The 24-inch Samsung SyncMaster T240HD is a HDTV disguised as a monitor. The on-screen display (OSD) menu design is taken directly from the menus used in Samsung's HDTVs. It has tonnes of connection options -- all of which face toward the back, not down as they do with most monitors -- including two HDMI ports and an ATSC/QAM tuner. And it comes with a remote control, all for around £320.
The Samsung SyncMaster T240HD features Samsung's Touch of Color enhancement. This is a clear plastic coating over the black bezel with subtle red highlights, which is most visible along the bottom edge. While the look is striking, some may still prefer a plain, black glossy look.
The bezel is about 25mm thick on the left and right sides, 38mm thick on the top and 51mm thick on the bottom. Samsung uses an oval-shaped footstand that's 38mm wide and about 254mm. The footstand has a Lazy-Susan-type mechanic that lets the whole display swivel 180 degrees to the left and right. When we knocked the monitor from the side, we found that it wobbled and slid more dramatically than we would have liked. The screen tilts back about 30 degrees but does not pivot. On the back, the connection options are very easy to access since they face directly back instead of down as on most monitors.
The OSD controls are on the right side of the panel, and to see which button you're pressing, you have to swivel the screen to the left. The OSD interface seems designed to be navigated with a remote control, since using the buttons to calibrate the display proved awkward. Fortunately, Samsung includes a TV-style remote control that lets you navigate the OSD.
Through the OSD you can change the brightness, contrast, colour temperature and aspect ratio. Four video preset options are included: Entertain, Internet, Text and Dynamic Contrast. We found the Entertain preset provided the best overall sharpness and colour reproduction. You can also tweak the sound quality beyond just volume since there is an equaliser included in the OSD.
The Samsung SyncMaster T240HD does not skimp on connections. Samsung includes two HDMI ports (one on the back panel and one on the left side), DVI, VGA, component, analogue audio, optical audio, coaxial, USB and a headphone jack on the left next to the second HDMI port. For future proofing purposes, we only wish there was a DisplayPort like on the Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP.
One of the key features that sets the display apart is its ATSC/QAM tuner. The ATSC feature ensures that come the digital changeover the display will be able to receive over-the-air broadcasts from local channels as long as you have an antenna. The QAM is a high-definition cable tuner that lets the display receive HD cable broadcasts without a cable box, as long as you're getting a cable signal. This is a useful feature if you want to get cable but don't want to rent your provider's box.
The monitor has a 1,920x1,200-pixel native resolution and built-in Dolby Digital Surround speakers on the bottom of the panel.
We tested the Samsung SyncMaster T240HD in DVI. When viewing the display through DVI the red, green and blue sliders in the OSD used to adjust the colour are disabled. In World of Warcraft we had a difficult time adjusting the brightness, contrast and colour temperature of the Samsung to get the colours to pop like they do on the Dell UltraSharp and to a lesser extent on the HP w2408h True Color Widescreen.
While the Dell and HP present vibrant colours and a high level of contrast, WoW on the Samsung just looked plain and lifeless. The display comes with the MagiColor software, however, and through that we were able to access the RGB colour directly, but it made little difference on the colour quality.