This glossy black 22in widescreen Samsung SM226BW wouldn't look out of place in the Matrix film trilogy – but it's surprisingly inexpensive.

The stylish 22in Samsung SM226BW further distinguishes itself from the pack with a phenomenal 3,000:1 contrast ratio; its brightness rating is a more standard 300dc/m2.

The stand swivels and tilts but isn't height-adjustable – a shame, since the Samsung SM226BW sits rather low on the desktop. That may not be a problem in some circumstances, but should be borne in mind if you're prone to neck strain or are intending to use the Samsung as an external laptop screen. Desktop clutter could end up obscuring the lower part of the screen.

Like its large-screen competitors, the Samsung SM226BW performs an automatic screen adjustment when you connect it to a PC for the first time,
its main power button glowing a cool blue. Buttons for manual operation are located under the front of the screen, which makes operation slightly more fiddly than it needs to be.

The options themselves are self-explanatory and the easiest to navigate of the flat-panels here. You can adjust brightness and contrast, fine-tune the screen sharpness and adjust colour temperatures from cool to warm, or select a custom setting for the individual colour channels. The Samsung SM226BW even has a ‘Magic Colour' option that boosts overall saturation to eye-searingly vivid levels.

Whether working with text documents, photos or video clips, the Samsung SM226BW is a superb all-round choice. Plus it's a far more sophisticated model than BenQ's (extremely tempting) 19in alternative. The Samsung SM226BW has better features and is better built.

The review sample we used was an 'S panel' model. Readers should be aware that they are not now guaranteed by Samsung to receive the identical model, since Samsung uses three different OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to produce the Samsung SM226BW. Please ask Samsung for guidance when you purchase.


Well-priced and boasting impressive features, the Samsung SM226BW is the most sensible buy in this sector.