If you're interested in Nvidia's GeForce 3D Vision gaming kit and trying to decide which of the two available 120Hz LCD computer monitors to get, we recommend going with the 22-inch Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ, available for around £370. Compared with the other 120Hz monitor, the ViewSonic FuHzion VX2265wm, the 2233RZ offers better performance with movies and a useful on-screen display menu with many presets and contrast control. It also has a more pleasing appearance and better overall colour reproduction.
Since the 2233RZ and VX2265wm are currently the only two monitors on the market compatible with Nvidia's GeForce 3D Vision, it's only fitting that we directly compare them whenever possible.
Each display is mostly devoid of useful ergonomic options such as screen rotation and height adjustment, offering only a 25° backward tilt. When placed on a desktop, the 2233RZ leaves about 95mm between the bottom of the screen and the desk. Thanks to its longer neck, the VX2265wm sits higher, at 121mm. On the sides and top, the 2233RZ's glossy bezel measures 19mm and 20mm respectively. The glossy bezel of the VX2265wm measures 18mm all around.
The 2233RZ's oval-shaped footstand measures about 254mm wide and 216mm deep. When we knocked it from the sides, the 2233RZ wobbled only minimally, but did slide a few inches across the desk with each knock. The VX2265wm, with its 343mm by 216mm footstand, wobbled significantly when knocked, but stayed in place. Given the choice, we'd take the wobbling over the sliding any day. On the bottom middle of the 2233RZ's bezel is a light grey, painted-on Samsung logo.
The 2233RZ's panel measures about 25mm deep and extends another 38mm behind it to include the ventilation system, backlight and connection options. The VX2265wm has a narrow panel, measuring about 13mm thick, but, at the furthest point on the back, this measurement is extended by about 51mm. Both monitors, therefore, measure about 64mm deep, which is about average for a 22-inch model.
The complete width of the 2233RZ's panel is 516mm, compared with the VX2265wm's 508mm. Compared with other 22-inch models, this is about average. Running across the bottom of the Samsung's bezel is a clear fibreglass 'lip' about half an inch tall. When the monitor is on, a blue LED radiates from the bottom of the bezel and reflects off the lip, creating a cool-looking effect. Each display's screen has a matte finish.
The 2233RZ's chassis is mostly glossy all around. But there's a matte finish on about two-thirds of the back, with engraved pictures of flower petals. The back of the VX2265wm is a plain glossy black. Overall, we feel the 2233RZ has the more elegant, eye-pleasing design.
The 2233RZ's on-screen display (OSD) buttons are located on the lower right side, on the outside of the panel. There are five buttons for the OSD, stacked on top of each other: menu, up, down, enter and back, with the power button below. The up and down buttons also double as shortcuts to the brightness and contrast controls, respectively. Pressing the buttons delivers a satisfying clicking sound and each depresses enough to make it obvious when it's been pushed. The buttons have enough space between them so that, when calibrating in a low-light situation, you can easily tell where one button ends and another begins.
Pressing the menu button brings up the OSD menu. Here you have options for brightness and contrast, in addition to options for setting how long the OSD remains on-screen when idle (up to 200 seconds). Presets include text, Internet, game, sports, movies and dynamic contrast. Choosing each preset appropriately adjusts the brightness of the display. The VX2265wm includes no OSD menu and only has button controls for brightness and the built-in speakers' volume. The 2233RZ doesn't include any built-in speakers.
Both the 2233RZ and VX2265wm include a DVI connection, but lack HDMI and VGA connections. Both are HDCP compatible, so high-definition content is viewable on them. The VX2265wm's DVI port is easily accessible, with no obstructions or awkward angles preventing access. The 2233RZ's DVI port is tucked in more snugly, making it awkward to access. Each screen has an aspect ratio of 16:10 with a 1,680x1,050-pixel native resolution.
The 2233RZ and VX2265wm are two of the first consumer LCD computer monitors with a 120Hz refresh rate. Supported by a dual-link DVI cable, the 120Hz refresh rate ensures the displays' compatibility with the Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision stereoscopic 3D glasses. The glasses give added depth to 3D games. For example, when playing Unreal Tournament 3, your map and menu items look like stickers stuck to the screen, and the rest of the graphics -- other characters and vehicles -- look much further away.
We tested the 2233RZ with its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 89 in our DisplayMate-based performance tests, besting the VX2265wm's 85. We expected the 2233RZ to perform similarly to the VX2265wm and, for the most part, it did. But there were a few key areas in which it beat the VX2265wm.
Overall colour reproduction was more impressive on the 2233RZ, with our low-saturation-colour test providing a prime example. This test evaluates the LCD's tendency to oversaturate the greyscale -- a bad thing -- when producing a bright white image. When the greyscale is oversaturated, colours appear washed out. The 2233RZ scored well in this test, while the VX2265wm did not. When we played our War of the Worlds DVD on the 2233RZ, we saw accurate colours and a deeper black level. In comparison, the same scenes looked washed out, with a yellowish tint, on the VX2265wm.
This difference between the two sets' performance in this test is due to the fact that you can customise the 2233RZ's picture beyond simply adjusting the brightness, whereas adjusting the brightness is all the VX2265wm offers. We found that the movie and dynamic contrast preset worked best for movie watching. With dynamic contrast on, we only noticed the screen darkening in scenes where the screen was 90 per cent black or more, such as the end credits.
The 1080p Blu-ray version of House of Flying Daggers exhibited the same full colours and deep blacks that we saw with the War of the Worlds DVD. It's not going to blow anyone's mind, but, for a 22-inch, 16:10 computer monitor, we were impressed.
The 2233RZ posted a brightness score of 280cd/m2, according to our test, which is somewhat lower than the 300 maximum claimed by Samsung, but higher than the VX2265wm's 266. Our tested contrast rating for the 2233RZ actually exceeded Samsung's 1,000:1 claim by scoring 1,024:1, slightly lower than the VX2265wm's 1,057:1 tested contrast ratio.
We tried out Crysis on the 2233RZ and, while our testbed cannot come close to the hardware requirements the game demands to run with all the graphic features turned on, we liked what we saw. With a 3ms response time, there was no evidence of streaking and ghosting. Colours looked accurate and the game preset worked appropriately. The VX2265wm also ran Crysis well, with slightly more washed-out textures.
When we played DVD or Blu-ray movies on the 2233RZ and VX2265wm at a 120Hz refresh rate, we didn't notice a difference between playing them at a 60Hz refresh rate. There's no advantage to playing movies at 120Hz with these monitors when connected to a computer. We didn't test either with a standalone DVD or Blu-ray player. With games, we did notice some difference. In Unreal Tournament 3, when we panned our viewpoint back and forth very quickly in 60Hz mode, we noticed that the wall textures were blurry. If we did the same in 120Hz mode, the textures remained clear.
The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the screen's distance down from the top. At this angle, you're viewing the colours and gamma correction as they were intended. Most monitors are not made to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on the panel type, picture quality at non-optimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when viewed from non-optimal angles. The 2233RZ uses a TN panel and, when it's viewed from the sides or bottom, the screen appears to darken when you're only a couple of inches from the optimal angle. Of course, when we viewed the 2233RZ from the optimal angle, we had no problems.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
The Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ offers excellent picture quality when watching movies, and is the best choice for 120Hz 3D stereoscopic gaming on the PC. For all other demands, there are cheaper alternatives, but the 2233RZ also offers a good on-screen menu and an attractive design.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet