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Samsung SyncMaster 173P Review

Samsung SyncMaster 173P
MSRP $628.90
“The Samsung SyncMaster 173P boasts among the best image quality we”
Pros
  • Dual VGA/DVI inputs
  • sleek design
  • included calibration software
Cons
  • Software only compatible with Windows
  • price may be restrictive to some

Summary

The Samsung SyncMaster 173P boasts among the best image quality we’ve seen in an LCD monitor. Even the gaming performance was better than expected, but still may not live up to a sniper’s expectations.

With a small footprint, easy to setup software and both analog and digital inputs, the 173P will appeal to a wide range of users.

For visually rich media, the 173P is a top performer. This shiny white plastic and silver, one-buttoned panel is sure to turn heads and open wallets.

Introduction

Samsung’s SyncMaster 173P may be one of the priciest 17-inch LCDs we’ve tested, retailing for around $650, but it is arguably one of the best looking and best performing as well.

One thing that has to be said of Samsung: they listen to their customers and are quick to respond. We’ve seen a flurry of incrementally improved Samsung LCD monitor introductions over a relatively short period of time.


Two views of the minimalist design of the Samsung 173P LCD monitor.

Features and Specifications

The SyncMaster 173P is an analog/digital TFT monitor that features a silver matte bezel and a glossy white plastic back panel. At 15 x 15.8 x 9.3 inches and about 13 pounds, it compares favorably in size and weight to other monitor’s in its class.

Upon first gaze, you’re likely to notice the Apple-esque glossy white plastic backing on the unit. The only three connections are located in silver base – DVI, analog RGB, and power. The front bezel contains only one touch-sensitive button to turn the display on and off. Holding this button down for a few seconds switches from Analog to Digital mode.

Taking other design cues from Apple, the display can twist at the base, tilt up and down at the base and tilt at the actual panel – much like the dual-hinge design of the iMac – providing a full range of motion.

The 173P also ships with VESA wall mounting components, an analog and digital monitor cable, the power brick and cable, software CDs and the manual.

The SyncMaster 173P also pivots from landscape to portrait mode and combined with the included Pivot Pro software, allows you to view documents and images in either mode. Samsung boasts a 178 degree viewing angle from each side. Add to that the ability to tilt back all the way so the screen is almost on the same plane as your desk and you have a screen that can conform to anyone’s viewing preferences.


Top view of the SyncMaster 173P shows the small footprint base.

Sporting an excellent 700:1 contrast ratio, .264 pixel pitch, 270 cd/m2 brightness, and 25ms response time, the 173P also features a 1280×1024 maximum resolution and a full 16.7 million colors. These numbers are not earth shattering – they nearly match the specifications of Samsung’s 172X – but in this case beauty is not just skin deep. The SyncMaster 173P is one of the most eye-catching displays on the market.

With only one button on the bezel you won’t be left without a personalized adjustment of the screen. The included configuration software, dubbed MagicTune, takes care of nearly every aspect of the display such as geometry, color, brightness and contrast. The software even includes test images to check your settings. MagicTune also has the ability to save user-defined settings and recall them with a click of the mouse, or to restore to factory default settings. MagicTune only works with Windows 98SE and above and can be accessed through a system tray icon or a desktop icon.

Another feature of the display is what Samsung calls “MagicBright” technology, allowing for three levels of luminescence to be chosen. This feature is seen in several other Samsung monitors we have reviewed.

Testing and Usage

We used the same media for testing the 173P as our review of the 192T.  We used Microsoft Word for contrast and text sharpness, Tribes 2, Unreal Tournament 2003, and Age of Mythology for gaming performance and The Matrix, Dark City, and A.I. for movie viewing.

Text quality was clear, crisp, and easily readable on both analog and digital inputs. With this monitor targeted at gamers as well as office users, an important factor in visual quality is the response time, listed at 25ms. Gaming was unexpectedly better on the 173P than many other 25ms displays we’ve seen. Still, FPS games were playable, but had noticeable ghosting even on the DVI input.

Age of Mythology performed very well, since there was little full screen movement. Movies were very sharp, regardless of the amount of screen movement. Most of the fast action sequences were slightly blurred, but when passively viewing, it appeared to be slight motion blurring special effects. This occurred in both bright white scenes in A.I. and dark earth tones in Dark City.

Conclusion

The Samsung SyncMaster 173P boasts among the best image quality we’ve seen in an LCD monitor. Even the gaming performance was better than expected, but still may not live up to a sniper’s expectations.

With a small footprint, easy to setup software and both analog and digital inputs, the 173P will appeal to a wide range of users.

For visually rich media, the 173P is a top performer. This shiny white plastic and silver, one-buttoned panel is sure to turn heads and open wallets.

Editors' Recommendations

Brandon King
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