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Christmas Gift Guide
Monitors

Samsung SyncMasterT200: 20-inch rose black monitor

Having rewritten the manual on TV design, Samsung is trying to do the same thing with computer monitors. But do you want your monitor to be a thing of great beauty?

Samsung recently decided that black wasn't good enough for TVs anymore and turned everything 'rose-black' instead, which is black with a hint of red. Now it's decided it must banish plain, unblushed black from your desktop too. Enter the new SyncMaster monitors, finished in a similar style to Samsung's A6 range of TVs.

Fortuitously, Samsung's cunning plan has yielded some pleasant results. The T200 is a pretty screen, and it will certainly brighten a boring work environment no end. But as nice as it is to look at, the bezel has one glaring problem. Traditionally, monitors have had a matte plastic around the screen because it isn't reflective. The T200 is afflicted with quite severe shininess, and that can be distracting. People walking behind you, bright lights and even your own fingers typing are all reflected, which can be tiresome if you're trying to concentrate.

The screen itself promises a contrast ratio of 20,000:1 and a response time of 2 milliseconds. We aren't going to pretend we ran exhaustive tests on it, but we think it does a pretty good job with most of the stuff we've used it for. Video looked great, and for desktop use it's sharp and bright. The maximum resolution of 1,680x1,050 pixels is decent, although not quite high enough to enjoy 1080p video.

Cunningly, Samsung includes a number of picture modes, designed for specific tasks, such as watching movies, surfing the Internet and playing games. That's actually a pretty good idea, and something we'd see ourselves using on a regular basis.

Like most monitors there are DVI and VGA inputs, but regrettably no HDMI, which we think is a shame -- plenty of PCs support the simpler cable type nowadays.

Putting the T200 together wasn't as hard as it looked. You get three bits to slot into each other -- it's a tool-free process and took about five minutes. In terms of positional adjustments to the screen, you can tilt the monitor backwards, but there's no height adjustment of any kind, which is annoying. If you like to look at your screen at a more natural height you'll have to balance it on an Argos catalogue. –Ian Morris