Samsung SyncMaster S23A350H review:

Samsung SyncMaster S23A350H

DisplayMate: The S23A350H displayed light gray up to level 253. Every level between 1 and 255 (considered white) is a variation of gray. Once calibrated, the monitor could not distinguish between 254 and 255, thereby performing better than the S23A550H, which topped out at 251 and washed out colors during real-world use. The S23A350H's performance here indicates the display will likely not be prone to washing out light colors. As for dark gray, the S23A350H displayed down to level 2, pointing to a low black level.

The monitor performed excellently in our Color Tracking test, which looks for evidence of tint and hue problems. In our Dark Screen test, light struggled to break through the veil of the monitor's black panel, making the entire screen look very dark gray instead of true black. Additionally, slight backlight bleeding was noticeable in the lower and upper edges of the screen.

Text: Black text on white looked clear, without any obvious color tint problems. Fonts were clearly visible down to a 6.8 size.

Movies: We tested the Samsung SyncMaster S23A350H using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." The Cinema preset provided the best overall experience, displaying richer colors and deeper blacks than we saw on the S23A550H.

Games: When evaluating the look of games on a monitor, the two most important features to consider are vibrancy and color. If the monitor can display games with a bright, clean, vibrant look, this goes a long way. If colors also pop with fullness and depth, games usually look great.

The game Torchlight on the Samsung SyncMaster S23A350H in the Game preset had decent vibrancy and while colors weren't oversaturated as they tend to be on the PX2370, they weren't as bland as on the S23A550H either. Both the Game preset and our calibrated settings were suitable for games on the display.

To test refresh rate, we used DisplayMate's motion graphics tests and stared at a number of colored blocks as they moved around the screen at various speeds. The S23A350H displayed slightly less streaking than the PX2370, which itself has shown some of the lowest levels of streaking of any monitor.

Photos: Overall, color in photos didn't pop as on the PX2370, but we saw much less green in faces and hair than on the S23A550H.

Recommended settings: We used SpectraCal's CalPC to calibrate the Samsung S23A350H for bright-room viewing. The following settings are what the monitor was adjusted to after calibration.

Attribute Setting
Preset Custom
Brightness 70
Contrast 70
Color temperature Normal
Color settings R-46

If you find these settings are still unsatisfactory, try the different presets, as they're all well-suited for their appropriate tasks.

Viewing angle: The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the screen's distance down from the top. At this angle, you're viewing colors as the manufacturer intended. Most monitors aren't designed to be viewed from any other angle. Depending on the monitor's panel type, picture quality at non-optimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when not viewed from optimal angles.

The Samsung SyncMaster S23A350H uses a TN panel, so its viewing angle from the sides, top, and especially underneath is narrower than you see on high-end displays like the Asus PA246Q, which uses IPS panel technology. As mentioned before, the S23A350H makes better use of Samsung's Magic Angle feature than the S23A550H does. This is in part thanks to the S23A350H's better handling of color.

Magic Angle gives the option of changing attributes of the monitor so that it looks better when viewed from certain angles. This does affect the clarity of text, but mostly it affects contrast. The feature works, but its uses are limited. For example, Lean Back Mode works only if your viewing angle is up to 15 degrees down from a perfect angle. Any more than 15 degrees and it ceases to be useful. It's still a nice extra, but we'd love to see some improvements in future implementations.

Power consumption: The Samsung SyncMaster S23A350H achieved good power consumption, with a Default/On power draw of 26.3 watts, close to the Samsung PX2370's 25.01 watts in the same test.

In our Sleep/Standby test, the S23A350H cost 0.38 watt and the PX2370 pulled a lower 0.27 watt. As we expected, the monitors would incur near the same annual cost, and based on our formula, the S23A350H would cost $8.11 per year to run, compared with the PX2370's slightly lower $7.65 per year.

Juice box
Samsung SyncMaster S23A350H Average watts per hour
On (default luminance) 26.3
On (max luminance) 26.3
On (min luminance) 9.9
Sleep 0.38
Calibrated (200 cd/m2) 22.6
Annual power consumption cost $8.11
Score Good

Brightness (in cd/m2)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Samsung SyncMaster S23A350H
HP x2301

Contrast ratio
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Samsung SyncMaster S23A350H
Dell S2330MX
HP x2301

DisplayMate performance tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Samsung SyncMaster S23A350H
HP x2301

Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.

Service and support
Samsung backs the SyncMaster S23A350H with a three-year parts-and-labor warranty that covers the backlight. It also offers support through a 24-7 toll-free number, as well as 24- to 48-hour turnaround e-mail and Web-chat support.

After the disappointment of the S23A550H, it's great to see the S23A350H perform as well as it did in our tests. With its sound and sensible design, great performance, and useful and robust OSD, the S23A350H is well worth its very low asking price. It could have included a DVI connection or adapter, but if you don't mind a small investment at, that isn't much of an objection.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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