Samsung’s PC displays are easily identified by their red stripe and transparent outer bezel that extends from a glossy black surround. The Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H has a design the company has used for several years, but it still looks good. This 23in, 1920x1080-pixel panel has a thin 20mm profile and a stylish black plastic base with a transparent centre. At the rear is a two-piece cover to hide cables. See also: Group test: what's the best display?
Power comes from an external brick, and there are no Vesa holes for mounting this screen to a wall. More problematic for many users will be the absence of a DVI input, however, with the Samsung offering only VGA and HDMI. You can buy a DVI-to-HDMI cable if your PC doesn’t have an HDMI output, but we’d expect two digital inputs at £210. There are neither built-in speakers nor a headphone output. Visit Group test: What's the best 19 to 24-inch LCD monitor?
To retain the display’s smooth styling, Samsung has employed touch-sensitive controls. We prefer to use hardware buttons, but the onscreen menu system clearly displays each button’s function directly above it to simplify the game of hide-and-seek.
Adjustments include brightness, contrast and sharpness, and there are individual sliders for red, green and blue. Magic Angle is an unusual inclusion, claiming to optimise brightness and contrast for whether you’re standing up, sitting or lying down behind the screen.
Colours were reasonably accurate out of the box, and required minimal calibration. We measured 79 percent of the NTSC gamut and 91 percent of sRGB. The screen was also brighter than expected, at 274cd/m2, although contrast was a let down at 697:1. As with other TN panels, blacks lacked the inky appearance of those of IPS screens. The LED backlight was relatively even.
Viewing angles are typical for a TN panel, at a claimed 170/160 degrees from a vertical and horizontal viewpoint respectively. The Samsung’s matt finish did an effective job minimising reflections.
Power consumption in our tests was around the middle of the pack, requiring 26W at maximum brightness and 18W at 120cd/m2.