A first-rate display packed in a slim box

Not everyone can have — and some may not even want — a $2,000 high-resolution, 25-inch LCD monitor on their desktop. But that doesn't mean you can't get a top-notch display in a slim and trim box.

Samsung Electronic Co. Ltd.'s new SyncMaster 193P offers a first-rate 1,280 x 1,024 screen in a small case for an estimated cost of less than $900.

The display has strong numbers with a 178-degree viewing angle, a 600:1 contrast ratio and a pixel pitch of .294mm. Users will find the display's response time of 20 milliseconds to be up to all but the most demanding video tasks. The 193P supports digital and analog inputs, though there is no option for separate RGB inputs.

We liked the 193P's uncluttered look, with its 0.8-inch bezel — a covering or panel used to protect a visual display or connection port — and its single front-panel button.

Samsung, in fact, plays up the idea that the 193P is a hands-free monitor. The only button on the entire unit is the power button. All of the other settings are controlled by software on the computer. There is, as Samsung touts, an upside to this strategy, especially when the monitor is in use by a number of people. Because there are no buttons available for changing brightness or other display characteristics, it's less likely that others will monkey with the settings. And those who have log-on privileges will find that the settings they make via software will automatically be loaded when they log on.

The wizards in the bundled MagicTune software are easy to follow and effective in configuring the display. You can employ three preconfigured brightness modes that are intended to optimize the display for text, Internet and entertainment applications, such as games.

On the other hand, although we found the Samsung's MagicTune software easy to use for adjusting the monitor, it would be much easier to make on-the-fly adjustments, such as brightening the display when the afternoon sun starts coming in through the windows, using buttons on the unit.

We liked the clean lines of the 193P's stand — a simple disc with a narrow arm. The 193P can be moved up or down, tilted front to back and you can even swivel it from portrait mode to landscape mode. Thanks to the bundled Pivot software, you can also adjust the video output to portrait mode. The unit's limited vertical range of adjustment, however, was not quite enough to get the display to an eye level that was comfortable.

The SyncMaster 193P meets TCO '03 emission standards, developed by TCO Development, the Swedish organization that designates the global environment standards for computer screens. The product also complies with the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star standards. Equally important, Samsung backs the unit with a three-year warranty and toll-free, 24-hour technical support.

The 193P's sharp display will make it an attractive purchase for many agencies and departments, and the unit's software adjustments, thin bezel and wall-mount option make it a good candidate for multiuser, multimonitor implementations.

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