playback to boot. For all other needs, there are cheaper alternatives.

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Editors' note: Currently, the Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ is only available bundled with the Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision Kit. Samsung plans to release the SyncMaster 2233RZ in late April.

If you're interested in Nvidia's 3D Vision Kit and trying to decide which of the two available 120Hz LCD computer monitors to get, we recommend going with the $399 Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ. Compared with the other 120Hz monitor, the ViewSonic FuHzion vx2265wm , the Samsung has better performance in movies and a useful onscreen display menu with many presets and contrast control. It also has a more pleasing aesthetic and better overall color reproduction. The Samsung 2233RZ performed better than our current 22-inch darling, the Gateway HD2201 did; however, the Samsung is priced about $200 more than the Gateway. Therefore, if you're looking for a 22-inch monitor with a low price and great performance, we still recommend the Gateway HD2201. That said, if you're looking to get your stereoscopic 3D gaming on, walk right past the ViewSonic FuHzion vx2265wm and go straight to the Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ.

Design and features
Since the Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ and the are currently the only two computer monitors on the market compatible with Nvidia's 3D Vision Kit, it's only fitting that we directly compare them whenever possible.

Each display is mostly devoid of useful ergonomic options such as screen rotation and height adjustment, offering only a 25-degree backward tilt. When placed on a desktop, the Samsung leaves about 3.75 inches between the bottom of its screen and the desk. Thanks to its longer neck, the ViewSonic sits about an inch higher at 4.75 inches. On the sides and top, the Samsung's glossy bezel measures 0.75 inch and 0.8 inch respectively. The glossy bezel of the ViewSonic measures 0.7 inch all-around. The Samsung's oval-shaped footstand measures a hair larger than 10 inches wide and 8.5 inches deep. When knocked from the sides, the Samsung wobbled only minimally, but it did slide a few inches across the desk with each knock. The ViewSonic, with its 13.5 inch by 8.5-inch footstand wobbles a lot when knocked, but it stays in one place. Given the choice, we'd take the wobbling over the sliding any day. On the bottom middle of the Samsung's bezel is a light gray, painted-on Samsung logo.

The Samsung's panel measures about 1 inch deep and extends another 1.5 inches behind it to include the ventilation system, backlight, and connection options. The ViewSonic has a narrow panel measuring just larger than 0.5-inch thick; but like the Samsung, once its caboose is factored in, this number is extended nearly 2 inches more. With these measurements tallied, the two displays' panels are each about 2.5 inches deep, which is about average for a 22-inch model. The complete width of the Samsung's panel is 20.3 inches compared with the ViewSonic's 20 inches. Compared with other 22-inch models, this is about an average width. Running across the bottom of the Samsung's bezel is a clear fiberglass "lip" about half an inch tall. When the monitor is on, a blue LED radiates from the bottom of the bezel and reflects off the lip, creating a cool-looking effect. Each display's screen forgoes glossy, in favor of a matte finish.

The Samsung's chassis is mostly glossy all-around; however, about two-thirds of the back has a matte finish accompanied by engraved pictures of flower petals. Each flower had a bumpy texture engraved into it. The back of the ViewSonic is a plain glossy black. Overall, we felt the Samsung had the more elegant, eye-pleasing design.

The Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ's onscreen display buttons are located on the lower right side, on the outside of the panel. It includes five buttons, stacked on top of each other. The buttons include Menu, Up, Down, Enter, and Back, with the power button below. The Up and Down buttons also double as shortcuts to brightness and contrast controls, respectively. Each button is nearly a half inch in diameter with a convex shape. Pressing the buttons delivers a satisfying clicking sound and each depresses enough to make it obvious when it's been pushed. The buttons have enough space between them so that when calibrating in a low light situation, you can easily tell where one button ends and another begins.

Pressing the Menu button brings up the OSD menu. Here you have options for brightness and contrast in addition to OSD menu options for setting its duration on screen when idle (up to 200 seconds). Presets include Text, Internet, Game, Sports, Movies, and Dynamic contrast. Choosing each preset appropriately adjusts the brightness of the display; however, the movie presets seems to change the color temperature to have a redder push than the other presets that look bluer. This, however, was not detrimental to the image. The ViewSonic includes no OSD menu and only has button controls for brightness and volume controls for its built in speakers. The Samsung doesn't include any built-in speakers.

Both the Samsung and ViewSonic include a DVI connection, but lack HDMI and VGA connections. Both are HDCP compatible, so HD content is viewable on them. The lone DVI port is easily accessible with no obstructions or awkward angles to get in the way. However, the Samsung's DVI port is tucked in more snugly, making it a bit of a pain to access. Each screen has an aspect ratio of 16:10 with a 1,680x1,050-pixel native resolution.

The SyncMaster 2233RZ and VX2265wm are two of the first consumer LCD computer monitors with a 120Hz refresh rate. Supported by a dual-link DVI cable, the 120Hz refresh rate ensures the displays' compatibility with the $199 Nvidia 3D Vision Kit stereoscopic 3D glasses. The glasses give 3D games added depth to the image. For example, when playing Unreal Tournament 3, your map and menu items look like stickers, stuck to the screen and the rest of the graphics--characters, vehicles--look much farther away.

Check out our review of the Nvidia 3D Vision Kit for more information.

Manufacturer's specifications:
Resolution: 1,680x1,050 pixels
Pixel-response rate: 3ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Connectivity: DVI
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? DVI-D Dual link

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Where to Buy

Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ

Part Number: 2233RZ
Pricing is currently unavailable.