Monitor Roundup: 23"-25"

Samsung SyncMaster F2380

Films

The choice of a PVA panel over TN makes a real difference. Not only are the viewing angles wider than normal, but blurriness is also kept to a minimum, and is almost invisible.

We would be happier if Samsung could start to include better upscaling electronics in its monitors. The display of standard definition content like DVDs or non-HD TV doesn't look right (the picture is less sharp). So when will it start producing monitors that can produce similar SD results?

We first tested the F2380 in September 2009--and we liked it: it quickly became one of our favorite monitors. 

But in November, a new screen arrived that is almost certain to displace it: the F2380M, which promises to be an even better monitor for the same price.

(Ed. Note: The F2380M is available in Europe now, but is currently unavailable in the United States -Tom's Guide).

Connectivity and Design

The F2380 features an excellent matte screen that uses a PVA panel.  That means it has very wide viewing angles and colors that are perfectly even across the whole surface, which isn't possible using the TN technology that is found almost everywhere else.

Its stand is one of the best around, allowing you to adjust the height of the screen and rotate it to portrait orientation.

Things only turned nasty when we turned the monitor around to look at the back.  There was a VGA input and two DVI ports, but no HDMI or headphone jack.  Now that IPTV is almost exclusively delivered over HDMI cables, and games consoles and Blu-ray players also provide HD signals, the lack of a HDMI input was a major problem.  The F2380M has one though, as well as a pair of built-in speakers and a headphone jack.

Gaming



Forget about response time.  In our experience, it's definitely not a good guide to how reactive a monitor really is.  That's why we've stopped using it and chosen a much more relevant statistic: the number of phantom frames of ghosting trailing behind the main image because the pixels on the screen can't change color quick enough. A very fast screen should show less than 0.8 frame of coloued ghosting, while a slower screen will be 1.1 frames or more behind.

The F2380 is right in the middle of these two statistics at 0.95 frames.



You'll still be able to enjoy your favorite games, but this is still a surprising result.  We know that Samsung can do a lot better, whatever technology is behind the screen. We've already seen PVA screens with just 0.5 frames of ghosting.  Why such a disappointing result then?  The F2380 would be perfect except for this issue.

Colors

Using its default settings, the colors on the F2380 are accurate, and our measurement showed that the monitor had a deltaE score of 2.7. Since the goal of every monitor is to be below 3.0, the out of the box color settings are exceptional.

The contrast ratio, measured by us and not going by the manufacturer numbers, is a fantastic 3000:1. This is huge!


Anybody whose job it is to work with digital images will still want to get things perfect by calibrating the monitor.  If you look at it close up, it becomes obvious that there's a very light blue tinge in shades of gray, although this is easily fixed.

Samsung SyncMaster F2380
ProsCons
  • Amazing contrast
  • Good hardware
  • PVA panel, so good viewing angles
  • Film display
  • Energy efficient
  • Response time could be better
  • The F2380 is a great screen...but the new F2380M, which has the same display but also a HDMI port, speakers and a headphone jack, is better. Go for the F2380M if you can.