The Samsung SyncMaster 245BW is a 24-inch widescreen flat panel LCD monitor with a maximum resolution of 1920 by 1200. It sports a bright, anti-glare screen and a thin, high-gloss black bezel with five round control buttons along the bottom right followed by a power button. It looks clean, sleek and stylish. The stand is adjustable for height, swivel and tilt, but does not rotate for portrait-orientation viewing.
The back of the monitor has a basic set of connections for analog VGA and DVI (with HDCP support) input so it’s geared primarily for computer use (there are no S-video, component video or HDMI inputs). There’s also a power output jack for an optional integrated external speaker set that can be added to the monitor since it doesn’t have any built in. The last connector is the socket for the main power cable. Finally, there’s a mechanical power switch to physically turn off the monitor.
Speaking of power, according to the manufacturer the SyncMaster 245BW draws 100 watts while turned on and less than 2 watts when turned off via the front power switch. This 2-watt power draw enables the monitor to turn on when you press the snazzy power button on the front bezel. If you’re thinking green, you can avoid continuously wasting this power by simply turning it off using the physical power switch on the back of the monitor.
The screen is rated to have a 3000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and 5-millisecond (gray-to-gray) response time, which makes it a very good choice for gaming. Some people prefer a shiny finish on LCD screens, supposedly for a sharper image. However, I don’t see the point of having slightly better sharpness if you end up seeing yourself and a lot of glare instead. The SyncMaster’s screen is sharp, bright and glare-free that looks as good in a sunlit room as it does in the dark.
I only had two minor issues with the display. First, unlike other LCD monitors that simply dim when viewed off center, this one has a yellow tint in addition to dimming the further from center that you view it. Unless you normally view the screen off center or from less than 16 inches away, it won’t be an issue.
The second minor issue occurs when using the analog VGA input. The automatic screen adjustment circuitry doesn’t do a very good job of scaling the horizontal image for best clarity. As a result, with the default settings, I experienced alternating vertical bands of fuzziness and sharpness despite setting the video output to the monitor’s native resolution of 1920 by 1200. However, the image can be manually corrected by adjusting the Coarse and Fine settings in the Image options of the monitor’s control menu (the icon looks like two overlapped rectangles). To fix this anomaly, first adjust Coarse until the fuzziness is minimized as much as possible. Then, adjust Fine until the remaining fuzziness is eliminated. This adjustment seems to only need to be done once since I was able to connect two different laptop’s VGA outputs without having to make any further tweaks.
I purchased the Samsung SyncMaster 245BW at Costco for US $479.99 and, at the time, Samsung was also offering a $20 mail-in rebate. What a deal! For a short while, Dell.com also had it for $479 but at the time of this post, it went back to $599. Although light on features and input options, if you plan to use it strictly with a desktop or laptop computer, this monitor has a beautiful display and provides good bang for the buck. Other 24-inch monitors may offer more features but they usually cost $200 or more than the SyncMaster 245BW.
Additional information about the Samsung SyncMaster 245BW is available at the Samsung web site.