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Samsung Syncmaster 172W Widescreen LCD Monitor

Samsung Syncmaster 172W Widescreen LCD Monitor - PCSTATS
Abstract: "Magic Bright" lets you increase the brightness of the screen all the way up to 400 nits - substantial considering most LCD monitors are capped off at 280 nit brightness ratings.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Monitors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Samsung Mar 30 2003   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Monitors > Samsung 172w

172W OSD and Display Evaluation Notes

Samsung have maintained a very concise OSD menu system for the last few years and the 172W is no exception. Navigation with the control keys on the front bezel is also not very complicated as the layout is pretty standard stuff.

The OSD does some neat (and pretty pointless) things like being able to halftone, or move to different areas of the screen. Realistically speaking, I don't believe there are many people out there who really need "features" like these, but I suppose someone ultimately will write in saying they do.

The on screen menus appear as follows and allow the user to adjust these display parameters: Brightness; Contrast; Image Lock: Coarse, Fine; Position: H/V; Color Control: Red, Green, Blue; Color Reset: Geometry, Color; Image Size: Normal, Expand 1 &2; Image Effect: Scaling on/off, Filtering; Language: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Swedish; OSD Position: H/V; OSD Display Time: 5, 10, 20, 200 seconds; and Display Mode: Hl/V Frequency & Resolution.

Magic bright is in a separate menu and consists of four settings: User, Internet, Text and Entertainment. The user and entertainment settings are brightest making it ideal for watching a movie for example.

As with all LCD capable of analog-input, the best way to configure that method of connection to the computer is to toggle the Auto adjust key and just sit back. The engineers at Samsung must have been tinkering with that function since it moves at twice the speed and only takes but a second with this display.

PCstats TFT Display Evaluation Criteria:

We evaluate the quality of TFT displays with the help of a program called Nokia Monitor Test. The software application displays a range of colours and test patterns that can help diagnose just about any visual problems or defects a TFT display may contain.

It can also be a very useful tool for properly adjusting a display to the optimal settings. The software consists of eleven tests which can be run in steps as adjustments are made to the OSD. As the tests are run we look for the following problems, only one of which should be inoperable (broken pixel).

  • Broken Pixels: What we class as a 'broken pixel' can fall under any one of the following circumstances: Pixel always on (any colour), pixel always off, pixel unable to display a shade (red, green, blue, black, white), pixel shown colour gradient.
  • Pixel Clock: If the number of dot clocks within one horizontal synch are not properly configured the screen will appear to drift or vertical stripes may be generated. This should be correctable by the on screen menu.
  • Phase: If the phase of the display data and dot clock are not correctly tuned the screen can flicker, or text be displayed blurry. For example text may appear dithered, or when looking at a test pattern of a one-pixel black, one-pixel white checkerboard pattern the pattern may be distorted. This should be correctable by the on screen menu.
  • Response Time: We look for any streaking associated with moving a full page of text up or down quickly. Displays with slower refresh rates tend to show some degree of image streaking or text discoloration which can be distracting.
  • Stand Stability: TFT displays are fragile components and the stand should offer adequately stable support as well as be easily adjustable.

    We deduct marks for quality control if there are any predominant broken pixels in a display. While many manufacturers may consider a few broken pixels acceptable, we believe the high cost of TFT displays should translate into a clear and unblemished image.

  • Display Test System Configuration:
    Video Card: ATI Radeon 8500
    Operating System: MS Windows 2000
    Display Settings: Color Temp: 6500 Kelvin
    Resolution: 1280x768 pixels
    Frequency: 60Hz, digital
    Colour: 32 Bit

    LCD Display Test Test Notes and Observations

    LCD's inherent design means that test grids are displayed very true and very sharp at their native resolutions. The Samsung 172W does well under normal viewing with the 1280x768 resolution, but under the grid tests the boxes are not perfectly square. Since the test pattern is not scaled to fit the resolution, and the screen itself is rectangular this is to be expected.

    Brightness and Contrast:

    Very nice shading under the gray scale test. The percentage white scale bars were clear and desaturated which was good to see. Using the digital signal often has benefits with LCD displays since there is very little adjustment required. It is important to ensure that the screen is set to 32bit or transitioning shades can see rather blocky.


    The white, red, green and blue test screens were bright and consistent over the entire screen area (ie, no dull areas at the edges of the screen). There were no visible dull or broken pixels which is a good indication that Samsung QC is doing its job.


    The grid test patterns in RGB illustrate the worst case situations when different coloured pixels must work closely together, and since they comprise different parts of a pixel they do not line up exactly on LCD screens where there is less blending. Since the pixels on the 172W are 0.289mm in size, the effect is a little more noticeable than a standard 17" display which uses a 0.264mm pixel dot pitch.


    This test has a few patterns of alternating black and white boxes with text in them. In the center of the page are two boxes with 1 pixel vertical stripes. All test patterns showed up perfectly - if you try this test on your monitor pay close attention to the center two gray boxes, where interference can sometimes be visible.


    Resolution was excellent at the native 1280x768 size. Image dithering at a non-native 800x600 resolution was pretty decent from a distance, and should indicate that if you are watching a movie that defaults to this lower resolution, the picture will be smooth, and text legible.


    Since we tested with the digital signal there were no problems at all with any of the test patterns. Under analog we did see some very faint moire lines on the one-pixel square test pattern.

    Other Evaluation Notes:

    Overall the Samsung 172W handled the Nokia Monitor Tests very well - the only major issue worth mentioning is that even though this is technically a 17" LCD, the pixel dot pitch is set at a larger degree which is typically found with 15" monitors. For everyday work this isn't an issue for concern, but for high definition CAD work, a standard 17" screen would be preferable.

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    Contents of Article: Samsung 172w
     Pg 1.  Samsung Syncmaster 172W Widescreen LCD Monitor
     Pg 2.  More points of interest with the 172W
     Pg 3.  — 172W OSD and Display Evaluation Notes
     Pg 4.  Final Evaluation Notes & Conclusions

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       11 / 20 / 2018 | 7:31PM
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