Most of us can’t wait to chuck out our bulky old displays in favour of something slimmer. If you want more than just a monitor, Samsung’s SyncMaster 510MP appears to fit the bill because it includes built-in television capabilities.
The SyncMaster 510MP is attractive enough, with a silver finish, nine-button control interface, integrated speakers and supplied remote control. The key cables such as power, VGA and SCART are all neatly tucked away at the rear. However, S-Video and composite inputs are located at the side of the screen, meaning things can get decidedly untidy when connecting other video sources.
There’s no DVI input so you’ll need to rely on a standard VGA monitor cable and the monitor’s ability to interpret the analog video signal accurately. This proved to be extremely accurate, with none of the phase jitter that marks a poor signal lock.
Despite the fast response time of 25ms being suited to video playback, results were quite often poor when we fed an analog conversion from the TV tuner, S-Video or composite inputs. An unacceptable degree of noise was introduced into even the cleanest video signals.
The 510MP is based around Samsung’s 15in amorphous silicon TFT panels with a native resolution of 1024x768 pixels, giving it a pixel pitch of 0.297mm. The 510MP has a below-par contrast ratio of 350:1, especially when held against the 700:1 ratio offered by Samsung’s SyncMaster 173P. It offers an acceptable 150º horizontal viewable angle but only 120º on the vertical axis.
Although a smaller screen area makes these values less critical, you may find yourself having to adjust your monitor as you change positions, particularly as you’re not likely to be sitting at your desk to watch the built-in TV.
In brief: Samsung SyncMaster 510MPThe SyncMaster 510MP seems to offer a cost-effective solution that combines LCD computer monitor, TV and video display in one affordable package. However, it fails to excel in any of these roles and isn’t good enough to convince me to throw away my CRT just yet.
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