Review: Samsung SyncMaster 2233rz

Our score: 4/5
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January 30, 2009 4:16 PM
 
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Published: January 29, 2009 11:00 PM
By Alexandre Botella
The Samsung SyncMaster 2233rz is a bit of a mouthful to say but shouldn’t have much trouble in making itself known as it joins a select group, the B2403ws, PhrophetView 920, AS4314UTG, 10 20 35, 2407WFP… Take note: here we have a new legendary screen, a monitor that turns the world on its head, introducing a real technological change and even, let’s not be afraid to say it, a true revolution in terms of LCDs.

The 2233rz is the first 120 Hz LCD on the market. A real 120 Hz, not interpolated. If the graphics card can handle it, it will display 120 images per second in games, with at the same time, what is basically zero image ghosting – responsiveness just isn’t an issue – and improved fluidity.

Revolution n°2: if you have a recent 3D NVIDIA card, you will be able to get yourself the wireless 3D glasses so you can play… in 3D. In fact NVIDIA is recycling an old technology here, making the most of the technical advances of the last 10 years. In the meantime, game quality has improved considerably, 3D cards are much more powerful, LCDs have moved ahead of CRTs… The glasses were in fact available too early. Now they’re perfect and quite simply give an amazing effect! The whole editorial team gave them a try as did quite a few other people who just happened to be around! Verdict: everyone was knocked out and had a great time blasting zombies that are even more scary as they come at you in 3D, or skidding around a racing circuit.

Gettting back to the tests: we start with responsiveness. This is the first ''5 stars''!

So then, the first 120 Hz, and the most responsive LCD we’ve tested in the last 8 years. To recap, we haven’t been measuring reactivity in terms of miliseconds for a few years as we don’t see this as an accurate way of judging, but rather in terms of the average number of residual frames. That’s to say in terms of coloured and light images that ghost behind a moving object. It is these imgaes that create a blurred impression (coloured residual images), and white ghosting (transparent residual images). The first score proves much higher than the second, which causes only very slight problems. Here are the comparison scores:
The Samsung SyncMaster 2243rz sweeps the board:


The 120 Hz mean that it has half the ghosting of the fastest LCD that we’ve previously tested. Impressive!
The second plus point in terms of gameplay is the display delay remains under one frame; a delight for gamers.

120 Hz or a move to 3D?

For those who are willing to pay, the screen gives access to a whole new way of experiencing games: 3D. Apart from the 120 Hz screen (real 120 Hz, not interpolated as on televisions), you also need to have an NVIDIA graphics card higher than a 9600GT (at the moment ATI does not have a 3D solution) and the pair of glasses that go with this technologie. At the time of publication of this test, prices are not yet definitively fixed. They should be by March 2009 (the date when these products have been announced for).


3D in practice

315 games are already compatible with this technology to a certain degree. We have focussed on 6 of them:

Race Driver GRID
The 3D effect is already good in this game without the glasses. Using them increases the 3D sensation but without revolutionising the gameplay. Alternating with and without glasses gives a nice variation in effect. If you look at the image of the inside of the cockpit you can see some of the limits in terms of development. Not all the instruments are in 3D.. The steering wheel, for example, or some of the measures on the dashboard are not in 3D on all the cars.


Left 4 Dead:
3D functions perfectly in this game. Excellent. Everyone had a great deal of pleasure with this. Even non-gamers. The depth effects are impressive when you go down the escalators or jump in holes from which gangs of zombies appear.

We did note some bugs (even if they didn’t stop us from playing): flashes of white light in some lighting (particularly visible in the metro), and white shadows on objects of your team mates which have more and more of an effect the deeper you go into 3D effects.

Far Cry 2:
Very good again, we prefer the 3D to the classic version of the game. Once you’ve had a taste of the 3D with glasses, it’s difficult to go back to the classic game.

There are nevertheless a few little things that need correcting. The main 3D problem in Far Cry 2 is how the sight is placed. The sighting crossmark itself is not in 3D but stays on the surface of the image. This is a bit disturbing in the game as you’re constantly refocussing on it. Either you see the cursor in the foreground, or in the back of the screen. This jungling makes your eyes tired, not because of the glasses themselves but because 3D hasn’t been fully implemented into the game. Everything else was very good and we are waiting impatiently for this problem to be resolved so we can fully enjoy the game.

World Of Warcraft:


There are still a few WoW fanatics in the editorial team: long live 3D! However, here aswell the selection function doesn’t appear in 3D. It remains on the surface. We hope there will be a patch to correct this point, which is a problem when you look to click on an enemy in the back of the image field. Note that Blizzard has produced a special patch that should allow an advanced image 3D, contrary to other games which are all in depth at the moment.

Call of Duty 5:

Call of Duty has a 3D sight like Left 4 Dead. Over all the experience is agreable with just one bug that we noticed: the sight jumps and is doubled when the arm is placed in sight mode and you take aim at an enemy.

Civilization 4 :


3D functions but to the great disappointment of Vincent Alzieu, there is no real point to it. Apart from playing with the zoom function, the glasses give nothing extra. This type of game doesn’t yet lend itself to 3D. The developpers would need to move to a much better updated Civ 5 instead of pursuing an aging concept that is hardly updated. Such an opportunity could justify the appearance of new, different, richer games, which wouldn’t be a bad thing in an era of the rehashing again and again of concepts that work…

Overall rating

With the exception of WoW, 3D is only generated in the deep part of the image. Objects that come out of the screen and move towards you are not handled. Players arms also do not have any physical existence. For example your gun goes through fences and is not affected if you move it to the side through the bars. In the future, provision will have to be made for this so that guns cannot go through walls and other objects.

Keep in mind that these games were developped before the 3D NVIDIA solution became available. We hope that games under development at the moment and in the future will be able to take this new dimension into account and correct the faults noted here. 3D is without question the future of video games (probably without glasses one day, but that will be for much later…) What’s more, this technology, in contrast to the solutions by Hyundai or Zalman, causes little tiredness on the eye (or not at all in some cases).

The good news for people who wear glasses is that they do not prevent you from enjoying 3D.

Ergonomics and colours

In terms of ergonomics, this screen has a similar design to the 2233BW, but without the VGA socket. There is a DVI socket at the back, a base on a platter and flowers stencilled into the back.



The colours are not well set. Both blue and orange come out a bit too much, which is why you get the dominant violet within the greys. Unfortunately we weren’t realy able to sort this out with the manual settings. At best you get a deltaE or 6.9 which isn’t great obviously. You’re left with the option of the calibration profile that is available here

The contrast is higher than 950 : 1, which allied to its excellent responsiveness, limits flickering in videos. You therefore get a better image than average for films.
4/5 Samsung SyncMaster 2233rz DigitalVersus 2009-01-30 00:00:00

Pros

  • Excellent responsiveness, the best on the market
  • New game experience with 3D glasses from NVIDIA
  • High contrast
  • Better than average on films

Cons

  • Colour rendering modes are poor
  • Weak ergonomics
  • TN panel = closed angles of vision
  • Price not yet fixed but likely to be high: 300, 400, 500 euros?

Conclusion

The 2233rz is currently the most responsive screen on the market adn by far gives the best performance in 3D. This makes it the reference point in terms of screens in these two domains and gets it a 5-star rating from us. Nevertheless the ergonomics and colour quality leave something to be desired and will no doubt relativise the rating when other similar products come onto the market.

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