Samsung 173T LCD Monitor

Audio|Video|Misc

Sept 29, 2003 -- by Mike Chin with Betty MacArthur

Product Samsung SyncMaster 173T (black)
Manufacturer Samsung
Supplier Samsung Canada
Market Price US$495~550 (Pricewatch)

The Samsung SyncMaster 173T is essentially a slim-bezel version with digital input of the 173B LCD monitor reviewed several weeks ago. The 173T is even sleek and handsome in black (also in silver), with the modern minimalist look that Samsung has cultivated in all of its products lately. The digital input which helps signal transfer integrity between VGA card and monitor, suggests that this is at least a midrange model.

As you can see from the photo above, the Samsung SyncMaster 173T has a stand that is identical to that used in the 173B. It also dispenses with the tiny built in speakers that were integrated in the 173B's bottom bezel.

Aside from the digital input, thinner bezel and absence of built-in speakers, the main differences vs the 173B are highlighted in the specs below:

  • A much higher contrast ratio of 700:1 Vs 450:1
  • Wider 170 degree viewing angle, both vertical and horizontal
  • Built-in AC power supply rather than an external box, which helps reduce clutter.

SPECIFICATIONS


PANEL Panel Type a-si TFT /TN
Size 17"
Pixel Pitch (mm) 0.264
Brightness (cd/m2) 250 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio 700:1
Viewing Angle 170 / 170
Aspect Ratio 4:3
Response Time (ms) 25
Interface Analog / Digital

FREQUENCY Horiz. Rate (Analog) 30-81
° Horiz. Rate (Digital) 30-63
Vertical Rate 56-75
Bandwidth 135

RESOLUTION Maximum (Analog) 1280 x 1024
° Maximum (Digital) 1280 x 1024
Native 1280 x 1024

COLOR Maximum 16.7 M

SIGNAL INPUT Input Video Signal Analog RGB, DVI Digital link
Video Level: Analog 0.7VP-P
° Video Level: Digital TMDS°
Sync Type Separate H/V, Composite H/V
Input Connectors 15pin D-sub

PLUG & PLAY DDC DDC 2B

POWER On/Working 40 Watts (Max)

REGULATIONS Safety UL 1950, CE, CSA, TUV, NEMKO, EK, CCIB, PSB, GOST, SIQ, PCBC, NOM, IRAM, SASO
EMI/Emissions FCC, CE, MPR II, VCCI, MIC, BSMI, C-TICK, GS
Emission Standard TCO '95

DIMENSIONS Physical (WxHxD) 14.5" x 15.5" x 7.0"
WEIGHT Net (Physical) 11 lbs.

FEATURES Dual CPU input, built-in power supply, narrow bezel, pivot technology.
WARRANTY Parts/Labor/Backlight 3 / 3 / 3 years
COMPATIBILITY Operating Systems Windows
Macintosh
Sun Microsystems

The packaging and base functionality of the 173T is virtually identical to that of the 173B. It, too, has the same pivoting feature, which along with the supplied Pivot Pro software, allows the monitor to be switched easily between portrait and landscape modes. This view is great for reading text and most other documents meant to be printed on letter or legal sheets, and for viewing many web sites. The main article pages of SPCR, for example, generally become easier to read in portrait mode. Please refer to the Samsung SyncMaster 173B LCD monitor review for details.

CONNECTIONS & CONTROLS

Six button controls are positioned on the bottom portion of the bezel. There is a small green LED light that indicates power.

  • The right button is the power switch.
  • The left Auto button provides an auto adjustment. From the manual: "Auto adjustment allows the monitor to self-adjust to the incoming video signal. The values of fine, coarse and position are adjusted automatically.
  • The Exit/Source button does double-duty as a "back" button when you're in the on-screen menu, and to switch between digital and analog inputs.
  • The third button from the left functions as a "-" (minus) button in the menu and as a "MagicBright" button when pressed outside of the on-screen menu. It allows you to preset brightness to manual, Text, Internet and Entertain modes.
  • The other buttons are self-explanatory; the menu structure is the same as in the 173B.

The power input jack and the digital & analog inputs are located on the back panel, in a recess that faces down. >5' length cables for all three are included. Access is easiest with the monitor screen rotated to the portrait position as in the photo below.

One aspect of the 173T which is shared with the 173B, of course, is that the 4-screw plate to the base conforms to a 100mm x 100mm VESA-compliant mounting interface pad. This means that it can be used with a standard wall mounting bracket for monitors.

USABILITY

Like the 173B, the Samsung 173T is pleasant to look at, takes up only a tiny part of your desktop, requires no weightlifters to move around, doesn't cost an arm or leg, consumes only 40W (less than half of the ~100W or more of a typical 19" CRT) gives you instant portrait viewing mode and has zero geometric distortions.

The overall quality, brightness and sharpness of the 173T is excellent. It easily matches or exceeds the performance of my current best 19" monitor, a "Pure Flatface" screen AOC 9KLR that has .21mm (h) dot pitch and very good overall sharpness and contrast.

In comparison with the 173B in analog mode, with a Matrox G550 32mb dual-head display providing the input, and the display set to the native resolution of 1280 x 1024, the performance difference is extremely difficult to distinguish. Perhaps the higher contrast of the 173T comes through in some high quality 4 meg photos.

In the digital mode, the difference is more apparent.

  • With analog input, neither of the monitors could properly display 1280 x 1024 at 32-bit color. It had to be set to 24 or 16 bit. With the 173T digital input, there was no problem whatsoever with the 32-bit setting, which provides a wider range of colors.
  • The higher contrast specified for the 173T was more apparent, probably because it could display 32-bit color. Some images did appear with more vividness.
  • This could have been imagined, but some types of fonts appeared somewhat easier to read.
  • DVD playback may have been slightly smoother.
  • There is very little or no perceptible difference in brightness between center and edges; the consistency is excellent. The viewing angles are wider than the 173B as well.

CONCLUSIONS

The Samsung SyncMaster 173T is a very good LCD monitor: excellent all-around performance, digital input for top resolution input, absolutely no noise, and a powerful pivoting feature. It is even more sleek and stylish than the 173B and the built-in power supply eliminates the need for another transformer box from the clutter under the desk. The digital input and built-in power supply are reasons enough to justify the small price increase of the 173T over the 173B. Samsung backs up the unit with a 3 year warranty for parts, labor& LCD backlight.

Now the question is when will we see a really fast response LCD monitor suitable for the most demanding gamers?

Our thanks to Samsung Canada for the review sample and for their kind support.

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