Samsung SyncMaster 940UX review: Samsung SyncMaster 940UX

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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good DisplayLink video chip lets you connect it via USB, which makes it highly convenient as a second display; you can daisy-chain up to six DisplayLink LCDs; decent viewing angle.

The Bad Aside from DisplayLink, the features are sparse; lower than average performance including a slow 5ms response time.

The Bottom Line While its ability to connect to your PC via USB makes the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX a convenient second monitor, LG has a cheaper and larger DisplayLink model that also boasts better overall performance.

6.4 Overall
  • Design 5.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Service and support 8.0

The Samsung SyncMaster 940UX is a plain-looking 19-inch LCD monitor with a standard 4:3 ratio screen. You won't find built-in speakers, HDCP support, or even a pivot feature on this productivity-minded LCD. What you will find, however, is an ability to connect the display via USB, thanks to its DisplayLink video chip. Only those looking for an easy way to add a second monitor (or a third, fourth, fifth, or sixth) will be able to justify the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX's $379 price. It can save you the cost of a new dual-video-port graphics card, for example. Do note that the LG L206WU is another DisplayLink LCD that's larger, wide screen, and cheaper. And we still like the HP W2007 if you're simply shopping for a single LCD to serve as a primary productivity monitor in the 19- to 20-inch range.

Design
The Samsung SyncMaster 940UX is an ordinary-looking monitor dressed in a matte black finish. It has a very thin bezel, measuring at 0.55 inch thick, which allows you arrange a matrix of up to six of these displays right next to each other. The display features a narrow footprint, and since the height adjustment offers only 3 inches, you don't have to worry too much about it toppling over.

The On Screen Display (OSD) features nicely spaced buttons and lets you control the standard adjustments such as brightness and contrast, as well as a number of geometry options like H-position and sharpness--just in case you wanted to use the VGA connection. The OSD also includes controls for Samsung's MagicColor feature, which analyzes the colors of the input signal and adjusts them to create a better balance of color. We found that MagicColor oversaturated the image, however; you're better off manually making adjustments yourself.

The DVI, VGA, and USB connections on the back are not labeled, but they're fairly self explanatory. There is also a power switch on the back in addition to the power button on the front. You'll also find two additional USB-in ports on the left for daisy-chaining.

It was a simple matter of plug-and-play to set up the display via VGA or DVI. Connecting the display using USB was far less trouble than we experienced with the LG L206WU. Once we plugged the system into our Windows XP test system via USB, the drivers were automatically installed on the system's hard drive (from a small pocket of flash memory on the display) and after two restarts (after the first restart there was a prompt for another one), the display powered on in extended mode, which provides additional desktop space. In order to change the mode to clone (which basically allows you to view the exact same image that's on the first display across one or many displays) you have to open Windows Display Properties, click on the Samsung monitor represented in the properties window, and change the connection type.

Manufacturer's specs:
Resolution: 1280x1024
Pixel-response rate: 5ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Connectivity: DVI, VGA, USB
HDCP compliant? No
Included video cables? DVI and USB

Features
The Samsung SyncMaster 940UX features three USB 2.0 ports (two in, one out), a DVI port, and a VGA port, all of which are located on the bottom on the chassis, accessed from the back. To connect the display directly to your system via USB, you use the USB-out port. You would then use the USB-in port to begin daisy-chaining multiple displays.

Since the chief benefit of setting up a second display or creating a multidisplay scenario is increased productivity (as opposed to any entertainment-minded pursuits), we weren't surprised to find a sparse feature set. You'll need to look elsewhere for an LCD than can double as an entertainment outlet for movies and games. The SyncMaster 940UX doesn't have HDCP support or built-in speakers, and the screen doesn't even pivot.

Performance
Among other 19-inch displays we've reviewed recently, the SyncMaster 940UX beat out most on CNET Labs' tests. Only the Acer p191w posted a higher composite score on the DisplayMate suite of tests. In anecdotal testing, text looked sharp down to 6.8-sized font, which is highly important for a productivity monitor. Not surprisingly, the LCD and its slow 5ms pixel response rate struggled with moving images. Using the Kill Bill Vol. 1 DVD, the image was blurry and showed lots of aliasing and dithering, and the picture only got worse when viewing the movie through USB. In contrast to our DVD test, we found no difference in quality when viewing screens in DisplayMate when connected via USB and DVI.

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