17" LCD Part II: The Heavyweights Enter The Ring

Samsung SyncMaster 171MP

Like the 15" SyncMaster 151MP tested previously , the 171MP can convert into an LCD TV just by adding a tuner. The SyncMaster 171MP is definitely one of the ten most handsome monitors on the market. It is very flat, just six centimeters deep. And a good feature is that its base folds up so it can be hung on a wall.

There are many buttons on the front, but most of them are designed for use in TV mode. For instance, PIP is used to insert a channel broadcast in the work zone of the window. It doesn't have buttons for direct adjustment of brightness and contrast, so you have to go into the OSD menu for these adjustments. The menu itself is simple and well-illustrated. You don't have to read the manual to adjust the display. The only trouble is that the choice of colors isn't made via the (not very explicit) color temperatures, but by adjusting the RGB values from 0 to 100. This is not so telling, so you hesitate to do anything. Notwithstanding this off-putting aspect, you'd still be well-advised to set the colors manually because the default levels available are not at all satisfactory. Like the Hercules ProphetView 920, the 171MP screen is inclined to veer towards pink. We found the best settings were a contrast at 45, brightness at 100, red at 55, green at 65 and blue at 45. These new settings do away with the dominant red and noticeably extend the color range of dark shades and light blues.