As an original manufacturer of LCD panels and other key components used in LCD, CRT and plasma displays, Samsung understands the monitor business. This knowledge shows in its new SyncMaster 180T.
Only 3 inches thick, the 180T is a healthy 18.1-inch monitor that sports a good picture from a one-panel LCD with color filters and SXGA (1,280 x 1,024) resolution. The image performance is admirable, although a bit more brightness, contrast and color saturation would have made the onscreen image perfect. In its favor, this unit is one of the most energy-efficient LCD monitors I've tested.
The nitty gritty
Although Samsung claims the monitor provides 220 nits (cd/m2), the measurement of light emitted from the screen, I evaluated the monitor with a standard nine-point ANSI test pattern and only measured 179 nits. With the same contrast and brightness settings, I measured the Samsung's 16-point contrast ratio at 218-to-1. The unit measured more contrast sequentially (339-to-1), but it still did not quite meet the company's published 350-to-1 contrast specs.
The monitor's color saturation, which measured 14.7 units, is not the highest value I've ever seen, but it is above average. The Samsung's white point at 2.03 units away from standard D65 is also better than average. The 180T's uniformity across the screen registered a 4-percent variation; 85-percent peak brightness carried into the extreme corners. Both these readings are slightly below average for an LCD monitor.
Low energy, but no USB
The SyncMaster 180T is indeed a power-saver. When displaying a full white screen, the unit consumed only 39 watts of power — about half of what I've seen on comparable monitors. Although the watt reading fell below Samsung's listed spec of 40 watts, this is definitely a welcome feature (especially if, like me, you are susceptible to the whims of California's power grid).
My biggest complaint with this monitor is in its ergonomics. Because the display only tilts and swivels, it lacks the freedom of movement found in competing monitors, such as built-in rotation and height adjustments.
The 180T's standard configuration does not support USB connectivity, which I always miss, because an extra hub helps keep my desktop organized. A video-signal input, which is standard on some full-featured 18-inch monitors, is also not on this unit. Finally if you're looking for built-in speakers, the 180T unfortunately does not have them.
Overall, this is a good, solid LCD monitor, but more brightness, contrast and color saturation would be preferable. Still, the SyncMaster 180T produces great-looking images and it's a real power-saver — so you won't feel bad about running the air conditioner while you work.
william bohannon (email@example.com) is a projection and display columnist for Presentations.
Contact: Samsung Electronics Co., 800.726.7864, www.samsungmonitor.com.
circle 301 in reader inquiry card