You'd be hard pushed to find an area of computing that hasn't been influenced by Apple's design. Samsung's latest monitor is no exception, but there's a lot more to it than a whiter shade of pale.
The SyncMaster 960BF features a crisp, bright screen with an impressive contrast ratio of 700:1. Its response time is 4ms, although Samsung does at least admit that this is based on pixels changing from grey to grey.
This is much easier to achieve than the standard test for response time, which is measuring the number of milliseconds it takes for a pixel to change from white to black. Many other monitor manufacturers simply claim low response times, without stating what the time is for.
Samsung confidently states that its monitor provides a realistic gaming experience. We weren't overly impressed with this claim because shadowing was apparent on moving textures. This is something that you wouldn't expect with a 4ms screen.
Twist and turn
However, if you're not into playing fast-moving 3D games, the 960BF copes adequately and provides a uniform and pleasing display. For once, the viewing angle is also highly adjustable. CRTs were adjustable by tilt and swivel options - features that are often ignored these days by flat panel manufacturers.
Thankfully, Samsung bucks the trend. The base of the 960BF has a built in turntable, adjustable screen height and you can also rotate it so that it's portrait rather than landscape. You'll need to run the supplied software for this, and it only works on Windows Me, 2000, NT, XP and Linux - despite the promotional blurb saying that the screen is Apple Mac compatible.
Another pleasing feature is that the 960BF has its one DVI port on the base of the stand along with the power input. The downside is that the DVI port is the sole input option, however Samsung has thoughtfully included a VGA-to- DVI cable.
For a 19-inch monitor, the SyncMaster 960BF is a little on the pricey side. It does have some great features, but for 3D gameplay there's a question mark hanging over its image quality.