Samsung SyncMaster F2380
Samsung's SyncMaster F2380 flat-panel display is an interesting beast. It's a 23in LCD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which qualifies it as a 'full HD' display. It has a claimed high viewing angle and an impressive 150000:1 'dynamic' contrast ratio.
The look of the casing is minimal, slim and a trifle military in its no-nonsense shape and screw-on flat base. The matte appearance is in pleasant contrast to the typical shiny plastic used in so many LCD screens today. The bezel around the actual display area is narrow and the overall impression of the unit borders on elegant.
It has a pneumatic gas-powered support that balances the weight of the screen - which isn't all that much anyway - so it can be raised and lowered easily. It can be rotated, too; this can pivot to portrait orientation if that's what you need. On top of this, it has a pair of switchable DVI inputs as well as the ubiquitous VGA port.
At not much more than £200 on the street, these aren't the kind of features we quite expected. The question on our lips was: 'Is this a bargain - the product for those with small budgets but large demands - or does the reality not match up to the specs?'
The F2380 handled itself well. It switched between inputs intelligently, and the quality of the image in regular graphics work and for fast moving images was quite satisfactory. This is a Patterned Vertical Alignment (PVA) LCD panel, more strictly the new and more affordable cPVA variant. PVA is a technology developed jointly by Samsung and Sony and is used in a number of highly regarded products, including Sony Bravia TVs.
Checking the viewing angles didn't turn up any problems: colour and contrast shifts are minimal, as we'd expect with this technology. The maximum brightness wasn't the highest we've seen, but it didn't pose any problems in terms of real-world use.
As with any professional colour work, you should use a hardware calibration and profiling device, and this will help with this display. However, it does offer a number of display presets for quick 'ballpark'-level adjustments for different kinds of use. All the controls are tucked away beneath the display, almost out of sight, but with enough tactile presence to make them easy to use.
Like all rotating displays it didn't snap cleanly to precise 90° positions - you'll have to adjust it by eye at either end of the turn. Given that this feature is an unexpected bonus at this price level, though we're not going to complain. A minor issue was the lack of HDMI input. Okay, we suspect that this is rarely used in the real world, but it's perhaps more relevant in a display that offers a 'full HD' 1920 x 1080 pixel area.
Power consumption is good, at around 1W in standby and 45W in use. There's no external power supply unit to deal with either, just a standard kettle lead power input.
So what's the bottom line? Well, the SyncMaster F2380 wasn't flawless, but it's something we'd be happy to have on our desks. It looks professional, it does a good job and costs less than we expected.