THE GOOD: The Samsung LD220G has a sleek design and a simple interface for using it as a companion monitor to a laptop.
THE BAD: The Samsung LD220G's USB game performance is slow and choppy, there's no contrast control in the onscreen display, and it's plagued by glaring screen uniformity problems.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The Samsung LD220G works as a companion monitor, but there are better models out there if you're looking for a standalone 22-inch display.
The Samsung LD220G is a multipurpose monitor that can be used as a standalone display or paired with a laptop as a companion screen. The $230 monitor has USB-video connectivity, bypassing connection to the video card. Unfortunately, the display has lackluster configuration options, horrible game performance via USB, and it has very apparent backlight bleed through on dark screens. If you're looking for a general use companion monitor, the LD220G's sleek design and simple USB connectivity make it a suitable choice, as long as you're not a gamer. If a standalone 22-inch monitor is what you want, we recommend the AOC V22 Verfino or the Asus VH235H. Both monitors perform better, have more features, and cost the same price or less than the LD220G.
Design and features
The 22-inch Samsung LD220G has a glossy black bezel and an equally glossy screen. The panel is 0.9 inch deep; however, the back of the display--which houses the backlight, connection options, and ventilation system--extends another 1.6 inches, bringing the full monitor depth to about 2.5 inches. The panel measures 20.3 inches wide. The bezel measures 0.75 inch long on the top, right, and left sides, and 1.6 inches on the bottom. The footstand, located on the display's back, is more of a prop, holding the monitor upright. The stand includes small thin wheels on its bottom that let users slide the stand smoothly, thereby tilting the screen back up to 25 degrees.
The monitor can be used as both a standalone display and as a companion display for a laptop. The monitor can be connected to a computer via a VGA port or by using its embedded DisplayLink technology via a USB port. When used as a companion display, it can easily be set in extend or mirror (clone) mode through the DisplayLink toolbar. When sitting on a desk, the bottom of the screen lines up almost perfectly with our Lenovo ThinkPad T60. However, that may not always line up perfectly, depending on the size and design of the laptop you plan to use with it.
The onscreen display button array, located on the bottom right of the bezel, remains hidden until touched. Each OSD button option--Menu, UP, Down, and Auto--glows orange when revealed. Samsung uses a simple and limited OSD for the LD220G's interface. It doesn't have contrast or color controls; however, brightness control is available as the only configuration option. There are five presets included: Custom, Notebook PC, Internet, Movie, and Dynamic Contrast. However, switching between the preset modes only change the brightness levels relative to each of the five options.
The Samsung LD220G's 16:9 aspect ratio screen has a 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution. The 16:9 monitor trend currently sweeping the market has given many smaller monitors higher resolutions than they were capable of at 16:10 aspect ratio. A 22-inch model with a 16:9 aspect ratio now has a potential high-definition, native resolution of 1,920x1,080 (1080p) pixels as opposed to 1,680x1,050 pixels.
Pixel-response rate: 5ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 (static), 30,000:1 (dynamic)
Connectivity: VGA, USB
HDCP compliant? No
Included video cables? VGA, USB
Backlight type: CCFL
Panel type: TN
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
We tested the Samsung LD220G with its USB connection in the Custom (default) preset. The display posted a composite score of 87 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests. The display scored well in color tests and its fonts were sharp; however, it had difficulty in our Screen Uniformity tests. In our Dark Screen test, there was apparent backlight bleed through on both the top and bottom edges of the screen. In High-Contrast Streaking and Ghosting tests, which looks for light or dark shadows trailing a static image in areas where large changes in contrast are present, we could easily see the trailing effect in the middle of the screen. Also, the Samsung LD220G had trouble displaying dark--and even not so dark--gray.
The Samsung LD220G achieved a brightness score of 235 candelas per square meter (cd/m2), a lot less than Samsung's claimed 300 cd/m2 maximum.
In the Samsung LD220G's movie preset, we looked at "Kill Bill Vol. 1" on DVD and several 1080p movie files from Microsoft's WMV HD Showcase. Movies on the Samsung monitor looked good and displayed accurate colors, but the display's relatively low brightness made for a dim screen with lackluster colors that lacked pop.
Unreal Tournament 3 and World of Warcraft both looked decent at a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution and showed no signs of ghosting; however, its video performance when displaying via USB was extremely sluggish and choppy. While playing Unreal, there was apparent input lag, which wasn't a problem when going through VGA.
The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, 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 made to be viewed only at that angle. Depending on its panel type, picture quality at nonoptimal angles varies. The LD220G has a TN panel that usually shows dramatic color shifts with angle changes. Not surprisingly, the LD220G's screen gets noticeably dark when viewing from below and too light when viewing from above. From the sides, text becomes illegible at about 45 degrees from the middle. Viewing images on this display from any angle other than the optimal one is not recommended.
In the power consumption tests, the Samsung LD220G drew 30.3 watts in its Default/On mode--more than the AOC V22 Verfino's 27.31 watts and much less than the Asus VH236H's 39.58 watts. Based on our formula, the LD220G would cost $10.36 per year to run--compared with the Asus' $13.68 per year and the AOC's $8.77 per year.
Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.
Service and support
Samsung backs the LD220G 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 turnaround e-mail and Web chat support. Samsung's documentation and support software for the LD220G was easily accessed via its Web site.