capsule review

Samsung SyncMaster 932GW 19-Inch Wide-Screen LCD Monitor

At a Glance
  • Samsung SyncMaster 932GW

    PCWorld Rating

    This glossy-screened LCD produced top-notch text and graphics, but its price and too few features kept it from a higher rank.

Samsung, a prolific manufacturer of LCD monitors, enters the 19-inch wide-screen chart with the strong 932GW. It produced sharp text and fine graphics, but it's pricier than its competitors and offers few extras or physical adjustments.

Though consistently good on most of our image-quality tests (with an overall performance score of Very Good), it's particularly strong at displaying readable spreadsheets and luscious colors, such as those on a picture of glazed fruit slices and berries.

Samsung opts to put a glossy screen with an antiglare treatment it calls MagicClear on the SyncMaster 932GW. Indeed, almost all of the monitor's surface is glossy, from the bezel to the stand. (Samsung includes a cleaning cloth for the monitor's surface.)

The company also provides many combinations for setting the monitor's colors through a good, easy-to-navigate on-screen display (OSD). The Color section of the OSD alone has four submenus for MagicColor, Color Tone, Color Control, and Gamma. The buttons located at the bottom of the display are labeled appropriately for their dual OSD functions, though I had to squint at or lean into the bottom to read the small letters and icons. Functions include MagicBright, which is a set of brightness presets for viewing text, Web pages, games, and movies.

Then there's MagicTune, the bundled software that replicates all of the OSD functions, including MagicBright presets. During my tests, I found that the familiar software interface was more navigable and easier to understand than the hardware OSD controls. You can also download MagicTune from Samsung's Web site, but you must use Internet Explorer. Also bundled with the SyncMaster 932GW is NaturalColor, which lets you calibrate colors to match print output or manage monitor profiles.

I found movie colors sensationally rich when I viewed scenes from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. The bright display added to the ethereal quality of the movie segments, which were dominated by soft-focus close-ups and seemingly glowing elves. Compared with other 19-inch wide-screens, the video was slightly grainy. But it exhibited beautiful contrast, revealing deep blacks and other dark colors. Yellows, oranges, and reds were especially satisfying in scenes where those colors dominated.

The monitor has a low enough height that one could forgive the lack of cable management, although I was disappointed that it provided tilt-only adjustment.

Tested for our February 2008 feature "The Wide World of Monitors," the SyncMaster 932GW has a strong and consistent performance, despite a high price and a dearth of extras.

--Roy Santos

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This glossy-screened LCD produced top-notch text and graphics, but its price and too few features kept it from a higher rank.

    Pros

    • Bundled display settings software
    • Rich colors in movie playback

    Cons

    • Poorly labeled OSD buttons
    • Tilt-only adjustment
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