Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Brilliant Monitor

After more than a decade, my trusted SONY SDM-S was starting to show its age. For too long, I was willing to put up with its slow response time and obsolete geometry because it was a solid, reliable PC monitor and it looked great on my home desk, with its total black and clear-cut design. Yet, all good things come to an end. After a number of warning flickerings, I realized the end was nigh. It was time to find a replacement.

After extensive research I knew I had found what I was looking for when I saw this SAMSUNG S24C750P: a brilliant 23.6" (16:9) monitor with a decent response time and the deepest blacks you can find. The later is due to the fact that this is patented PSA LCD (not a IPS, like most monitors nowadays), and this gives it one of the highest contrast ratios available today (2900:1). Take into account that the screen is matte, not reflective, and you can realize why this is such a great monitor for office work and gaming alike.
Its native resolution is 1920x1080 (2HD) and the thin piano-black frame allows you to experience all of it without any distractions. All buttons are tucked in under the right corner (an easy to navigate menu pops up when pressed) and only a tiny and very discreet blue LED stays on when operating. 

The base is of an excellent quality plastic that looks like metal and feels satiny to the touch. It keeps the monitor higher than my previous one (and the height is not adjustable) but I found this height to be perfect. Not too low for your neck to bend, not too high for your eyes to strain. And this is where it gets interesting. 

Some years ago I saw for the first time a PC monitor (a FUJITSU, if memory serves) that could pivot. I found it a brilliant idea! Working on any document (and especially a long one) it is very convenient to be able to see the entire page by simply turning the monitor to its side. This SAMSUNG does exactly that.  
Hidden behind the monitor is a rotating mechanism that attaches to the arm of the base and allows you to pivot the monitor 90o! However, there are a number of downsides to this. First of all, monitors now are much larger than they were ten years ago. So, in order to pivot a 24 inch monitor one has to first tilt it all the way out and then turn it. Forget to tilt it out first and you will be hitting the desk. The accompanying software promised to swift everything on your screen automatically, unfortunately, this does not seem to work for WinXP. I have to do it manually (using the MagicRotation software downloadable form SAMSUNG) – and it really messes up your icons afterwards. I would advise that 24 inches is the absolute maximum for pivoting monitors, larger than this and the whole concept collapses. 

The first monitor I received came with a pixel stuck in blue. True to its zero-pixel warranty (especially true for its high-end monitors), SAMSUNG and the retailer I bought this from had it replaced within days with no hassles. However, a quick reminder to SAMSUNG: this is what you get when you try to cut manufacturing costs too deep: quality control suffers. A stuck pixel can happen to anyone. But there is also the misfitting of the back frame plastics (I cut my thumb reaching for my glass the first day) and the base screw that had to be forced at an angle. It is all those little things that rob you of the quality you got us used to over the previous years.

All in all, the small number of manufacturing imperfections that are not enough to diminish this brilliant monitor. Recommended.