This week, Samsung released the SyncMaster 204B. If you're thinking, "Wait, didn't CNET already review this?" the answer is no--you're thinking of the. And to further confuse the issue, the two have very similar specs. Until my profane phone calls to vendors finally produce less similar, less confusing names, we'll just have to be very clear. At least Samsung threw a bone by giving the 204B a slightly different design and a faster response time.
The 204B (the just-released monitor) is for business and home users and at $629.99 is a bit pricey for a 20-inch monitor; we like to see them less than $600. As with any Samsung LCD, you'll get the "magic" utility suite, which includes advanced color adjustment options and brightness settings to ensure an optimized picture. And with the 204B Samsung pulled another trick out of its magic bag with the addition of MagicSpeed, which is Samsung's way of saying this monitor has a fast 5-millisecond response time.
The 204B isn't wide-screen, it has a 1,600x1,200 resolution, and it offers all the flexibility we like to see in a monitor, including height adjustment, swivel, panel tilt, and landscape/portrait-pivoting capabilities. Its 800:1 contrast ratio is slightly higher than average, and it offers digital and analog connections as well as video inputs. Based on the 204B's specs, only a faster response time, a slightly higher contrast radio, and video inputs separate it from the 204T, which costs slightly less at $599. We're anxious to get the 204B in the Labs and see what difference a letter makes.