This monitor is very beautiful and that is why I chose it. (I also liked the wide viewing angle & ability to connect analog/digital.) We bought it online, after looking at several monitors in stores. (Mostly, they pretty much looked the same.)
There was a review online talking about its brightness, but I didn't take it into account. Now I wish I did.
SyncMaster 173P really is exceptionally bright, to the extent that it hurts my eyes. (Truth is, I do have somewhat sensitive eyes & spend a lot of time behind the monitor. But that was precisely why I wanted a LCD display, so that it would be easier on the eyes.)
/Okay, I admit my sensitivity to light got worse when using this monitor in a dark room with lights off - I thought it would be more environmentally friendly & also better for the eyes, but it wasn't. So now I make sure to have lights on, & it's a bit better../
There are no buttons for things like darker-lighter or contrast, instead there is a software solution to this. While this may help a monitor look more attractive, it is certainly unpractical, especially if there is more than one user, & everyone prefers different settings. With a few buttons, everyone could easily adapt to preferred settings quickly, while the software solution is slightly time-consuming & cumbersome. (& if you're not very techie, you might end up not using it at all.)
Another issue with this monitor that I dislike is lack of mobility of the 'neck' of the monitor. You can only tilt it up and down a bit, but can't really make it much higher (I ended up putting big dictionaries under it on a 'normal' desk with no extension, & still my neck hurts a bit). Again, this may prove a bit annoying if there are multiple users who prefer different settings. You can roll it to be in 'landscape' or 'portrait' setting easily, which is good, though I wish there would be a simple button that could easily adapt what you see on the display accordingly too.
What I like is the elegant form, the on/off button is very elegant too... (though the blue glow from the LED-indicator can be a bit annoying in the dark sometimes). The silver matt frame is pretty, only direct light from behind your back will glow on it a bit annoyingly..
If you need crisp colors & lots of brightness (eg for design or such), this might be the monitor for you. If your eyes are sensitive (& you mostly use the PC for writing & internet & such), you might be better off with something else..
This review is also published elsewhere on the world wide web... :)
This monitor is actually amazing!
I bought the Samsung SM173P around 5 months ago for £230 and although this was quite expensive for the average LCD monitor, the Samsung SM173P is no ordinary LCD!!
Firstly, the SM173P is the most aesthetically pleasing monitor I have seen in production at the moment. In all, the design is very minimalist, giving a tidy and sleek feel to the monitor. On the front there is only one solitary silver power on/off button on the right bottom corner and "SAMSUNG" in the middle of the lower border.
From the back, the monitor looks like something the designers behind the iMac and iPod would have come up with! It has a nice white finish that completes the sleek and sophisticated feel about this monitor.
The screen itself was the thinnest out of all the monitors I came across when I was shopping. This was largely due to an external power brick which some could consider a disadvantage, although I find it a very good compromise.
The image quality itself is excellent. The colours are very accurate and vibrant and even when playing movies and games, the image quality can't be faulted. (You may notice some minor streaking in very fast action scenes but this is normal for the LCD's nowadays).
What I was really impressed with was the wide viewing angle. I found that with LCD's if you looked at the screen from a slightly different angle, the colours became distorted and the image quality drastically fell. With the Samsung SM173P, it was only in the extremest angles when I noticed any distortion or reduction in quality. This aspect of the monitor makes SM173P suitable for entertaining friends/family with a DVD or such!
The colour/contrast/brightness can be easily calibrated with the software provided called MagicTune. A step-by -step wizard is provided to make it all the more easier so no more fiddling with confusing buttons on the monitor!! There are also programmable preset settings so that you can change the brightness/contrast with one click of the mouse. There are also "text", "internet" and "entertain" settings which adjusts the screen to suit the purpose.
The SM173P is capable of rotating a full 90 degrees so that you can view word documents in full, ie in A4 100% size. I have found this to be very useful and helpful especially when editing and previewing. (Sometimes when I'm really tired, I use the pivot program and adjust the screen so that I can see it normally when I have my head lying on my desk.) Pivoting the screen is also done with the software provided.
The sockets at the back include the conventional analog input and also the digital D-sub 15 input. SO if you have a video card with a digital output, be sure to use the D-sub for optimum quality. The power socket also goes into the back of the base but the design of the base itself ensures that the cables look tidy and do not clutter the desk.
Adjusting the position of the screen is also easily done. The Dual Hinge allows the monitor to move vertically up and down without any hindrance while the base swivels around so that you can adjust the monitor sideways.
In all the SM173P is a beautifully designed monitor which also performs exquisitely.
The price may be a bit too much for some consumers, but those who are willing to dish out a little extra for the best looking monitor with one of the best image qualities should definitely go for this.
To summarise, here is a list of the good points:
Excellent image quality
easy calibration - step by step program to help you adjust it correctly. No obscure, ambiguous buttons on screen frame!
Screen is very easy to rotate, tilt and pivot but remains firm
pivot to 90 degrees for word documents (can view the whole page on screen!)
wide viewing angle - no loss of image quality/colour unless at extreme angles
the only disadvantage that i can think of would be the price (although i'd imagine with the recent drops in LCD price, it is a lot cheaper now)
Specs according to Samsung:
Panel Type: a-si TFT/PVA
Viewable Size: 17"
Pixel Pitch: 0.264mm
Contrast Ratio (Typical): 700:1
Viewing Angle (H/V, Typical): 178°/178°
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Response Time (Typical): 25ms
Native Resolution: 1280x1024
Input Video Signal: Analog RGB, DVI Digital Link
Sync Type: Separate H/V, Composite H/V, SOG
Input Connectors: 15-Pin D-Sub, DVI-D
Max Power Consumption: 40 Watts
Cabinet Color: Silver
Net Dimensions: 15"(W) x 15.6"(H) x 9.3"(D)
Special Features: Ultra Narrow Bezel and slim design, dual hinge stand, dual CPU input, pivot technology, buttonless design, MagicTune, MagicBright
PS. The power button is touch sensitive! when you touch it, it bleeps and a little blue power on sign comes on! A nice touch to an already amazing monitor plus something to impress your friends with!