Television or computer display? You decide. Samsung’s SyncMaster P2770HD takes advantage of the blurring line between supersized monitors and miniature TVs by turning one 27-inch, 1080p LCD panel into both. With the inputs and specs of a PC display and the tuner and styling of a television, we found it managed to borrow some of the best attributes of both, even if a few of our favorite frills – like swivel stands, USB inputs, and picture-in-picture – went missing in the process.
Because televisions in this size would typically come in 720p resolution, the panel Samsung chose for the SyncMaster 2770HD looks more like it came from the monitor side of the supply chain than the television side. It offers 1080p resolution, 16.7 million display colors, brightness of 300 cd/m2, and 5ms response times, along with a dynamic contrast ratio of 50,000:1 (or 1,000:1 without the number games that come with the term “dynamic”). Oddly enough, the $50 cheaper 2700H, which has no TV capabilities, has a panel with far superior specs, which we would recommend investigating if you love the style but don’t need the television functionality.
As a TV, it comes with all the trappings you would normally expect, including a candy bar-sized remote indistinguishable from the ones that come with Samsung’s larger TVs, built-in 3-watt stereo speakers, and of course, that all-important HD tuner for picking up over-the-air signals and basic cable. When you go to connect a PC or Blu-ray player, you’ll have your choice of inputs including one VGA, one DVI, one HDMI, as well as component and composite video. Since a PC won’t send audio signals over the HDMI connection, there’s a separate stereo jack for feeding in PC audio, as well as an S/PDIF digital input. A standard coax connection provides room for an antenna, and you’ll find a headphone jack buried on the back as well. You’ll also spot a USB jack, but it’s for upgrading firmware only.
Unfortunately, the P2770HD provides no more than one of any video connection, and there’s no side panel with easy access to ports – like the headphone jack that definitely belongs there. You’ll also miss some of the more convenient features of a high-end desktop monitor, like a built-in USB hub, and a stand with any sort of height adjustment.
Considering most manufacturers are content to tack a few strips of gloss black around their LCDs and call it a day, Samsung’s P2770HD very nearly stands in a class on its own.
The display shrinks the classy “Touch of Color” design found on many of Samsung’s late-model HDTVs to the desktop, where it’s even easier to appreciate the subtle intricacies that make this design stand out. While the inside edges of the bezel appear almost black, the darkness dilutes toward the outside into a translucent ruby red, then to a thin rim of totally clear acrylic. The same effect fans out from its oval-shaped stand and up into its most notable aesthetic feature: a swoopy, glass-like neck that it almost seems to have splashed out of the base in liquid form and frozen in place. Besides the company and model name screened on in subtle white, there’s not much to distract from the lines and color.
If there’s one drawback to this arrangement, it’s the lack of real adjustment that comes without a heavy-duty monitor stand. You can tilt the monitor up and down, but that’s it: No height adjustment, no swiveling. The tilting action also has a soggy feel that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. The first time we fiddled with it, we almost expected to hear a snap and make a sad call to Samsung.