While most users are obsessed with upping their processor, memory or graphics card, one of the best ways of increasing PC productivity is to connect a second monitor, and the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX USB makes this easy.

This idea isn't new of course. Most new graphics cards have come with two monitor connectors for many years now. Indeed, if you have an ageing PCI graphics card in the attic, you can actually get an extra connector by installing this alongside an existing PCI Express or AGP card.

But aside from the lack of awareness of just how useful a second screen can be, setting up multiple monitors isn't a job for the faint-hearted. Well, is didn't used to be. But for a price premium of roughly £25, the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX USB lets you plug in multiple flat-panels at once – all using simple USB cables.

The genius behind this is the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX USB's DisplayLink DL-120 chip. This can receive a compressed video stream via the USB interface and send it over to the flat-panel.

That means you can simply plug the flat-panel into the PC using a USB cable. Better still, use the USB hub to connect to another flat-panel, and then another – up to six flat-panels can be used at once.

While having this many screens connected has a bit of an impact on system performance, using the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX USB you can comfortably run two or three without any noticeable drop in speed or image quality.

There are a few limitations, and while using this chip you can't go up to a resolution of 1,600x1,200 or higher. (A larger than 19in version of the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX USB will feature the DisplayLink DL-160 chip, which should fix this.) And the screen itself is 1,280x1,024 rather than widescreen.

Since the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX USB is aimed at businesses, we can understand this move, but it will put off those home users who would actually find a multiple monitor setup extremely useful.

However, as technology it works very well – even if we would have liked far more in the way of printed instructions.

NEXT PAGE: the Samsung in its own right, and our expert verdict > >

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The Samsung SyncMaster 940UX USB is a very decent screen in its own right. Sure, it is only 19in, but we found the image quality decent.

The Samsung SyncMaster 940UX USB's 1,000:1 contrast ratio (which can be boosted to 2,000:1) allows for a colourful image, while text is clear and precise.

You do get a height-adjustable stand and Pivot facilities thrown in as well, making the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX USB (apart from the lack of widescreen) one very nicely featured 19in.

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Samsung SyncMaster 940UX USB: Specs

  • 19in flat-panel
  • DisplayLink DL-120 chip
  • native resolution 1,280x1,024
  • 0.294mm pixel pitch
  • 5ms response time
  • 1,000:1/2,000:1 contrast ratio
  • 160/160 degree viewing angle
  • brightness 300cd/m2
  • DVI connector
  • 408x200x408mm
  • 5.2kg
  • 19in flat-panel
  • DisplayLink DL-120 chip
  • native resolution 1,280x1,024
  • 0.294mm pixel pitch
  • 5ms response time
  • 1,000:1/2,000:1 contrast ratio
  • 160/160 degree viewing angle
  • brightness 300cd/m2
  • DVI connector
  • 408x200x408mm
  • 5.2kg

OUR VERDICT

You will have to pay an extra £20-£25 for the privilege, but the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX USB remains a very strong screen. The USB technology is great and allows for an extremely versatile setup that'll let you bolt on new screens far into the future. We think multiple-monitors ought to be far more popular than they are. With the launch of products like this, it can only be a matter of time before this situation is rectified.

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