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LCD Comparison: 17" & 19" Under 20ms

Samsung SyncMaster 193P

There are at least two reasons why the 193P should interest you. It is superb and it is the first 19" LCD to claim a response time of less than 20ms. We had many reasons to be satisfied.

Ergonomically, this monitor has it. The ultra-slim casing is lovely, the base is works well, it is easy to rotate in pivot mode, and the settings - not via buttons, but with a utility on the PC - are a bit strange at first, but turn out to be convenient. The materials used are pleasant, the wires attached to the base do not fall out when you go into pivot mode. And we loved the wall mounting system they supplied, so you can hang the monitor on just two screws. All these features make the 193P one of the best monitors around.

As for the panel, the one we tested, as we said, was a pilot. But it does mark significant progress in VA technology.

To remind you, VA technology has the advantage of nice wide viewing angles of over 170°. The liquid crystals are rather slow though, which manifests itself as a slight afterglow on screen. TN technology, commoner and cheaper than VA, is faster and better adapted for use in games. On the other hand, its viewing angles are very often confined.

If we believe the specs, a response time of 20ms and viewing angles of 178°, the 193P is supposed to be the first monitor to combine the advantages of both technologies. Compared to other VA monitors, the 193P is indeed more responsive. But it still doesn't reach the fluidity of TN 16 and 20ms panels. There is still blurring in fast games and in movies.

Amongst other features, the 193P also claims a contrast of de 800:1 for a brightness of 250cd/m². With its default temperature color setting of 6500K, the monitor actually had a contrast rate of 293:1 (white at 212cd/m² and black at 0.7cd/m²). Light and in-between hues came across very well, but the blacks were more dark gray.

After calibration (at 6500 K), we first considerably improved the black by using maximum contrast and brightness. This time, the white measured 217cd/m² for a very deep black at 0.19cd/m². That is a contrast rate much higher than Samsung's claim of 1,139:1. We pushed the tests even further and got even better results. Brightness of 217cd/m² seems too much. Without changing the contrast settings, still at maximum, we gradually lessened the brightness. The best results we found were with brightness at 30% (instead of 100%). The white was then 130cd/m² and the black at 0.13cd/m². Black, intermediate hues, light shades: everything came over perfectly.

Thrilled by this, we calibrated the monitor at 5000K with a gamma at 2.2, which are very common settings in the world of graphics design. Once more, the 193P behaved very well, at least as well as the really high-end 20" monitors by Eizo and Philips tested recently . With brightness at 40%, the monitor displays white at 108cd/m² and a black close on 0.1cd/m², but some intermediate colors have a DeltaE value higher than 3. The best settings were obtained with brightness at 50%. Then the white is at 126cd/m² for a black at 0.16cd/m², but the DeltaE of all the colors was under 2.

Provided you calibrate it, or at least take the time to set it exactly, the 193P is perfectly adequate for image retouching, even for the finest details and in a professional context. With the additional advantage that it is three times cheaper than monitors specifically designed for graphics.