capsule review

Samsung SyncMaster 206BW 20-Inch Wide-Screen LCD Monitor

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder SyncMaster 206BW

The SyncMaster 206BW's thin black bezel and curved edges are attractively sleek.  Despite very good image quality, the 206BW lacks a lot of connectivity options, so this 20-inch wide-screen LCD is better for office than home-entertainment use.

A half-inch line of silver at the bottom of the display provides a subtle accent and houses the on-screen display (OSD) buttons, which have etched function labels that are easy to read. The base swivels widely and the panel tilts, although there's no height adjustment. The SyncMaster 206BW has a DVI and VGA port in the back but doesn't offer other connectors, such as S-video or HDMI, that multimedia-focused monitors do.

The 206BW achieved an overall score of Very Good when tested for our February 2008 feature "The Wide World of Monitors," tying with its 20-inch wide-screen rival, HP's w2007. Judges awarded it high scores for its punchy graphics colors and piercingly sharp text. Flicker-free and uniformly bright, the display should bring a little pleasure to the work of looking at long Word and Excel documents. It did get mixed results in a grayscale tests, doing well with discernible light shades, but not so with darker ones. Its consistency on most other tests, however, was hard to beat.

Like many Samsung monitors, this model also includes the company's MagicBright presets for text, Internet, game, sport, and movies. Samsung's MagicColor, accessible only from the OSD menu, actually adjusts the saturation to make colors more vivid. A 'Demo' option compares the before and after settings on the screen. 'Full' indicates full use of saturation adjustments, while 'Intelligent' makes selective adjustments.

MagicTune software replaces the functions of the monitor's built-in display adjustments. I was able to download it from the Samsung Web site. It worked smoothly, and its interface is easy enough to be a good replacement for the OSD. Additionally, it offers basic calibration with images and test patterns.

In the movie Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, colors and skin tones appeared very natural. Motion-heavy scenes displayed smoothly. It handled many film segments of rich reds, dark blues, and vibrant coppers with aplomb.

An impressive PC World test score, subtly sleek design, and convenient OSD-replacement software make the Samsung SyncMaster 206BW ($280 as of December 10, 2007) a must-have for offices and homes that don't have too many multimedia demands.

--Roy Santos

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At a Glance
  • This slim-bezeled 20-inch widescreen LCD sports a modern look and delivers impressive graphics performance.


    • Aesthetically pleasing design
    • Very good text and graphics performance


    • No cable management
    • Weak grayscale performance
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