Surprisingly, the monitor performed exceptionally well with image tests. I found very little backlight bleed, and what I did find only affected the extreme top and bottom portions of the display (though they were more pronounced when viewing the screen at different angles). There was very little noticeable banding, which could only be observed by getting extremely close to the screen.
It’s my opinion that the 743B may be one of the best pre-configured displays that I have ever seen. The only setting I changed was the brightness, which I lowered to a value of 90. After I had tweaked it, the lights and darks aligned as perfectly as they were going to get, and there was really little else to do overall.
Picture quality is about on par with other comparable LCDs, if not slightly above them. As you may have suspected, I can’t say with much confidence that I believe the contrast ratio is truly 7000:1, because the 743B uses a preset-based system (what the call “MagicBright”) that adjusts colors to a given task (which include text, internet, sport, movie, dynamic contrast and a custom setting).
In the real world, you won’t notice that kind of accuracy, but it’s better than no gain at all. I had the most luck with the dynamic contrast setting which adjusts brightness accordingly, but others will surely prefer one of the other options, depending on what type of work they’re going to be doing.
While I tested the monitor for DVD playback quality and ghosting with a trailing test and playing a fast-paced game called Torus Trooper (not exactly Call of Duty 4, but a step up from an arousing session of solitaire), I didn’t notice any issues other than the occasional tearing, which I’m happy to report.
I’m not so glad about the viewing angles, which are very unforgiving. Looking at the display anywhere other than head-on would result in an immediate loss of clarity. The swivel, tilt and pivoting features of the stand help keep the image centered, but the issue is far from excused because of it. Samsung could have sprung for a slightly better panel for the price, but the industry is already in a give-and-take situation as it is.
I believe it’s going to be hard for the SyncMaster to compete because of the high price and basic exterior. On the surface, it’s a relatively bland monitor, but it’s image quality is enough to make it worth a look. The problem is relaying that message to consumers, who I’m sure will flock to the cheapest models possible. Asking for more inputs would be reaching, in my opinion, but a USB hub would have been a nice addition to have.
If you happen to be in the market for a 17″ monitor, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this monitor. There are other products available with similar (and even more) features, so it’s important to validate your own needs. Obviously, the 743B is a no-frills monitor, but it’s not terrible by any means.
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