Samsung P2570HD review: input lag, deinterlacing and upscaling using the piLagTesterPRO

This 1080p Monitor + TV cost about $350 in 2010. It looks good at 480i/p and does a great job of deinterlacing. It's pretty low lag in 480i in particular, and has a fast response time, so it would be a solid choice for a retro gamer who can't store (or find) a CRT.

It was sold as a TV and monitor highbred; from the ad copy: "Samsung has combined the best of their TV and monitor building skills and designed the P2570HD. "  but it's closer to a TV than a monitor in terms of performance; all it really offers over most TVs is a DVI (and VGA) port. 

Image quality

Good upscaling is critical for retro gaming. Ideally, all pixels should appear equally sharp and bright (no aliasing), and angled lines should appear smooth, with no jagged, irregular steps. Also important is that the display shows most or all of the pixels it is sent. Often, this is not the case, with some number of pixels cropped from the bottom or top edges. Shockingly, these tests are relevant for modern gaming as well, because even at their native resolution many TVs have aliasing and cropping.

I attempted to adjust the set to minimize cropping and aliasing; the results below are for the best mode I could find for each.

The 480i result looks particularly good for an LCD. Almost CRT level.

resolution aliasing cropping (side, top)
480p/i almost none about 20 off every edge, even left + right in 4:3
720p almost none none if you choose "screen fit".
1080p perfect none if you choose "screen fit".

All resolutions are sharp and clean looking, and 1080p is pixel-perfect, at least if you choose screen fit mode. 

The screen maxes out at 60hz. It will take a higher refresh rate, but just drops frames. 

The display has 1 of each: HDMI, dvi, vga, yPbPr, and composite. I only tested lag on HDMI and VGA, but found them identical. When using VGA (and presumably DVI) some of the TV adjustment settings were turned off, presumably because the "monitor" side of the signal path was being used. I'm disappointed that the lag was identical, since computer monitors are usually much faster than TVs, but no luck. 

Input Lag

I used a piLagTesterPRO to measure input lag. This device sends a frame of video over HDMI and measures how long it takes to display it. This display has a game mode, but toggling it made no difference, despite the help text on the screen "helpfully" telling me that game mode would speed things up (what scuzzy salesmanship). I toggled all the other display quality settings as well, but did not see any improvements, however the tests reported below are with every "enhancement" set to off.

Input Lag Test Results

I report two kinds of values. 1st response measures how long it takes for the TV to start responding (I use a 5% change in display brightness). This overly optimistic value doesn't tell how long it takes to see anything useful, but matches what other reviewers call input lag. full response is a more realistic measure of lag, and requires the display to reach 80% of full brightness. This combines both input lag and response time, and is closer to what you would actually experience in a game.

Resolution1st (average)full response1st responsefull response

This display only has one lag value: 37ms. That's true even when in interlacing mode.  That's not due to using bob deinterlacing, either; this is fully adaptive deinterlacing for free. The results are good looking, sharp, and flicker free. The response time is a bit slow, at 10ms but still pretty good for a TV. 

This TV supports the OSSC-friendly 960p resolution with minimal aliasing, but there's really no reason to use the OSSC given the excellent upscaling and super fast deinterlacing. 

Results compared to other displays & conclusion

To allow quick comparison between many displays I've summarized the results across all the displays I've personally tested with the piLagTester Pro. Min lag is the time to the first response, measured where the screen starts drawing (typically, the top, but for this TV the bottom); real lag is the time to the full response, measured where drawing finishes (usually the screen bottom, here it's the top), i.e. input lag + scan out + response time.  Numbers in red denote average values that can vary by up to 8ms between power cycles.

DisplayYear made (TV?)Native Resnative min lagnative real lag480i real lag480p real lag720p real lag1080p real lagnative response timenative scan out
Panasonic TH-58PE75U2008720p28.
Panasonic TH-42PX75U2008720p28.
Dell E2211H20141080p3.033.634.734.534.133.815.0015.57
Corprit D157 (hdmi)20211080p3.134.534.934.834.633.916.2515.13
AOC/Envision G19LWK2010900p3.131.239.538.738.437.815.5012.60
sony XBR 43X800D20174k24.544.346.546.044.644.75.0014.83
LG 42LC2D2006720p28.350.654.650.850.46.3015.95
Samsung LN32D4032012720p20.941.258.942.440.740.75.5014.83
TCL 40S32520211080p6.527.360.629.027.927.76.0014.83
Vizio E261VA2012720p19.359.061.160.459.258.925.0014.67
Samsung LN32B3602010720p37.660.062.161.860.560.18.0014.40
Dell U2410 (game)20101080p4.
Dell U2410 (sRGB)20101080p20.542.862.445.
ACER AT326520121080p19.543.862.745.343.843.88.0016.27
RCA L40FHD4120101080p20.346.665.
Sony 40VL130 (game)20081080p22.847.366.349.047.347.39.0815.43
Toshiba 40L2200U20141080p30.
Mitsubishi LT-4614420081080p51.
TCL 49s40320184k6.130.276.830.930.330.78.0016.13
Polaroid FLM-373B2007720p28.
Samsung LN46B61020121080p53.
Vizio VO370M20101080p2.523.683.
Sharp LC-C3234U2009720p33.064.683.666.664.615.0016.60
Philips 42PFL3603D/F720091080p29.
Sony KDL-46EX40020101080p28.
Vizio xvt4735v20111080p67.688.688.889.288.688.69.0012.00
Toshiba 46L5200U20131080p55.
Sony 40S20L12007720p48.472.090.172.973.49.6014.00
Samsung LN46C63020121080p54.572.190.790.388.572.310.007.63
Vizio VO22L FHDTV10A2008720p28.
Samsung HP-T425420111080p69.775.794.
Vizio E261VA2007720p28.
GPX TDE3245W2016720p28.051.0102.
SANYO DP507492010720p67.075.0103.
Emprex HD 32022007720p27.050.5126.
Vizio E470VL (hdmi)20111080p69.086.0128.
LG 47LW6500-UA20121080p66.680.7149.7149.081.780.92.2711.83

I've chosen to sort by 480i real lag, because I doubt anybody is buying this to play ps5 games. It's input lag is just average at native resolution;  the real star here is the 480i performance which makes it the 5th fastest non-plasma TV I've tested, and it does it with proper deinterlacing and best in class upscaling. That said, it's still quite a bit slower than a CRT or the Panasonic plasmas that are at the top of my list. But since CRTs are hard to find in good condition and Panasonic Plasmas are starting to disappear, this would be a pretty good choice. 

Other models (same performance?)

I tested the P2570HD, which is the 25" version. There's also the 2370HD which is even smaller but the same resolution so I'd suspect a similar response. I also tested the Samsung LN32D403 TV which is 2 years newer, which has the same excellent upscaling and is actually a tiny bit faster at 480i. Similarly, the Samsung LN32B360 TV is from 2010 and performs almost identically to this display except that it only supports 720p and lower. 

Outside that cluster, however things don't look so good for Samsung: The Samsung LN46B610 is from 2012, and it's 480i performance averaged 24ms slower. And the Samsung LN46C630 from 2012 is a shocking 33ms slower in 480i. And last + least, the Samsung HP-T4254 from 2011 is 37ms slower in 480i. Not encouraging, to say the least. If I saw a random display for sale from the early 2010s with Samsung's name on it I'd probably avoid it unless there were documented lag test run on that specific model.

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