Samsung SyncMaster XL2370

The stylish XL2370 impresses with its contrast ratio, thin screen and comparatively low power requirements. The price really stings though thanks to the LED backlight, and it's definitely not for colour professionals, but gamers are sure to like it a lot.


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Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.


Samsung's SyncMaster XL2370 is possibly the thinnest consumer monitor we've seen. At least as far as the 48mm panel is concerned, although the stand of course adds to this depth. It manages this by not only having an edge-lit LED backlight like Samsung's super-thin TVs, but by splitting the power unit out into a brick — and a hefty brick it is too.

Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 power brick

A rare sight: the power unit has been stripped out of the monitor to make things thinner. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

The chassis is mostly constructed from black and translucent plastic, all of it shiny — which means fingerprints ahoy. Thankfully, this trend doesn't continue to the screen itself; it's matte, meaning the XL2370 minimises the twin evils of glare and reflection.

Being a 23-inch, 16:9 screen, the XL2370 joins the ranks of high-resolution monitors, displaying Full-HD ready at 1920x1080.

Specs at a glance

Size 23 inches
Resolution 1920x1080
Aspect ratio 16:9
Pixel pitch 0.265
Panel technology TN
Viewing angles
(10:1 contrast)
H: 170°
V: 160°
Response time 2ms G2G
Max vertical refresh 60Hz
Connections DVI, HDMI, 3.5mm line out, Toslink digital audio out
Accessories DVI, VGA to DVI, power cables; power brick

3D view

Stand and ergonomics

The XL2370's stand, although attractively translucent with a tinge of blue, does effectively nothing, offering tilt only. Despite the thinness of the neck, the XL2370 is actually quite sturdy and doesn't wobble too much when bumped or adjusted.

Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 stand

Pretty, but next to useless
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

There is no cable management to speak of, although ports are mounted parallel to the monitor, which goes some way to alleviating mess.

Connections

Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 inputs

Toslink optical, 3.5mm line out, HDMI, DVI and power. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

There are no speakers, but Samsung gives you the chance to output sound to another device should your HDMI signal also carry sound.

Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)

Samsung has opted for capacitive buttons on the XL2370, with nothing mechanical in sight — and since they're behind a shiny surface, expect fingerprints. Each button is backlit by a white LED.

Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 buttons

The capacitive buttons are all backlit, with the power button being the only symbol that's actually marked when not lit. You can set their brightness or turn off everything except the power light from the OSD if you find them distracting. A tap in the general area of the buttons will relight them so you can find your way around. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

The OSD's standout features include sharpness enabled on DVI, as well as the ability to switch the monitor off after a predetermined time, scale down the response time accelerator and turn off the LED lit labels.

Samsung has three sets of image presets. The first is called "MagicBright", offering "Custom", "Text", "Internet", "Game", "Sport", Movie" and "Dynamic Contrast". Brightness and contrast are set to preset amount on the second through fourth, while "Sport" is a cool tone and "Movie" a warm one. "Dynamic Contrast" will lighten or darken your monitor's backlight depending on the scene being shown; however, we find this highly distracting and leave it off.

"MagicColor" is the next preset, and in "Intelligent" supposedly shows more vivid colours, while "Full" compensates for skin tones being pushed too red. As is usual with all presets, we recommend leaving them off, and calibrating it yourself manually.

Scaling options are limited to full screen ("wide") and scaled aspect ratio ("auto"), with no 1:1 in sight.

Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 OSD

Samsung's on-screen display is easy enough to find your way around. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Performance

Lagom.nl LCD tests
After calibrating to a target brightness of 140cd/m² with an X-Rite i1Display 2, Eye-One Match 3 and tweaking with HCFR, the XL2370 was run through the Lagom.nl LCD tests.

A slight banding was present in the gradient test, as were slight purple and green tinges, a common display issue. The XL2370 also flickered on four of the pixel walk tests — most monitors fail between one and four of these tests.

Image tests
Contrast Sharpness Gamma Black level White saturation Gradient
Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Slight banding, slight purple and green tinges
Inversion pixel walk tests
Test 1 Test 2a Test 2b Test 3 Test 4a Test 4b Test 5 Test 6a Test 6b Test 7a Test 7b
Pass Pass Flicker Upward rolling motion Slight flicker Flicker Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass

Input lag
Measured against a Samsung SyncMaster 975p CRT, and using a Canon 40D set to a shutter speed of 1/320, an average over 60 photographs were taken using Virtual Stopwatch Pro. The average result over DVI came in as 6.98ms, a supremely low time. It's worth noting the occasional 30ms difference turned up in the sets, so on the rare occasion you might lose around two frames, but mostly the difference should be imperceptible.

Colour accuracy
ΔE is the measurement of how far a measured colour deviates from its expected value, allowing us to determine the colour accuracy of a monitor. While a ΔE value of 1 is considered perceivable, as long as it's less than 3 the shift shouldn't be too obvious. HCFR was used to determine ΔE for the monitor.

Let's see how the XL2370 arrived in uncalibrated format.

Measured levels
Contrast ratio 960:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.31
White level (cd/m²) 297.51
Gamma 2.02
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
70.3 6.6 9.3 7.5 7.7 5.4 7.1 5.6 4.6 3.9 0.8
Colour ΔE
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
12.0 14.9 6.6 10.4 6.7 14.8

Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 CIE chart

The uncalibrated CIE chart. The white triangle is the colour space of the monitor, the dark is the sRGB gamut it's trying to match. (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

Not great. The greys are relatively uniform and near-ish to the black curve, but still are perceptibly different if you look at the ΔE values. There's overall a push towards red and green. Time to calibrate.

Measured levels
Contrast ratio 900:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.16
White level (cd/m², target 140cd/m²) 144.06
Gamma (target 2.2) 2.2
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
72.3 9.1 6.9 1.4 0.4 0.9 1.6 0.9 0.9 1.6 0.4
Colour ΔE
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
11.6 14.2 6.3 9.8 6.2 15.1

Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 CIE chart

The calibrated CIE chart (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

Note the particularly high contrast ratio post-calibration, along with the perfect 2.2 gamma. We've also managed to screw down most of the greyscale to acceptable levels, and reduce some of the green push and a little blue, but the colours are still a little whacked. As a consumer monitor though, the XL2370 doesn't offer us the controls we need to fix this further.

It should be noted that colour calibration of the XL2370 raised some issues with the i1Display 2, with it not measuring blue shifts until we lowered all colours to a starting point around 40. After this point, the process proceeded as usual.

HDMI performance
While a monitor might have an HDMI port that's no guarantee it'll display images as expected. We hooked up a PlayStation 3 and checked for 24p capability, as well as judder and ran the HQV Blu-ray test to see how well it coped with an interlaced source and noise.

24p capable Understands YUV Mission Impossible III
Scene 11 judder test
Mission Impossible III
Scene 14 judder test
No Yes Some judder Some judder

HQV noise
reduction
score
HQV video
resolution loss
score
HQV jaggies
score
HQV film
resolution loss
score
HQV film
resolution loss - stadium
score
Total score (out of 100)
15 0 0 0 0 15

While gaming is fine over HDMI, we wouldn't recommend watching Blu-ray movies on the XL2370, or 1080i content.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles were taken with a Canon 40D in spot metering mode, with only shutter time adjusted to obtain a good exposure.

Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 viewing angles

As you can see, the typical TN panel inversion from the bottom of the panel is prevalent. Samsung's excellent contrast ratio goes some way to hiding the usual viewing angle problems associated with TN. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Backlight uniformity
Backlight uniformity was measured by placing HCFR into free measure mode, displaying a completely white image and recording the brightness along a 5x3 grid on the screen. This should be considered a guide only, as backlight uniformity is likely to change from unit to unit.

Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 backlight uniformity

Some interesting values here. In subjective tests we didn't notice too much of a difference. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Light bleed
With all the lights turned off and a black image shown, there was no obvious light bleed — a significant plus for the XL2370.

It's important to note that the effects of light bleed will likely change from monitor to monitor, regardless of make.

Other issues
The panel itself is quite deeply inset, and the bezel is piano black, meaning that during bright scenes you may notice the screen's reflection on the bezel, which will be distracting for some.

Power consumption
We measured power consumption using a Jaycar mains digital power meter. It's important to note here that due to limitations of the meter, measurements are limited to values 1W and greater, and are reported in 1W increments.

All measurements, screen brightness and contrast were set to 100 per cent, and a test image displayed.

Juice Box
Maximum power draw 29W
Power-saving mode 9W
Off 7W

Samsung's power usage is good here. Nowhere near as good as Philips' Brilliance 225B, but still respectable.

Warranty

Samsung offers a three-year warranty. Within the first 14 days of purchase, Samsung has a zero dead pixel policy — return it to the place of purchase and the company should swap it for you. After this, the policy continues through the warranty period, and a user must go through the warranty process to get a replacement. Still, this is a much better offer than most manufacturers.

Conclusion

The stylish XL2370 impresses with its contrast ratio, thin screen and comparatively low power requirements. The price really stings though thanks to the LED backlight, and it's definitely not for colour professionals, but gamers are sure to like it a lot.

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Omar posted a comment   

Hi great review, one question i just bought this monitor tell me please how you manage to obtain the 2.2 gamma value?

You leave the default gamma to level 1, 2 or 3 of the monitor, contrast, brightness ? RGB ?


Thks in advance.




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  • Omar

    Omar

    "Hi great review, one question i just bought this monitor tell me please how you manage to obtain the 2.2 gamma value?

    You leave the default gamma to level 1, 2 or 3 of the monitor, ..."

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