The Samsung F2080 is a 20in, professional LCD monitor that offers decent value for money - particularly if you shop around online.

With screen sizes going up and prices tumbling, a quick glance at this 20in monitor may not impress. While £175 is a reasonable price for a well-made LCD monitor from a name brand, there are also tempting deals from the likes of Iiyama and BenQ, offering bigger panels at lower prices. Yet the 20in Samsung F2080 still stands out as something of a bargain.

From Samsung's Syncmaster range, the Samsung F2080 is a no-nonsense professional monitor that offers several important features over the cheap 'n' cheerful monitors you may see included in a budget PC system.

First there's the display system itself, a form of pattern vertical alignment (PVA) technology which Samsung dubs cPVA.

When asked, Samsung UK's PR team told us that there is no real meaning to the 'c' prefix, and that it is only an internal naming term.

With this type of panel, Samsung claims to reproduce the entire sRGB colour gamut (not tested); in our estimation it certainly gave stronger, richer colours than we're used to seeing from the ubiquitous twisted nematic (TN) displays.

With an unusual 1600x900 pixel resolution, this display is obviously following the 16:9 aspect ratio. So it's quite capable of 720p high-definition video playback without cropping, even if 1080p will be resized to fit.

A larger 23in version of this panel, the F2380, follows the same general specification but with full 1920x1080 resolution.

However this version is not compatible with Mac OS X, an unusual situation for a Samsung SyncMaster monitor that is often favoured by creative professionals using Apple computers.

In our tests of the 23in Samsung SyncMaster F2380, resolution was downscaled to a maximum of only 1600x900, resulting in a fuzzy interpolated image.

Meanwhile the response time specification of the 20in Samsung F2080 is slightly slower than most TN screens, quoted as 8ms (grey to grey), but low enough for us to find that video still had no blurring to upset film action.

And we appreciated the superb off-axis clarity and contrast too. This allows good viewing when you're viewing from the side or above the screen.

It's particularly handy when you rotate the panel on its swinging stand by 90 degrees, into a long, tall portrait mode.

As a professional monitor, the Samsung F2080 includes full height adjustment on its telescopic pillar, able to be positioned from a minimum of 36cm (from desktop to bezel top), up to 49cm at its maximum stretch. The thin bezel around the screen is just 15mm wide, and has a matt finish - much more relaxing than the garish gloss often found on fashionable consumer screens.

The Samsung F2080 also boasts impressively low-power consumption, drawing just 29W at its default '80' brightness setting, rising to 34W at its full '100' setting.

Control of the screen through its on-screen menus is easy, with six hidden soft-touch mechanical switches under the Samsung bezel logo. These have small dimples to make it easy to locate them by touch.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

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Samsung F2080: Specs

  • 20in LCD monitor
  • 1600x900 resolution
  • cPVA technology
  • 250cd/m2 brightness
  • 8ms GTG response time
  • 3000:1 contrast ratio
  • 2x DVI-D, 1x VGA
  • 29W power consumption
  • 474x358x197mm with stand
  • 5.5kg
  • 20in LCD monitor
  • 1600x900 resolution
  • cPVA technology
  • 250cd/m2 brightness
  • 8ms GTG response time
  • 3000:1 contrast ratio
  • 2x DVI-D, 1x VGA
  • 29W power consumption
  • 474x358x197mm with stand
  • 5.5kg

OUR VERDICT

Cheaper, larger screens can be found for less, but if you want the performance and versatility of a Samsung SyncMaster, the Samsung F2080 introduces that quality at a new, low price level.

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