DESIGN & BUILD
Samsung has never been one for equipping its monitors with five-star hardware, and although the S23B550 is pretty easy on the eyes, it's a little light on features.
The stand only lets you tilt the screen very slightly and there are no handy extras like a USB hub. All you'll find in the S23B550 is a couple of HDMI ports, a VGA entry, two 5-watt speakers and a headphones socket—which at least helps it scrape its way to three stars in this part of the review. Samsung has, however, added a mini-jack audio entry so you can use the speakers while connected via VGA (which, unlike HDMI, doesn't input an audio signal).
With its HDMI inputs and built-in speakers, this monitor can easily be used as an occasional TV if you fancy hooking up your set-top box, Blu-ray player, PS3 or Xbox 360.
COLORS & CONTRAST
We measured an average Delta E of 3 for the S23B550, which means that colours are displayed accurately in spite of a slightly dominant red. That's a perfectly respectable result that we weren't able to improve with the various options in the onscreen menu.
The average contrast isn't quite as impressive, however. At 780:1, this is below average compared with the other monitors we've reviewed (850:1). The black's lack of depth is particularly visible too (0.29 cd/m² for a white at 228 cd/m²).
With its factory settings, the S23B550 is prone to some pretty strong reverse ghosting. To get rid of this, you need to switch the "Response Time" setting from "Fast" to "Normal". This gets rid of reverse ghosting but makes for a response time suited only to office computing and web browsing activities.
This graph shows the ghosting time, measured in ms, which measures the time it takes this monitor takes to entirely remove the previous frame. The shorter the time, the more fluid moving images will appear.
All in all, the Samsung SyncMaster S23B550 is the kind of monitor that's best used for office computing and web surfing.