Review: Samsung SyncMaster 940BF Monitor

This low-cost monitor gives you your money's worth



The SyncMaster 940BF is one of the least-assuming monitors you're likely to encounter. Basically, it's a screen on a stand with a narrow, half-inch bezel. The only adornment is the row of five buttons at the bottom right that control its on-screen display. But beyond the aesthetics, everything is upscale.

SyncMaster 940BF

SyncMaster 940BF
How often can you claim, "The color just jumped out at me," and actually be taken seriously? Say this to someone who has seen one of Samsung's SyncMaster LCD monitors, and it would come as no surprise. The SyncMaster 940BF continues that tradition. To be honest, part of the reason the color did jump out at me when I first powered it up was because the brightness level was set to 100% as a default. But even after I brought the level and contrast down a bit, the color rendition was still impressive.

The iconology used by Samsung for this monitor's on-screen controls is cryptic, but the company has remedied this by including a CD with a utility called MagicTune that gives you control of the settings. The CD also has a utility called Natural Color that lets you synchronize your display and print colors.

I don't recommend the 940BF for analog use. It's not that it does poorly: The color rendition is a bit muted and the grain a bit obvious, but it does rather well across the board with DVDs, games, graphics, and text when connected to an analog output. The 940BF simply has no obvious advantage as an analog display over lower-cost monitors. It's on the digital side that the 940BF really shines.

The 940BF's 2-millisecond recharge/ response time is among the fastest in the industry, rivaling ViewSonic's VX922. At that rate, smearing isn't an issue. In fact, my only complaint with this display is that its viewing angles cause on-screen images to degrade rapidly with only small changes of position. For example, if you sit a foot below and to the right of the monitor and then move just 6 inches to the left, what was a perfectly fine image will become nearly unrecognizable.

Given everything it offers, the SyncMaster 940BF is a bargain if you find it at the low end of its $259 to $569 price range, and even more so if you happen to stumble upon the $55 rebate that was being offered at the time I wrote this review. (Rebate offers are often like buses: If you miss one, just stand there. Odds are good that another will show up not very long after.)

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