Whenever a new sort of TFT panels appears on the market, that’s good news. However, such models tend to be in the premium design segment, which in turn puts a hefty price tag on them. Samsung’s S27B970D with a PLS panel is no exception, so that may hinder its mass consumption.
Design is one of the more important features this monitor has to offer, and some may even consider this a flaw, depending on personal taste and needs.
We definitely liked the fact that the touch-sensitive, backlit buttons are placed on the bottom of the holder, almost on the stand.The menu they summon isn’t new, but it has all the necessary options, even more. External transformer solutions are never welcome, but since all the connectors of this monitor are built into the stand, it’s understandable. This provides a neater desk appearance, especially if the back of the monitor is visible. Still, we don’t think that connectors had to be that hidden under the top surface of the stand, making it almost impossible to disconnect an HDMI cable once connected. There’s also a pair of solid-strength speakers and a USB hub with two ports.
The said HDMI supports the MHL (Mobile High-definition Link) standard. This means that you’ll be able to easily connect your mobile device to this monitor, and even the most commonly used cable with the micro-USB connector on one end is supplied. If you take a better look at this monitor’s casing, you’ll see that it really does look like a huge Samsung mobile phone or tablet device. Unfortunately, this also means that the display and its frame comprise a single piece, connected with a thin piece of plastic across both, which increases chances of glare occurring. The most striking design flaw is the lack of swivel, despite the promising look of the stand. The display’s height can be adjusted, but the rail that goes up and down on the stand is no match for the torsion forces created by the user when he/she forgets about the lack of swivel and tries to turn the monitor around. The bold rubber foot tries to prevent this, and the entire experience feels as if everything is going to fall apart to bits, in spite of the high metal stand (at least it appears to be metal on the outside; it’s impossible to determine without taking a physical sample).
Samsung puts great emphasis on this model’s colour display quality. And indeed, the colours are fantastic: precise, without any gradient errors and with loads of contrast. Now, we wouldn’t want to denigrate this feature, but it seems that this insistence on colour is quite the middle finger to other IPS-like monitors with LED backlight, and according to our experience, they have every reason to gloat. There’s insufficient backlight bleeding to even discuss it, but there is a mild glare, especially with black. We can’t be entirely certain whether the single-piece philosophy is to blame or if we should point our finger at the panel itself, but we’d go for the former. Samsung also doesn’t hide this monitor’s viewing angles, although these aren’t as prominently brilliant as its colours. True, the angles are good, especially the vertical one which is the first to ruin the experience, but we’ve simply seen better; perhaps not on a TN model, not even the best ones, but old-school technologies with viewing angles as the number one priority yielded better results. In the end, this segment is of sufficiently high quality to appear immaculate in all common usage scenarios. Response time is an aging discipline, but with new panel technologies, there’s always a chance that it’ll degrade. Well, feel free to forget such fears and bury them very deeply. We can’t really put a number on this monitor’s response time, as it’s hard to draw comparisons, but we can freely say that it’s among the top three fastest monitors we’ve ever encountered. The tiny pixels definitely contribute to this impression, but the results are remarkable nevertheless – excellent job for Samsung. Speaking of pixels, yes, there really are that many of them. The monitor’s resolution falls under WQHD and has exactly twelve times the number of pixels of a VGA monitor, or over 3.5 megapixels, if that’s easier for you. Impressive by all means. Luckily, newer versions of Windows are well suited to enlarging certain sections of the display should the need arise, so comfort is guaranteed.
It should also be mentioned that the huge resolution won’t be much of a problem for those who intend to use the monitor for gaming, but don’t have adequately powerful graphics cards. The built-in scaling algorithm does its job very well.
Is it worth it?
It makes us a bit nervous that all available PLS models attempt to justify their high price with design and cool looks in addition to size and resolution. It almost feels as if the design details are there to cover for the already determined price. Judging by this model alone, e-IPS monitors have met their match in terms of quality, but the question of price in the mid-segment still remains. We have no concrete proof about PLS’ competitiveness in this regard, and truth be told, we were expecting Samsung to react to e-IPS more quickly. It remains to be seen what the upcoming months will bring for a more precise reflection on the situation.
We usually leave the price policy aside and leave the final judgement to the buyer. However, it can’t be ignored in this case – this is one expensive monitor. Design is as subjective a category as ever, although we’re sceptical about both the monitor’s ergonomics and the mix of grey, silver and glossy black plastic with proper metal, all in a single product. Performance is remarkable. We say “remarkable” rather than “amazing” just because the viewing angles weren’t entirely up to par with the hype surrounding them. We’ll also skip the potential “wow” effect the monitor’s looks will have on the buyer (or client or whoever). But as a serious user of any productivity level, would you accept to live with a monitor this huge without the swivel function? It’s good to have so much room at disposal, courtesy of WQHD resolution, especially since it’s all on one display, but are you sure that two full HD monitors for half the price wouldn’t fulfil the same needs, even if it’s with a few more pixels?
|Screen Resolution [pix]||2560x1440 (WQHD)|
|Pixel Size [mm]||0.2333|
|Viewing Angles [
|178 / 178|
|Response time [ms]||5 (GTG)|
|220 (285 in HB)|
|Communication ports||2xUSB 2.0|
|Dimensions (with stand): WxHxD [mm]||645x467x247|
|Weight (with stand) [kg]||5.7(8.2)|
All about this model shrieks its intent to satisfy a very specific market niche; all but the panel, that is. The panel is something that any one of us would want to see at home or work, so if you belong to the said market niche, you’re in luck. Others will likely wait for a more practical packaging.