In keeping with the prevailing aesthetic of this category, Samsung’s 206BW is fancily clad in black plastic and brushed aluminum, much like ViewSonic’s VX2035wm. And as with that model, you can tilt the screen only forward and back. The height stays put. A circular base serves as a lazy Susan of sorts for swivel functions.
In the past, we’ve taken issue with Samsung’s “hands free” displays, which relegate all screen adjustments to software; fortunately, this model strikes a compromise, offering OSD buttons (in addition to the software) that are discreetly placed beneath the bezel’s bottom edge. Luckily, labels on the bezel help guide your fingers. In Samsung fashion, the adjustment options are plentiful and include a handful of presets for various types of content—movies, games, text, etc. We’ve actually come to appreciate these presets. They make overall changes to the brightness, contrast, and gamma that would take many more steps to achieve through standard OSD operations. HD videophiles will appreciate the 206BW’s HDCP support.
The 206BW’s performance in DisplayMate was strong. Evidence of backlight seepage around the extreme perimeter of the screen was its most notable failing. That was sufficiently offset by stellar grayscale reproduction and marked distinctions between shades at even the extreme dark and light ends. Text looked crisp and clear, and content of all stripes, including games, was reproduced without flaws. While this was also the case with HP’s L2045w, Samsung’s 206BW bested that model with a more vibrant, lively picture. In the end, we’re prepared to declare this our new favorite budget desktop LCD.
Superb grayscale; strong real-world performance.
No screen-height adjustment; subtle perimeter backlight seepage.