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Samsung SyncMaster 940UX review: Samsung SyncMaster 940UX

Don't expect loads of extras on the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX. But in its ability to connect via USB, this plain Jane of a 19-inch monitor is perfectly suited for your dual screen needs. If you're looking to expand your workspace to include a second screen -- or more, this simple monitor could fit nicely

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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 940UX is a plain-looking 19-inch LCD monitor with a standard 4:3 ratio screen. You won't find built-in speakers, HDCP support or even a pivot feature on this productivity-minded LCD.

440x330_1.jpg
6.5

Samsung SyncMaster 940UX

The Good

DisplayLink video chip lets you connect it via USB; you can daisy-chain up to six DisplayLink LCDs; decent viewing angle.

The Bad

Lower than average performance including a slow 5ms response time.

The Bottom Line

While its ability to connect to your PC via USB makes the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX a convenient second monitor, LG has a cheaper and larger DisplayLink model that also boasts better overall performance

What you will find, however, is an ability to connect the display via USB, thanks to its DisplayLink video chip. Only those looking for an easy way to add a second monitor -- or a third, fourth, fifth or sixth -- will be able to justify the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX's £200 price. It can save you the cost of a new dual-video-port graphics card, for example.

Design
The Samsung SyncMaster 940UX is an ordinary-looking monitor dressed in a matte black finish. It has a very thin bezel, measuring at 14mm thick, which allows you arrange a matrix of up to six of these displays right next to each other. The display features a narrow footprint, and since the height adjustment offers only 76mm, you don't have to worry too much about it toppling over.

The On Screen Display (OSD) features nicely spaced buttons and lets you control the standard adjustments such as brightness and contrast, as well as a number of geometry options like H-position and sharpness -- just in case you wanted to use the VGA connection. The OSD also includes controls for Samsung's MagicColour feature, which analyzes the colours of the input signal and adjusts them to create a better balance of colour. We found that MagicColour oversaturated the image, however. You're better off manually making adjustments yourself.

The DVI, VGA and USB connections on the back are not labeled, but they're fairly self explanatory. There is also a power switch on the back in addition to the power button on the front. You'll also find two additional USB-in ports on the left for daisy-chaining.

It was a simple matter of plug-and-play to set up the display via VGA or DVI. Connecting the display using USB was far less trouble than we experienced with the LG L206WU. Once we plugged the system into our Windows XP test system via USB, the drivers were automatically installed on the system's hard drive from a small pocket of flash memory on the display and after two restarts -- after the first restart there was a prompt for another one, the display powered on in extended mode, which provides additional desktop space.

In order to change the mode to clone, which basically allows you to view the exact same image that's on the first display across one or many displays, you have to open Windows Display Properties, click on the Samsung monitor represented in the properties window, and change the connection type.

Features
The Samsung SyncMaster 940UX features three USB 2.0 ports -- two in, one out, a DVI port and a VGA port, all of which are located on the bottom on the chassis, accessed from the back. To connect the display directly to your system via USB, you use the USB-out port. You would then use the USB-in port to begin daisy-chaining multiple displays.

Since the chief benefit of setting up a second display or creating a multidisplay scenario is increased productivity as opposed to any entertainment-minded pursuits, we weren't surprised to find a sparse feature set. You'll need to look elsewhere for an LCD than can double as an entertainment outlet for movies and games. The SyncMaster 940UX doesn't have HDCP support or built-in speakers, and the screen doesn't even pivot.


Performance
The SyncMaster 940UX performed well in our tests. In anecdotal testing, text looked sharp down to 6.8-sized font, which is highly important for a productivity monitor. Not surprisingly, the LCD and its slow 5ms pixel response rate struggled with moving images. Using the DVD of Kill Bill Vol. 1, the image was blurry and showed lots of aliasing and dithering, and the picture only got worse when viewing the movie through USB. In contrast to our DVD test, we found no difference in quality when viewing screens in DisplayMate when connected via USB and DVI.

Brightness
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

LG L206WU
280 

HP W2007
256 

Samsung SyncMaster 940UX
246 

Contrast
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

LG L206WU
1,184 

Samsung SyncMaster 940UX
984 

HP W2007
804 

DisplayMate Tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

HP W2007
87 

LG L206WU
84 

Samsung SyncMaster 940UX
80

The Samsung did slightly worse on our colour and sharpness tests but turned in better results on our grayscale test, which evaluates how well a display is able to produce the shades between true black and true white. In the end, the Samsung was unable to keep pace with the LG unit, finishing with a lower composite score on our DisplayMate tests while also posting lower scores on brightness and contrast ratio benchmarks.

While the screen does darken noticeably at a low viewing angle, you'd have to be viewing from an unreasonable angle in order to see it, unlike the LG L206WU in which your viewing angle only had to be a few millimetres below centre before the screen darkened noticeably. World of Warcraft looked great on the display when using DVI. You can't play 3D games when connected via USB, however, because the games and DisplayLink are both vying for the same CPU resources.

To test for the possibility of a degradation of image quality when multiple monitors are daisy-chained together in clone mode, we connected three SyncMaster 940UX displays together via USB. We initially had trouble getting an image to show on one of the displays, which Samsung figured was because of the corruption of memory on the offending display. After unattaching all three and then reattaching them, everything worked fine. We did not see any degradation in quality across the displays.

Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday