THE GOOD: The Samsung SyncMaster 2333HD has a plethora of connection options, including two HDMI ports. It also has built-in speakers, a fairly bright screen, and good performance for games.
THE BAD: The Samsung SyncMaster 2333HD lacks ergonomic options, and tends to mute colors when viewing movies. Also, its onscreen display is difficult to navigate without using the included remote control.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The Samsung SyncMaster 2333HD is a great low-price choice for buyers looking for an HDTV-monitor hybrid.
Thanks to its low $240 price tag and numerous connection options, the 23-inch Samsung SyncMaster 2333HD is a great choice if you're in the market for an HDTV disguised as a monitor. Its game performance is on par with the Samsung PX2370, but its colors when showing movies look dull in comparison. Also, the 2333HD has a predisposition to push a green tint on test screens, and it has a fair amount of backlight bleed-through on dark screens. Even with its flaws, the 2333HD has a low enough price and enough features for us to recommend it.
Design and features
The Samsung SyncMaster 2333HD has a design that closely resembles the Samsung SyncMaster 2233SW. Samsung didn't design the 2333HD with ergonomic options like screen rotation and height adjustment, offering only a 15-degree backward tilt. When sitting on a desktop, the Samsung has 2.6 inches between the bottom of its screen and the desk. On its left and right sides, the Samsung's glossy bezel measures 0.75 inch wide. The Samsung's oval-shaped footstand measures 12 inches wide by 8.75 inches deep. When knocked from the sides, the 2333HD wobbles noticeably; however, we never felt it was in any danger of toppling given its wide span. On the bottom-middle of the Samsung's bezel is a light gray, painted-on Samsung logo.
The Samsung's panel measures about 1.8 inches thick and extends another 0.9 inch behind it to include the ventilation system, backlight, and connection options. With these measurements tallied, the display's panel is about 2.7 inches thick. The complete width of the panel is 22.1 inches, which is about average for a 23-inch monitor. Along the bottom of its bezel is a clear fiberglass "lip" that is about half an inch tall. When the monitor is on, a blue LED radiates from the bezel and reflects off the lip, creating a nice effect. Instead of using a glossy screen, Samsung opted to use a matte finish on the panel. On the display's back are four holes for mounting the display to a wall, VESA-style.
The 2333HD includes two HDMI ports, a VGA port, a DVI port, a component port, as well as a coaxial connection for an antenna or cable. It also includes a port for normal audio and a digital audio out. Most of the ports are on the back of the display in the lower-right-hand side of the panel and face backward. This style of placement makes each connection easy to access. On the left side of the monitor is a small door that encloses the second HDMI port and a headphone jack.
The monitor's onscreen display array is located on the right side of the panel and consists of a Menu button, a Source button, an Up and Down button, and a Plus and Minus button. Attempting to use the array to navigate the OSD, however, is a frustrating experience: the buttons don't face forward and there isn't an onscreen menu that lines up next to the buttons to guide you. We found it easiest to navigate the onscreen display with the remote control. The options function very much like a typical HDTV. The Picture option includes controls for brightness, contrast, sharpness, and color temperature, and its audio options include presets for Music, Movie, and Speech, as well as an audio equalizer.
The Samsung SyncMaster 2333HD's 16:9 aspect ratio display supports a "Full HD" 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution. This continues the trend of monitor vendors moving toward 16:9 aspect ratio from 16:10 because high-definition content--in particular 1080p movies--can fit onto a 1,920x1,080-pixel screen in full-screen mode without stretching the image.
Resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel-response rate: 5ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 (10,000:1 Dynamic Contrast)
Connectivity: VGA, DVI, Component, HDMIx2
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? No
Panel Type: TN
We tested the Samsung SyncMaster 2333HD connected to a computer via its DVI connection. The display earns a composite score of 90 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, which is on par with the LG Flatron M237WD's score of 90 and the Samsung SyncMaster P2370HD's score of 93. In our grayscale tests, we found that the 2333HD couldn't distinguish low gray from true black, meaning that dark details on screen are likely to be lost. We also noticed some color tracking errors in the form of a green tint in our color accuracy tests, so don't expect super accurate color out of the 2333HD. Also, in our dark screen test, the 2333HD showed a very noticeable amount of backlight bleed-through, which is much more than the Samsung SyncMaster PX2370 showed.
The 2333HD achieved a brightness score of 245 candelas per square meter--much lower than the XL2370's 344 cd/m2, but on par with the PX2370's 245 cd/m2. As a result, the XL2370 also has a higher contrast ratio--thanks to its higher peak white measurement--than the 2333HD did: 1,008:1 to 930:1, respectively.
We used the 2333HD's Entertainment preset to check out "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" on DVD and several 1080p movie files from Microsoft's WMV HD Showcase. Compared with the PX2370's deep and full colors, the 2333HD delivers duller colors that just don't pop.
We looked at World of Warcraft and Unreal Tournament 3 and noticed no signs of input lag or any streaking or ghosting during fast movement. We tested both games in the display's Entertainment preset. While its movie performance suffered somewhat, its game performance color quality is on par with Samsung's PX2370 quality.
The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front of it, about a quarter of the screen's distance down from the top. At this angle, you're viewing the colors and gamma correction as they were intended. Most monitors are not made to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on its panel type, picture quality at nonoptimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, that get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when viewed from nonoptimal angles. The Samsung SyncMaster 2333HD uses a TN panel, and when viewed from the side or bottom, we perceived the screen to darken about 5 inches off from center. Of course, when viewed from the optimal angle, we had no problems.
When we turned the built-in speakers to their highest volume, we did not hear any sound distortion.
In our power consumption tests, the Samsung SyncMaster 2333HD has a high On/Default power draw of 54.4 watts. Its standby was also fairly high at 1.29 watts. Based on our formula, the 2333HD would cost $17.12 per year to power, which is high compared with the PX2370's annual cost of $7.65, the P2370HD's $14.59, and the LG Flatron M237WD's $16.31.
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Service and support
Samsung backs the SyncMaster 2333HD with a three-year parts-and-labor warranty that covers the backlight. It also offers support through a 24-7 toll-free number, as well as 24- to 48-hour turn-around time for e-mail and Web chat support. Documentation and support software for the 2333HD are easily accessible on Samsung's Web site.