Samsung SyncMaster S27A850D review
A highly adjustable, good quality monitor at a reasonable price – a successful début for Samsung’s fledgling PLS panel technology
Review Date: 25 Oct 2011
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £465 (£558 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Samsung’s SyncMaster S27A850D is the first of a new breed. It shares the same 2,560 x 1,440 pixel resolution as many high-end 27in monitors, but the panel technology is new: Samsung’s latest marks the debut of its own Plane-to-Line Switching, or PLS, panel technology.
The physical differences are evident right away. Where most 27in IPS-based monitors are thick-set affairs, the Samsung’s LED-backlighting and external power supply make for a slender, elegant profile.
A tubular stand allows the monitor to smoothly rise up and down by 150mm, and also swivels round into portrait orientation. You need two hands to guide the panel into position, but the large rectangular base helps to keep it stable on a desk.
Connectivity is excellent. In addition to two dual-DVI sockets and DisplayPort inputs, Samsung has also packed in a three-port USB 3 hub. With the ports positioned at the monitor’s rear, pointing left and right rather than straight down, it’s easy to connect and disconnect cables without craning your neck underneath.
Power saving is top of the SyncMaster’s agenda. Brightness and proximity sensors in the display’s lower bezel automatically adjust brightness and activate standby mode, and the PLS panel itself draws precious little power. Calibrated to a brightness of 120cd/m2, the Samsung drew a modest 29W from the mains. Even pushed to its blinding maximum brightness of 380cd/m2, power consumption rose to just 50W – about half that of an equivalent IPS display.
There’s no doubt Samsung’s fledgling panel technology does a lot of things right. Colours are rich and vibrant and the SyncMaster SA850 delivers vivacious, larger-than-life images. While black levels aren’t deep enough to rival VA panels, the measured contrast ratio of 826:1 is still a match for the IPS-panelled competition.
Viewing angles are superb, proving easily as wide as our reference Eizo ColorEdge CG275W, and while response time isn’t as quick as the best TN panels – there’s still a trace of blur in fast-moving games – an effective overdrive circuit means that it never veers into ugly smearing.
It isn’t a perfect showing, however. Colour accuracy lags behind the best models we’ve seen, with an average Delta E of 3.8 and a maximum deviation of 6.9. Contrast is merely on a par with the competition, hitting 826:1. Far more disappointing is the leakage from the Edge-LED backlighting. In darker movie scenes, an obvious glow seeps into the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.
Yet, for a technology still in its infancy it is an impressive first outing. Sensible design and green credentials go hand-in-hand with good image quality, and the price is reasonable given the features on offer. Consumers will be better served by Hazro’s cheaper HZ27WC, but businesses after an adjustable, high-quality display should definitely put the Samsung SyncMaster S27A850 on their shortlist.
Author: Sasha Muller
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- How Three got a cheap deal in the 4G auction
- UK has "best broadband in Europe" - if Europe was only five countries
- Tim Berners-Lee warns not to take the web for granted
- Amazon will "limit music streams to encourage downloads"
- New version of Office for Mac coming this year
- Twitter goes down for second time in nine days
- Google sued over $66 in-app purchase
- Snowden: I was right to leak NSA data
- BBC revamps iPlayer for the "multiscreen world"
- CeBit 2014 diary: Cameron comes to town
- The 5 most interesting UK businesses at SXSW
- Quickest way to upload 1GB? Hop on a train
- Move over Delia: IBM Watson is cooking tonight
- Eric Schmidt on the double-edged smartphone: friend and foe
- Getty joins the race to the bottom
- Hour of Code: five steps to learn how to code
- Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review: first look
- Sony Xperia Z2 review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 review: first look
- Make the most of your mobile data
- Old-school internet scams: five that just won't die
- Bitcoin believers not worried by Mt. Gox disarray
- How to hack your car
- Small server vs cloud: which is best for SMBs?
- Block party: why do millions play Minecraft?
- What to do if you’re still on Windows XP
- Microsoft Word: top 20 secret features
- Measuring me: is your body the future of security?
- The best mobile apps for business
- Headings vs headers: how to use both in Word
- Windows Server 2012 R2: how the Datacenter edition could change SMBs
- Invoices and VAT: how to set up your documents correctly
- Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: the best phone for avoiding screen burn
- How much is a social user worth?
- The key to choosing a secure password
- Thunderbolt Bridge: a fast Mac migration tool
- Should you advertise on Twitter?
- How to track a lost smartphone
- Self-publishing success: the best way to sell your book