Superior image quality for the price
The analog-only SyncMaster 151S costs a bit more than the lowest priced 15-inch LCDs, but its image quality outshines that of all the rest. Better still, the Samsung ranks in the upper quality range for all the LCDs we've evaluated--regardless of price. In CNET Labs' DisplayMate tests, we found the screen to be bright and sharp with a wide range of rich colors. Digital photos looked natural and clearly defined, and DVD movies moved smoothly with no visible ghosting.
Credit the display's superior image quality to its superior feature set. With a brightness rating of 250cd/mÂ², a contrast ratio of 330:1, and a pixel-response rate of 30ms, this monitor exceeds the norm for a low-cost LCD. With its liberal 140-degree horizontal and 120-degree vertical viewing angles, it's particularly well suited for presentations. Only the Samsung's lack of a DVI connector disappointed us; it's cut itself off from the better overall image quality of pure digital video.
Slick design is also functional
The SyncMaster 151S's eye-catching design elements combine form and function. Both the left and the right sides of the cabinet are extrawide to accommodate the onscreen display buttons to the right of the screen. The cabinet feels sturdy, though the small base makes the monitor a little wobbly. The column and the base are angled toward the back, however, making a screen-damaging nosedive less likely. A hidden swivel lets you rotate the display a full 360 degrees (180 degrees to the left or the right). The screen also tilts vertically, though it felt tight and required more strength than expected to move it up and down.
Installation and setup proceeded without incident. The SyncMaster 151S is ready to go right out of the box, as the base is permanently attached. Samsung includes its monitor manuals on a CD-ROM, along with an HTML-based user guide, troubleshooting guide, and instructions for installing the included driver. A printed quick-setup guide is provided as well.
Easy onscreen menus; slightly funky buttons
The onscreen menu system is straightforward and clearly marked, though it might be hard to read the recessed button labels in dim light. It may also take some time to become used to the functions of the six oddly shaped, interlocking buttons, but overall, the menu system is easy to use. The choice of adjustments is routine, with the exception of separate geometry and color-reset controls. The plus (+) and minus (-) buttons double as brightness controls when the menu system isn't engaged.