Samsung SyncMaster 173MP Multi-Function HDTV/LCD Flat Panel TV and PC Monitor Review
Technology is blazing at a fast rate. With the introduction of HDTV in the past couple of years, HDTV’s have now caught on and are very popular. Broadcast stations are now featuring HD packages to enjoy its experience. Well how about having an HDTV LCD for watching TV and at the same time being able to use it as your PC monitor? Well Samsung is filling that niche with their MP line of displays. The Samsung SyncMaster 173MP is a new model introduction of 2004 and we are bringing it here for you today and probably one of the first to.
The Samsung SyncMaster 173MP comes in the traditional Samsung package that needs no explaining to do. When you think of combining both TV capabilities and PC monitor ability in one, you would expect the unit to be heavy, but surprisingly the package was relatively light and that only means that the main display unit will be lighter.
The 17-inch wide screen, Samsung SyncMaster 173MP is an HDTV ready display and comes with integrated speakers on both the left and right side. These speakers fit into the sexy style and design that the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP holds. This probably has to be the sexiest looking display I have ever laid my hands on and seen thus far. It’s also helluva light weighing in at a mere 10 pounds! The Samsung SyncMaster 173MP is designed to save space and it is only around 2 inches thick, making it very slim and super easy to move around. The exterior body is composed of strong plastic, which keeps the weight down significantly as opposed to if it were made of metal. The Samsung SyncMaster 173MP is composed of silver and black accents around the screen. Looking at the front portion of the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP, the controls are located on the op right hand corner. Text is printed next to them so you know what buttons do what. One of the small complaints is that at night time, you cannot see the text which makes it hard to know what button is for volume, channel, and so on. Making it glow or illuminate would be helpful. However, this is a minor complaint that can be done without. It is a problem with most televisions if not all.
The Samsung SyncMaster 173MP’s base is integrated with the screen out of the box. The base allows the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP to tilt at an angle of your liking. It is made of steel which allows the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP to stay planted on the ground.
rear of the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP has the Samsung logo emblem integrated
into the body. This is where it all happens. There are ventilation slots
to allow heat to dissipate and allow the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP to
be as cool as possible. On the left side you will find the easy access
RCA composite connector, and S-Video connector. Where are all the other
connections? A plastic cover ingeniously covers them. Removing the cover
will allow you to access them. You have all your highest quality connections
such as DV and Component video. From left to right is…
Speaking of which these items are included in the bundle:
TV – Television performance is excellent. Right off the bat, I could see how analog cable sucked but it was still pretty darn good. I noticed less jaggies than before. Colors are sharp and picture quality is superb. The Samsung SyncMaster 173MP features plenty of options to tweak. You can see some of those in the flash transition movie I created on the TV side of things. There are different options for both TV and PC connection modes. For the TV side of things, some of my favorite options is the ability to change aspect ratios on cable TV mode in real-time. You can have the regular 4:3 or 16:9 widescreen on the fly. Another feature that was awesome is “Still” mode. While you are watching TV, you can hit this button on the remote and that freezes the frame, again in real-time. This is a cool feature that comes in handy if you ever notice a weird moment on TV or say, “What the heck is that?” and freeze the frame to look closely at what you froze.
After I tweaked the audio from their default 50/50 values, I was very impressed with their sound quality. The speakers are rich, clear and bass isn’t too shabby. It doesn’t take much volume to fill the room. The audio left a great impression on me. Great speakers.
One of the things I found odd was the fact that the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP has no options for adding the date and the time.
Coming back to the performance of the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP, it exhibited very little ghosting. If there was any, I didn’t notice it and just enjoyed the TV program. Watching DVD upped the performance scale once more with even better quality than analog TV. Overall, the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP left a great impression with me and is one of the experiences I will never forget.
Oh yeah, you have three source modes. They are TV, AV, and PC.
PC – Using the supplied 15-pin VGA cable on my computer system through an ATI Radeon 9700 Pro, the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP performed more of the same as it did on the television mode. The Samsung SyncMaster 173MP is very bright and that’s what I can assure you. Thankfully you can tweak everything in the options menu (more PC related options), which is very easy to navigate through the remote. It takes a bit of getting used to tweaking through the buttons on the display itself. Some of the typical Samsung functions such as Magic Bright returns on the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP. The good ole “Auto” mode automatically adjusts the screen to the source and makes life easier. While using the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP on PC mode, you are able to do PIP (Picture In Picture) as well which is kind of cool. You can be working on something and watching TV at the same time on the bottom right hand corner of the display.
While on the desktop, you can see the small scan lines if you look a bit closely than you would normally but this shows that it has great picture quality. Text is easy to read while the color reproduction is spot-on. Playing video games at 75Hz (the maximum) exhibited very little ghosting and the monitor is such a great display for games because of the wide aspect ratio. NHL 2004 looks real nice!
The sound quality on PC mode degraded a bit sounding a tad flat but that was due to the cheap onboard sound solution not being the best.
Finally I would like to talk about the remote. The remote feels good on your hand and is very comfortable. The buttons are all rubber and has their respected controls printed or closely printed nearby. It requires 2 AAA batteries to operate which are included. Going back to the beginning of the review where I stated that you couldn’t see the controls at night, that holds the same for the remote. If the remote were lighted, that would be great so you can see at nighttime when you don’t have your room lights on.
I like the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP very much. It always seems to amaze me every time I use it. Whether for watching television on a crappy analog signal, or playing games to typing a document, the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP is an excellent performer and dual function display for that matter. There are some neat features/options on the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP as well. The audio quality is very impressive as well providing nice bass and clear treble. The multi-function Samsung SyncMaster 173MP exhibits very little ghosting but ghosting is an after thought while using the monitor. If there were one quirk or improvement that Samsung could make to the 173MP, it would have to be the buttons on the unit itself and the remote buttons not being illuminated and hard to see at night. Other small things are no time/date function and no DVI cable is included and that also there is no headphone jack. All in all, the Samsung SyncMaster 173MP Multi-Function HDTV/LCD Flat Panel TV and PC Monitor is a stellar product. If you have the money, then go for it. It is highly and easily recommended.
The Samsung SyncMaster 173MP Multi-Function HDTV/LCD Flat Panel TV and PC Monitor, deserves the ModSynergy Editor’s Choice Award.
Pros and Cons