Samsung Series 9 S27B970D review

7 Aug 2012

A gorgeous-looking 27in monitor from Samsung, but there’s plenty of room for improvement

Price when reviewed 
800
Buy it now for 
4

Samsung’s Series 9 laptop has already made waves in the Ultrabook market, but now the Korean manufacturer has turned its attention to high-end monitors. This, its range-topping Series 9 display, partners slick, stylish design with Samsung’s very own PLS panel technology, and throws in professional-class features for good measure.

From our experiences with its predecessor, the excellent SyncMaster S27A850D, PLS panels are capable of delivering all of the benefits of standard IPS: impressively wide viewing angles, good response times and great colour reproduction. With a 2,560 x 1,440 pixel resolution stretching across its 16:9 ratio, 27in panel, there’s clearly no shortage of pixels.

The Series 9 is also the first of Samsung’s recent monitors to support hardware calibration. The bundled Natural Color Expert (NCE) software allows the use of third-party colorimeters, such as the X-Rite i1Display Pro or Datacolor Spyder 4, to optimise the monitor’s colour reproduction, brightness uniformity and to achieve specific brightness, colour temperature or gamma curves. The onscreen display offers more adjustability than with Samsung’s other displays, and professionals may appreciate additions such as the adjustable colour temperature control, which reaches from 4,000K to 10,000K in 500K increments.

Samsung Series 9 S27B970D - front

Where many monitors resemble ungainly lumps of black plastic, Samsung has attempted to deliver something altogether prettier, with a glitzy combination of silver, gloss black and grey plastic. But it isn’t all for show; there’s welcome practicality on show. The round silver base cranes into a slender neck that allows the Samsung to tilt back and forth, and provides 100mm of height adjustment. The only omission is a portrait mode.

If there’s a downside to such flexibility, it’s that Samsung has had to sacrifice sturdiness: it doesn’t take much to set the monitor wobbling back and forth, and it takes two hands to slide the monitor up and down due to the sticky adjustment mechanism. Also, the overall build feels plasticky compared to the prime rivals at this price point, not to mention [A HREFhttp://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/monitors/370474/apple-thunderbolt-display]Apple’s metal-clad Thunderbolt[/A] and Cinema Displays.

In terms of connectivity, however, the Samsung acquits itself well. The external power supply is a mite disappointing, as is the presence of a mere USB 2 two-port hub, rather than USB 3, but there are dual-link DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort inputs on the rear and, refreshingly, Samsung has included DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort and MHL cables (for connecting compatible smartphones) in the box. The integrated speakers are average, though, with limited volume, no bass and only enough clarity and mid-range warmth to make music listenable. They aren’t a patch on the speakers built into Apple’s 27in displays.

Details

Price ex VAT £667
Price inc VAT £800
Overall rating 4
Image quality 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 4

Main specifications

Screen size 27.0in
Aspect ratio 16:9
Resolution 2560 x 1440
Screen brightness 285cd/m2
Pixel response time 5ms
Contrast ratio 1,000:1
Pixel pitch 0.233mm
Horizontal viewing angle 178 degrees
Vertical viewing angle 178 degrees
Speaker type Stereo
Speaker power ouput 5W
TV tuner no
TV tuner type N/A

Connections

DVI inputs 1
VGA inputs 0
HDMI inputs 1
DisplayPort inputs 1
Scart inputs 0
HDCP support yes
Upstream USB ports 1
USB ports (downstream) 2
3.5mm audio input jacks 0
Headphone output no

Accessories supplied

Other cables supplied MHL, DisplayPort
Internal power supply no

Power consumption

Peak power consumption 44W
Idle power consumption 1W

Image adjustments

Brightness control? yes
Contrast control? yes

Ergonomics

Forward tilt angle -2 degrees
Backward tilt angle 15 degrees
Swivel angle 0 degrees
Height adjustment 100mm
Pivot (portrait) mode? no

Dimensions

Weight 7.900kg

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£800