Samsung SyncMaster P2370HD review: Samsung SyncMaster P2370HD

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MSRP: $482.00

The Good The Samsung SyncMaster P2370HD has a ton of connection options, built-in speakers, and great overall performance.

The Bad The Samsung SyncMaster P2370HD includes only one HDMI port and no S-Video. Also, its menu system is inefficient compared to others.

The Bottom Line The Samsung SyncMaster P2370HD is a great choice for those looking for a 23-inch monitor-HDTV combo.

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7.4 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8
  • Support 8

The 23-inch Samsung SyncMaster P2370HD is essentially a small HDTV that can double as a monitor. It has all the TV connections you'd expect and even comes with a fully functioning remote control. It can be found at major online stores for about $315. This is about $25 more than the comparable LG Flatron M237WD that has many of the same connections as the P2370HD including an extra HDMI port. While both monitors are great buys, we believe your choice will depend on what's most important to you. If features are paramount, get the LG for its extra HDMI port and S-Video connection; however, the Samsung has better overall performance in movies and HDTV.

Design and features
While the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 looks like a thinner, sleeker version of Samsung's P2370, the P2370HD looks more like its stockier brother. The panel measures 2.75 inches in depth and comes in at just larger than 22.5-inches in full width, compared with the LG's slightly thicker depth of 3.2 inches and 22-inch width. The bezel measures 1.2 inches on the sides and 1.75 inches on the bottom, where a light-gray Samsung logo resides. On the edge of the bezel is a plastic transparent overlay. According to Samsung, this overlay changes color based on the color of the light in the room, yet, this isn't entirely accurate. As different colored light passes through the overlay, it only gives the impression that the display is changing color.

The screen has a slightly frosty matte finish, and the neck of the display shares its design with the P2370 and XL2370 and is still one of the most aesthetically unique designs we've ever seen. The neck is made of transparent glass; however the bluish crystals found on the P2370 and XL2370 are nowhere to be seen. The lack of blue crystals diminishes the aesthetic uniqueness of this display.

The oval-shaped footstand is 11 inches wide by 7.5 inches deep, but even with such a wide footstand, the display wobbles and slides considerably, but never felt too unstable. The LG feels slightly more stable however, thanks to its more balanced weight.

The bottom of the bezel sits nearly 2.6 inches from the desktop, but unfortunately, the screen height isn't adjustable, and there are neither screen rotation nor pivot options for portrait mode. The capability to tilt the screen back 25 degrees is the only included ergonomic feature.

Connection options include one HDMI port (one less than the LG), VGA, DVI, component, composite, and a coaxial connection for an antenna or cable. Also, there's a port for normal audio and a digital audio out option. All connections sit on the back in the lower right-hand side of the panel and face backward, as most TVs do. This style of placement makes each connection easy to access, however there is a headphone jack ill placed. Above the connection options are four screw holes for mounting the display to the wall, VESA-style, though you'll have to supply your own mount.

Pressing your finger against the bottom right-hand corner of the bezel brings up the hidden onscreen display button array. The red, glowing buttons disappear after a couple moments of inactivity. The array consists of a Menu button, an Up and Down button, an Enter button, and a Plus and Minus button; however, the OSD is best navigated with the included remote control.

We found navigating the Samsung's menu a less efficient experience than with the LG. While changing the audio to SRS TruSurround took four steps on the Samsung, doing the same on the LG only took three steps.

The options function very much like a typical HDTV. The Picture option includes controls for brightness, contrast, and sharpness. And there's control for color temperature.

Audio options for the built-in speakers include TruSurround--which simulates having a 5.1 or more surround-sound system--and a number of presets for movies, music, and so on.

Our in-lab cable box is a bit dated and doesn't included an HDMI port; however, we attached each monitor via component and watched a little HD cable programming and found that the Samsung had a consistently higher quality picture. Again, we did not have an opportunity to test this with HDMI.

The Samsung SyncMaster XL2370's 16:9 aspect ratio supports a "Full HD" 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution. This continues the trend of more and more monitor vendors moving toward 16:9 from 16:10 aspect ratios because high-definition content--in particular 1080p movies--can fit onto a 1,920x1,080-pixel screen in full-screen mode without stretching the image.

Manufacturer's specs:
Resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel-response rate: 5ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Connectivity: HDMI, DVI-D, VGA, Component, Composite
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? DVI, HDMI
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Backlight: CCFL
Panel Type: TN

We tested the Samsung SyncMaster P2370HD with its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 93 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, coming in just better than the LG Flatron M237WD. While the LG faltered in our color ramping tests--that tests an LCD's capability to display gradations of the same color smoothly--the P2370HD showed the same gradations smoothly and without any hue problems. The LG demonstrated its capability to distinguish black from dark gray; something the P2370HD had trouble with. In our Dark Screen test, clouding, or backlight bleedthrough, was noticeable on the top and especially the bottom middle edge of the screen; however, on the LG clouding was not as prevalent.

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