Tiny but also capable: the SyncMaster 151MP

Tiny but also capable: the SyncMaster 151MP

BOX SCORE

A minusSamsumg SyncMaster 151MPM


15-INCH LCD MONITOR/TUNER


Samsung Electronics America Inc.
Irvine, Calif.;
tel. 800-SAM-SUNG
www.samsungusa.com/
monitor


Price: $800


+Portable display

+ Clear image resolution

+ Inexpensive

- Poorly designed front controls


Real-life requirements:


300-MHz or faster Pentium II CPU, 128M of RAM, 120M of free storage

The SyncMaster 151MP does three jobs well: color monitor, TV tuner and portable presentation display.

The 7.6-pound Samsung SyncMaster 151MP LCD goes where PC monitors have seldom gone before: on the road. For example, it can serve as a portable TV as well as for high-definition presentations from a disk, when connected to a host's PC.

The base of the $800 LCD converts to a handle, and well-designed ports make it easy to connect the 12-volt AC adapter and various types of video cabling.

The 151MP is the first truly affordable LCD we've tested at the GCN Lab. Street prices as low as $699, however, do not include an optional external TV tuner, which plugs into the back and connects to a cable TV wall jack.

You need no external speakers for TV; the 151MP has built-in speakers at the sides'an improvement over LCDs with awkward snap-on speakers.

But the most impressive thing about the 151MP was its color image quality at a native resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels. At first I assumed mediocre images would be the tradeoff for its compact size'it measures 14.1 by 14.2 inches with a 6.9-inch base'and low weight. But even people passing through the lab commented about the high image quality; the refresh rate is 70 hertz at maximum resolution.

The wall-mountable LCD had a remote control with even more features than the LCD control panel. Besides the standard picture-in-picture, connection selection and contrast, the remote could adjust channels up and down.

Button problems

I found two minor flaws. First, a lag in responding to the remote control sometimes gave the impression that the remote wasn't working.

Second, trying to turn off the monitor manually often caused confusing volume or channel shifts. The power button was centered among four other buttons for channel and volume, and they, unlike the power button, were touch-sensitive and far too easy to activate.

Samsung should reduce the sensitivity of the four surrounding buttons or simply move the power button elsewhere.

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