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Samsung SyncMaster 940BF Review

Highs

  • DVI and analog inputs; small footprint; good for gamers

Rating

Our Score 6.5
User Score 0

Lows

  • Flimsy construction; mediocre features; expensive
Compared to other displays in the 19" LCD category, the 940BF is not the best performer for your money.

Summary

More options are becoming available to consumers as LCD Monitors are growing to be a mainstream item. In fact, CRT displays will soon fade out and become a thing of the past. However, until that happens people should put some considerable thought into purchasing an LCD Monitor. The Samsung SyncMaster 940BF has a mediocre 19″ display with a small bezel and some decent features. Unfortunately, these features are not enough to justify its high price tag. Perhaps if the monitor was designed better and the price was $100 lower, it would be the ultimate in displays of its class. Read on to learn more about the Samsung SyncMaster 940BF display.

Features and Design

People buying a new display will expect a design that looks great with their computer setup and desk. A good LCD monitor should be sleek, slim, and should have a design that is easy to control. The Samsung SyncMaster 940BF hits 2 out of the 3 previous points, but unfortunately bombs on the ability to maneuver it. Unpacking the box is very easy and driver software is included on a CD. Putting together the display and the stand is easy because Samsung includes a unique screw system that allows you to tighten or loosen the base without any tools. However, because of this unconventional method, the base is often a little loose and flimsy which doesn’t give you peace of mind.

Another problem with the base is that it does not feature a lazy susan (swivel design); so moving the monitor becomes a pain. I suggest picking an ideal spot for it and letting it stay there. If you need to move the LCD up and down at all, good luck – this display doesn’t bend too well and feels very stiff when attempting to try. In spite of these downfalls, you will enjoy looking at this monitor because the display is a beauty. The small bezel gives you true 19″ real estate instead of covering up the display like other monitors do. The back also has a panel to cover up your power and display cords so they stay nice and neat (a welcome feature that is done right on this offering from Samsung).

Having the ability to choose VGA or DVI is a nice option that most will find welcoming. If you have an older system without a DVI card, you can use the VGA and still enjoy the 940BF’s quality display. However, this is also an issue, because those using DVI won’t notice a big difference between DVI and VGA inputs. This is unfortunate because this monitor could really shine if the DVI connection provided a more crisp and stunning image. The quality is parallel to other LCD monitors, but unfortunately it does not stand out above them.

As for controls, they reside on the bottom right corner of the 940BF and are laid out in a clean, orderly fashion that makes them easily accessible. I thank Samsung for not putting these underneath the bezel like former monitors usually have. However, when in use, the actual controls are not very effective. You won’t find many of them useful and the design of the interface could be vastly improved upon.

Samsung Syncmaster 940BF
Image Courtesy of Samsung

Setup and Use

Setting up the monitor was easy. Samsung includes a base which screws on easily, a VGA cable, a DVI cable, and a power cable. Plugging the cables in was easy and they stayed hidden thanks to the removable back panel on the 940BF. A power brick would have been nice for two reasons though:

    1. It would allow less heat to build up inside the display
  1. It would add length to the power cord that is included with this display, which is too short.

In fact, the power cord is so short that it barely plugs in from the center of my desk to the power strip that resides on the side of my desk. Aside from being very annoying, this is a safety hazard for those with a setup that doesn’t hide the power cord.

Using the 940BF with Windows XP is like using any other LCD monitor with Windows XP. It’s crisp, clear, and looks nice. Nothing really makes the 940BF stand out above other monitors when using it normally. When using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, colors and effects looked decent and were nice and bright. DVD playback was very nice to watch, but could have looked better. The colors seemed to be a little off, and the skin tones were a bit too warm for my liking. Overall, there wasn’t much to complain about, but not enough to get excited about. This is a problem considering the MSRP of this display is $499 – too expensive for those looking to get a 19″ LCD with basic features.

A positive aspect of the 940BF display was that gaming looked great on it. No ghosting occurred when playing games like Quake 4 and Half-Life 2 and colors were extremely rich and vibrant, something I really enjoy while gaming. Speaking of colors, Samsung includes a software option called MagicZone. MagicZone basically allows you to adjust features, such as brightness and hue, on certain areas of the monitor to your liking. It’s more of a cheap gimmick than an actual useful tool though. The only people who will get use out of this will most likely be those who do intensive design and editing work.

Performance

This isn’t a bad LCD by any means. It’s a great looking monitor and those coming from the world of CRT-displays will stare at the 940BF in shock and awe. You also get true screen real estate with the display’s tiny and trim bezel. The problems that plague the 940BF are price and features. For the exorbitant price of $499 you could easily buy a better 19″ LCD that looks equally sleek, but employs more features and a better design. Nothing really allows the 940BF to stand out above other monitors in its class, which is why the 940BF’s price should be around the $300 mark instead of the $500 mark.

Compared to other displays in the 19″ LCD category, the 940BF is not the best performer for your money. You’ll find better results for a cheaper price with companies like Viewsonic and BenQ. If you’ve got some cash to blow, try going with something more feature-rich and visually impressive such as an Apple Cinema Display. For that kind of money, you’ll be getting something worthy of emptying out your wallet.

Conclusion

The Samsung SyncMaster 940BF is just too expensive to be a good monitor. Its features are average and nothing stands out above the rest of 19″ monitors in its class. The design is also very cheap and moving the actual monitor proves to be a real pain. A swivel-base would have been a great feature to include on the 940BF. Even though gaming looks great and graphics professionals will definitely get some use out of the MagicZone feature that Samsung provides, this monitor is just too flawed for the price it claims. Samsung does have a great bezel around the monitor and the ability to use either VGA or DVI is a great feature. Try going with another company that offers these features at a lower price instead.

Pros:

    • VGA and DVI inputs
    • True real estate with Samsung’s small bezel
  • Great for Gamers and Graphics Pros

Cons:

    • Flimsy construction
    • Mediocre features
  • Expensive price tag

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