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Samsung 2693HM review: Samsung 2693HM

Samsung 2693HM

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Eric Franklin
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Eric Franklin

Senior Managing Editor / Mobile

Eric Franklin leads the CNET Reviews editors in San Francisco as managing editor. A 20-year industry veteran, Eric began his tech journey testing computers in the CNET Labs. When not at work he can usually be found at the gym, at the movies, or at the edge of his couch with a game controller in his hands.

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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.

6.9

Samsung 2693HM

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.

Design
The 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.

One 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.

The On Screen Display (OSD) sits comfortably in the lower right-hand corner of the bezel. It 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.

There 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.

Manufacturer's specs:
Resolution: 1,920x1,200
Pixel-response rate: 5ms
Contrast ratio: 1000:1, 3000:1 (Dynamic)
Brightness: 400cd/m2
Connectivity: HDMI, DVI, VGA
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? DVI, VGA

Features
The 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.

The 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.

The built-in speakers require an included audio cable and are hidden away on the bottom of the panel.

Performance
The 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 DVD, 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.

Other than the color-temperature problem, DVDs and HD material looked good, with deep blacks and noticeable dark screen detail. The Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP still had deeper blacks, though. In scenes where there was high dynamic range--like sunlight reflecting off of lightly-colored surfaces--there was a bit of oversaturation, which resulted in a loss of detail. Turning the contrast down helped, but it was accompanied by an even greater detail loss.

Horizontal viewing angle was fairly wide--at about 1.5 feet the detail would start to dip--and was about the same as with the Viewsonic VA2626wm. It could not keep up with the Dell, however, which dropped little detail no matter the angle. When playing World of Warcraft, while slouching in our seats--that's how we roll sometimes--we found that the detail in the upper portion of the screen dropped considerably. We experienced the same thing with the Viewsonic VA2626wm, but the Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP's picture remained solid no matter how low we slouched.

The Samsung SyncMaster 2693HM achieved a contrast ratio of 939:1 in our tests. This was very close to the manufacture's claim of 1000:1. The Viewsonic and the Dell scored 779:1 and 891:1, respectively.

The speakers can be turned very loud but sound tinny at high levels and lack enough bass to balance out the sound.

Service and support
Samsung backs the SyncMaster 2693HM 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. Navigating its site and finding the drivers, product manual, and quick guide was simple and easy.

Brightness in cd/m2
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Samsung SyncMaster 2693HM 25.5-inches
417 
V7 D24W33 24-inches
190 

Contrast ratio
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Samsung SyncMaster 2693HM 25.5-inches
939:1 
V7 D24W33 24-inches
670:1 

DisplayMate Tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
V7 D24W33 24-inches
90 
Samsung SyncMaster 2693HM 25.5-inches
88 

Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.

6.9

Samsung 2693HM

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 7Support 8
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