Samsung SyncMaster 193P
Editor's note: We have changed the ratings in this review to reflect recent changes in our ratings scale. Find out more here.
Samsung's SyncMaster 193P integrates a bright, crisp 19-inch LCD panel into a sleek, versatile mechanical design. The combination produces an excellent monitor, practical for general office or home use. The 193P is on the pricey side, but its image quality and features, as well as the included analog and DVI cable, make the price premium easier to stomach. If you're looking for a quality LCD and have a DVI connector on your computer, the 193P is a fine choice. Depending on your specific needs, we suggest that you also consider the and the .
A silvery 7/8-inch bezel surrounds the 19-inch screen, adorned with a single button in the lower-right corner. The button cycles power, switches between analog and DVI inputs, or autoadjusts screen quality, depending on how long you press it, but it requires such a soft touch that we found it tricky to operate. Samsung bundles a friendly utility called MagicTune for adjusting brightness, contrast, and other settings, though Mac users can't use the utility, making the 193P a poor choice for Apple aficionados. We also discovered that the version of MagicTune that comes with the 193P doesn't work with at least one popular graphics controller board when connected over DVI. It also requires Internet Explorer 5.5 or later--it works on neither analog nor DVI with other Web browsers. (Samsung tells us that a later version of the utility that comes bundled with newer panels, MagicTune 2.5, isn't linked to IE.) Be sure to confirm your configuration before sealing the deal.
The input cables plug into the base, which eliminates tangling when you pivot the display--a clean design that we'd welcome on. The back of the panel sports DVI and analog inputs, and Samsung includes both cables. The panel is VESA-compliant, and in a nice move, Samsung throws in the bracket necessary for arm- or wall-mounting the display.
The Samsung 193P is quite adjustable and as bendable as a yogi, though it's not without problems. Its inch-thick panel connects to a wide, stiff arm that can kneel down to your desktop--a boon for short people, though with the top edge maxing out at 16 inches above the desk, perhaps too low for taller folks. Oddly, the panel tilts back to a full horizontal and beyond, which could be useful if you need to look straight down at the screen--handy if you want to use the display inside a showcase at an exhibit--but it doesn't tilt forward. You can also pivot the panel between Landscape and Portrait modes, and the bundled PivotPro software will adjust the image accordingly; though again, Mac users are out of luck here. Beware: The panel's low height means that you should pivot the panel with care: you risk banging a corner against your desktop. The base rotates 180 degrees to the left and the right on a lazy Susan. However, sometimes it wants to rotate when you want to pivot--having so many joints demands concentration to flex just the right one. But for comparison, Formac's otherwise capable Gallery Xtreme 1900 props up on an easel contraption that effectively locks the display into one position, and the ViewSonic VP912b pivots but can't fold back or kneel.
The 193P scored well on CNET's DisplayMate-based tests. We tested it at its native resolution of 1,280x1,024. Text was sharp and easy to read. The grayscales looked quite good, with just a hint of color creeping in--not perfect, but better than the average LCD. It also produced a nice, deep black. As is par for the course with LCDs, the 193P had a little trouble with screen uniformity, but less than most: the corners were slightly brighter than the rest of the panel. Our informal DVD playback showed that the 193P is adequate for watching videos. The colors are vibrant and the blacks are dark, but flesh tones look fake, and we saw streaking and ghosting, as well.