Samsung SyncMaster 173P
At a Glance
Samsung's stylish SyncMaster 173P should appeal not only to techno-fashion aficionados but to anyone who wants an LCD that delivers outstanding image quality. Thanks to its very sharp text and vivid, accurate colors, the 173P earned top scores for both text and graphics quality when we pitted it against a room full of competitors.
The silvery 173P's very flexible dual hinge allows a height adjustment of 3.25 inches. The screen can also tilt, swivel, and rotate from landscape to portrait mode. (Samsung uses Portrait Displays Pivot Pro software for screen-image rotation.) You can even fold the 173P flat against the base so it can serve as a wall mount bracket.
Unlike the other 17-inch LCDs we tested, the 173P has no front-panel controls other than a power button. This design, which Samsung dubs "hands free," shifts all image adjustments to the bundled MagicTune software, which controls the monitor from the PC via its VGA or DVI cable. When first installed, a setup wizard guides you through a series of initial adjustments--for brightness, contrast, and color--and the 173P remembers your settings each time you use it. You can also create and apply different sets of adjustments for specific tasks, such as text applications, graphics work, and games. Although we didn't have much difficulty using the 173P's software-based controls, some users may miss the standard front-panel buttons.
As is often the case with innovative designs, the SyncMaster 173P LCD isn't cheap. Its $630 price tag (at the time of our review) makes it nearly as expensive as some 19-inch LCDs.
The swank SyncMaster 173P's outstanding image quality (and good looks) make it a fine choice for graphics and entertainment applications, if you can swing its premium price.