Samsung 172x TFT Monitor Review
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toaster

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Samsung 172x Monitor Review: A Pleasant Departure from the Audio World.

Anyone who knows anything about computer monitors knows that when LCD monitors came out, they sucked. Quite simply, early LCD technology was merely a gimmick for the rich to own a new, smaller, (but terribly poor performing) piece of hardware.

Through the years, LCD quality improved greatly, but lagged behind the quality of a top of the line trinitron CRT display. Only recently has image quality truly begun to contend with the giants, like the P1110/G500 Trinitron Picture Tubes. In the last few weeks my trusty P1110 started to choke, and I was forced to look into replacement options.

Reluctant to dive into the LCD world (up until now, i myself have been skeptical about LCD technology) i initially thought about replacing my 21 inch trinitron with another one. However, the idea of purchasing a new bulky monitor did not enthrall me. What really eliminated the possibility of purchasing a new trinitron for me, was the fact that it is nearly impossible to find a new G500 anywhere. There were a bunch of used, discolored models on ebay, but those were not going to cut it. So i decided it was time to take the look into the LCD world and see what it had to offer.

Once i decided i was going to go this route, i quickly thought apple cinema display. i'd seen a couple, i liked them a lot. they had received many accolades in the past so i figured one might suit me well. What i did not like so much about this monitor, was the idea of buying an apple product. i am truly not a fan of apple, i do not like their business ethic at all, (i've had quite poor experience with customer service, or lack thereof, with my ipod) and i believe they put too much money into marketing their products but not enough money on actually delivering a quality product. Yeah, i still think the ipod is without question the most intuitive mp3 player on the market in terms of controls and such, but my overall experience with transferring songs onto it has been far...FAR...from perfect. Sorry, i am bashing apple, i'll stop. Needless to say, i did not choose the apple monitor.

As my LCD search continued i began to hit a lot of reviews of Samsung displays. Every review i read about one of their displays was glowing. A few years ago i was in a compusa and saw a syncmaster (samsung’s brand name for LCD's) flatpanel for the first time. I remembered being impressed with the quality. Moreso than i had ever been with any other LCD I had seen, but still not impressed enough to feel it could rightly replace my trinitron. So considering i needed a new monitor at this time, in conjunction with my memory of syncmaster products in the past, and present encounter with a plethora of glowing reviews for Samsung, my interest was piqued.

I thought about maintaining my large screen size; my sony (which i gave to my little brother by the way) is 19.6 inches viewable screen size. So a 20 inch LCD would have provided roughly that same viewable. *CRT's are measured by actual monitor size, not viewable screen size. Whereas LCD panels are measured, just like TV's, in viewable screen size* So i thought about a 20 inch LCD, but unfortunately in the LCD world, new technology always comes out first for small screens, and then later on, we figure out how to implement it into larger displays. So, at this time, i made the decision to choose image quality on a 17” monitor over a larger display with slightly less quality.

After this thinking, i narrowed my decision down to 2 monitors: The Samsung 173p, and the 172X. Both of these monitors seemed equally great in their own way, based on the reviews i read. i had a bit of difficulty deciding which to choose. The 173p was, believe it or not, actually designed by Porsche - yes, the same people that brought you the 911 - so it has uber style. The 172X did not lag far behind, at all in terms of design. As a matter of fact, i would go as far as to say the 172X is the most beautiful LCD display i have ever seen in person. It has NOT A THING on the front panel, other than the screen and the border around it. There are no TCO labels (energy efficiency stuff) or even a samsung logo. I know of no other company that has ever thought to do this. It really enhances the experience of using the monitor tremendously.

Here's what sold me on the 172x over the 173p: a 12ms pixel refresh rate.
Up until now, "ghosting" has been the biggest problem with LCD's and the main reason i myself have not gotten one. Due to the nature of LCD displays, we have been unable to flash pixels on and off fast enough so that they do not lag and cause trails of what was on screen a second ago. Well, with the advent of faster and faster pixel refresh rater, we have been cutting down tremendously on this phenomenon. The 172X has a 12 ms pixel refresh rate, the fastest to date. The 173p has a 25 ms pixel refresh rate, which is still quite good, but because the 172X was faster, i decided to jump on it.

So, i ordered the 172X from PCNation and received free 2-3 day shipping. The monitor arrived after only 2 days and my experience with the site and customer service was impeccable throughout ordering process.

Looks: Like i said before, this monitor is beautiful. It is the most beautiful monitor i have ever seen, in terms of build quality, screen "cleanness" and style. It is silver and has nothing more than a tiny border around the screen. There are no labels, no text or anything on this border. It truly does make looking at the screen a delight.

Image Quality (colors): I have not had much experience with flat panel displays, because until now i have simply not believed they could provide me with an enjoyable experience. The 172X impressed me here. The color saturation on this monitor is extraordinarily lush, much moreso than even my old trinitron ever was. With current LCD technology, it does seem like color saturation is one definitive edge LCD's have over CRT's. After seeing the 172X, i am definitely a believer of this now. Looking at pictures, i was amazed at how much more accurate and life-like colors looked when compared to my trinitron.

Image Quality (text): Once my old trinitron started to go, text became near impossible to read. So it was very nice to receive the 172X and be able to not only read text again, but to be able to read it better than ever before. The 172X makes internet surfing, typing and reading text, a joy. Text is super sharp on this monitor.

Image Quality (Games): This is the kicker. LCD's have NEVER been any good at games. It is only very recently that hardcore gamers would even consider using an LCD as their primary display. Which is funny, because all the people that go to lan parties and such, are the ones who could use a portable LCD display the most. Well, ladies and gentleman, those waiting for an LCD that was capable of gaming, wait no more. The 172X is your monitor. Playing games on this thing is not similar to playing on a CRT, it IS playing on a CRT, except it's on an LCD. Performance is that good. Ghosting simply does not exist. I was truly amazed at what i was seeing. As a matter of fact, with the extra vibrance of color which this LCD displayed, i would even go as far as to say gaming was BETTER than on a CRT. Did i just say that? Yes.

From 21" to 17": Would i have liked to have 20 inches of viewable space? Yes. Do i feel like my screen was robbed, having gone from my 19.6 inches viewable to 17" viewable? Not really. Although the 172X's 17 inches viewable space is noticeably smaller and running at a native resolution of 1280X1024, whereas i always ran 1600X1200 on my sony, i do not really miss my sony at all. The space saved, and looks alone, even before the monitor is turned on, make the 172X a worthy space filler (or saver) for the 2 ton trinitron.

Packaging: Everything i could possibly think of was included in the box. Power cord, DVI and analog cables were included. The monitor has 2 inputs by the way, one for DVI and one for RGB, so dual computer-running is possible. A plate for wall mounting was even included as well, with screws to install it.

Overall: This monitor is a crowd pleaser. Even if you do not appreciate technology (oh wait, i am in head-fi, of course you appreciate technology) this monitor will make you think it came straight out of a museum with its sleek design. When you turn it on, it only continues to impress. If you are a gamer, waiting for an LCD, wait no longer.

The Samsung 17” 172X can be had for roughly $550.
 
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Welly Wu

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Does this not belong in the computers as source or member's lounge forum?
 
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toaster

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you're right. i just know most people come here. i thought this product might be of interest to some people, so i posted it where i thought it'd get the most views.

mods - move if it it's a problem.
 
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