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Samsung MD230X3 review

David Ludlow
23 Dec 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,391
inc VAT

It's a great idea and image quality is brilliant, but the finish is poor and the price too high.

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Specifications

23in screen size, 1,920x1,080 resolution, DVI: yes, VGA: yes, HDMI:

Although AMD's EyeFinity can add extra depth to games by splitting them across three or more monitors, getting a system correctly configured and the displays aligned can be a problem. Unless you get them exactly lined up the Eyefinity effect can easily be broken.

This is something Samsung wants to make easier with its MD230X3. The system comes with three Full HD Samsung monitors (a system with six is also available) connected to a stand that perfectly aligns the displays height-wise, and touches the bezels side-by-side.

Samsung MD230X3

The two side monitors can be tilted slightly forward, so that they wrap around your head and help create the illusion of peripheral vision in games. The stand has a massive base for stability and is height adjustable, although its minimum height of 150mm is still a fair way off the desk when compared to standalone monitors.

Samsung MD230X3 remote

Actual build quality and configuration is a bit of a mixed bag. On the plus side, the monitors are all daisy-chained together, so you only need a single power cable to power them all. They're also all controlled via the USB remote, which is handy as you can select every monitor and adjust the display settings at once to get identical images. It's also possible to control each display individually. Control is passed between monitors by daisy-chaining USB cables.

Samsung MD230X3 Ports

It's a shame, then, that there's no cable management built in to the stand. It means that you're left with drooping cables that you have to try and tuck neatly out of the way by resting them on the stand's hinges. A couple of cable clips at the rear and down the central pole could have worked wonders.

Then there are the monitors themselves. Each one has a very thin metal edge, but it looks unfinished or as though the glossy plastic bezel and finish that would go on a regular monitor hasn't been applied to the MD203X3. It means you're left with painted metal folded over at the sides with clear-metal clips that are visible. Some may praise its industrial look, but we think it just makes it look a bit cheap. At this price we'd expect a better finish.

It's a shame, really as the rest of the system is very good. We found that the CCFL backlight on the displays was even. Contrast is fantastic, with the displays able to produce dark blacks and bright whites. Colours were rich and vibrant, too. Viewing angles are very good, which is important as two of the displays you won't view head-on. We noticed that colour was even across all three displays, helping create that EyeFinity effect.

Playing games was fantastic. The monitors are set at just the right angles to envelop you in a game. Some games can look a little bit odd running at the full 5,760x1,080 resolution - Crysis, for example, ends up showing you your character's shoulders as you run - but titles with full compatibility look astounding. It's a great way of adding a little more immersion into the latest games.

There's a decent choice of inputs, too. Each monitor has DVI, VGA and DisplayPort, although for Eyefinity you have to use at least one DisplayPort output (or use an active DisplayPort to HDMI or DVI converter). You don't get a lot else, and there are no built-in speakers or a USB hub; however, for the MD203X3's intended audience there's little point in either of these features.

There's no doubting the image quality or extra fun that this set-up brings to games. It's got some really neat features, too, such as a single power input for all three displays. However, the finish isn't as good as we'd expect and the price is incredibly high, even given the custom stand.

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