Review: Samsung SyncMaster TA350

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Monitors, especially big ones, usually pulls double duty as TV screens for tech-savvy users. PCI TV tuners are inexpensive, and are easily obtainable through various resellers in the country. So it’s only fitting then that Samsung releases a monitor that’s able to do that out of the box while delivering excellent color reproduction and performance.
The 24-inch, LED TA350 looks good, but is a tad too generic looking for my tastes. All the standard Samsung styling cues is present – rounded corners, crystal-like bezel edges, touch-sensitive controls on the front. It’s not the thinnest monitor around mind you (having an overall depth of about 33mm without the stand), but it’s not a chunky monkey either. The TA350 has done away with the gigantic powerbrick, which to be honest is one of my pet peeves when it comes to monitors, and instead connects directly to the socket with a single wire.
There’s a variety of connectors on the back of the device, which include both digital connections (HDMI) and analog ones (D-sub, Composite, RF, etc.).
The TA350 includes a nice, big remote to help you navigate TV channels when you’re not using it as a monitor.
It’s a decent TV tuner too, and managed to grab most of the cable channels I enjoyed from my local cable provider. There wasn’t much noise in the signal, and the TA350 did a good job overall with what it was presented with.
As with most modern TVs nowadays, it’s able to accept USB sticks that have music, photo or videos in them and is able to play them without being attached to a PC. It’s also able to be mounted on a wall using standard VESA mounting solutions. Another nice feature is the picture-in-picture (PIP) system that works even if you’re using the TA350 as a monitor.
Resolution-wise, the TA350 is able to go as high as 1080p (1920×1080), which is a bit disappointing, since my older Acer monitor is able to go as high as 1920×1200. Still it’s not a deal-breaker for me, and it’s safe to assume that it’s not going to be a problem with prospective buyers.
Once you have everything hooked up, you’ll begin to appreciate how good the picture quality is. The colors are nice and crisp, and the blacks are well defined. I plugged in my 1080p copy of Inception and my jaw dropped, literally, from the amazing picture quality that this little 24-inch monitor put out.
It was a similar story once I got my gaming groove on. Using an HDMI connection from my PC, I was happily fragging my friends online on max graphical settings without ghosting or video latency. Sure I couldn’t go up to 1920×1200 because of the 1080p resolution limit, but it was a minor thing. Point is, the TA350 was able to keep up, and that’s all that matters.
The only issue I had with the device was that it made me go through a lot of hoops before I was able to use it with my PC properly using HDMI. The first time I plugged it in, it had very poor resolution and my desktop didn’t even fit in the screen properly even when I set the resolution down to (an inferior) 1680 x 1050. It turned out that you first had to go Source, then rename the HDMI selection to PC before it would display properly. After I did that, everything was hunky-dory. But here’s the thing – there was no mention of this particular process in the manual, and I had to root around in different forums before I found a fix for it. It was extremely annoying, to say the least.
As it stands, the SyncMaster TA350 is an excellent monitor/TV – once you get it configured properly, that is.
What’s Hot:
Excellent picture quality
PIP
Takes standard VESA mounting solutions
Can play content without a PC plugged in
What’s Not:
Makes you go through hoops before you’re able to use a PC HDMI connection on it.
Bottomline:
The SyncMaster TA350 is a good monitor and a good TV, provided you’re able to configure it correctly.
Buymeter: 8.5