Samsung SyncMaster LD220 Inverness
Samsung SyncMaster LD220
The rationale behind Samsung's monitor is that laptop users want an external display that sits at the same height as their laptop's screen. Hence, the LD220 has no stand to raise it off the desk. However, we're not at all convinced that this design is best for users, especially those undertaking the kind of demanding tasks that would require an additional monitor.
Anyone using their laptop on a desk on a daily basis should invest in a laptop stand (or use a pile of books) to bring the screen up to eye level, and then use a separate keyboard and mouse. With this more ergonomic setup, a standard LCD monitor with a stand is a far better match.
The LD220's high price is due to its USB DisplayLink interface. This means you can connect it to a spare USB port and - once you've installed the drivers - you'll benefit from an extra 22 inches of extended desktop. However, this is only necessary if you're not already using your laptop's monitor output for another display.
Unlike smaller DisplayLink screens we've seen, the LD220 isn't USB-powered, so you'll still need to connect it to the mains. There's also a standard VGA interface, which is an odd inclusion, as it's only worth paying the premium for a DisplayLink monitor if you don't have the option to connect it via VGA, making this connector practically redundant.
There are no built-in speakers, which is a missed opportunity, given the poor quality of most laptop speakers and the LD220's ability to play video. Videos in 720p played smoothly over the USB connection, but the monitor's in-built graphics card simply isn't powerful enough to play Blu-ray movies and intensive 3D games.
A flip-out support allows you to tilt the LD220 between 10 and 30 degrees. You navigate the menus using three touch-sensitive controls, which light up when you touch them. Options are limited: you can adjust brightness and switch between the five preset modes, but little else. You can also select which input to use, and change the aspect ratio from Auto to Wide.
For all our gripes, we were impressed with the LD220's image quality. Viewing angles are good, and brightness and contrast are better than on most 22in monitors we've seen recently. Colours are perfectly saturated and reflections from the glossy coating aren't too bad.
However, this monitor has too many drawbacks for us to recommend it. There's no reason to buy it unless you want a monitor with no stand, have no spare monitor outputs on your computer and don't want to use it for games. Save yourself £61 and buy BenQ's E2200HD instead.
1,920x1,080 native resolution, 1,000:1 (20,000:1 dynamic) contrast ratio, 300cd/m? brightness, USB and VGA inputs
Power consumption: 4W standby, 38W on
A great-quality USB monitor that's a good choice only if your laptop's monitor output is already being used for another display.
Author: Jim Martin