PRODUCT REVIEW: SAMSUNG SM932B PLUS

9. May 2008, 22:37 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

While I've done product evaluations/reviews before I've never really published one on the Internet. A couple of months ago I needed a fairly inexpensive monitor and found the Samsung SM932B Plus on sale at Staples. After several weeks of usage I thought I'd write a review as a practice piece . I hope you find it useful.

SM932BPlus Image
Image © Samsung

Specifications

  • Diagonal size: 19”
  • Native Resolution: 1280 x 1024 pixels
  • Colour Depth : 6-bit + FRC (16.2 million colours)
  • Contrast Ratio: 700:1 (2000:1 dynamic)
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m2
  • Viewing Angles: 160 / 160 degrees
  • Grey-to-grey Response Time: 5ms
  • Interfaces: DVI-D, VGA
  • Panel Technology: TN

The SM923B Plus comes in a solid feeling plastic housing with a high gloss, piano black finish with rounded edges and oval stand base. The screen area has the standard non-glare, anti-reflective finish and the power indicator is a soft blue ring surrounding the power button. This indicator flashes if the monitor is left powered on but without an active signal input.

The stand uses a ball and socket arrangement to provide tilt capability to the screen, and while it firmly holds the screen in position, it only offers about a 10 degree tilt back from the vertical: the only orientation adjustment available. This should be sufficient for most situations, though many users will likely want to use some form of stand under the monitor to raise it up as it sits quite low to the desktop. The problem I had with this mechanism was that it took considerable force to seat the ball in the socket when assembling the monitor and I was afraid of damaging it in the process. It also did not inspire the greatest confidence in its durability but has been problem free so far.

The back of the screen is softly rounded, with the connections for VGA, DVI-D and power tucked under the bulge. Missing is any form of cable support or strain relief so if you are planning on purchasing one of these you might try and get a cable tie of some sort for securing the cables at the back. The monitor comes with a line cord as the power supply is internal, which means no “wall-warts” or power bricks to deal with.

The On Screen Display (OSD) menu was intuitive to use, and the operational buttons, tucked neatly out of the way under the front edge, were easy to use with single click access to the MagicBright presets, brightness, signal source (DVI-D or VGA) and auto configuration options. The labels for the buttons are not the easiest to read however.

There is a factory menu accessible through the OSD to obtain further information about your screen though it takes some finger play: Set contrast and brightness to 0, press the Menu button, press and hold the Source button for 5-10 seconds. A technical information/setting menu will appear. I recommend not changing anything unless you know what you are doing.

The Samsung SM932B Plus uses a 6-bit TN panel. The standard CCFL backlighting used provides 72% of the NTSC colour space, or 16.2 million colours, rather than the full 16.7 million. While pleasing to the eye and quite useable for the majority of day to day uses, those needing better colour accuracy should look elsewhere. Below are two screen shots of this site - one taken on the SM932B Plus and the other from my Sony G420S 19" Trinitron based CRT monitor. While subtle, the colour differences are noticeable.

Sony G420S
G4520S Screenshot
Samsung SM932B Plus
SM932Bp Screenshot

Note that for comfortable use I had to turn the brightness down to almost 0 with the contrast at about 75. At any brightness above 15-20 it felt like my eyes were being burned out of my head. This is not uncommon though as most LCDs are quite bright by default. Brightness is a very personal thing so this monitor may be perfect for you if you like bright monitors.The background with an all black signal was a typical shade of dark charcoal with only the smallest hint of backlight bleed along the edges, mostly along the top and bottom. This was seen in a darkened room and with even moderate lighting would have been unnoticeable.

As is the case with most TN panels, the viewing angles were quite narrow, especially from above. Once again not a significant problem for general usage. The DVI-D interface resulted in a significanty sharper picture as expected, though the VGA was quite good. I tried a quick game of DOOM and a bit of Pinball and noticed no significant blur, though as with most LCDs there is some and a fast moving game or movie would likely exhibit significantly higher rates than I experienced. I encountered no input lag, but admittedly did not use a program where this would be an issue. From a noise perspective I found this monitor quite quiet. If you place your ear close to the case there is a very faint hum, which is to be expected considering the power supply is built into the housing along with the regular monitor circuitry. At any distance beyond a few centimeters it is completely inaudible.

The monitor comes well though slimly packed in a box not much larger than the average briefcase with cables for power, VGA, DVI-D, driver CD and printed manual.

Conclusion

The Samsung SM932B Plus is a nice monitor for average daily use. While not, in my opinon well suited for heavy gaming, movie watching or precise graphics work, it can handle just about anything else you care to throw at it and is aesthetically pleasing to look at. The price is fairly reasonable as well (approximate street price $250 and on sale for $50-60 less).

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Keywords: Samsung,932B Plus,LCD,review

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