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Samsung SyncMaster 24″ HD Monitor

Samsung SyncMaster FX2490HD

Rating: ★★★½☆

So, it’s the ultimate, two-in-one… Not quite. The panel itself sports an HDTV-aping 16:9 aspect ratio and packs a 1080p Full HD pixel grid.

However, as far as UK users are concerned, the TV tuner is not HD. It’s standard DTV only.

That means you’ll need an external Freeview HD box or similar to enable HDTV visuals. In that sense, the Samsung SyncMaster FX2490HD is no more an HDTV than any monitor with an HDMI port.

What’s more, at nearly £400, this is one pricey PC monitor, especially given its TN LCD panel. For this sort of cash, you’d normally expect one of Samsung’s spectacular PVA panels.

What we thought…

A PC monitor that doubles as an HDTV is a nice idea for a home office where space is at a premium. In theory, the Samsung SyncMaster FX2490HD delivers just that. It’s a 24-inch PC monitor with a slick industrial design that apes Samsung’s HDTV sets.

That means glossy transparent plastics, a super thin chassis and a snazzy chrome stand. In short, it looks expensive. That’s just as well because at nearly £400 it is indeed pretty pricey for a 24-inch PC monitor with a TN panel.

Of course, the FX2490HD’s real claim to fame is HDTV functionality. It’s here that things begin to go wrong, for UK users anyway. Samsung has seen to fit an HD cable TV tuner, as used in the US. But the DVB-T2 tuner required for Freeview HD in the UK is not present. There’s only a standard definition DVB-T tuner.

Making matters worse, the FX2490HD doesn’t have a DVI port, instead offering a pair of HDMI ports and a VGA socket. In theory, HDMI should work fine with a PC’s standard DVI port and an adapter. In practice, signal compatibility can be a problem, as it was during our testing.

We liked

An all-in-one solution is an attractive idea for a cramped home office. Certainly, the Samsung SyncMaster FX2490HD is a sexy bit of kit with a convincing looking mini-HDTV vibe. For the most part, it’s well specified thanks to an LED backlight and 1080p LCD panel.

We disliked

£400 is an awful lot of money for a 24-inch monitor with a TN panel. In theory, that price is offset by the HDTV functionality. In practice, the lack of a DVB-T2 tuner makes that idea moot. The absence of a DVI port in favour of HDMI connectivity can also be problematic.

Pros

  • Great concept

Cons

  • Too expensive
  • No DVB-T2 tuner

Verdict

To cut a long story short, we failed to get any PC to scan correctly on the FX2490HD. In fact, we had the same problem using a PC with an HDMI port. The moral here is that a PC monitor should have a DVI port, plain and simple.

As for image quality, testing the finer points is tricky when the screen isn’t correctly scanned, but the basics – including the brightness of the LED backlight, viewing angles, black levels and vibrancy – look pretty good for a TN panel.

Samsung SyncMaster 24

 


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