I have looked at many Samsung LCDs in the last 8 months and have compared my thoughts about the monitors with end user reviews to see if I am missing something. About 85% of the time my reviews have agreed with users that have purchased the monitor and posted their thoughts on the web. With the 173P, it looks like I agree with them again, and for Samsung that is a good thing because people that have purchased this monitor seem to love it as much as me.
The first thing you will notice with the 173P is that it has a very nice clean silver look. The second thing you will notice is that it only has one button! Yes, you read that right, just one button. This button though has several functions. Of course, the most the important one is on/off, but by holding the button, it brings up the option to decide which input to display. This lets you use two computers on one monitor, one using the analog connector and the other using the digital connector.
The monitor has a nice silver look
The back of the monitor
Before we dive in any deeper lets look at the details of the monitor.
Pixel Pitch: 0.264
Brightness: 270 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio: 700:1
Viewing Angle (H/V): 178/178
Response Time (ms): 25
Resolution (Max/Native): 1280×1024/1280×1024
Dimensions: 15.0 x 15.6 x 9.3 inches
Power (on working): 40 Watt
Warranty: 3 years (Parts/Labor/Backlight )
The full specifications and features for the monitor can be found here at Samsung’s site.
There a few things to note when shopping for a LCD monitor. First is the contrast ratio. These ratios are pretty high these days (500+ to 1) and thats a good thing. The contrast ratio is the ratio of the LCDs brightest white display to its deepest black (off). The better the contrast ratio, the better the color depth and picture quality the LCD will provide. The 173Ps ratio of 700:1 is stellar.
The second thing to note is the response time. This is the time, in milliseconds, that it takes the LCD to switch a pixel from off to on, and from on to off. The lower the response time the better. However, very low response times, just like high response times, can create a ghosting effect that most people remember from the dual scan laptop days. Most respectable LCD models from the reputable manufacturers are providing response times in the low to mid 20s of milliseconds, which typically provides a pleasing experience. Samsungs 173P has a very reasonable response time of 25ms.
A little less critical to most users is the viewing angle. The viewing angle is how far, side to side, you can go from the LCD screen and still get a reasonable amount of the display visible to you. This is really only important if you often showcase your computers output to multiple people. The 173P has a viewing angle of 178 degrees both horizontally and vertically much more and youd be behind the monitor. High marks for Samsung here.
The last item to note is the warranty. Samsung offers 3 years on labor, parts, and the backlight, which is a pretty reasonable warranty. But you often dont see many manufacturers advertise their dead pixel warranties much. Dead pixels, when they happen can be extremely annoying. Especially if theyre not actually dead and end up being locked into a bright color like white or cyan or worse. According to neweggs site, our retailer for this model, they list a 8 dead pixel replacement policy for this Samsung. In my opinion, this could be a little better but atleast we have a warranty on the subject.
Controlling the monitor
You can set up the monitor both directly through the menu on the monitor as well as using the supplied software:
You can use a wizard to set up the monitor
Magic Bright has different settings for text, entertainment etc.
Magic Tune lets you tweak your colors
Choose analog or digital
Select your resolution
Setup the contrast
Testing the monitor
My first test of the monitor was done using the test tools from http://www.monitorsdirect.com/ . They have some nice tools that let you really test your monitor.
In all the tests the monitor passed with flying colors. I also compared it to my 192T and the173P had better movement thru the color patterns. I am also happy to report no dead pixels in my testing.
The next test was to check for ghosting. While 25ms is nice it still is slow enough that you could see some slight ghosting in fast paces games and movies. On previous Samsung monitors the ghosting in games has been hard to spot but what has brought out the ghosting is my person ghosting test: the depth charge scene at the beginning of the movie U571. In that scene you have grey steel periscope cable against a dark background. When the depth charges hit and the screen shooke ghosting has been present in the cables.
I have included some screen captures from the movie so you know what I am talking about. I also included some of the engine room fire scenes.
From the scene I use to check for ghosting.
Another scene that can produce ghosting on a slow TFT monitor
Im happy to report that on this monitor I had not ghosting issues even in the U571-test. That is better that previous tested Samsung models.
In gaming I played Call of Duty, Knights of the Old Republic and IL-2 Sturmovik Forgotten Battles. I played the games at my normal resolution I like on my 19 CRT of 1152×864 and also at the monitors native 1280×1024. Once again this monitor passed with flying colors.
If I did not have to test video cards at 1600×1200, I would replace my 19 CRT with the 173P in a heartbeat.
Power Block instead of normal computer power plug.
Pricing for the 173P on the web is around $589.00
I am running out of breathing room on scores with this monitor if I review something better but I am giving it a 9 out of 10 and the Golden Bear!!