Samsung SyncMaster 971P LCD - Software, Setup and Performance

Article Index
Samsung SyncMaster 971P LCD
Technology Advancements and Specs
Software, Setup and Performance

No OSD (On Screen Display)?

The 971P is not the first monitor from Samsung that uses a software solution to control the features of the monitor. MagicTune, Samsung’s software based OSD, controls the many features of this monitor that include contrast, brightness, Kelvin temperature, color control, positioning, and many other features. The downside to this software is that it only works with certain video cards, and does not work if you plan to use dual screens with another monitor from a different manufacturer.  For two weeks or so, I was tearing my hair out when I was using the 971P with my Acer AL1916W LCD. Unplugging the Acer, rebooting, and properly installing the newest version of MagicTune with the newest drivers from ATI resolved that problem.

 

 MagicTune - Brightness
MagicTune - Brightness
MagicTune - Color Control
MagicTune - Color Control
   
 MagicTune - Positioning
MagicTune - Positioning
 MagicTune - Preferences
MagicTune - Preferences

For anyone that cannot get MagicTune to work, some aspects of the monitor can be controlled via the round button on the base of the monitor. I also found that the software will crash any computer that does not have the appropriate video cards drivers installed. If you want to re-install or install the newest video card drivers from your manufacturer, uninstall MagicTune before proceeding further.

 

Testing & Performance:

During the testing on primary computer system, I was really impressed by the level of contrast and brightness had to offer.  Setting the proper level of reds, greens, and blues took very little time compared to the some of the lower cost TN panels that I have used. I would take photos, but photos don’t cut for it this monitor. Movie playback with both XviD and DVD content was impressive. All the colors shined through vibrantly and all the black portions of the movies were absolute black, even in a true black viewing environment. Photo editing was superb while using Photoshop. All the photos that I took of my new car were closely perfect to what the naked eye would see. I hardly had to edit any colors in the images to make them perfect. If the colors had to be corrected, they turned out perfect afterwards with use of the color profile provided on the CD. There was absolutely none to very little backlight bleeding, something you would normally see on TN or IPS panels if you were to turn off all lights and look at the LCD. You have to see it for yourself to know that this is a high performing product. I didn’t do any game testing with this LCD, as this is not the 971P’s selling point. As I mentioned earlier, if you want something that will perform well in gaming, you are better off saving your money and buying a TN panel.  Something else that will surprise you is that this monitor was able to be moved within Samsungs’ advertised 178 degree viewing angle, and the contrast, brightness, contrast, and colors did not distort! I found this very impressive indeed.


For the typical high-dot pixel problems that I normally see in Samsung’s V, T,N,  and BW panels, I never saw one high-dot pixel in this panel. It is nice to know that Samsung maintains their quality control in their higher-end products, but I wish this same level of quality control would be applied to their lower end LCD’s. I have seen a lot of 205BW’s with high-dot problems, and it is a shame as it is a well priced 20” widescreen LCD. Perhaps they fixed this problem in the 203BW. The only other Samsung monitor that I have seen that can compare to the 971Ps’ quality is the 931C. I’d hate to bash Samsung in this regard, but I’ve owned my Acer TN based LCD for the past two years, and it doesn’t have any dead/stuck pixels, or suffer from the well known “no DVI output” problems.

 

Final Words:

In all, did I think Samsung did a good job with this monitor? Yes, they did an excellent job. No stuck/dead pixels, none to very little backlight bleeding, and excellent viewing angles. The only things that I would be a stickler about would be the software support. It would be nice to use dual screens with this LCD, and have the software support it. It would also be nice to update video card drivers without MagicTune throwing a fit over it, or causing nasty bluescreens. Seeing that I am also a Linux user, there is no software support for that Operating System. I don’t expect Samsung to come through with a solution for it as Linux is hard to implement one for every distribution on this Earth, but it would be nice to have control over the monitor in that kind of environment. Quality control is excellent for this particular LCD, but I would like to have that expanded to those that can only afford TN based LCD’s. This LCD was priced anywhere up to the $380 U.S. mark, so this is an expensive LCD for what it offers.

Pros:

  • Excellent viewing angle.
  • No stuck or dead pixels.
  • Very little backlight bleeding.

Cons:

  • Software control only.
  • No Linux support.
  • Quite expensive for the average user.


BCCHardware.com Rating
Quality:
9/10
Performance:
8/10
Software Pack:
8/10
Stability:
7/10
Features:
9/10
Value:
7/10
Total Score 8.0
 
I'd like to thank Samsung SEC for allowing us to review this monitor. It’s just a shame that I can’t keep it.  Smile
 
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