The Good: Very good performance, especially for movies; 360-degree rotation; unique buttonless OSD design; good price for such a large screen. The Bad: Flimsy, hollow plastic in back; cannot see or feel the OSD in dark; bad viewing angle from the bottom; overcalibrated "Cool" temperature setting. The Bottom Line: The Samsung SyncMaster 2693HM proved itself to be an excellent overall performer, particularly during movie playback, and can be had for a fair price. Only a flimsy stand, an overcalibrated color-temperature setting, and a poor lower viewing angle prevent a higher recommendation for this 25.5-inch LCD. The Samsung SyncMaster 2693HM is a 25.5-inch LCD monitor that can be found online for as little as $444. It boasts a pleasing aesthetic, good performance, especially for movies, in the warm preset, and includes 360-degree rotation and 90-degree pivoting. It's hampered by a flimsy-feeling stand, a bad lower viewing angle, and an overcalibrated "Cool" color-temperature setting. Its closest competitor we've reviewed is the Viewsonic VA2626wm, which costs more for lower performance and fewer features. If that extra 1.5-inches of screen real estate is not important to you, however, check out the V7 D24W33, a 24-inch LCD with many of the same features as the Samsung with a lower price. \n\nDesign\nThe Samsung SyncMaster 2693HM features a thin, glossy, black bezel that measures 0.8 inch in thickness on the left, right, and top, and widens to 1.3 inches along the bottom edge. The display's panel actually extends another 0.5 inch under the bezel and has a silver reflective coating. The glossy, black coating of the bezel is carried over to the footstand, which is 7.75 inches in diameter, making it wide enough to prevent the display from wobbling much when knocked from any side. \n\nOne of the standout design details we appreciate is that the footstand includes a lazy Susan-type swiveling mechanism that allows the screen to rotate 360 degrees. The display is height-adjustable by about 3 inches, and the panel tilts back 30 degrees and pivots 90 degrees. The neck of the stand is also a glossy black and includes a big, light gray Samsung logo on it that can be seen from the back. What we don't like about the neck is that the plastic feels very cheap. The panel that attaches the neck to the screen is very flimsy, as well, and seems almost toy-like; the plastic feels hollow and fragile. \n\nThe On Screen Display (OSD) sits comfortably in the lower right-hand corner of the bezel.\nIt includes six different preset options that control the brightness and contrast and three other sets of presets that controls everything from color to image size. One of the presets is called Dynamic Contrast, but when choosing this setting we notice that the settings do not change dynamically depending on the content being displayed, as we would expect. Rather they remain static no matter what content the LCD was displaying. \n\nThere are no buttons for the OSD, as each function is built directly into the bezel, including the power button, which emits a blue LED light. Even with the blue light, we have a lot of trouble finding each function when calibrating the display in a dark room. Since there is no tactile feedback and the labels for each function are written very lightly, it quickly becomes a real headache. This is also a problem if the display is running at a high brightness level, as the glare impedes the labels from being seen clearly. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n Manufacturer's specs:\n\n\n Resolution: 1,920x1,200\n\n\n Pixel-response rate: 5ms\n\n\n Contrast ratio: 1000:1, 3000:1 (Dynamic)\n\n\n Brightness: 400cd\/m2\n\n\n Connectivity: HDMI, DVI, VGA\n\n\n HDCP compliant? Yes\n\n\n Included video cables? DVI, VGA\n\n\n\n\n \nFeatures\nThe 25.5-inch Samsung SyncMaster 2693HM has a native resolution of 1,920x1,200. The connection options--which include DVI, VGA, and HDMI--are nestled conveniently to the right in the back, so that the neck of the stand is not in the way when attempting to connect video. DVI and VGA cables are included, but an HDMI cable is not. \n\nThe display includes the Customized Key feature. This allows you to set one of the OSD "buttons" as a one-press solution to changing the various presets of the display, from color to image size to several brightness and contrast settings. The Demo option allows you to preview settings by splitting the screen vertically between your current settings and settings that you've just changed to.\n\nThe built-in speakers require an included audio cable and are hidden away on the bottom of the panel. \n\nPerformance\nThe Samsung SyncMaster 2693HM scored an 88 in CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance test. We tested the display via DVI connection and saw accurate color reproduction depending on the color-temperature setting. For example, while testing in the Cool color temperature it was able to show subtle differences in several shades of the color red, but it had trouble doing the same with the color blue. When watchingKill Bill Vol. 1 on \nDVD, the screen also had a noticeable blue tint to it. Conversely, when we switched the temperature to warm, we did not see the same problems with blue, but did see them with red in DisplayMate. This did not hold true when watching movies however. When set to warm, the display showed very accurate color tint and did not suffer from looking too red. The Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP did not have this same problem in either the Cool or Warm modes. The evidence shows that Samsung, at the very least, has over-calibrated the Cool color-temperature setting.