Samsung Shows Off Nice Pair of Big ScreensBy Frank Ohlhorst | Print
While the LCD monitor market rapidly approaches commodity market status, Samsung aims to shoulder past the competition with its latest pair of big displays.
Samsung's 2493HM and 245T LCD displays are almost a matched set: Both measure 24 inches, both offer a resolution of 1920 by 1200 and both feature a thin bezel. With that in mind, it safe to say that these latest two 24-inch widescreen monitors have a lot more in common than not. But it is truly the minor design differences that define where these displays work best.For example, the $799.99 (MSRP) 245T has a rated contrast ratio of DC1500:1, while the $599.00 (MSRP) 2493HM boosts that rating to DC10000:1. What's more, the 245T has a rated brightness level of 300 cd/m², while the 2493HM ups the brightness to 400 cd/m². Those two simple measurements help to establish a pattern, one that dictates that the 245T is better suited for traditional business functions, while the 2493HM seems more suitable for work with video and 1080p HD content—a point Samsung tries to stress by marketing one display as an enhanced entertainment monitor, while billing the other as the ultimate work tool.
Samsung backs up that argument with some features found on each monitor. The 2493HM features an HDMI connector, integrated speakers and a 5-millisecond response time, while the 245T offers a slight slower response time of 6 ms and an HDCP interface (DVI-HDMI, DVI-D and D-Sub connectors). Yet, with all of those differences, users will find the monitors almost indistinguishable when viewing any type of content. Sure, the 2493HM is a little brighter and has a higher-rated contrast ratio, but when you put these monitors side by side, the difference is all but indistinguishable. So, perhaps it comes down to what $200 buys you. Simply put, is the 245T worth that $200 premium?
To be fair, one has to compare the street prices of those units before coming to any conclusions. Online retailers offer the 2493HM for about $430, while the 245T goes for about $660, a difference of about $230. For that premium, the 245T offers extensive connectivity options, including a four-port USB 2.0 hub. Although there are no integrated speakers, the 245T offers an audio out jack, which allows speakers to be used with video driven by the HDMI interface. The 245T also offers a lot of versatility—thanks to the stand, which has height, tilt and pivot adjustments that go beyond what one normally expects on a desktop LCD panel.
Users will also appreciate the extensive options offered by the unit's integrated electronics, as evidenced by the multitude of choices found on the display's setup menu. The OSD (on-screen display) menu is laid out intelligently and gives quick access to the well-defined functions of the display. Users will find controls for picture-in-picture functions and a slew of picture presets for viewing the monitor in different lighting situations. The display also supports a "movie" mode, which optimizes images for viewing high-definition content. For those watching 1080p content, a 1 to 1 pixel ratio and support for a 16:9 aspect ratio eliminate the need for scaling, thus offering the best possible image. So, while the 245T proves to be an excellent monitor with a gamut of features, is it worth the price premium? The answer is "probably not," unless you need all of the connectivity options offered. That said, the 2493HM offers its own set of impressive capabilities.
The 2493HM offers integrated speakers, perhaps making it a better choice for those leaning more toward the entertainment side of the equation, although integrated speakers are definitely an added bonus for those looking to use the unit as a PC monitor. Users will also find a two-port USB hub built into the base of the stand, which has adjustable tilt, pivot and height. Testing the 2493HM with a variety of images and sources showed that the unit offered excellent image quality, not quite as good as the 245T, but still excellent. Samsung shaved a few dollars off the price by offering fewer connectivity options and display modes than on the 245T, but most of those features would not be used by the typical PC owner anyway.
Samsung includes its Vista-compatible MagicTune application with the 2493HM. MagicTune offers the ability to fine-tune the display preferences. MagicTune adjusts the sharpness, color saturation and contrast settings to create the most "lifelike" images, and users will find the application intuitive and well worth the few minutes of setup time.
For most users, the 2493HM would be an ideal 24-inch widescreen monitor. The unit's quality construction and low price make the 2493HM a top pick. For those looking for every possible feature in a monitor and top-of-the-line quality, the 245T may just fit the bill, but users will want to contemplate whether those features are worth the added cost.