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The Samsung Syncmaster 940MW is a great multifunction monitor with multiple inputs, a built in TV tuner. The screen is also HD ready supporting up to 1080i through component and VGA.
The box was rather big and had a handy carry handle to help you easily transport this monitor anywhere. Inside the box you get, the monitor itself (in plenty of packaging to prevent damage), the monitor base, the remote control which comes with 2 AAA batteries, an Audio cable, a VGA cable (I was slightly disappointed that they didn't include a DVI cable as you will want one of these for best possible picture quality.) A manual is not included however you do get a CD including full PDF manual and digital and analogue drivers for optimal picture quality depending on the input you are using.
The monitor is reasonable stylish, the front is finished in a matt silver, the rest of the casing is a dark blue. The base is dark blue with a circular silver band around it matching the monitor perfectly. The speakers don't go out as far as the monitor so what they have done with the buttons is hide them just above the speaker on the bit that juts out. The monitor is quite thin and will fit into quite a small space and is perfect for a bedroom/office or kitchen. It's a pretty nice looking monitor but compared to the newer glossy models it looks rather bland and ordinary.
The remote is taken straight from Samsungs high end HDTVs and is a very stylish silver and black. It features all the usual buttons you would expect from a good remote control, such as mute, teletext. Along with some you wouldn't expect such as the Magic Channel button (unfortunately this feature is only available in Korea) and PiP (Picture in picture). Top marks for this.
This monitor is a true multifunctional device, one of my favourite features is the TV tuner which can be used to watch analogue TV channels (1 through 5) this is easily set up using the very easy to use OSD (on screen display) accessible with the remote control or front buttons. The Picture in Picture feature is also a very useful feature and allows you to view TV or AV devices in a smaller window when you are working on your PC, the window can be positioned in all four corners as to not get in your way and can also be resized to take up half of the screen. The monitor also features tons of different inputs, for your PC you have a choice of DVI D and VGA. For other devices such as DVD players and games consoles you have a Scart connection, S Video, component and composite available. This monitor as you know is HD ready and for devices that support it, the component input can be used to display up to 1080i.
The picture you get from the monitor over DVI, VGA and Component is very crisp and detailed as is the TV when viewed with the PiP function. The picture is customizable to your own needs featuring three pre-sets for the PC inputs Entertain, Internet and Text and three for the AV inputs Standard, Dynamic, Movie. You can also get a preset to customize for yourself choosing your own contrast, brightness colour tone and colour control. I find Entertain and Dynamic the best modes as it makes the screen brighter and makes things appear more natural and sharp. When using the PC inputs you can select resolutions of up to 1440x900 as long as your PC supports it. The picture quality through TV and other AV inputs is far less good looking when you view in full screen. This is mainly because the screen is HD ready and has to stretch the standard resolution image to fit.
The monitor has a stereo speaker built in delivering up to 3 watts each. This may sound rather puny but if you're into having the best possible sound you'll no doubt have a surround sound system and won't use the speakers at all. If you are using the speakers you get two sound filters to improve the sound for you. Firstly Virtual Dolby Surround, this is used to create a fake surround sound, it works well a few metres back. The only disadvantage is you have to sit directly in front of the monitor or it will sound strange. BBE Digital is the second option available, it makes things sound clearer and sharper, this is my personal preference as you can sit where ever you like and it still sounds great.
This monitor is great but does have a few flaws. You can only access the Picture in Picture when you are using the VGA or DVI inputs which can be annoying say if you are watching a DVD and want to check on something you are installing on your PC. There is only one audio connector on the back for your PC so if you want to hook up multiple PCs or hook your Xbox 360 to the VGA port you will have to change the sound each time you use a different device you'll be pleased to know that this is easily remedied with an earphone splitter.
I purchased this monitor for £200 in PC World during the summer of last year. It was a great deal as you get an awful lot of functionality for your money. Now the price has come down even more and you can pick this screen up for only £160 at PC World, it is also available from many online retailers so you may get an even better deal if you shop around. You can get an updated model with a glossy case for about £200 but if you're not fussed with the looks and want to save £40 this monitor is perfect for you. Overall this is a great purchase if you're looking for a great PC monitor and want to experience some High Definition content on the side. 4/5
Samsung 940MW 19" LCD TV/Monitor
I purchased this LCD screen from Argos in July 2006 and they are still
available for the price of £229.99 (Nov'07) product code 5291883. I had been looking for an LCD TV for a few weeks and was salivating over one of those Black shiny numbers that Samsung make when I noticed this one sat on the top shelf not in immediate view. The first thing that struck me was the price, I mean wow £230? I had been looking at models around the £400 mark, this seemed like such a bargain.
The TV was for a bedroom and I was having difficulty justifying spending £400 when the room had a perfectly good CRT type TV in there already. Seeing the price and the fact that the picture instore looked good, I pulled out my credit card and marched upto the paypoint.
The basic contents of the box are:
Monitor & Stand
Quick set-up guide
CDRom (User guide and Natural Colour Software)
That's right no Scart cable, fortunately I had one so no problem.
Wall-mounting - be careful!!!
I was wall mounting the screen so I detached the stand as it was ready assembled and began to mount the standard bracket to the reverse of the screen. The bracket came with about 1" screws and 1/2" screws. I choose the 1" screws and nearly broke the TV within 30 minutes of having it! I continued to screw them in so far that the actually popped the LCD screen away from the frame at the front. My heart sank and I thought I'd jut thrown my £230 in the gutter. With trepidation and a few prayers I withdrew the screw and examined the front. Behold there was no damage, I popped the screen back in the housing and used the 1/2" screw - so be careful!
From left to write recessed just below the screen are
Press the 'SOURCE' button to change the input signal source.
Changing the source is allowed only in external devices that are connected to the monitor at the time.
Available in PC/DVI Mode In PC mode, turns on Video or TV screens in PIP mode.
Use this button for open the on-screen menu and exits from the menu screen or closes screen adjustment menu.
Moves from one menu item to another vertically or adjusts selected menu values. In TV mode, selects TV channels.
Activates a highlighted menu item.
Use this button to turn the monitor on and off.
There is also a power and remote LED at the right hand end of the unit.
The speaker runs along the width of the front fascia at the bottom.
The reverse of the monitor has inputs for DVI(HDCP) / RGB and AUDIO for connections to a PC. There is a Scart socket, component in sockets and antenna.
The side of the unit carries headphone socket, S-Video, Video and L/R Audio sockets.
A tidy remote fitting snuggly in the palm of our hand finished in a silver and black combo looks quite smart. It carries all the usual buttons including STILL and P.MODE for Pre-defined picture mode.
I discarded the stand, but note that it is not height adjustable but can be tilted from 1 to 23 degrees.
After mounting the screen and connecting to the cable box via scart cable I turned the screen on and hey-presto the source was detected immediately and I was in business. I ventured into the on-screen menus to customize viewing pleasure.
The first thing I must say is that the menu is exceedingly clear and easy to navigate via the remote control.
I ventured into the Picture menu to be confronted by the MagicBright(TM) settings. Basically this is Samsungs proprietary software for choosing a screen suitable for TV/DVD, Internet, Text and for Custom. To be honest all of the pre-selected settings were too bright, the grass was just too green for me. I experimented with the custom settings, which, allow you to adjust the Contrast / Brightness and Colour Tone independently. I basically turned most of the settings down and moved the Colour Tone to 'Cool' (choice of Cool / Normal / Warm / Custom) and found myself staring at a wonderful colourful picture with greens of a realistic tone and a jolly nice viewing experience overall.
The number of settings that you can play with to adjust the picture is great if you like that sort of thing, however, it will certainly detract if you
basically just want to connect it up and go because I would be surprised if you liked the brightness of the screen out of the box or the vividness of the colours.
A big concern on what is essentially a 'portable' LCD can be the sound quality from such a tiny speaker. Venturing back into the OSD you can select Sound and then choose from Standard, Music, Movie, Speech and Custom. Although the presets are pretty good because I'm a fiddler I was once again back into the Custom settings to define Bass/Teble.
There is a Dolby Virtual setting and something called BBE High Definition Sound which is explained in the manual as: 'is a proprietary audio enhancement technology that compensates for phase and amplitude distortion inherent in the nature of loudspeaker physics. BBE works like an automatic focus in a camera, bringing incredible clarity, depth and detail to the sound.' Yeah right, whatever!
Living with the TV
Having owned the TV for over 12 months then I have to say that at the price point I think that you'll struggle to find better. It does not have the overall picture quality of a more expensive model, but if you're thinking of replacing your CRT portable in the bedroom then this one will be a suitable step-up.
A couple of times when I've tried to turn on the screen either by remote or the power button nothing has happened. I'm inclined to believe that this has been down to the power cable working loose because when I've fiddled with the connections the screen has worked. I've just a slight 'nag' it may be something else, but I'll keep you posted if it develops further.
For those of you using the screen with a PC the CDRom includes a proprietary driver which installs automatically. The recommended settings are 1440 x 900 at 60Hz.
The is an adequate quick start guide, however, the main manual is an acrobat file on the CDRom. It is very comprehensive and includes a fault finding section.
Model Name SyncMaster 940MW LCD Panel
Size 19.0 inch diagonal (48 cm) Display area 408.24 mm(H) x 255.15 mm(V)
Pixel Pitch 0.2835 mm(H) x 0.2835 mm(V)
Synchronization Horizontal 30 ~ 61 kHz Vertical 56 ~ 75 Hz
Display Color 16.7 M Colors
Resolution Optimum resolution WXGA+ 1440 x 900 @ 60 Hz
Maximum resolution WXGA+ 1440 x 900 @ 60 Hz
Dimensions (WxHxD)/ Weight
466 x 406 x 217 mm / 18.3 x 16.0 x 8.5 inch / 6.2 kg / 13.7 lbs (With Stand)
466 x 371 x 66 mm /18.3 x 14.6 x 2.6 inch (Without Stand)
The build quality of the housing is a little tacky, the picture will probably require you to fiddle with the custom settings before you're happy. The sound is good from a small speaker. If you're looking for that CRT portable replacement then look no further, for the money you will be getting good value and be saving yourself quite a bit of space too.