Samsung SyncMaster S23A750D review: Samsung SyncMaster S23A750D

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MSRP: $659.82

The Good Movies look incredible on the Samsung SyncMaster S23A750D and its games performance is excellent. The monitor includes lots of useful OSD options.

The Bad There's no DVI port, ergo options are limited, and the OSD array feels cramped. The connections that are included are embedded a bit too deeply into the chassis, and 3D performance does nothing to sell me on the tech.

The Bottom Line The Samsung SyncMaster S23A750D is a bit expensive and the 3D is disappointing, but its excellent performance in (non-3D) games and movies makes it worth the asking price.

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7.2 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 8
  • Support 8

Nope. I'm still not sold on 3D. The added costs of glasses, the perceived darkening of the screen and the need to wear said glasses (possibly in addition to my own spectacles) while I'm supposed to be doing something fun like watching a movie or playing a game feels too restrictive to me. Don't even get me started on the positional requirements.

Thankfully, a monitor's 3D performance doesn't make or break it, as long as it has something else to offer. Does the Samsung SyncMaster S23A750D offer more than just the same old 3D story?

Design and features
With its unique-looking foot stand, the Samsung SyncMaster S23A750D makes a valiant and mostly successful attempt to stand out visually from other monitors. Circular in shape and measuring 5.5 inches wide and 7.5 inches deep, the face of the foot stand also serves as home to the onscreen display (OSD) array. The array faces upward at a 45-degree angle and sports four arrow navigation buttons accompanied by Menu, 3D, and Enter buttons. The power button sits between Menu and 3D and thanks to the foot stand's somewhat narrow dimensions, knocking it around yields plenty of wobbling.

While I appreciate Samsung's attempt at something different with the design of the foot stand, the placement of the buttons and their proximity to the bottom of the panel make using the OSD a somewhat cumbersome, inelegant experience. On our model, the Enter button was less than cooperative, sometimes requiring several pushes (or one really hard push) before doing its job. Also, the stand design just looks weird and frankly, unappealing.

Aesthetically, the S23A750's foot stand is quite the odd duck and its button responsiveness leaves a lot to be desired. I'd say it's back to the drawing board for this design.

Thankfully, the panel itself is sleek, sexy and glossy black all over. The panel sports a thin, 0.6-inch wide bezel, is 21.4 inches wide and 0.9 inch deep. The bottom of the panel sits 3.25 inches from the desktop and the monitor provides a 25 degree back tilt, with no other ergo options included. The screen is of the extremely glossy variety and could easily double as a very reflective (and effective) dark mirror. The back of the panel is almost completely flat, and unfortunately, all you wall-mounting aficionados out there will be disappointed by the lack of VESA support.

We chose to focus on the monitor for this shot, but don't be fooled: reflections show up clearly on the screen.

Only two video connections are offered: HDMI and DisplayPort. Above those sits a headphone jack and the power input. While the video connections thankfully face out instead of down, they are, unfortunately, embedded into the monitor about an inch too deeply. For HDMI and when connecting DisplayPort, this design proves completely innocuous; however, DisplayPort requires that you depress a button to disconnect it, but thanks to the deeply embedded input, said button is partially blocked. This makes disconnecting DisplayPort a more time-consuming experience than one would desire.

See those scratches below the DisplayPort uh, port? An unfortunate consequence of a lapse in design judgment.

The OSD includes all the typical Samsung features like Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, RGB color controls, six different color temperature options, and five presets for Custom, Standard, Game, Cinema, and Dynamic Contrast modes. Magic Angle attempts to mimic wide-viewing-angle displays by adjusting the brightness, contrast, and gamma to make the screen clearer from off angles.

Eco Mode is your one-stop shop for all things power saving. Here you can switch on the motion timer, which puts the monitor to sleep if it doesn't sense movement after a user-specified amount of time, and the ambient light sensor. However, though we've seen it on other Samsung monitors, my absolute favorite Eco feature is the tree icon, which grows larger with more and more leaves the more Eco features you use. It even gives you an estimated "trees saved" number no doubt giving you a fleeting sense of self-gratification.

While the panel itself feels a bit plasticky, the foot stand is heavy and solid with a metal outer shell. Thanks to the stand, the monitor weighs in at a hefty 10.20 pounds. 1.44 pounds more than the PX2370.

The display includes a pair of Samsung active shutter 3D glasses. Compared with the first-generation Nvidia 3D Vision Kit glasses, Samsung's shades are noticeably more comfortable and don't clasp my skull nearly as tightly. They're also light without feeling cheap and fit easily over normal glasses. An easily replaceable, small lithium ion battery powers the glasses, and a power button on the top right side glows green when powered on.

Design and feature highlights
Connectivity: HDMI, DisplayPort
Ergonomic options: 25-degree back tilt
Resolution: 1,920x1,080
Aspect ratio: 16:09
Audio: Headphone jack
VESA wall mount support: No
Included video cables: DisplayPort
Backlight: LED
Panel Type: TN
Screen film: Glossy
Number of presets: 5
Overdrive: No
Picture options: Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness
Color controls: RGB and 5 color temperature options
Gamma control: Yes
Additional features: Samsung proprietary 3D

I tested the Samsung SyncMaster S23A750D through its DisplayPort input, connected to a Windows Vista PC, using the included DisplayPort cable. The display posted a composite score of 94 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests.

The merits of antiglare (AG) screen coating are much debated these days. Some viewers prefer the coating not be applied at all, while others favor only a limited amount. Still, others are completely indifferent. AG coating doesn't adversely affect quality and its merits or, lack thereof, are strictly a question of preference.

That said, the S23A750D makes use of Samsung's Ultra Clear Panel technology and features a very glossy screen with almost mirror-level reflections. Like most glossy screens, this increases the perceived contrast, making it great for movie watching.

The S23A750D displayed light gray up to level 253. Level 255 is considered white and every level in-between it and 1 is a variation of gray. Once calibrated, the monitor could not distinguish between 255 (white) and 254; matching the white level saturation performance of the Samsung PX2370, which also topped out at 253. The S23A750D's performance here indicates the display will likely not be prone to washing out light colors. As for dark gray, the S23A750D displayed down to level 2 while still maintaining a very deep black, pointing to the display being capable of retaining dark detail during dark scenes in movies.

The S23A750D excelled in our color-scaling tests, which evaluate the monitor's ability to smoothly display different shades of various colors. The monitor displayed these color scales in a smooth and linear fashion, providing color performance at least on par with the PX2370.

Our Dark Screen test is where the monitor faltered however, showing very obvious clouding along the bottom edge of the screen.

Black text on white looked clear, without any obvious color tint problems. Also, fonts were clearly visible down to a 6.8 size.

I tested the Samsung SyncMaster S23A750D using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." The Cinema preset provided a great movie-watching experience, displaying a highly contrasted, vibrant look with rich colors and appropriately deep blacks. Simply put, HD movies look excellent here, besting the vast majority of monitors in the movie-watching experience.

This is thanks in part to Samsung's inclusion of the previously mentioned Ultra Clear Panel technology used in many of Samsung's HDTVs. The coating, (added to the front of the screen) is made to reduce reflections while at the same time increasing the level of contrast. While the high contrast is obvious and welcome, the coating didn't stop the monitor from acting almost as a full-fledged mirror. If you're watching movies during the day, just make sure your window blinds are firmly shut or the reflections may cause darker scenes in "Avatar" to bear a striking resemblance to the back of your TV room.

When evaluating the look of games on a monitor, the two most important features to consider are vibrancy and color. If the monitor can display games with a bright and vibrant cleanness, this goes a long way towards benefiting its looks. If colors can also pop with fullness and depth, games will usually look great. Streaking is a different concern that honestly isn't very pervasive with most modern monitors, but if you are concerned about streaking, be sure to check out the last paragraph in this section.

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