Samsung SyncMaster 173MW
At a Glance
Although both of the other 17-inch monitors we tested reproduced the bright colors and flesh tones in our test screens better than this one did, the 173MW still earned a score of Very Good for graphics. Its video was a tad less pleasing. In our full-screen viewing of the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl on DVD, scenes looked faded and pixellated, and motion artifacts made calm waters look rough.
Entertainment inputs (component, composite, and S-Video), a TV tuner, and HDTV-readiness add less to this monitor than they do to others with better graphics. The movie looked better in the smaller screens of the picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture features; if your only interest in the entertainment functions is to keep an eye on TV programming while working, the 173MW is sufficient. Virtual Dolby surround sound is a nice, unexpected touch that seems a waste, given the quality of the DVD playback. All of the 17-inch wide-screen LCDs we examined include a remote control.
Another nice touch is the swivel adjustment, which is unusual in wide-screen monitors of this size. It's a simple lazy susan that rotates the monitor base, but it's better than no swivel function at all.
Three brightness settings (entertainment, Internet, and text) and four color settings (cool, normal, warm, and SRGB) are preprogrammed. The 173MW also allows you to save your own brightness and color settings; an animated tutorial guides you painlessly through the process.
Crisp text and appealing audio features don't make the most of the wide-screen format; other monitors provide better graphics.