IveВ been using the Samsung SyncMaster SA550 for about a month now and, as promised, here are my final thoughts of it.В If youВ didntВ already, make sure you check out my first impressions of this monitor here. В (This review will make a lot more sense) As mentioned, IвЂ™ve had this monitor attached to my 2011 Sandy Bridge MacBook Pro for about a month now and itвЂ™s been treating me great to be blunt and honest.В I had my doubts of attaching the Macbook Pro to a 23вЂќ display, with it having intelsВ integrated HD 3000 graphics and all. ( A little more on that below.) В My thoughts on this monitor overall, while it is a tad bit pricey, В have not changed much. And ifВ youveВ read my first impressions then you must know that this is a good thing!В This monitor has really eased my workload, so even though it was about 250 bucks, I can easily say it has paid for itself. I have a lot of good things to say about this monitor so letвЂ™s get down to it! Here is my full review and final impressions of the Samsung SyncMsater SA550.
To start off I would like to address a question that IвЂ™ve been asked countless times.В вЂњDoes the monitor get that nasty yellow tint?вЂќ As IвЂ™ve mentioned in my first impressions, I have had no problems with any yellow tinting. My brotherвЂ™s iMac has a slight yellow tint problem so no worries guys (and girls ;D ) I know what IвЂ™m talking about here. В If I open a blank word document and maximize it, it looks white as snow. (Without that yellow stuff you find time to time!)
The monitor has a refresh rate of 2ms and to this day I have not noticed once any ghosting problems. В But I have noticed some pixilation lag which I mentioned below in the Macbook Section; itвЂ™s more likely to be a graphics card issue rather than a monitor one though.
The LED backlit display has a crisp resolution of 19201080 and it is simply a pleasure to work on. ( As clichГ© as that sounds!) In my first impressions I said that the colors arenвЂ™t as vibrant than glossy monitors, while that may be true, IвЂ™ve noticed IвЂ™ve been watching more movies on this monitor than my glossy Macbook ProвЂ™s. Not just because of size but I have noticed that after a long period of watching movies or shows on any glossy monitor my eyes start to hurt a bit. (My friends HP monitor) But with the Samsung, while itВ isntВ the most vibrant, it is a great companion monitor to watch movies on.В And I do watch plenty of movies! And whether IвЂ™m watchingВ DVDsВ or simply watching youtube videos the Samsung SA550 gets the job done right.
When it comes to doing work such as photo/video editing this monitor is A-MA-ZING. В I canвЂ™t go back to editing on my Macbook ProвЂ™s glossy monitor after using the Samsung for so longвЂ“ again not because of sizeвЂ”but rather the colors arenвЂ™t as accurate. DonвЂ™t get me wrong, IвЂ™m a Mac guy and I love the Macbook Pro but when it comes to work the Samsung attached to it just blows it out the water. В At first glance, there isnвЂ™t much about the Samsung that separates it from your typical glossy.В However, I do a lot of photo editing and IвЂ™ve edited the same picture on the Samsung, the Macbook Pro, and the iMac. Once IвЂ™ve actually printed out the photo, I can easily say that the Samsung had the much more accurate colors; hence my opinion that the Samsung was the best to edit photos on.
NOTE: I am using an HDMI cable with this monitor which is NOT included in the box. Definitely get an HDMI cable if youвЂ™re planning to get this monitor for the best results.
Aesthetics and Build
I understand that looks donвЂ™t change but I had to bring it up again. As with a lot of new products that you buy the first impressions are always, вЂњThis machine looks incredibleвЂќ. However about a few weeks later the looks seem to lose its lust. And I usually fall victim to this of course. However when it comes to this monitor I must say that it has not lost its appeal. It just sits nice and sleek next to my Macbook Pro and I CONSTANTLY get reminded by friends and family of how вЂњProвЂќ it looks.
Setting up the monitor is a breeze. It has a few pieces that pop together in place. (Pieces are pretty much self-explanatory) The entire feeling hallow argument that I stated in my first impressions actually no longer bother me at all. I go to electronic stores often and I can say that as of 2011 a lot, if not all Samsung monitors, have the same hallowed feel to it.
Keep in mind that the actual display is plastic. (Including the what looks like a glass border around the display)
I stated in my first impressions that I didnвЂ™t like how the touch sensitive buttons felt unresponsive. IвЂ™ve tried tampering with it daily JUST to see if my opinions on it would change: it hasnвЂ™t.В I really never need to use them but for the sake of having my final impressions of it I had to give it some time.В I like physical buttons like my friends HP monitor. It feel faster to navigate through menus on my friends HP monitor with the physical buttons. On my Samsung I feel as if I have to be gentle with it to get the touch sensitive buttons to register. While not a huge deal it does slow you down. And of course IвЂ™m sure a lot of us wonвЂ™t be changing the monitorsвЂ™ settings hourly so it wouldnвЂ™t be a big deal regardless.
I think this monitor is a great deal. While it is a tad bit pricey at about 250 dollars, you do get what you pay for. В I know you can find many monitors online for a great bargain but dont stump this monitor out yet. ItвЂ™s hard to explain but you wonвЂ™t notice how nice this monitor really is untilВ youveВ used it for a long period of time and then try out another. В You not only appreciate it more but you also В really get the sense just how nice and accurate colors are. Thumbs up to Samsung!
Connecting to a 2011 13вЂќ Macbook Pro? (For those interested)
For the actual set up, it is a tad bit annoying because the Macbook Pro doesnвЂ™t have a dedicated HDMI port. Instead it has a Mini display port or my case the Thunderbolt port. You pretty much have to buy a little connector that you plug right into the Mini display/Thunderbolt port and on the other side youвЂ™ll have your HDMI port that you simply connect an actual HDMI cable to.В The Samsung SA550 doesnвЂ™t come with an HDMI cable so youвЂ™ll have to invest in that as well. В Once connected youвЂ™ll have to go into system preferences and click display.В There you can calibrate your screen, set the monitor to mirror mode or have it extend your desktop.
Note: When using it in mirrored mode I did notice the resolution didnвЂ™t fit the SamsungвЂ™s monitor well. В So I had to use it in clamshell mode. Simply close your Macbook and use a mouse or keyboard to wake the machine up. (While the lid is still closed) And there you have it; the Macbook Pro on your Samsung SA550 with the monitors crisp maxed out resolution.
Performance when connected to a Macbook Pro?
For those curious about the actual performance of this monitor being attached to the baseline 2011 Macbook Pro 13вЂќ look no further. В A lot of people have asked me whether the Intel HD 3000 was capable enough to run an external monitor smoothly. And my answer? В It works PERFECETLY fine when doing your basic task.В No lag, no ghosting, nothing. В However, I have noticed when I am doing work in Adobe Illustrator the Samsung Monitor pixelates. When I hover over the dock, a simple task such as adding a watermark to our TechShift pictures will cause the monitor to pixelate for a moment, which gets pretty annoying quickly. В (ONLY THE DOCK GETS PIXELATED) And yes, without the monitor there is no lag or pixilation with any of my software.
If youвЂ™re not on a tight budget then this monitor is definitely worth considering. В There isnвЂ™t too much to complain about. It is able to connect to a computer or laptop just fine. ItвЂ™s built, while itвЂ™s not the best, В isnвЂ™t too far behind from what other monitors have to offer. I have enjoyed watching movies and videos on this monitor butВ IveВ even more so enjoyed more editing onВ it. And, while the touch sensitive buttons arenвЂ™t my ideal, at the end of the day I must consider that this product is a monitor and it does exactly what it needs to do without any compromise to the actual display. So if youвЂ™re in the market, check out the Samsung SyncMaster SA550. The TechShift team and I definitely recommend it.