The Samsung SyncMaster FX2490HD has performance that rivals the Samsung PX2370, one of the best TN monitors we've tested. The FX2490HD has some of the best movie and games performance we've seen recently; it also has a near full assortment of HDTV connection options, including two HDMI ports and built-in speakers. The lack of a DVI port means you'll need to do some finagling to get HDMI working properly on a PC and you'll definitely need to spend some time calibrating colors before the
HDTV monitor is working at its full potential. Still for $419, Samsung offers essentially a 24-inch television at a very appealing price.
Design and features
The 24-inch Samsung SyncMaster FX2490HD has a semiglossy maroon chassis with angular corners and a clear plastic overlay on the bezel. With the overlay, the bezel measures 0.8 inch wide on the right and left sides. The initial depth of the panel is 0.6 inch, but it extends back to include the connection options, adding another 0.8 inch, for a total of 1.4 inches of depth. That's quite thin, considering the number of connection options included. The distance from the bottom of the bezel to the desktop is 3.1 inches, and the panel tilts back 10 degrees and swivels right and left 30 degrees, but no other ergonomic options are included. The monitor's full width measures 22.6 inches, a little wider than the Samsung PX2370.
The foot stand's legs are made of chrome and come in the shape of an "X." When knocked from the sides these do a good job keeping the monitor from falling over, but the panel still wobbles a lot when knocked. The back of the display has an easily removable, but seemingly pointless, cover that reveals the connection options aligned both vertically and horizontally. They include two HDMI ports, component and composite ports, a coaxial antenna in, an optical audio port, a headphone jack, a USB port, and an Ex-link port. Though the vertical connections are easy to access, the horizontal ones are tucked under enough that connecting them proved frustrating most of the time. At the top portion of the back are four holes to attach the monitor, VESA-style, to a wall or stand.
The monitor's onscreen display array is located on the bottom right side of the panel and consists of several touch areas/buttons, including a Menu button, a Source button, an Up and Down button, and a Plus and Minus button. Attempting to use the array to navigate the OSD, however, is a frustrating experience: the buttons aren't as sensitive as we'd like, they must be touched on the underside of the bezel, and there isn't an onscreen menu that lines up next to them to guide you. We found it easiest to navigate the OSD with the remote control. The options function very much like a typical Samsung HDTV; however, when connected to a PC, picture options include controls for brightness, contrast, and sharpness, and presets include Custom, Dynamic Contrast, Text, Internet, and Entertain. Also, there's a color temperature option, allowing you to choose Cool, Normal, Warm, and custom. The custom color temperature allows you to adjust the red, blue, and green values individually. Its audio options include presets for Music, Movie, Standard, Amplify, and Clear Voice. In addition, there's an audio equalizer, allowing for granular fine-tuning of the sound.
|Connectivity||HDMIx2, VGA, component, composite, coaxial antenna in|
|Ergonomic options:||10 degree back tilt, Swivel|
|Audio||Built-in speakers, headphone jack, optical audio|
|Included video cables?||VGA|
|Number of presets||5|
|Picture options||Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness|
|Color controls||Color temperature, RGB controls|
|Additional features||Included remote control, Ex-link jack|
DisplayMate performance: We tested the 24-inch Samsung SyncMaster FX2490HD through its HDMI input, connected to a Windows Vista PC using a HDMI cable supplied by our own vast array we've collected over the years. The display posted a composite score of 93 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, a couple of points lower than the Samsung PX2370's 96. In Color Tracking, we noticed an obvious green tint that carried over to movie watching. We were able to alleviate this by adjusting the Red and Green attributes, detailed in the Recommended settings and use section.
Also, in our Extreme Grayscale Bars test, we noticed an adequate amount of white-level saturation, meaning that near peak white, the monitor would be capable of distinguishing colors and not wash them out. Its black level was only visible down to a level 4, however, and not level 2, as would be optimal. The Dark Screen test displayed noticeable amounts of backlight breakthrough on the top and bottom middle edges of the screen. Also, in our Motion Bitmaps test we saw slightly more streaking on the FX2490HD than the PX2370 showed; however, this did not carry over to our real-world games and movie tests.
Text: In text, we saw no color problems with black text on a white background. Fonts were visible down to a 6.8-point size.
Movies: We tested the Samsung FX2490HD in its Movie preset, using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." The Samsung displayed dark detail just as well as the PX2370, missing none of the Na'vi's braids during the bonfire scene. What stood out most was the apparent green push, noticeable in character faces, making them appear sickly compared with the healthy-looking faces on the PX2370; however, we were able to make some color and settings adjustments that improved things greatly. Check out the Recommended settings and use section for more details.
Games: Because of our intimate familiarity with World of Warcraft (WoW), it remains the best tool for judging color quality and vibrancy in games. We looked at WoW in the Samsung SyncMaster FX2490HD's Entertainment preset and found that it delivered vibrant imagery and no hint of the green color tint problem after calibration.
Photos: The Samsung SyncMaster FX2490HD's Custom preset displayed photos that lacked red in faces and looked noticeably greenish. After calibration, things improved greatly, but we were still unable to get red to look as accurate as on the PX2370.
Sound: The built-in speakers were capable of producing loud, clear music and dialogue that was crisp and easily intelligible. Although you can adjust the frequency for the sound, the bass was noticeably lacking.