Samsung SyncMaster T240
Real World Use
As we discussed earlier, all TN panels suffer from poor viewing angles and backbleed, but there is one other concern that is common to TN panels: color rendition. TN panels suffer from potential color rendition issues that do not occur in professional-quality panels of other technologies such as IPS. Generally speaking, TN panels are not suited for professional graphics or photography work where extremely accurate color rendition is critical. That’s not to say they can’t be used for Photoshop and other similar work, but they are better suited to the user that’s more apt to be taking family pictures, home movies, and so forth. TN panels are also far better suited to gaming due to the noted fast response times an average home or office use such as word processing, basic multimedia use, and so forth.
In order to have a better idea of how the T240 actually performed in real world settings, we decided to put it side-by-side with another TN panel, a PVA panel, and a CRT monitor and ran some games and photos to see exactly what the differences might be. After running the Samsung beside the others for over a week, we found the Samsung T240 outperformed the Dell TN panel and we were far more impressed with the T240’s color rendition. Dell monitors are no slouches either, and they are known to outsource to Samsung for manufacturing, so the difference between the two TN panels may be the T240’s included MagicTune software that allowed for brighter whites and better nuances between softer gradations in both colour and greyscale.
The T240 has excellent color rendition for a TN panel, surprisingly crisp and vibrant. The whites are brilliantly clear, no hints of gray, and the brown/earth tones which are notoriously difficult to render correctly look very good. Poor rendition of flesh tones are also easy to spot, and the Samsung did a fantastic job of keeping these tones somewhat muted and not overly-saturated, as is the case with some monitors. In an effort to pump-up vibrance, some manufacturers sacrifice this color rendition, and flesh tones tend to look far too red and/or bright on many LCD panels. Thankfully, the T240 does not suffer this problem, and is very successful with these difficult subjects and pleasing to the eye. The T240 certainly cannot compete with the colour rendition of our PVA panel, but the T240 is almost half the price as well. Again, this is where the TN panel technology is more suited to mainstream users since they are far more affordable and acceptable for general daily use.
The specifications regarding the Samsung T240’s response time are stated as 5ms, which is very fast and is a hallmark of TN panels. To test the responsiveness of the T240, we tried various shooter-type games, which demand extremely fast response times, otherwise “ghosting” and/or “lag” can be easily noticed on the screen when playing.
Playing Call of Duty: World at War and Mirror’s Edge seemed like a good idea since they’re two games of polar opposite art direction and visual style to see the differences. World at War features extensive polychromatic visuals, lots of earth tones, and subtle nuances in some textures that can be difficult to distinguish with a poor monitor. Conversely, Mirror’s Edge features vivid and saturated colours with stark minimalism, bold lighting, and harsh contrasts. After many gaming sessions the clarity and contrast was top-notch, and at 1920×1200 native resolution, the games looked gorgeous. Mind you, if you are a enthusiast gamer, then you may consider a dual-card graphics setup to keep respectable framerate numbers, since a 24" monitor has almost 1,000,000 more pixels than a 22" monitor. Just something to keep in mind as a byproduct of the higher resolution.
After trying the games, it became apparent that Samsung T240 as no problems whatsoever with ghosting or lag, and can handle any game you throw at it. The PVA panel, however, did suffer ghosting issues, and was particularly noticable in high-contrast or well-lit areas of the game. The CRT does not have any lag whatsoever, as the technology essentially projects the images instantaneously. You can enable Vertical Sync on an LCD monitor to help "approximate" a CRT effect which will reduce image tearing, but LCDs are still nowhere close to the absolute smoothness of a CRT during fast-motion actions.