The newest addition to the line of Samsung's premium LCD Monitor is the SyncMasters 53 series. The 2053BW is the 20" model that boasts a 1680x1050 resolution, 2ms GTG response time, MagicBright3, and an astonishing 8000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. The monitor's decor includes an elegant black gloss frame and an acrylic panel.
Features and Build Quality (7.5/10)
Samsung is Samsung - flawless quality and not a single dead pixel. Everything is smooth with the absence of any sharp edges or nonuniformities. On the back, there is a long trench that houses the heat dissipation panel (for an attractive hidden look), which can also be used as a handle to lift the monitor. Connecting the monitor to the neck and the base was also a bliss. A grand total of 4 minutes were spent putting the 2053BW into use. The monitor is very light, considering its size, and it can easily be rotated (left/right). Tilting can also be achieved with a small force.
There are, however, a few things that aren't so positive. For one, I dislike the way the buttons are laid out. They are positioned behind and under an acrylic panel that serves only the purpose of decoration. Often, this creates a confusion when selecting the right buttons as their alignment with the icons cannot always be easily achieved. Moreover, since the labels are printed on transparent acrylic, the little grey icons also become rather difficult to read. Depending on the background color of the place where your LCD monitor is located (on a black desk), the symbols are almost impossible to read even in normal daylight. In addition, the buttons are way too loud, giving an annoying click that makes the monitor seem cheap. Lastly, although the glossy black finish conveys a sense of class and style, the material is a magnet for dust and print. After just a few days in my room, the monitor has already been covered with an unpleasant layer of dust and lint from the carpet. Bringing out its best look requires constant wiping and caring.
Despite some drawbacks of the design of its buttons, the overall build quality of the 2053BW definitely deserves praises.
In-Use and Picture Quality (8.5/10)
Connected to the VGA out of my laptop (Goforce 6600), XP quickly recognized the monitor. For the first power-up, the 2053BW automatically executed an auto-adjust. Out of the box, everything looks gorgeous. In the past, Samsung's over-digitalized and over-priced high gloss screens have kept me away from their HDTVs and monitors. However, the new 53 series' matte screens with vibrant colors and minuscule pixel size prove to be extremely promising. Images on the LCD appear as if they were genuine photographs. In FPS games, the 2ms response time proves to be exceptional as there was no evidence of shadows or trailing during fast movement. Moreover, the light/brigthness is very uniform across the screen. The 2053BW indicates its superiority in the measure of light leakage. In a black fullscreen, only a small portion of the monitor's top center displays a bit of extra brightness (leakage).
Even though I've included some pictures of the monitor displaying full-size digital image, there is really no proper way to show you the picture quality of the monitor as screenshots and photos will be significantly affected by the limits of the local video card or the camera lens. The best way to determine whether you like this screen or not is to take a look at it yourself instore.
Conclusion ( 7.5 /10)
The 2053BW, along with the 953BW(19"), the 2243LW(22"), and the 253BW(25"), are the latest successors to Samsung's previous BW series. Overall, this 20-inch beauty showcases exceptional build quality, true-to-life pictures, vivid details, and impressive gaming capabilities. Although there are some small drawbacks in the button design, the 2053BW embodies the pinnacle of contemporary LCD monitors in both the areas of aesthetic and technical specifications. For a price that goes as low as $250, the 2053BW truly is a monitor to beat all monitors.
EDIT: When setting it below 45% brightness, the monitor seems to emit a very low hum that can be detected in a quiet room.
UPDATE: The low hum/buzz appears to be ground loop buzz coming from the monitor's power supply. To eliminate the ground loop buzz (which appears only at low brightness), use a 2 pin travel adapter to get rid of the third (ground) pin.
Please perform such method with caution. Compudio Gadget Reviews will not be responsible for any damage caused by this violation of safety hazzard.
This review is written by Cecil Lau, on April 20th, 2008. All Rights Reserved.