capsule review

Samsung SyncMaster 971p

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder SyncMaster 971P Black 19" LCD Monitor (19", 1280x1024, 6ms, DVI, PC/Mac)

The $380 (as of January 12, 2007) Samsung SyncMaster 971p does a good job of displaying text, and its unique design helps it stand out from other 19-inch displays.

The 971p sits on a U-shaped stand, with the U facing right. The power button sits in one tip of the U, and a Magic Bright button (which lets you alter brightness settings according to the task you're performing) is located on the left end of the stand. Presets include brightness settings for text, custom Internet, gaming, sport, or movie. The gaming preset is noticeably brighter than the default text setting, for example, but I couldn't tell the difference between gaming and sport.

Two USB ports occupy the back of the display's stand. They're fairly easy to access for hooking up peripherals.

Aside from those unique qualities, however, the Samsung is a straightforward display that excelled at displaying text in our image quality tests. Jurors noted that the 971p showed extremely sharp text in both a Microsoft Word document and a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. In our multisize font screen, 6-point text was crisp and easy to read. The 971p didn't wow our judges with its graphics prowess, but it did show bright, realistic colors in photos and on a Web site.

Adjusting the 971p is fairly easy--the display tilts and pivots with ease, though its unique design prevents it from swiveling. An accompanying CD-based manual provides detailed troubleshooting guidance as well as assistance with pivoting, color calibration, and using the display's on-screen controls. You'll need that help, too: I spent a good deal of time searching for the buttons that operate the controls, and only after referring to the manual could I find them on the stand.

Though several design touches help differentiate the 971p from the rest of the pack, it is limited by its inability to swivel and its hidden controls. Still, its able handling of text makes it a good mainstream choice.

Kalpana Ettenson

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At a Glance
  • The Samsung showed sharp, clear text in our tests. Its uniquely shaped stand houses the power button.


    • Unique stand hosts the power button


    • Does not swivel
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