Samsung SyncMaster 570s
Simple Setup (Sort Of)
Setup was a cinch, but making specific picture adjustments took some getting used to. The detailed, multilingual instruction book gets you up and running in minutes, and the picture requires very little adjustment. The convenient auto-adjust feature sharpened the focus some, but the difference was hardly noticeable. The 570s's native 1,024-by-768-pixel resolution is on a par with that of a standard 17-inch display. However, when you change it, text appears smudged (as is typical with LCD monitors).
Making picture adjustments through the unit's onscreen adjustment system (OSD) could be more intuitive. Because you have to press various combinations of the Menu, Brightness, and Exit buttons, you're likely to strike the wrong combination from time to time.
Potentially Pleasing Picture
CNET Labs' tests show that Samsung's display is a excellent performer, except on a Mac. Although the 570s's picture quality doesn't quite touch the top of the heap, the difference between monitors is noticeable only in close, side-by-side comparisons. The picture is bright and crisp, with excellent color rendition and only a slight variation in brightness from top to bottom. We weren't as enamored with the picture quality, however, when the Samsung was paired with the Macintosh G4, outfitted with a 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 graphics card. When connected to the Mac, the Samsung's picture darkened and took on a noticeable variation in brightness from top to bottom. Samsung is looking into the problem.
This heavyweight performer weighs in at just 15.5 pounds, plus a pound or so for the power brick. Its physical adjustments are very flexible: You can tilt the screen back and forth, raise or lower the display from its base, or rotate it 180 degrees for a full-portrait display (excellent for lengthy Web pages; pivot software included).
Samsung warrants the SyncMaster 570s for three years. Toll-free technical support is available 24/7, and there is a fax-back feature as well. You can also get email support, online manuals, FAQs, and other assistance from the company's Web site.
A Qualified Thumbs-Up
For PC users, Samsung has come up with a promising product, with a very good picture and an awesome price. Now if the company could only figure out why the picture isn't so terrific on a Mac.