173P 17” LCD Display Review
LCD flat panel displays are more affordable than ever. They are getting better as standards are raised and this about the time when you should be shopping for one. Samsung is one of those companies producing excellent displays, such as the 173MP, which we reviewed some time ago. Today I will be looking at the Samsung 173MP’s younger sibling, the Samsung 173P. The Samsung 173P arrived in the usual cardboard box with Styrofoam protection but was a bit banged up. The box seems a bit on the small side, though it weighs more than the 173MP at 18 pounds.
Opening up the package, you will find…
As you can read from the specifications for the Samsung 173P, it has nice numbers. Some of the noticeable things are the rare and awesome 700:1 contrast ratio, the nice 0.264 dot pitch, the nice 178-degree viewing angle, the now standard 25ms response time, and DVI support.
The first time you look at the Samsung 173P, you will notice it’s ingenious base/stand that not only tilts, but swivels 178 degrees, turns, and pivots. This is great for Internet users as they can fit more text on the screen when they turn their monitor several degrees. The next thing you notice is that this is not a wide screen display. It is a standard 4:3 aspect ratio display. The last thing you should notice is that the Samsung 173P is button-less. This is probably one of the first premium button-less LCD displays on the market today. All you have is the power button. So how do you tweak the settings of the monitor such as color and brightness? That lies in the software Samsung sends with the monitor. These include Natural Color, Pivot Pro and MagicTune.
Samsung 173P is a striking monitor to look at. The small footprint design
that the 173P utilizes saves space and looks awesome. It has a very
small half-an-inch bezel (which could be great for dual monitor users),
and a lone power button located at the lower right hand corner. This
power button is different because it is pressure sensitive. Just place
your finger over it lightly and the blue LED turns on with a small beep
sound making you feel like you are in a high-tech world.
As I said earlier, if you want to tweak the controls of the Samsung 173P such as brightness and contrast, you will have to do these through these software packages. However, there are not many things to tweak because the Samsung 173P automatically fits into the position of the screen output. You will rarely have problems with any position changes on the screen. However, if you do have problems, this Samsung 173P features the loved “AUTO” mode. To utilize the AUTO mode, hold the power button for at least 3 seconds until AUTO begins its task. The only problem I find with a button-less design with software used to tweak controls is that you are required to install these software on each computer you might use the Samsung 173P with.
Pivot Pro basically installs a icon on your lower right hand screen where you can select if you want to rotate the screen 90 degrees, 180 degrees and so forth. It also functions by right clicking.
Performance (Using DVI Connection)
The Samsung 173P is a good performer. It really does well in business type applications where you will find yourself typing or reading on screen. Text is easy to read either on a black background with white text, or a white background with black text. On VGA mode, I found text to be a tad decreased in quality, but still very readable. The Samsung 173P's viewing angle from the side is one of the best I have seen. Anyone viewing from the side will see the picture very nicely.
Out of the box and using standard settings, the Samsung 173P reproduces colors with success. There is enough contrast and brightness to say that black will look solid black and other colors look true. The contrast ratio is impressive for an LCD display. When you need it, it will be there to brighten up those dark places in some games.
The 25ms response time Samsung 173P makes it a good performer on games. While using the DVI connection for most of my testing, there was some ghosting present but it thankfully does not detract from the experience of the game. You will notice ghosting with fast-paced games such as UT 2004, Quake III Arena, and Serious Sam. What I did find odd is that using the standard 15-pin VGA connection seemed to make games more fluid than the DVI mode. That might have been just my eyes and DVI was fine..
Still speaking of games, the lack of tweaking functions on this Samsung 173P, since it’s pretty much automatic, is a drawback in some situations. If you want to play your video game console through a device such as the Startech Video Game Jockey, you will notice that the picture is shifted to the right and not centered properly. Unfortunately, there is no way to fix this. AUTO mode won’t help in this situation as it just thinks that is the correct position.
No dead pixels were found during testing.
The Samsung 173P is a very good performer. It is physically pretty, easy to read, and very capable. This is a monitor that is nicely situated for those whose primary uses of their computers are for watching DVD’s, doing business work, surfing the internet, and other tasks not requiring an extremely fast response time. On the other hand, the Samsung 173P does do most games well but has some visible ghosting on fast games.
The Samsung 173P includes a generous bundle that includes both DVI and 15-pin VGA cables, along with a wall mounting kit, something not standard with other displays.
Overall, I can recommend the Samsung 173P.
Pros and Cons
Very nice styling