The Good The Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H has a visually striking footstand, a comprehensive OSD, color mostly devoid of hue problems, and good performance displaying movies and games. The monitor’s brightness is fairly high, making it good for presentation tasks. The “trees saved” feature is well-implemented.
The Bad The S23A550H has the unpleasant habit of washing out bright colors, and in some tasks it squeezes green too much. In addition, its connection ports are a pain to access, and the cable management function is fully implemented. The more productive and better designed Samsung PX2370 is available at the same price.
The Bottom Line The Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H LED monitor performs well and the price is good, but it just pales in comparison to its predecessor.
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Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H
Samsung PX2370 Review is the most popular monitor review on CNET. Not surprisingly, because I recommend monitor the most, almost daily, through other monitor reviews and just about every blog post related to the monitor. The PX2370’s design, price, performance and features make it one of the best TN displays we’ve ever seen. As you can imagine, the expectations for the future of the PX2370, Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H, are extremely high. No pressure, of course.
We will now take a closer look at the S23A550H to determine what the difference is year.
Design and features
The Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H is the latest in the line of Samsung’s sleek LED monitors and, surprisingly, looks like an extramarital love child of two previous records – the PX2370 and XL2370. Like the XL2370, the S23A550H’s design has a soft, rounded motif, without the sharp angles of the PX2370. The thickness of the PX2370 and XL2370 panels is 0.7 inches, but it seems Samsung has given up wanting to keep the line thin enough. At a thickness of 1 inch, the S23A550H is more than a third as thick as its sister.
Other S23A550H measurements are more or less on par with previous models because the monitor features a 0.9-inch-wide bezel, a 22-inch panel width, and a 3.6-inch bottom-to-desktop distance. VESA support is not included. The frame is painted burgundy, a feature Samsung calls Touch of Color, which was not on the PX2370 or XL2370.
We absolutely love the design of the footrest. Beautiful appearance and durable. Interested now, ladies?
The highlight of the S23A550H is its footstep, which is 9.25 inches wide and 9.5 inches deep, even wider than the PX2370. It is almost completely transparent and looks really cool. A little oval stand is also sturdy enough to protect the monitor from tipping over if you tap it a little.
A huge component of the PX2370’s presence was the centrally located power button, shrouded in the glow of ambient white LED light. On the S23A550H the power button was moved to the bottom right corner of the panel, and the space where the button is on the PX2370 takes up the unnecessary non-specific motion sensor, which we will talk about later.
The biggest design flaw in the S23A550H came from Samsung’s desire to add more feature. The neck of the monitor is hollow, which should provide a neat path for cable routing, that is, if you can actually feed the cable through. Unfortunately, the path is so narrow that it is impossible to do so. The throat body can be removed and the cables placed over the neck and then re-covered with a casing. However, because our own power cable is so thick, we only managed to partially close the lid and actually break off a small piece of cover trying to completely close it.
While the small hole at the bottom of the neck is large enough for cables, the path between the hole and the connections is just too narrow to feed cables. Design error.
Once the cover is removed (make sure you don’t cut it by removing it as I did), you can arrange the cables and then try to cover them completely. We say “attempt” because we were unable to completely close the cable cover inside.
After closing, even partially, the cable manager does a great job of keeping and hiding the cables. But still more space inside would be for a much less spectacular experience.
Power cable could not feed through the narrow path of the router, mainly due to the fat part on the left. The same part also prevented the router cover from closing completely.
Instead of going backwards, like on the PX2370, where they are very easily accessible, the connections on the S23A550 are pointing downwards, and since the display neck is only a few inches directly below them, a clear line of sight for the connections is not available, making their frustratingly difficult.
Because the top of the display neck is so close to the connections and because the connections are pointing down and built into the monitor in a somewhat deep alcove, connecting video cables is rarely uncomfortable. In addition, as you can see, Samsung in this case eliminated DVI as a connection option, so if you’re a PC user, be prepared to invest in a DVI-HDMI cable.
Speaking of connectivity, Samsung has decided to cancel DVI on the S23A550H, which offers only HDMI and VGA as options. Because the display only comes with a VGA cable and does not include HDMI or DVI-HDMI cables, some users may need to attach at least one cable.
The build quality of the S23A550H looks lighter than that of the PX2370 (somewhat demonstrated by its fragile throat casing), but overall quite reliable for the TN monitor.
The On-Screen Display (OSD) array is located horizontally along the lower right side of the panel to the left of the power button. The buttons are touch sensitive and do not give a tactile response when pressed; however, when you press a button, the context menu displays a bar with each button, making their functions clear. Having the OSD buttons on the front of the monitor is more convenient than the ones on the back as they are on the PX2370.
The OSD screen includes all typical Samsung features such as brightness, contrast, sharpness of RGB controls, six different color temperature options, and presets for custom, standard, games, cinemas and dynamic contrast. Magic Angle tries to simulate widescreen displays by adjusting brightness, contrast, black and gamma to make the screen on the S23A550H clearer at certain angles.
Eco mode is your only window for saving energy. Here you can activate a motion timer that puts the monitor to sleep if it does not sense motion after a user-defined time and the ambient light sensor. However, my absolute favorite eco-feature is the tree icon, which increases the more it leaves the more Eco-mode features you use to save energy. It even gives an approximate number of “saved trees”.
|Design and feature highlights|
|Ergonomic options:||20-degree back tilt|
|VESA wall-mount support:||No|
|Included video cables:||VGA|
|Screen film:||Matte w/AG coating|
|Number of presets:||5|
|Picture options:||Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, HDMI Black Level|
|Color controls:||RGB and 6 color temperature options|
|Additional features:||Magic Angle, Eco Mode|
We tested the Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H through its HDMI input connected to a Windows Vista PC using our own HDMI cable. The display shows a composite score of 91 on CNET lab performance tests.
There are many debates about the benefits of AG against these days. Some viewers prefer not to cover at all, while others prefer only a limited number. Others are completely indifferent. AG coverage does not adversely affect quality, and this is strictly a matter of preference.
This means that the screen has a heavy anti-glare coating on the S23A550H, which reduces potential reflections but greatly reduces luster.
DisplayMate:The S23A550H displays light gray to 251. White is 255, while the levels below are gray. After calibration, the monitor could not distinguish between 255 (white) and levels 252, 253, and 254. This indicates that the display is likely to be light colored. As for the dark gray, the S23A550H displayed up to level 3, indicating a fairly low level of black.
The monitor worked great in our color tracking, which looks for evidence of shade and tint problems. However, in our dark screen test, the entire screen looked very dark gray instead of true black, and the backlight bleed was visible at the bottom and top edges of the screen.
Text:The black text on the white looked clear, with no obvious color-tone issues. The fonts were clearly visible up to size 6.8.
Movies:We tested the Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H using the Avatar version of Blu-ray. Even though the pre-installed movie theater provided the best overall experience thanks to the bright colors and high contrast, it crumpled the dark gray details. Conversely, our calibrated setting (in more detail below) displayed a brighter image, where dark gray could be easily seen, but did not have the same high contrast and colors did not look as bright.
Games:When evaluating the appearance of games on your monitor, the two most important features to consider are brightness and color. If the monitor can display games with bright and vivid clarity, it will be very long, and if the colors pop out with fullness and depth, the games will usually look great.
The StarCraft II on the Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H in Game’s pre-installed program had decent brightness, and although the colors weren’t oversaturated like they normally are on the PX2370, they moved too far backwards and looked a bit soft. Both the game settings and our calibrated settings are suitable for games on display, but a little more color saturation for the previous Games settings would be great.
To test the speed of the update, we used DisplayMate motion graphics tests and looked at a number of colored blocks as they moved across the screen at different speeds. The S23A550H shows slightly smaller space than the PX2370, which itself shows some of the lowest bandwidths of any monitor we tested.
Photos:In general, the color in the photos did not look as it was on the PX2370, and we saw slight traces of green on certain faces and when looking at blond hair.
Recommended settings:We used SpectraCal’s CalPC to calibrate the Samsung S23A550H to view the bright rooms, setting the following settings.
If you find these settings to be unsatisfactory, try different presets as they are well suited for their implementation.
The optimum viewing angle for the monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the way down from the top of the screen. At this angle, you view the colors as intended by the manufacturer. Most monitors are not viewed from any other angle. The image quality at sub-optimal angles depends on the type of monitor panel. Most monitors use TN panels that are too bright or too dark on parts of the screen, if you do not look at optimal angles.
The Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H uses a TN panel, so its viewing angle from the top, and especially from the bottom, is narrower than for high-end displays like Asus PA246Q , which uses IPS panel technology.
As mentioned earlier, the S23A550H uses Samsung’s Magic Angle feature, which we praised when it debuted on the PX2370. However, perhaps due to the washed light colors we were not so impressed. Magic Angle allows you to change the attributes of the monitor to enhance its appearance from certain angles. It does affect the clarity of the text, but it mainly affects the contrast. The function works, but its use is limited. For example, Lean Back mode only works if the viewing angle is 15 degrees below the ideal angle – any more than 15 degrees, and it no longer becomes useful. It’s still a nice extra, but we’d like to see some improvements in future implementations.
Energy consumption:The Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H showed a good default / power-up ratio of 26.7W, which is close to 25.01W of the Samsung PX2370 in the same test. Interesting results given the better overall performance of the PX2370.
In our sleep / standby test, the S23A550H received 0.31 watts and the PX2370 0.27 watts. As we expected, the monitors will bear about the same annual cost, and, based on our formula, the S23A550H will cost $ 8.18 a year, down from the PX2370 a little below $ 7.65 a year.
Brightness (cd / m2)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Samsung SyncMaster XL2370
344 Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H
251 Samsung PX2370
246 LG Flatron E2290
244 HP 2310e
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,110:1 Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H
1,061:1 Samsung SyncMaster XL2370
1,008:1 Samsung PX2370
948:1 LG Flatron E2290
Performance evaluation of DisplayMate
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
97 Samsung SyncMaster XL2370
96 HP 2310e
93 LG Flatron E2290
93 Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H
|Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H||Average watts per hour|
|On (default luminance)||26.7|
|On (max luminance)||26.7|
|On (min luminance)||10.3|
|Calibrated (200 cd/m2)||22.3|
|Annual power consumption cost||$8.18|
Learn more about how we test LCD monitors.
Service and support
Samsung supports the SyncMaster S23A550H with a three-year spare parts and payroll warranty that covers the backlight. It also offers 24-7 toll free support as well as 24- to 48-hour email support and web chat support.
The existence of the Samsung PX2370 prevents the full recommendation of the S23A550H. Both monitors are priced at up to $ 280, and although the S23A550H displays predominantly accurate colors, the PX2370 has better overall performance, especially when playing games, movies and photos. In addition, PX2370 connectivity options are readily available, and in general we find it more aesthetically appealing. The S23A550H is not a bad monitor by any means, but if you have a choice, the PX2370 is still the way to go. The S23A550H has some useful and unique features, but it is not necessary to transfer the PX2370.