Samsung SyncMaster XL30 LED Backlit LCD

Written by Jeremy Laird

August 18, 2008 // 9:29 a.m.

Tags: #30 #backlit #lcd #led #monitor #professional #review #syncmaster #tft

Companies: #samsung

Features and Build Quality

  • Diagonal Dimension: 30 inches
  • Display Type: PVA TFT
  • Backlight: LED
  • Native resolution: 2,560 x 1,600
  • Contrast: 1,000:1
  • Brightness: 200 cd/m²
  • Colour processing: 14-bit LUT
  • Colour gamut: 123 percent NTSC
  • Pixel response: 6ms (grey-to-grey)
  • Viewing angles: 178/178 degrees H/V
  • Inputs: DVI
  • Chassis adjust: Tilt, swivel, height
  • Warranty: Three years parts and labour
Like the majority of LED-backlit LCD monitors currently available, the XL30's backlight is monolithic. It's not an active array of LED light sources designed to boost contrast courtesy of fine grained control of backlighting across the screen (for an example of that type of display have a peak at our extensive look at BrightSide's HDR technology).

Samsung SyncMaster XL30 LED Backlit LCD Features and Build Quality Samsung SyncMaster XL30 LED Backlit LCD Features and Build Quality

Instead, the LED technology is all about colour accuracy. Samsung claims the XL30 is good for up to 123 percent of the NTSC colour gamut. That compares well with other wide-gamut displays like Samsung's own 305T and NEC's LCD3090WQXi (both 102 percent), the Dell 3007WFP-HC (92 per cent) and is much higher than typical consumer LCD monitors which weigh in around the 80 percent mark.

It's enough to comfortably encompass the all important Adobe RGB colour space, therefore allowing for comprehensive colour correction. Put another way, once calibrated, the colours the XL30 renders ought to be much, much closer to what is pumped out by a digital printing press than a normal display.

While we're on the subject of calibration, Samsung bundles an Eyeone Display 2 hardware colour calibration tool with every XL30. Then there's Samsung's Natural Colour Expert calibration software and 14-bit-per-colour LUT processing.

Helpfully, the XL30 also has a handy hardware mode button allowing users to set up multiple calibrated profiles and quick switch between them. Oh, and like most high end pro displays, the XL30 comes with a large hood that can be fitted with the aim of occluding unwanted light from the surrounding environment.

Samsung SyncMaster XL30 LED Backlit LCD Features and Build Quality Samsung SyncMaster XL30 LED Backlit LCD Features and Build Quality

Altogether, it adds up to some seriously high end colour-rendering kit that should deliver enormous accuracy and flexibility. With the XL30, you might say, Samsung has gone truly crazy about colour.

It's also worth noting that Samsung says the LED backlight is good for 100,000 hours. Obviously, it's a tricky claim to investigate, but suffice to say that if the truth is anywhere near that, the XL30 will have much longer legs than any display powered by a conventional CCFL tube. A couple of years of heavy duty office use is often enough to have CCFL tubes looking distinctly dingy. In that context, a doubling or tripling of the XL30's working life does offset some of the price premium.

As for the panel technology that underpins the XL30, well, this is a high end Samsung display, so you won't be surprised to learn that it's PVA based.

Where the XL30 fares less well is multi-media prowess. There's just a single DVI input and it isn't HDCP compliant. Again, for the target market of this display, that's arguably not a major issue. But for consumers well-heeled enough to consider the XL30, it's certainly off putting.

It's also a little disappointing that Samsung failed to bequeath such an expensive display with a more stylish chassis and stand. It's sturdy enough, offers a full range of adjustment except swivel-to-portrait and at least has a two-port USB header. But it's a bland and joyless looking device. When you've just spent the best part of £3,000 on a display, a reassuringly expensive look wouldn't hurt. A memory card reader wouldn't go amiss, either.
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