_Hardware Reviews
  Samsung SM-173p 17" TFT  
  Here is a review of the Samsung 173p 17" TFT monitor which I selected to be my main monitor from home. The first Samsung monitor that I had ever seen was the 152v and the colour reproduction impressed me when compared to others I had seen from Eizo and Sony. I could see that my next monitor would be a Samsung. Colours were to be a major factor in my purchase decision because I am doing a lot of digital photography editing.  

  (Click on photos for the big pics)  
  Above you can see the front of the monitor. The photographs do not do it justice at all. The bezel and base are silver but there is a chrome detail running all around the outside edge of the monitor and base. It is very designer and sexy, a design aspect forgotten by many manufacturers. It is very modern but would not look out of place anywhere because it is not over the top modern, it is beautiful and timeless like a stainless steel sports watch. The previous P models of Samsung were designed by FA Porsche. There is no sticker to suggest that this one was also but I think at least they have carried the design over.  
  The on switch also has a chrome detail and it is a very futuristic style of switch because it is touch sensitive. There is no button pressing, you just move your finger over the button area and the monitor switches on or off. The blue led is much brighter than the photograph and it is good to see blue leds on products because they are very attractive. The only problem is that when the room is lit brightly from above, the lower chrome detail around the button and led shines rather brightly and may be annoying when you are working. Of course it can be simply covered behind a small desk ornament or something. The above photograph does not show the screen picture correctly, actually I was unable to take a picture of the monitor while on. I need to work on some technique for that. The blue led is also much more beautiful and bright than the photograph.  
  The rear of the monitor and the top part of the double hinged stand are shiny white plastic. I did not like the white plastic so much as the silver grey of the front. Anyway because it is shiny you will be able to keep it nice and clean because it does not have a texture like some monitors which traps the dust. It should be noted that the base is not detachable and it is quite heavy. At the back of the stand there are the DVI and Analog video connectors and also there is a power socket that connects to the separate power supply. I am not really in favour of separate power supplies, they really should be integrated but I suppose it keeps the monitor slim, indeed it is 2cm depth. Both Analog and Digital cables are included in the box along with the power supply and wall cable.  
  The previous photograph showed the dual hinged stand. This photograph shows what you can do with it. Well it can make the monitor go like this. Why would you want to do that indeed? Well it is possible to mount the base of the monitor on the wall using the included VESA mounting hardware. Everything is included as well as rather pathetic wall screws and rawl plugs. If you were to do that you would want the monitor to be aligned like in the photo above. Because the base does not detach, this monitor is not a good candidate for mounting on a monitor arm. It will be possible to do that but a model where the connections are at the back of the screen and the base can detach would be a much better choice.  
  You can also pivot the monitor so it is in portrait format. If you are not familiar with this feature, don't expect to be pivoting the monitor quickly to check something in portrait and then pivoting it back. Every move of the monitor is a two handed effort, all hinges are quite stiff and so they should be otherwise your monitor will not stay in the position you want it.  
  So we have discussed in depth the external design features of the monitor. How about the picture then. The first thing to realise is that this monitor does not have any on screen buttons apart from the power switch. Therefore every setup change has to be done in the windows only software. I found that I was quite happy with the auto setup although it was quite bright. Among other settings there are brightness settings for Text / Internet / Entertain. I found Internet to be comfortable for long use. These can also be accessed on the right click menu from the desktop. I did not find any setting to switch inputs though.  
  I did not have complaints with the colour setup. All kinds of photographs were reproduced excellent with correct colours and at the default setting of 1280 x 1024 everything is very sharp. My CRT seemed quite dull next to this monitor, it is very BRIGHT. At my old favourite setting of 1024 x 768 the text was OK on the TFT but not great. Much better than some TFT monitors I have though and without much fuzzyness. Anyway it is preferred to see the picture at 1280 x 1024 even though with some websites the text will be very small at that resolution because the larger text setting of your browser will not work because the text has been fixed at a certain point size by the web designer. You must also consider that at that high resolution you will need a reasonably fast graphics card. I am using a GeForce FX 5600 and it is satisfactory for that resolution. DVD viewing was good too. There were no dead pixels or other defects which shows Samsung quality control is good.  
  In conclusion I am very satisfied with this monitor. I chose the 173p because it has a PVA matrix panel which provides excellent viewing angles of 178 degrees and also provides excellent colour reproduction. The only problem is that these panels are at the moment only 25ms. but I did not see a problem. If you are more interested in speed then get the Samsung SM-172x which has a TN+ film matrix and therefore provides the advertised 12ms (16ms actual) faster speed. You will have worse colour reproduction and lesser viewing angles and will also lose the more attractive casework that the 173p has.  
  I think that this specific monitor will bring over a lot of people from the CRT crowd because of the correct colour reproduction. People who are holding on to their CRTs should see a good TFT next to their current screen. The representation of white on this monitor is unbelievable, it is so bright and just makes the CRTs colours look bad. I am converted.  
  The most important part of purchasing a TFT is to see it with the windows desktop and also maybe a DVD playing. A lot of shops have the range of Samsung TFTs playing the official animation from Samsung or a DVD only. I do not think that this is a good method for you to determine how the TFT will perform for you. It would be important to see some internet or Word or something to see the quality of text and photographs. Make sure also that you know your dealers policy on bad pixels. Some have a very bad policy and really any bad pixel is a cause for returning the product.  
  Cost : 635 euro in Greece from Plaisio  
An excellent TFT perhaps the best for 2004.
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