THE GOOD: The Samsung PX2370 performs better than the XL2370; it has additional and useful onscreen display options; it is reasonably priced.
THE BAD: The Samsung PX2370 lacks ergonomic features, has a dimmer maximum brightness level than the XL2370, and has a less intuitive onscreen display.
THE BOTTOM LINE: With more features and a better movie performance rating, the Samsung PX2370 improves--in most areas--on one of the best monitors we've reviewed.
Thanks to its angular look, the Samsung PX2370 isn't quite as sexy as the XL2370 is. Samsung didn't think out the PX2370's onscreen display placement well; its OSD is inferior to the XL2370's display and makes navigating the menu a less fluid experience. Also, Samsung gave the PX2370 a lower maximum brightness level than it gave its XL2370 display. However, Samsung provided the PX2370 with two key improvements over the XL2370: better movie playback performance and a plethora of useful OSD options.
The PX2370 displays colors more accurately during movie playback than the XL2370 does, and it has an onscreen display with more-useful features--including one feature we've never seen on a monitor. At only $309--which is $9 more than the XL2370--the PX2370, with its abundance of features and improved movie playback performance, edges out its predecessor in value.
Design and features
The 23-inch PX2370 is Samsung's follow-up to the successful SyncMaster XL2370 that it released in 2009. The PX2370 has a more angular look than the XL2370 has, with sharper corners and more-clearly defined edges, as opposed to the XL2370's smoother, rounded corners. The PX2370's panel measures 0.75 inch deep, which is slightly thicker than the XL2370's considerably thin 0.6-inch panel depth. The PX2370's bezel measures 0.9 inch, which is shorter than the XL2370's 1.1-inch bezel and, like the XL2370, it has a plastic transparent overlay that covers its outer edge. The PX2370's full width is 21.9 inches, which about 0.5 inch shorter than the XL2370 is.
The PX2370's screen has a matte finish, and its neck, which shares a similar design with the XL2370, is one of the most aesthetically unique designs we've ever seen. The neck is made of transparent glass; however, the PX2370 doesn't include the bluish crystals found at the bottom of the neck like the XL2370 does, making the PX2370's neck look rather plain. The display's power button is at the bottom center of the bezel; it's a 1.7-inch-wide half circle with a white LED light that illuminates when the display is powered on. The circular foot stand is 9.1 inches in diameter. It wobbles considerably when knocked from the sides, but we feel it's less likely to topple over than the XL2370, in part because it weighs 8.76 pounds, which is about 2 pounds heavier than the XL2370.
The bottom of the display's bezel is 3.8 inches from the desktop, about an inch and a half higher than the XL2370. Like the XL2370, the screen height isn't adjustable and there isn't a screen rotation or pivot option for portrait mode. The capability to tilt the screen back 15 degrees is the only included ergonomic feature.
With the PX2370, Samsung includes the same connection options that it did on the XL2370, including DVI-D, HDMI, and analog and digital audio out. All of the display's connections sit on the back of the display, in the lower midsection of the panel. The ports face backward, instead of down, as on most monitors. Unlike with the XL2370, Samsung didn't recess the PX2370's connections into the monitor, making them easy easier to access.
The XL2370 included an OSD array in the lower right-hand side of the bezel, but Samsung takes a different approach with the PX2370. The buttons on the PX2370 are aligned vertically along the back left of the monitor, so they are invisible from the front. This makes navigating the OSD not as fluid or intuitive as it was on the XL2370. It would be more helpful having the buttons on the front, so it's more clear which button you're pressing.
The OSD button array consists of a Menu button, an Up and Down button, an Enter button, and an Auto button. The Up and Down buttons also double as a brightness and a customizable shortcut button, respectively. Its picture options consist of brightness, contrast, and sharpness. You can also set the color tone to Cool, Normal, Warm or Custom, which lets you change the red, green, and blue attributes individually. There are four presets: Custom, Standard, Game, Cinema, and Dynamic Contrast. Each preset changes the color temperature or brightness of the display to be appropriate to the task you're performing.
Samsung gives the PX2370 several "magic" features it didn't give the XL2370. First up is Magic Lux, the name the company gave to the PX2370's ambient light sensor. Based on the amount of ambient light in the room, the PX2370 will automatically adjust the brightness to an "optimal" level. You can choose from three light sensitivity levels: Low, Middle, and High. Once switched on, the monitor's brightness will immediately lower to compensate for the light (or lack of light) in the room; however, when switching from a brightly lit room to a completely dark room, we only noticed a very subtle change in brightness. The change was so subtle, in fact, that we had to use our color meter to determine that the display's brightness changed at all. This is a useful feature if you're looking to limit strain on your eyes.
Next is Magic Eco, a power saving feature that lets you set the brightness level to 100, 75, or 50 percent.
In a multimonitor setup, Magic Return shifts all windows and your Windows toolbar from the secondary monitor to the primary monitor when power to the secondary monitor is lost or is simply turned off. However, the feature does not shift the focus from the primary to the secondary if the primary is shut down. Using Windows Vista, we found that after shifting the focus, if we maximized a window, that window would cover the toolbar as well, until we dragged the toolbar around a bit. Also when using it, sometimes windows we expected to open on the primary monitor opened instead on the secondary monitor. It's not a huge concern, but we hope this gets some refinement in future iterations.
Though moving the OSD buttons to the back of the chassis allows the front to retain its unspoiled allure, we lose some of the functional elegance the XL2370 had. Though the PX2370's buttons line up perfectly to their respective menu functions, the fact that we can't see buttons, for all intents and purposes, makes navigating through the menu less intuitive than we'd like. Our preference would be for the buttons to appear on the front like Dell's intuitively designed OSD, seen in the U2710.
There's also an option in the OSD to set the refresh rate of the monitor from Slow to Fast to Faster. However, when we adjusted this setting, we didn't notice any performance difference.
The Samsung PX2370 display has a 16:9 aspect ratio and supports a "Full HD" 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution. This continues the trend of monitor vendors moving toward a 16:9 aspect ratio from a 16:10 ratio 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: 2ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Maximum Brightness: 250 cd/m2
Connectivity: HDMI, DVI-D
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? DVI, DVI to VGA
Panel Type: TN
We tested the Samsung PX2370 by connecting it to a computer via its DVI connection. The PX2370 earned a composite score of 97 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, besting the XL2370's score of 96. The PX2370 did a better job distinguishing very dark gray from black than the XL2370; however, unlike the XL2370, the PX2370 oversaturates very light gray. Also, the PX2370 allows slightly less light through its screen than the XL2370 did on our Dark Screen test. Overall, the two monitors performed similarly in the tests, with the PX2370 having a slight edge in many tests.
The PX2370 achieves a brightness score of 246 candelas per square meter, which is much lower than the XL2370's 344 cd/m2 score. As a result, the XL2370 also achieved a higher contrast ratio--thanks to its higher peak white measurement--than the PX2370 did; 1,008:1 to 948:1, respectively.
We used the PX2370's Cinema preset to check out "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" on DVD as well as several 1080p movie files from Microsoft's WMV HD Showcase. In both "Kill Bill" and the 1080p movies, we found that the PX2370 colors were more accurate and vibrant than the XL2370's. In a side-by-side comparison, red on the XL2370 looked closer to orange when compared with the deeper red we saw on the PX2370 in the same scene.
While playing World of Warcraft and Unreal Tournament 3, we didn't notice any signs of input lag, streaking, or ghosting during fast movement. We found that the PX2370 and XL2370 looked virtually identical when displaying the games. However, thanks to its Magic Angle feature, the PX2370 has a performance advantage when viewing from off angles.
The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the way down from the top of the screen. At this angle, you're viewing the colors and gamma correction as the manufacturer intended. Most monitors are not made to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on the panel type, picture quality at nonoptimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when viewed from nonoptimal angles. The Samsung PX2370 uses a TN panel, and when it is viewed from the sides or bottom, we perceived the screen to darken about 6 inches off from center.
The Magic Angle mode prevents the screen from darkening when viewed from certain angles. Magic Angle has four settings: Lean Back Mode 1, Lean Back Mode 2, Standing Mode, and Side Mode. Switching to each mode will improve screen brightness when viewing the monitor from that angle. For example, after switching to Lean Back Mode 2 and then sitting back in your chair to play a game, the screen doesn't darken nearly as much, and as a result, game details can still be seen, while you do irreparable damage to your spine.
In our power consumption tests, the Samsung PX2370 has an On/Default power draw of 25.01 watts, which is 5 watts lower than the XL2370's 30.09 watts. With a calibrated brightness of 200 cd/m2, the PX2370 draws about 20 watts, compared with the 21-watt draw of the XL2370. However, standby power draw is where contests are won. The PX2370's standby power was a very low 0.27 watt, compared with the XL2370's 1.42 watts. Based on our formula, the PX2370 would cost $7.65 per year to power; the XL2370 would cost $9.96 per year.
Service and support
Samsung backs the PX2370 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 time for e-mail and Web chat support. The display's documentation and support software are available on Samsung's Web site.