Saturday, 16 July 2016 13:46

Samsung’s cunningly, curved, colourful, 27” monitor (review)

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If it is real estate you want, then it's real estate you will get with this enormous 27”, 19° curved, monitor. It has just enough curve to provide immersion, and little enough that keystone effects are not obvious.

My only regret was that I did not have two Samsung C27F591FDE monitors to test side by side. I use dual 24” displays at present — Benq, “Theatre quality”, VA screens  and Samsung’s VA screen certainly put a pall over what I thought was pretty spectacular colour and clarity.

The review has two goals – does curved make a difference and a review of this new model. Samsung’s commitment to Australia means this screen has come here before most western markets – this is the first independent review I can find. And make sure you look carefully at the model number if you are shopping around – there are a few earlier or overseas models with lower specifications.

Before you read the review, let me give you a summary. It is close to perfection as a home or office monitor. The 19° curvature is lighter than the previous 16° models, and it has made it just that much easier to use. Ten out of ten!

Out of the box

The first thing you notice is that it is not as heavy as you would expect. It weighs a mere 4.5kg with the stand – the screen is 3.5kg itself. Assemble the two-piece, white and silver/aluminium floor plate (two screws and click into the panel) and that’s it. Note the panel has a 75 x 75mm mounting socket.

Hook up via HDMI, DisplayPort or D-Sub, plug in the power pack (it uses a 14V/3.22A supply consuming measly .3W DPMS) and that’s it. It is macOS and Windows compatible. It also comes with an HDMI cable.

The last thing you notice is the extra space over a 24”. It is HD, 1920 x 1080, 16:9 and everything looks just that little bigger – great for those needing glasses. And it has ultra-thin bezels, top and sides making it suitable for dual or quad monitor use. An its looks very svelte – 9.8mm thick and a very nice white back.

Specifications

I have mentioned the VA (vertical alignment) panel. It is considered the best for office and general use after OLED, ahead of IPS and TN. The key advantages of VA are faster refresh rates, better colour, better black, better viewing angles, and higher brightness and contrast. The trade-off is typically the response time is slower than IPS (in-plane switching) or TN (twisted nematic). Having said that, it is the choice for office and general use – gamers prefer the faster TN panels.

·         Resolution: 1920 x 1080 @60Hz (pixel clock is 148.5Mhz to support AMD FreeSync)

·         Brightness min/max: 200-250cd/m2

·         Contrast: 3000:1

·         sRGB coverage: 119.3%

·         Response time: 5ms

·         Viewing angle: 178/178°

·         Audio in: audio in is provided by HDMI, DisplayPort or 3.5mm jack

·         Audio out: 3.5mm audio out (headphone) jack

·         Dimensions/Weight: 724.3 x 428.0 x 94.4 mm. Stand adds 94.2mm in height and 153.3mm in depth

·         What it does not have: USB Hub, DVI, PiP

·         Warranty: 3 years

 Samsung did not make this a higher resolution panel because at this size (and probably up to 32”) any higher resolution or wider aspect would have made it less suitable for office and general use.

Curved versus flat

Until I used this monitor for a couple of days I was sceptical – earlier models from many suppliers simply did not do it for me. It all comes down to the radius – the bend.

Harvard University found that found that participants who used a Samsung curved monitor for an intensive onscreen task were less likely to report eye strain, difficulty focusing, blurred vision, and eye tiredness when compared to participants who used a flat screen for the same task.

The curved monitor degree ratio is measured against the radius of the monitor panel curve as it was a part of a complete circle. The lower the degree, the tighter the curve.

What I will say is that I found no real difference in day-to-day use (and I have been using flat monitors for a very long time) and, if anything, the curve allowed me to place it on a smaller desk space than using a similar sized flat monitor.

Using the monitor

The 38-page manual is somewhat overkill, but there are a few pages worth reading.

 The menu is accessed by a JOG button on the right rear fairly conveniently placed behind the front power LED. It is easy to use it without having to turn the monitor around. It also controls volume and power.

 It does have several modes – standard, cinema, game, dynamic contrast, basic colour, custom, sharpness and more. It will also upscale lower resolution sources. It has AMD FreeSync mode as well. the default settings are fine.

The panel will tilt back to -20°. It has a Kensington lock slot. My only complaint is that the headphone socket is on the back – this is a minor irritant as you would probably plug into the computer device anyway. The stereo sound volume is adequate for Skype conversations and personal use.

Conclusion

I spend a lot of time in front of monitors – often 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week. I also wear glasses to read. That is why I select VA panels and am willing to pay for quality – always have and always will.

I am cross at Samsung for showing up my previously unassailable Benqs – damn, I am going to have to go any buy two of these babies!

Price. JB Hi-Fi has it for $496.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw [email protected]  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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