Samsung SyncMaster LD220 monitor review

If you want to add another monitor to your desk but have run out of video ports, this DisplayLink powered Samsung could be the answer.

IT Pro Verdict

DisplayLink technology is pushed to new heights with the Samsung SyncMaster LD220. While general image quality is good, performance with motion is lacking, and the glossy finish on bezel and screen won’t suit professionals. The LD220 solves a specific issue with expanding the desktop area of a laptop with a third screen, but if this isn’t an issue we’d recommend going for a regular monitor.

Imagine the scenario you've got a laptop and a second display already connected using the VGA or DVI output. Naturally enough, you want to add a third screen to gain more desktop space and help boost your productivity but you're fresh out of video ports. So how do you do it?

One way to go could be the excellent Matrox TripleHead2Go, but that costs at least 220 and then you'll still need to find funds to purchase the extra display.

An easier and cheaper alternative is a display that integrates DisplayLink technology. It's essentially a monitor with a video card built-in, that hooks up via USB.

It's not the first time that we've reviewed a DisplayLink equipped display, but this is the first one to offer a widescreen Full HD' resolution image.

As with many panels these days, the LD220 uses a 16:9 aspect ratio screen, with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. In its original iteration, the DisplayLink tech was unable to support this resolution, being limited to 1,280 x 1,024, but we're now onto second generation hardware that can handle more.

This is thanks to the introduction of the DL-1x5 video chipset, which features a dual-core chip and, we're told, improved compression algorithms. Despite it running over USB though, a separate power cord is still required.

As it's aimed at laptop owners, the LD220 eschew a conventional monitor stand for a simple rest, which angles at between 10 and 30 degrees, and means that the base of the display lines up with your laptop screen. The idea is that when you drag a window from one screen to the next there isn't a massive jump in height. As such there are two small rubber feet at the bottom to enable it to rest gently on your desk.

At the rear, you'll also find a VGA port, so if you do have a spare socket it can be used as a conventional display, though this would make it rather pointless to have spent the extra on DisplayLink.

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.

Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.