A PC monitor that doubles as an HDTV is a nice idea for a home office where space is at a premium. In theory, the Samsung SyncMaster FX2490HD delivers just that. It's a 24-inch PC monitor with a slick industrial design that apes Samsung's HDTV sets.
That means glossy transparent plastics, a super thin chassis and a snazzy chrome stand. In short, it looks expensive. That's just as well because at nearly £400 it is indeed pretty pricey for a 24-inch PC monitor with a TN panel.
Of course, the FX2490HD's real claim to fame is HDTV functionality. It's here that things begin to go wrong, for UK users anyway. Samsung has seen to fit an HD cable TV tuner, as used in the US. But the DVB-T2 tuner required for Freeview HD in the UK is not present. There's only a standard definition DVB-T tuner.
Making matters worse, the FX2490HD doesn't have a DVI port, instead offering a pair of HDMI ports and a VGA socket. In theory, HDMI should work fine with a PC's standard DVI port and an adapter. In practice, signal compatibility can be a problem, as it was during our testing.
To cut a long story short, we failed to get any PC to scan correctly on the FX2490HD. In fact, we had the same problem using a PC with an HDMI port. The moral here is that a PC monitor should have a DVI port, plain and simple.
As for image quality, testing the finer points is tricky when the screen isn't correctly scanned, but the basics – including the brightness of the LED backlight, viewing angles, black levels and vibrancy – look pretty good for a TN panel.
An all-in-one solution is an attractive idea for a cramped home office. Certainly, the Samsung SyncMaster FX2490HD is a sexy bit of kit with a convincing looking mini-HDTV vibe. For the most part, it's well specified thanks to an LED backlight and 1080p LCD panel.
£400 is an awful lot of money for a 24-inch monitor with a TN panel. In theory, that price is offset by the HDTV functionality. In practice, the lack of a DVB-T2 tuner makes that idea moot. The absence of a DVI port in favour of HDMI connectivity can also be problematic.