If you're debating whether to buy the $260 24-inch Samsung SyncMaster P2450h, or either the more expensive Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 or the Samsung PX2370, we suggest you pay the extra money for one of the latter monitors and save yourself from buyer's remorse induced headaches.
The P2450h's Achilles' Heel is its distinct green push that not only mutates characters from movies and photos into sickly-looking beings--who appear as if they've been on a particularly turbulent cruise ship for too long--but also dulls colors in games. The P2450h also crushes dark grays, which causes the monitor to have a difficult time displaying dark detail in movies. Samsung shows some flair with the P2450h's onscreen display button array; however, overall the display is neither as sexy as either of Samsung's aforementioned LED-based displays nor can the P2450h compete with their performance. We recommend that you skip buying the P2450h and buy either of the LED-based models or Dell's SP2309W.
Design and features
What strikes us about Samsung's 24-inch SyncMaster P2450h is its angular, sharp corners that the company edges with its often-used transparent glass overlay. The overlay covers the entire front of the monitor, including the glossy bezel, and features a red Touch of Color highlight. The bezel is 0.8 inch wide on the sides. The panel is 1 inch deep at its longest and 1.1 inches deep at its most shallow. The glossy, oval-shaped foot stand is 11 inches wide by 7.8 inches deep. Samsung neither includes the capability to adjust the monitor's height, nor are pivot or swivel options included; however, you can tilt the monitor back 15 degrees. The distance from the bottom of the monitor's bezel to the top of the desktop is 1.9 inches.
The display is moderately wobbly when you knock it from the sides and you can easily knock it over when the panel is tilted. However, when the panel is at 90 degrees, we don't believe it to be in much danger of toppling, even if knocked hard.
The display has VGA, DVI, and HDMI connection options; however, Samsung placed them in an awkward location. The company tucked the connections too deeply into the panel, making them difficult to see without lifting the monitor. Also, the alcove where they reside is narrow, making it frustrating when connecting or disconnecting cables.
On the P2450h, Samsung forgoes buttons in favor of what we refer to as "touch areas." Samsung denotes each with a small white dot, and each area has a different function. The actual button labels, which glow red, appear below the dots within the edge of the glass overlay at the bottom of the bezel. The labels are the result of an impressive refraction technique that makes it appear as if they're floating, 3D-like, within the glass. Calibrating the P2450h in a dark room can be cumbersome, as the nature of the touch areas require pinpoint accuracy; unfortunately, the white dots are difficult to see in a dark room.
The P2450h's onscreen display is the same one Samsung used on the SyncMaster XL2370. The button 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. Its picture options consist of brightness, contrast, and sharpness. You can also set the color tone to Cool, Normal, Warm, or Custom, and 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 brightness of the display with the intent of them being appropriate to the task at hand. Though not as intuitive to use as Dell's brilliantly designed OSDs, the P2450H's OSD has only a small learning curve. One feature we like is that the preset menu is only a button press away.
Connectivity: HDMI, DVI-D, VGA
Ergonomic options: 15 degree back tilt
Resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Audio: Digital Out, Analog Out
VESA support: Yes
Included video cables? DVI, VGA
Panel Type: TN
Screen film: Matte
Pixel-response rate: 2ms
Number of presets: Seven
Picture options: Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness
Color controls: Color temperature, RGB controls
Gamma control: Yes
We tested the Samsung SyncMaster P2450h via a DVI connection to a PC running Windows Vista. The display gets a composite score of 75 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, which is many points below the Samsung PX2370's score of 97. In our Black Level test, we found that the P2450H crushes very dark grays to the point that a level four gray--four levels above true black--is the darkest color the monitor could distinguish from true black. This indicates that the monitor has a high black level. In our Color Tracking test, we noticed that the monitor has a distinct green tint. We tried to alleviate the tint by dialing up the Blue setting from the default 50 to 67. This improved the picture only marginally as the green tint is still noticeable. Finally, in our Dark Screen test, we found that the display's backlight bleeds on the top and bottom edges of the screen.
On the P2450h, text is clearly readable down to a font size 6.8 points, and doesn't have any egregious color-tracking problems with black fonts on a white background. When surfing the Web and other general tasks, the P2450h's green push doesn't affect the image quality as much, especially when compared with its movie performance.
To test the SyncMaster P2450h's movie performance, we watched the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." The display's green push issue we saw in our DiplayMate tests was evident when watching the movie. Because of the tint issue, character's faces look green, making most denizens of Pandora look as though they're going to be sick at any moment, especially the humans. The issue also makes the daytime environments look less natural than they did on the PX2370, as the bright sunlight looks muted on the P2450h. The P2450h also crushes blacks so that in the "Meet the Parents" scene, certain dark details of Neytiri's father's hair can't be seen; whereas on the PX2370, the details are clearly noticeable. Overall, movies viewed on the P2450h have an overall drab, sickly look to them.
Because of our intimate familiarity with World of Warcraft, we believe it remains the best for judging monitor color quality and vibrancy in games. The SyncMaster P2450h has a comparatively dull presentation of colors next to the PX2370's colors. Once again, this is because of that mean old green push issue that has reared its ugly head in nearly all aspects of our testing so far. As a result, the game's presentation doesn't look as vibrant and graphically impressive as it does on the PX2370.