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Samsung SyncMaster XL30 LED Backlit LCD

Samsung SyncMaster XL30

Manufacturer: Samsung
UK Price (as reviewed): £2,639.40 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $3965.97 (ex. Tax)

It was way back in the very dying days of 2005 when Dell wheeled out the first vaguely affordable 30-inch monitor. The 3007WFP may have been flawed (single DVI input, dodgy backlighting and all that jazz), but with a massive 2,560 x 1,600 native resolution and slick styling it was probably the most desirable monitor on the face of the planet.

Fast forward more than two and a half years and 30-inch monitor prices have been creeping slowly but surely downwards. The 3007WFP launched at around the £1,400 mark. If you choose your moment and snag one of those online super specials, you can currently pick up a 30-incher for a little over £800.

Samsung SyncMaster XL30 LED Backlit LCD Samsung SyncMaster XL30 Samsung SyncMaster XL30 LED Backlit LCD Samsung SyncMaster XL30

There's also more choice in the 30-inch segment than before. HP has picked up the same LG IPS panel used by Dell (and Apple, as it goes) and Samsung has mixed things up with the PVA-powered 305T. NEC also came along and simply blew us away with its LCD3090WQXi, but it's unclear exactly what panel technology was used by the company.

Having said that though, 30-inch screens have hardly hit the mainstream and their high price puts them out of reach of most. And if that's not enough, many will find they don't have the space for one, but they are much more attainable than ever before.

In that context, this all-new model from Samsung might seem a little off target. With a list price towards the thick end of £3,000, it's around three times that of most competing 30-inchers, including Samsung's own 305T, and nearly double the price of NEC's 3090WQXi. Except the XL30 isn't actually designed to compete with the likes of the 305T, Dell's current incumbent the 3008WFP or HP's LP3065.

Samsung SyncMaster XL30 LED Backlit LCD Samsung SyncMaster XL30 Samsung SyncMaster XL30 LED Backlit LCD Samsung SyncMaster XL30

Instead, it's unashamedly aimed at the less price sensitive professional market – graphic designers, printers, publishers and other occupations where large, high resolution monitors aid productivity. Of course, colour accuracy is typically a critical factor for pro users and that's exactly what the XL30 is designed to deliver courtesy of its killer feature, an LED backlight. The consequence, according to Samsung, is much purer backlighting and industry leading colour accuracy and range.