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Samsung SyncMaster SA550 Full Review And Final Impressions << TechShift

Samsung SyncMaster SA550 Full Review And Final Impressions


 

 

I’ve been using the Samsung SyncMaster SA550 for about a month now and, as promised, here are my final thoughts of it.  If you didn’t already, make sure you check out my first impressions of this monitor here.  (This review will make a lot more sense) As mentioned, I’ve had this monitor attached to my 2011 Sandy Bridge MacBook Pro for about a month now and it’s been treating me great — to be blunt and honest.  I had my doubts of attaching the Macbook Pro to a 23” display, with it having intel’s integrated HD 3000 graphics and all. ( A little more on that below.)  My thoughts on this monitor overall, while it is a tad bit pricey,  have not changed much. And if you’ve read my first impressions then you must know that this is a good thing!  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 let’s get down to it! Here is my full review and final impressions of the Samsung SyncMsater SA550.

 

 

Display

To start off I would like to address a question that I’ve been asked countless times.  “Does the monitor get that nasty yellow tint?” As I’ve mentioned in my first impressions, I have had no problems with any yellow tinting. My brother’s iMac has a slight yellow tint problem so no worries guys (and girls ;D ) I know what I’m talking about here.  If I open a blank word document and maximize it, it looks white as snow. (Without that yellow stuff you find time to time!)

Samsung SyncMaster SA550 brightness max

Samsung SyncMaster SA550 With brightness max

 

The monitor has a refresh rate of 2ms and to this day I have not noticed once any ghosting problems.  But I have noticed some pixilation lag which I mentioned below in the Macbook Section; it’s more likely to be a graphics card issue rather than a monitor one though.

 

 

The LED backlit display has a crisp resolution of 1920×1080 and it is simply a pleasure to work on. ( As cliché as that sounds!) In my first impressions I said that the colors aren’t as vibrant than glossy monitors, while that may be true, I’ve noticed I’ve been watching more movies on this monitor than my glossy Macbook Pro’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 it isn’t the most vibrant, it is a great companion monitor to watch movies on.  And I do watch plenty of movies! And whether I’m watching DVDs 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.  I can’t go back to editing on my Macbook Pro’s glossy monitor after using the Samsung for so long– again not because of size—but rather the colors aren’t as accurate. Don’t get me wrong, I’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.  At first glance, there isn’t much about the Samsung that separates it from your typical glossy.  However, I do a lot of photo editing and I’ve edited the same picture on the Samsung, the Macbook Pro, and the iMac. Once I’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 you’re planning to get this monitor for the best results.

 

 

Aesthetics and Build

I understand that looks don’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, “This machine looks incredible”. 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 “Pro” 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.

Samsung SyncMaster SA550 Leg

Samsung SyncMaster SA550. You have to pop in the back piece.

Keep in mind that the actual display is plastic. (Including the what looks like a glass border around the display)

 

Buttons

I stated in my first impressions that I didn’t like how the touch sensitive buttons felt unresponsive. I’ve tried tampering with it daily JUST to see if my opinions on it would change: it hasn’t.  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.  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 I’m sure a lot of us won’t be changing the monitors’ settings hourly so it wouldn’t be a big deal regardless.

 

 

 

Value

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.  I know you can find many monitors online for a great bargain but don’t stump this monitor out yet. It’s hard to explain but you won’t notice how nice this monitor really is until you’ve used it for a long period of time and then try out another.  You not only appreciate it more but you also  really get the sense just how nice and accurate colors are. Thumbs up to Samsung!

 

Connecting to a 2011 13” Macbook Pro? (For those interested)

For the actual set up, it is a tad bit annoying because the Macbook Pro doesn’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 you’ll have your HDMI port that you simply connect an actual HDMI cable to.  The Samsung SA550 doesn’t come with an HDMI cable so you’ll have to invest in that as well.  Once connected you’ll have to go into system preferences and click display.  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 didn’t fit the Samsung’s monitor well.  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 13” look no further.  A lot of people have asked me whether the Intel HD 3000 was capable enough to run an external monitor smoothly. And my answer?  It works PERFECETLY fine when doing your basic task.  No lag, no ghosting, nothing.  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.  (ONLY THE DOCK GETS PIXELATED) And yes, without the monitor there is no lag or pixilation with any of my software.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

If you’re not on a tight budget then this monitor is definitely worth considering.  There isn’t too much to complain about. It is able to connect to a computer or laptop just fine. It’s built, while it’s not the best,  isn’t too far behind from what other monitors have to offer. I have enjoyed watching movies and videos on this monitor but I’ve even more so enjoyed more editing on it. And, while the touch sensitive buttons aren’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 you’re in the market, check out the Samsung SyncMaster SA550. The TechShift team and I definitely recommend it.

 

Len Thou

Len is a full time college student who enjoys creative writing, photography, and from time to time boxing. He is an ongoing contributor and publisher to the site. His motto is simply, "Hard Work."

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  • http://www.ND4P90x.com Shane

    I just bought the 27″ and I really like the display and the features, the only problem I have is that when my macbooks display goes to sleep the monitor does as well and the macbook treats this a the monitor is disconnected and all my windows I have open on the external samsung switch over to my macbook screen upon wake.  This is very annoying and I have yet to be able to figure it out.  Any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.  BTW, prior to this monitor I had the dell 25″ and it worked flawlessly.  It became my wifes and that is the reason for the upgrade.   Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      Hello Shane! I had owned the 23″ version and I had never experienced that problem. However, let us stay connected until we figure this one out. Are you using it in Clamshell mode or are you just using it as an extended desktop? 

      • http://www.ND4P90x.com Shane

        Thanks, I use it as an extended desktop.

        • Anonymous

          What happens when you have the Macbook Pro go to sleep, wake it up, then open system preferences and click “Detect Displays”? Does it all revert back?

          • http://www.ND4P90x.com Shane

            That did nothing.  Another note is when I watch the samsung it is acting like I have pulled the plug from the back of the monitor and nothing is driving it.  It starts searching, “Analog/HDMI” through a couple of cycles, then goes to sleep after that.  Once I wake the macbook, the macbook screen turns blue a few times at my login prompt like I just connected a new monitor and it is recognizing it.  Then my background is on the external monitor but all my apps are on my laptop monitor.  That looks to me like the macbook is closing the connection to the monitor not the other way around.  There are two new variables that my other external monitor did not have.  I am using HDMI and I am using a new rocketfish HDMI thunderbolt adapter bought from best buy.  If this keeps up, I am not sure if I am going to return the monitor or give it to my wife and use my old one.  It isn’t fun to have to move windows around a dozen times a day.

          • Anonymous

            Darn man, that’s tough. I wish I knew what I was happening. I did not have any problems with my monitor and I remember waking it from sleep flawlessly. Any chance of just returning it for another 27″? What connection did your dell use?

          • http://www.ND4P90x.com Shane

            Won’t let me reply to your comment.  My Dell Monitor used DVI with an apple DVI adapter.

          • Anonymous

            Does your Dell also have the option for HDMI outputs? If so, you want to switch it to HDMI and see how that fairs? If the dell has the same problem with the HDMI cables, then we may be getting close to an answer. That or try the Samsung with the DVI cables. (If yours had that option.)

          • http://www.ND4P90x.com Shane

            Ok, I have switched back to my Dell 2409 and here is why.  My wife also has a macbook pro, older 2010 model running same version of lion as me but does not have thunderbolt but instead has an NVidia 9600.  I have been testing for about the last hour with her laptop and mine using each type of cable on each monitor.  Conclusion, her laptop does not move the windows back to her primary display upon wake with the Samsung or Dell using either connection type, DVI/HDMI.  Mine does with the Samsung regardless.  Hers also acts like it is reconnecting upon wake with the 2 blue screen flash, but her applications are still open on the samsung.  Mine works great with the dell so I have switched monitors.  I love the looks, weight, styling everything about the samsung, just wish it worked better with my macbook.  So, final thought is either my AMD drivers are not friendly with the new ECO 27″ Samsung, or the thunderbolt software is quirky with the same.  Thanks for all your input.

          • Anonymous

            Glad I can help! And yeah, you can’t go wrong with the dell monitor. I was actually looking to get an Ultrasharp! They look sweet. 

            If you do get the chance,however, would setting your Samsung’s Monitor as the main display change it in anyway?  In preferences click display. There you will see both of your monitor boxes. There is a little white bar which you can hold and drag to make one or the other the main display. Does changing the Samsung to your main display change anything? If not, hopefully somewhere down the line Apple or Samsung will give an update to a fix.

            Thanks again for commenting! 

  • Anonymous

    Sorry Tony for the late reply. But I wrote a little section above about connecting it to a Macbook Pro. However, once you connected the monitor to your Macbook pro, you must then go into system preferences and click monitor. There you will have a few self explanatory options. Such as, mirroring mode, which makes everything you have on your Macbook replicate onto your external. If you want to use it in mirror mode but also have your Macbook Pro’s screen off, you must set it to mirroring mode, close the Macbook Pro and then use an external mouse or keyboard to wake it up. This is called Clam Shell mode. You also have the option to just use your monitor as extra work space, there you can calibrate where your monitor is exactly located. Good luck! If you have any problems, please do not hesitate to write back. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.rusiewski Jim Rusiewski

    Any mac user writing a review on anything automatically means nothing to the world.


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