Samsung SyncMaster 226BW

Aug 3, 20007




I wanted to get a monitor wide enough to display two web browsers side-by-side. I surf a lot and this solution is very efficient deskspace-wise and power-wise as opposed to running two monitors. A 22" widescreen monitor was the sweet spot at around $300. I would've like a 24 incher if the price didn't double. All the 22" monitors I looked at had a max resolution of 1680 x 1050(a 16:10 ratio). Not quite 1080p. This wasn't high enough to display two web browsers side-by-side but I couldn't afford to go higher.

There was a lot to choose from and several brands to wade through. In the end I went with Samsung. It's a well-known brand so I felt comfortable going with them. They have a big footprint in the monitor business. I can remember out of curiosity, repairing a few televisions from different manufacturers and all of them had Samsung tubes. So it was a relatively easy decision for me when weighing in which brand to choose.

The SyncMaster 226BW is the latest 2007 model and was in my price range. You get bare bones stuff: DVI and D-sub cables, power cable, CD driver and manual, and of course the monitor. Weighing in at eleven pounds the monitor popped out of the box with little effort. It's a beautiful monitor. The glossy black bezel is very nice. The screen is matte to reduce reflections. The blue ring illumination around the power button is always welcome. The OSD buttons are situated underneath the panel with labels on the front to keep things simple yet readily identifiable. Personally, I have no problems with buttons at the front. The worst design I've seen had the button labels printed right on the side or behind the panel which doesn't make sense to me. You are forced to look behind the monitor to figure out what the buttons do.

Behind the monitor is a removable panel to gain access to the DVI(HDCP capable) and Analog ports as well as the power port. And that's all you'll see there. Nothing to get excited about these days. The stand is secured to the back with three screws. You'll have to attach the base to it with the thumb screw. Pretty simple. The base is nicely accented with a ring of glossy black. It has a swivel mechanism for effortless adjustment. Not that you couldn't just lift the monitor and move it around but the swivel action of the base is a nice touch. The monitor can be tilted forward and back and that's about as agile this monitor gets. If you prefer to mount the panel on the wall you can use a VESA MIS-D 100 mount. The monitor is pretty light at eleven pounds so it won't bring down your walls. Wallmounting obviously will allow you to place the monitor any way you want including rotate the panel to "portrait" configuration. You will need a software to rotate the video accordingly. If you have an Nvidia video card then that's not a problem as the drivers have that capability.

I used DisplayMate Demo Edition to test the monitor. I'm not a professional tester so the demo will suffice. At least you'll have access to the software if you should decide to compare my observations with your own. Overall, gradients were smooth. I didn't notice any banding. Texts were sharp. You can manually adjust Color, Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, Color Temperature and Gamma to name a few. I was surprised to see Sharpness as this would be the first time I've seen a monitor with that option. Usually you wouldn't need to touch the sharpness but if you like it sharper or softer well you're covered. There's a lot you can tweak with this monitor.

The "MagicBright" button on the panel provides six preconfigured profiles (Text | Internet | Game | Sport | Movie | Dynamic Contrast) you can cycle through to suit your taste. Dynamic Contrast is probably the most interesting as it relates to the 3000:1 contrast ratio that Samsung touts around. What it does is adjust brightness dynamically in response to what you are viewing. To illustrate this further, brightness is gradually dimmed when roughly two thirds of the screen is dark. This is great when you are watching a movie with scenes that vary greatly in brightness. You end up achieving darker blacks where it counts while ensuring that bright scenes will remain bright. It's not perfect but it's a nifty idea I think. It never even occured to me that this could be done. A+ to Samsung on this one.

I watched several DVDs, HDTV and streaming HD videos at The HDTV videos are ATSC transport stream I downloaded from I used PowerDVD to view them. Most are of high quality. I particularly liked the African crocodile video. It's almost 3D.

Videos were generally vibrant. Brightness may need to be turned down a tiny bit from default. HDTV videos were nice and crisp. Unbelievable details. The widescreen format is great at this size. Now, even though I didn't notice any color banding in DisplayMate it was evident in certain videos I'm sad to say. The HD videos from aren't the best so color banding was present. The Advent Children DVD also showed a lot of banding unfortunately. Generally, low bit rate HD or SD videos suffer from it.

One thing I've noticed with LCD monitors is that any color banding is more pronounced than with CRT monitors. The banding is there with CRTs but it's barely noticeable. With LCDs it's right on your face. On the up side no perceptible ghosting was observed with this monitor thanks to the 2ms GTG response time.

Viewing angle is not the best at 160°/160°.

During the course of testing I discoverd one bad pixel. It's non-intrusive so it's no big deal to me. Samsung will replace their 22" monitor still in warranty if it has more than seventeen or more bad pixels. Samsung warrants this monitor to be free from defects for a period of three years. Warranty covers parts and labor for the entire three years. You've got to love that.

I truly love this monitor. The pros outweighed the cons. At this price range there's not much to differentiate one monitor over another specification-wise. Little things like a three year warranty as opposed to one year or an aesthetically pleasing design is all there is for a consumer to prefer one monitor over another.

If I were to buy another one I'd go for a 24". Although, I would prefer a higher resolution. Once the prices drop I'll be sure to upgrade.


Lastly, my monitor doesn't state whether it is an A, C or S panel. It was manufactured in May 2007. There is backlight bleeding that's more pronounced on the top.