9 Jul
2009

Samsung SyncMaster 226BW shenanigans

I recently got a second Samsung 226BW from a friend, and i wanted to find out whether it had the S or the A panel.

Background

So what’s this hokum-pokum about different panels? Well if you ask Samsung, nothing.¬† Nowhere do they state who their panel manufacturer is. So why would people get angry about two different panels then? Well, because there are differences. The inferior A panel, is called AU M220EW01. While it does conform to the promise of 3000:1 dynamic contrast (in reality a bit under 1000:1 actual contrast), response time (while the A panel is supposed to be 5 ms, it does conform to the 2ms promise made by Samsung). The main difference comes with the colors. The A panel is clearly blue-heavy, i.e. the picture is leaning towards the blue. Also, the colorspace isn’t as wide as with the proper S panel. The S panel has a truer color space than the A. This means that if you’re working with graphics or something that requires true color output, you need to make sure you get an S panel Samsung.

I’m not too well versed in the technical details, and i’d rather not repeat what someone else said, and sound smarter than i am, i’ll link to the most comprehensive comparison i could find on these two variants. Here’s the link to BeHardware who did an absolutely amazing job on this thing.

The Service  Menu

Until hackers found the service menu, Samsung had absolutely nothing to comment on this issue. People were claiming that reviewers were sent pre-calibrated S-panel screens, while some consumers were stuck with the far inferior A panels.

After this, Samsung i guess just said, nowhere do they promise specifics about the panel, except for certain specs. But for people looking for the reviewed goodness of the calibrated S panel, the A panel might be quite the disappointment.

You can access the Service Menu on your Samsung 226BW in the following manner:

  1. Set Contrast and Brightness to 0 using the regular menu.
  2. Close the menu after this, then open it again.
  3. Press and hold the source button (second from the right).
  4. Tadah. You now have a service menu on the screen.
  5. Close the screen using the power button, then power it on again to kill the service menu.

The service menu shows you all kinds of details, such as a lifetimer (how many hours the panel has been on), and how many times the device has been power-cycled. The item we are interested in is the panel manufacturer.

Identifying the S and A

There are two ways to find out which panel your screen has.

  1. Look at the back side of your screen. You’ll see the sticker with the serial number and other stuff on it. Look for an S or an A behind the model name.
  2. If this doesn’t work for some reason, look up the service menu and look at the panel manufacturer:
  • A panel will have AU M220EW01
  • S panel will have AMLCD 220M1

I’m stuck with an A panel, what can i do?

Well, if you look through the BeHardware article, they’ve made a spiffy color profile, and detailed some of the settings you can do to remediate the issue. I’ll sum them up:

  • Select the internet profile using the down arrow key while not in the menu.
  • Set contrast and brightness to comfortable levels
  • Download the color profile and install it according to instructions in the article, page 2.

They even list manual settings if you don’t wanna calibrate using a color profile, or you are not using Windows. This is on page 3 of the article.

I actually did all these, and the picture improved noticeably, though i can’t say anything for actual measurements, as i don’t have the spiffy hardware that the guys at BeHardware had. But i’m pleased, not as much as with the S panel, but happy none the less.

Sources: 1) BeHarware – Samsung 226BW A and S series: The Verdict

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