Samsung SyncMaster 955DF 19" Monitor Review

Author: Austin Bailey
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Tuesday, May 8th, 2001
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/samsung955df/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Monitor on a Budget

When we took a look at the professional grade flat screen 19” CRT monitors a few weeks ago, I also received Samsung’s popular 955DF 19” monitor for review. Although one of the most popular products on the market right now (in the Top 100 List of most popular priced items), the 955DF wasn’t included in our roundup because it was more targeted towards the budget sector. Yet, even with net prices as low as $275, the 955DF managed to fare rather well in our objective and subjective tests.

Looking Closer

Even a short while ago, a budget 19” monitor would usually have a screen with high curvature and have limited controls. By contrast, the 955DF has a perfectly flat screen, and an abundance of controls whose functions are equal to more expensive monitors. The controls layout of the 955DF is nearly identical to that of its more expensive brethren, the 900NF, which we praised for its intuitive and easy to use controls. Here again the controls are well thought out and very easy to use. The control panel is completely hidden from view, and pops out with a simple touch. Amazingly, Samsung has packed this monitor with some pretty advanced control features, such as adjustments for RGB color, linearity, clear moiré, and focus.

Performance Without the Cost

Because of the price of the monitor, we were pleasantly surprised by the objective performance of the 955DF. The monitor shipped to us with some geometry problems – most of which we managed to correct using the extensive controls, but we never managed to correct the slight pincushion, bottom screen distortion, and straight line linearity discrepancies. This also resulted in some noticeable smear patterns and a fairly noticeable moiré effect in finely patterned test screens. Focus and sharpness were the monitor’s strong points – test patterns showed an extremely uniform sharpness throughout the screen that was impressive even compared to monitors in the $400 range. Where the monitor actually falls somewhat behind is in pure color performance and color gradient performance. Black and white purity and gradient tests found the 955DF to be far below the 900NF in black/white sensitivity and purity. Grey gradients were not easily distinguishable, and pure whites lacked vibrancy. Pure colours and colour gradients were around average. None of these flaws really mar the value of the monitor, though we were most disappointed with the pure colour tests, where we found that individual colours did not separate crisply from each other.

In subjective tests, the monitor performed extremely well – another sure sign that objective results do not always appear obvious in real world usage. High resolution pictures were colorful and looked good at a glance. There was some noticeable hazing on pictures with fine details, such as the detail found in swirls of mist or groups of clouds, but we think that in most applications you will not notice any significant loss of detail or image quality. In gaming stills we found the monitor to be around average for a 19” monitor. Colours in games appeared slightly washed out, especially in games with dark thematic undertones – which is something to be expected considering the weaker grey gradient performance of the monitor and its weak pure color purity test results.

Overall, the monitor performs quite admirably for this price range. In spite of the few flaws we do find, you will notice little problems when using the monitor for day to day windows applications or in gaming. If you are a discriminating gamer with a keen eye for detail and colour quality, you’ll probably want to pass on this monitor. If you do CAD or precision graphics work where colour accuracy is important, you’ll likewise want to look for a more professional grade monitor. Nobody is claiming this monitor will suit the needs of a graphics professional, but Samsung has definitely placed the 955DF in a position to appeal to the average consumer with a need for a classy and low-cost 19” flatscreen monitor.

Overall Score: 81%

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