Samsung SyncMaster T220HD 22-inch HDTV LCD Monitor Review
In our last LCD monitor review, we looked at the Samsung T240 which was a 24-inch monitor that looked great, could do 1080p resolution, performed well but had serious backlight bleeding and clouding. It showed great promise but wasn’t quite up to par.
Today I will be looking at the little brother of the T240, the Samsung T220HD. The T220HD is another TOC (Touch of Color) product from Samsung but what is different about this unit is that it offers an ATSC tuner meaning you can watch free digital channels over-the-air through an antenna.
Recently Samsung has unveiled a line of monitors that follow the current trend of style; classy design and yet fully capable of anything you throw at it. These monitors have been released under the Art Series in Hong Kong and have won awards related to design (the iF Design Award) and have captured what it means to “purchase difference” according to Alvin Lam, Samsung Electronics Hong Kong Monitor Marketing.
The Samsung T220HD monitor is 22-inches in size, offers an ATSC tuner, TOC bezel, 2 HDMI ports, 10000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (1000:1 native), 5ms pixel response time and Dolby Digital sound. If you are looking either for a monitor or for a small HDTV for the kitchen/bedroom look no further.
The T240 being 24-inches in size could achieve a 1080p resolution of 1920x1080 pixels but moving down two inches means the T220HD being only 22-inches only can muscle 1680x1050 pixels which means HDTV signals will be down-scaled.
Open the packaging and you are revealed with the following goodies…
Being an HDMI capable monitor, you would think manufacturers would start offering a HDMI cable as part of the package but that is not the case here.
The Samsung T240 looks amazing at first glance. It looks reminiscent of how I felt when I first saw the TOC Plasma HDTV. The bezel contains a rosy black color and while it looks prominent in pictures, in reality it’s subtle and will not be distracting under usage. The frame contains straight 90 degree edges contributing to its very sleek and beautiful look. The bezel doesn’t feel cheap but rather made of a solid piece of clear plastic. Tap it and it feels upscale and something of quality.
You’ll also notice how glossy everything is. I personally love glossy but there are drawbacks as compared to having a matte finish. For example, dust becomes a problem and you can pick up smudges easily.
There are no buttons located anywhere at the front of the monitor or even a conventional push power button. Six buttons are recessed at the side of the monitor and Samsung chose to utilize a touch sensitive power button at the front with an orange LED to confirm the monitor is indeed on. This orange LED indicator can be increased or decreased in brightness in the menu.
I’m going to call out the touch sensitive power button on the T220HD right now. I’ve used touch sensitive power buttons in past Samsung monitor reviews and I’ve no problems. The problem with this one is that it’s not sensitive enough and needs me to push harder. Plus you’ll have problems locating the power button at night unless you turn on the light, and sometimes you don’t want to do that.
The negative of having six buttons on the right hand side is that you have to remember what each button does since the labels are to the right. This makes changing options awkward since you may have to go back and forth. Implementing labels in the front right side of the bezel would have helped.
Every square inch of this monitor is glossy. We come to the rear and have the prominent Samsung logo and plenty of connections to play with. The connections you have to your disposal in the rear of the unit include one HDMI port, one DVI port, one VGA port, component video, digital audio out optical, 3.5mm HDMI/DVI-D audio in port, EX-Link connector, service port, one power connector and the ATSC ANT IN connector.
To the left side of the Samsung T220HD is where a small door houses the 2nd HDMI port and 3.5mm headphone jack.
The T240 can only be viewed in landscape mode and cannot be turned into portrait mode but most others cannot as well. I’ve only seen select monitors having this capability.
Included with the Samsung T220HD is a full-size remote control. The remote control is matte black in color and features rubber buttons that are tactile and responsive. You have the power on/off function, source, number pad, pre-channel, volume, channel up/down, mute, menu, close captioning, SRS sound, picture size mode and favorite channels as things you can do with this remote.
If you lose the remote, then you can do everything manually with the side panel controls which include source function, menu, volume and channel up/down. Getting used to these controls which are hidden on the left side is very difficult since the labels are on hidden beside it.
The Samsung T220HD features a circular stand that can only tilt, but cannot swivel. Yes this can be a bad thing; however, the monitor as a whole is lightweight (13lbs with stand) so it can get away with the fact that it cannot swivel pretty easily. At the same time, I feel the stand is a drawback because there’s no weight to its design and during use it suffered from wobbling under the slightest motions of my desk.
Installing the tilt piece onto the stand is easy because you hand tighten the integrated Phillips screw onto the stand. However installing it onto the actual monitor can be a little pain because you need to push it down with some force.
You don’t see the integrated speakers because Samsung mounts in under the monitor so they are down-firing like on their Plasma HDTV’s. These speakers are 3W each totaling 6 watts.
Performance – Usage
To sum up my time with the Samsung T220HD; much improved over the Samsung T240 monitor. Both monitors perform rather identical so I thought I was reviewing the T240 all over again.
Powering up the monitor from standby leaves more to be desired. It takes around 8 seconds and has to scan for inputs in the process. This is slow compared to the Samsung 2232GW I looked at before taking only 3 seconds.
The T220HD supports a maximum resolution of 1680x1050 at 60Hz and produces relatively deep black color. Maximum contrast ratio this monitor can do is 10000:1 which is really nice but is only achievable when you enable Dynamic Contrast.
Viewing angles on this monitor is very good as one can stand off center and still be able to see what is on the screen with ease.
Being only 5ms in response time, I did notice slight ghosting playing games and watching DVD’s but it did not distract me or make things uncomfortable. My Xbox 360 was hooked up through HDMI and boy did it look good and I enjoyed the nice colors.
As for the T240 suffering from backlight bleeding and clouding, this Samsung T220HD does not suffer from this drawback of LCD technology. The only bleeding on this monitor comes from the bottom portion of the monitor and very slight bleeding at the top. The sides are not affected and there are no clouding issues to report of. Overall the T220HD is much improved over what I had experienced with the T240.
The integrated speakers are decent on the T220HD. They aren’t the best out there by a long shot but they definitely will do the job. Pumping out 6W, they sound better than most other integrated speakers I’ve come across on monitors but at the same time they sound tiny and don’t offer much bass. They will do a good job at filling small to medium sized rooms and offer decent vibrancy but for a kitchen/bedroom, it’s perfectly fine.
I’ll briefly talk about the HDTV aspect of the Samsung T220HD and what it offers if you’re looking for a small HDTV for the kitchen or bedroom.
Being familiar with Samsung HDTV’s, the T220HD doesn’t fair differently. Most options in the menu are the same of what I’ve experienced between models and that’s a good thing. Some options like PIP are omitted but I haven’t used that function much with my Samsung HDTV.
The OSD menu offers five main menus and a host of options within those menus. The menus relate to Picture, Sound, Channel, Setup and Input.
Within the Picture menu there are options that allow you to change picture modes (Standard, Dynamic and Movie), backlight, contrast, brightness, sharpness, color, tint, color tone, picture size, digital NR, HDMI black level and Film mode.
Under the Sound menu there are options that allow you to change the sound mode (Standard, Music, Movie, Speech or Custom), Equalizer, multi-track options, auto volume and TV speaker (on or off).
Under the Setup menu there are options that allow you to change the OSD menu language, time, V-Chip, closed captioning, startup/end melody, change the brightness of the power buttons orange LED and perform a firmware upgrade.
Under the Input menu you basically have the ability to view each input and offer specific names for each input so you can remember what device is connected to what input.
Watching HDTV content is easy as hooking up with cable service or in my case, an antenna to pull OTA HD (over-the-air HD) content. You go into the menu and under the Channel menu head over to auto program to scan for channels. Scanning for OTA HD channels is a quick process for the T220HD. The scan zips through compared to my PN50A650 HDTV which takes its time.
The ATSC tuner on the T220HD seems really sensitive and will gain you great signal. This is one of the better tuners on the market.
Once you’ve pulled in all your channels, switching between channels takes about 1.5 seconds and offers a brief message about the channel name, station name and how they are broadcasting. Pressing the INFO button on the remote pulls up channel information and what show is being shown (EPG), details about the show and what the current time is.
HDTV channels on the Samsung T220HD look good. There is a big difference between the look of what is being shown on the T220HD and a Plasma HDTV though. With that being said, picture quality is good on the T220HD although the picture was a little soft to my eyes and needed a little sharpening.
Additionally colors were rendered well but seemed a little flat. This is one of the tradeoffs between choosing a matte surface screen or one that is glossy. I vividly remember reviewing the 2232GW and colors were eye-popping on that one as its screen was glossy.
If you’re on a market for a 22-inch widescreen LCD monitor, the Samsung T220HD is something you should check out. It’s a good pick. For the most part, this monitor produces great colors, sharp text, and while there is slight ghosting in fast action scenes, it’s never a major distraction. The Samsung T220HD has an abundance of connections which makes it very flexible to use.
Pros and Cons