As impressive as most dual-monitor setups look, in reality, only the most die-hard multi-taskers can really find any need for a desktop three feet wide. While professionals will use dual displays to juggle multiple projects and cram more data onto the screen at once, most home users end up using all that extra real estate for small applications they don’t want cluttering the main screen, like instant messenger windows and media player controls – hardly an excuse to shell out double the money for two matching monitors.
The Samsung SyncMaster2263DX provides a more reasonable balance between screen size and price by offering an enormous 22-inch widescreen monitor coupled with a more modest 7-inch side display to handle the screen overflow. Like the heads-up display in a car, the 2263DX gives users a convenient way to keep an eye on a handful of side programs without distracting from the main task at hand.
The glossy-black monitor looks nearly identical to Samsung’s other high-end SyncMaster monitors, save for the matching seven-inch screen appended to its edge. Since the extra screen is meant to be positioned wherever it fits best, Samsung developed a rotating swing arm that lets users position it wherever they want in relation to the main screen. It can be tacked onto the left, right or top of the monitor, in either landscape or portrait orientation.
Samsung SyncMaster 2263DX
If that’s not enough flexibility, the screen can also detach from the arm and sit anywhere else, since it tethers to the main monitor with an ordinary USB cable. This allows it to function almost like a digital picture frame that’s connected to the computer – it could just as easily display slideshows from a nearby bookshelf as weather and headlines on a desk.
Besides the satellite monitor that stands out as the SyncMaster 2263DX’s defining feature, it also comes with well-rounded multimedia capabilities. A 3.0-megapixel webcam provides high-resolution video feed for videoconferencing, coupled with a dual microphone array to pick up voice and filter out ambient noise. Samsung also added discrete 1.5-watt down-firing speakers to save desktop space and keep with its sleek minimalist look.
As far as quality specifications, the main LCD panel used in the 2263DX measures up closely with the panels used in Samsung’s standalone 22-inch monitors. It offers an 8,000:1 contrast ratio (with Samsung conceding that 1,000:1 is closer to what most users will experience), 5ms response time, and standard 1680 x 1050 resolution. Since the smaller 7-inch panel wasn’t designed for performance, it gets a much less impressive 30ms response time that would probably make it unsuitable for video or fast-motion graphics, and of course, smaller 800 x 600 resolution.
The SyncMaster 2263DX currently sells for $549.99, putting it well above the price of competing 22-inch monitors but below the cost of buying two entirely separate screens. While professionals still may want to pay the price of admission for a full dual-display setup, Samsung’s SyncMaster should make a fine intermediate option for more casual users who just want a little extra space to park their applications. More information on the SyncMaster 2263Dx is available from Samsung.