Samsung S27A850D - my impressions

soixante

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Oct 13, 2011
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I've had this monitor for a few days now. Here I will present my impressions so far. Please note that I'm not a professional in any way, I don't have any calibrating equipment, nor am a display-geek in any other sense than being a discerning user. These are thus my subjective impressions of the monitor:

Sleek design, great ergonomics. First thing I noticed is that this monitor is huge. Moving from a 19'' 5:4 LCD at 1280x1024 (which I've had for six years), this screen is absolutely enormous.

Colours are good, if perhaps a bit on the cold side. I have fiddled around with the colour settings and found ones that look pretty good to me, though. Whites are very white. This is especially apparent when comparing to my old screen, which is some kind of PVA from back in 2005. I never realized until I put them next to each other how white should look. White is really chemically white, and also keeps its whiteness well at lower brightness levels, at least until 20-30% brightness where it starts getting a little gray. As for blacks, they are pretty good for an IPS/PLS, I would say. I'm comparing with my old PVA screen and the blacks seem pretty equal after adjusting brightness settings. The SA850 does suffer a little from IPS glow (PLS glow, I guess). This is only apparent when looking at it from an angle. Viewing angles are otherwise good, but blacks definitely do not look as good from side angles because of the IPS glow phenomenon. Please note I do not have any long term experience from using IPS screens, so I cannot judge if white glow is better, equal or worse compared to most IPS screens.

Backlight bleed, which other reviewers have listed as a major problem with this model, is really insignificant on my screen. This leads me to believe that this is just a case of getting your hands on a good one, and that I was lucky in this regard. There is some faint bleed up in the right corner, but the only time this is noticeable at all is when looking at a completely black image and actively looking for bleed. Otherwise, it is not a problem.

I have tried watching a few movies, and have not yet noticed any input lag or response time issues. I have not had a chance to play any fast-paced games yet though, but I don't think there would be any issues with that.

I did also buy a Dell U2412M, because I was undecided of how big a screen I really wanted and wanted to evaluate both the Samsung and the Dell before deciding to send one back. After using the Samsung for a few days, and then comparing with the newly arrived Dell, I can say for sure I am keeping the Samsung and sending the Dell back. Not only because I find it hard to return to anything smaller after starting to get used to 2560x1440, but the anti-glare coating on the Dell really bothers me. So this is what anti-glare coating looks like. And people are saying it's not so bad on the U2412m compared to some other IPS screens? It must be truly unbearable on those other screens, then. The Dell looks dirty and I keep wanting to wipe it with a cloth or something, only that's not going to help. :/

In comparison, the Samsung is incredibly crisp and sharp. Whites are not grainy at all, unlike the Dell. I'm not going to do a full review on the Dell, but here is a summary of what I think of both screens.

Dell U2412M:

+ great value for an 1920x1200 IPS screen
+ fairly modest stand, looks pretty sleek
+ build quality is good, there's no creaking or anything when adjusting the screen
+ black levels seem pretty good
+ great ergonomics, easily adjustable in every way

- colours, after fiddling around a bit, are good but nothing special. a bit too cool, I think. Also, adjusting colours severaly impacts how white looks on the Dell, which is not the case on the Samsung.
- intrusive anti-glare coating makes whites or bright colours look grainy
- text and small details look sort of fuzzy after comparing with the Samsung

Samsung S27A850D:

+ incredible 2560x1440 resolution. so much space to do things, after adjusting for a while and realizing you're not supposed to maximize browser windows with this kind of resolution. :)
+ great, vivid colours. out of the box, they were a bit cool (to my untrained eye), but after adjusting colours, and especially after comparing with two other screens, they now look great to me. not vivid in the 'over-saturated wide-gamut' way (I tried such a screen once), but colours have more...pizzazz, than the Dell (which being an IPS is supposed to have great colours itself).
+ whites are superb and stay white even when adjusting colour settings or turning down the brightness.
+ everything is very sharp and crisp, which is especially apparent when reading text.
+ anti-glare coating is excellent: hardly noticeable at all, although you can see a brief hint of it if you stare very closely at the screen and actually look for it. compared to the dell, though, the samsung is eons better.
+ blacks are good. not as deep as on a CRT, obviously, but definitely equal to both my ancient 19'' PVA and the Dell U2412M.
+ sleek, professional-looking design. be prepared that this monitor will take up a lot of space, though.
+ great ergonomics, easily adjustable in every way

- osd menu is not very intuitive
- buttons are really annoying to navigate in the dark, since they are neither tactile nor have any light on them. this is really a design miss by samsung, though a minor one.
- while build quality is good overall, the bezel does creak a bit when squeezing it. this is not the case on the dell. not that you really need to squeeze your bezel all that much.

+- emits hardly any heat and doesn't get hot. this is basically good, but it does mean I can't warm my hands on it the way I could on my old PVA. :)

also, I am having a problem with the monitor not saving the resolution when I restart my computer. however, I am not sure if this is the monitor's fault or not. currently looking into this, will create a separate thread for the issue.

all in all though, I am very pleased with this monitor so far. please do take this review for what it is; my subjective impressions of the monitor.

questions?
 

Sotorious

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Wow i had my head turned from the samsung monitor, now im starting to sway towards that way.
 

Bladestorm

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Nice review. As a fellow S27A850D owner I agree with everything you said.

Do you mind taking a picture of the backlight bleed at 35% brightness? I'd like to see what it looks like compared to mine.
 

WickedWeasel

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Does it come with DVI cable?
Response compared to the Dell 2412?
Does the response seem to be "fast"?
Are you not using the native resolution?
Does text look sharp at native resolution with DPI increased from 96 to 110?
 

EpsilonZer0

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It sounds great really.

I been waiting for the 24" version myself.

The only problem is that initialy Samsung promised that they would be cheaper to produce than normal IPS displays, but thus far I havent seen that savings passed onto the customer. :(
 

NM156

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I received my S27A850D today.

I did a quick review on my wife's S24A850DW in the appropriate thread a few days ago. It was positive enough for me to purchase the 27" for myself.

Overall, I agree with your observations. The 24" seemed even cooler to me than the 27", but calibration with the i1 Display Pro fixed that. I haven't yet calibrated my 27". So far, I am very happy.

Best of all, there is essentially NO BACKLIGHT BLEED. My wife's 24" does have some bleed, although it is rather minimal, but the 27" is free of this issue.

Contrast seems a bit better on the 24", but it is impossible to know for sure until I do more tweaking.

I absolutely will be keeping this monitor. FWIW, I ordered both of the monitors with overnight delivery from buy.com, because of the hassle-free return policy.

I have discovered that my GTX 275 can't quite push it with fluidity, even in RTS games like CNC3 Kane's Wrath, so I will need a new video card.

As mentioned, the anti-glare is very minimal and strikes the perfect balance, IMHO.

Blacks, while not as deep as my previous PVA's, are quite good.

For anyone on the fence, I would consider this over any of the current line of 27" monitors, unless you need something for true professional image editing, in which case an NEC would be a better choice.
 

Topaz

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Thanks for both your impressions, Soixante and NM156. Very reassuring. Still planning to get one of these at some point, though perhaps not for a few months...
 
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Thanks for the reviews guys, reading this forum here, one begins to fear that all monitors currently available are so terrible that its not worth buying one...

Considering the monitor costs as much if not more than the PC Upgrade to feed it....
 

soixante

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Do you mind taking a picture of the backlight bleed at 35% brightness?

Afraid I don't have a useable camera at home, so I can only give you my subjective impression for now. To me it is hardly noticeable unless looking at a completely black screen, in which case there is some very faint bleed up in the right corner of the screen. Even then, not something that bothers me.

You played any FPS games, slow input lag or is it cool?

Haven't had time to play any games lately, and my video card is a bit old (GF 8800 GTS 512) so I would really need to upgrade that to play any newer games with fluid frame rates. So I can't help you there at the moment. Video looks good, though. No input lag that I've noticed so far.

Does it come with DVI cable?
Response compared to the Dell 2412?
Does the response seem to be "fast"?
Are you not using the native resolution?
Does text look sharp at native resolution with DPI increased from 96 to 110?

Heh, that's a lof of questions. Yes, it comes with a DVI cable. I did not notice any response time issues with either screen as of yet (sending the Dell back now, though). Of course I'm using the native resolution, but I seem to be having some issue with it resetting every time I restart my computer. Not yet sure what the problem is here. Text looks sharp, yes.

Bladestorm and NM156: I have mine set at 40% brightness, colours at 42 35 40 (R/G/B). I'd be interested to know what settings you've found to look best for this monitor. These look great to me, but I don't have a hardware calibrator so it might be possible to do some further tweaking still.
 

10e

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Thanks for the reviews guys, reading this forum here, one begins to fear that all monitors currently available are so terrible that its not worth buying one...

Considering the monitor costs as much if not more than the PC Upgrade to feed it....

There are a number of great screens around, but we have some overly vociferous critics around here that often will blast a screen without ever seeing it.

You don't need to spend $800.00 - $1000.00 to get a good screen. There are lots of screens at half that price that are quite good. The other thing is you will often stick with a monitor a heck of a lot longer than a video card or CPU upgrade in my experience.
 
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XTF

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There are a number of great screens around, but we have some overly vociferous critics around here that often will blast a screen without ever seeing it.
The Dell AG issues seem to come up very often. Is that really overly vociferous critic?
 

popowrx

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The Dell AG issues seem to come up very often. Is that really overly vociferous critic?

I think it depends on the person. I have the aforementioned Dell and the AG was quite jarring at first on white backgrounds but my eyes have gotten use to it. I still see the fuzz but it isn't as bad as when I first got the monitor.
 

Sotorious

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Oct 26, 2007
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What sucks about a lot of these monitors is they are not in stores to actually eye, well the higher end monitors that is. There is a u2711 in my microcenter but was never working properly for me to actually see anything worth while.

So most of us have to go with reviews and being most people on forums are pretty hardcore, there is a lot of quirks maybe the average user wont pick up on. AG being the main concern here but i think it comes up so often that it bothers more people then not.
 

NM156

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Bladestorm and NM156: I have mine set at 40% brightness, colours at 42 35 40 (R/G/B). I'd be interested to know what settings you've found to look best for this monitor. These look great to me, but I don't have a hardware calibrator so it might be possible to do some further tweaking still.

Right now I have Brightness set to 35, and Contrast at 48 in the OSD.

I didn't make any changes to the OSD color settings, as I used a calibrator (i1Display Pro) to create a profile.

The only issue I am having is a slight bit of choppiness with full-screen video and RTS gaming at 2560x1440 resolution (all the eye candy enabled), but this is is due to my GTX 275 896MB. I plan to upgrade to a GTX 580 3GB next week.
 

Bladestorm

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Bladestorm and NM156: I have mine set at 40% brightness, colours at 42 35 40 (R/G/B). I'd be interested to know what settings you've found to look best for this monitor. These look great to me, but I don't have a hardware calibrator so it might be possible to do some further tweaking still.

The only thing I did was lower the brightness to 35%. I thought it looked ok out of the box, but I would like to calibrate it. I have an old Spyder2 somewhere, but I'm not sure if it's still relevant today? I wonder if I can find an ICC Profile somewhere for this monitor?
 

10e

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The only thing I did was lower the brightness to 35%. I thought it looked ok out of the box, but I would like to calibrate it. I have an old Spyder2 somewhere, but I'm not sure if it's still relevant today? I wonder if I can find an ICC Profile somewhere for this monitor?

Spyder2 is probably not very good for this unfortunately. But you can always try it. If you don't like it, just get rid of the ICM profile created.

TFTCentral usually reviews screens and creates ICM profiles, so you can try it when they publish a review. I don't know if it will help, but it may, or it may make it worse.
 

NM156

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One thing I have discovered. Video playback is horrible with Response Time set to "Fastest." Crazy artfacts.

"Faster" or "Normal" is fine.
 

alienate

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Not saying this guy works for Samsung...but he has been a member for 4 days, starts an entire new thread for his review for attention, and does not post pics. For anyone taking his advice, that is fine, but buy it from some place where you can return it (if necessary) without fees.
 

soixante

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Not saying this guy works for Samsung...but he has been a member for 4 days, starts an entire new thread for his review for attention, and does not post pics. For anyone taking his advice, that is fine, but buy it from some place where you can return it (if necessary) without fees.

Haha, because I am generally positive about the monitor I bought you suggest I work for Samsung? Honestly, you've got to be joking...

I have been waiting for the release of this screen since it was first announced back in spring or whenever. When they finally had a few in stock, I was lucky and got one. I was very skeptical beforehand and would without question have returned it if the backlight issue had been as bad as the few other reviewers had hinted at. Luckily, I must have gotten a good screen. Also, I have been reading hardforum for a long time, but have not felt the need to post until I was ready to give my impressions of a screen that is so far severely lacking in reviews from owners, since availability (at least here in Europe) is still very scarce.

Of course you should buy it from someplace where you can easily return it if it doesn't meet your expectations. That goes without saying. You should always do that when buying a monitor. From the scant information so far, this model may not have the best QC (since review samples seem to have varied quite a bit in terms of BLB). Just cause I got a good one doesn't mean I'm saying they're all going to be equally good.
 

NM156

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FWIW, my observations of both the 24" and 27" SA850 have been similar to those of the OP.

I purchased them from Buy.com because of the fantastic return policy, but I will be keeping both.
 

jimmyjim

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also, I am having a problem with the monitor not saving the resolution when I restart my computer. however, I am not sure if this is the monitor's fault or not. currently looking into this, will create a separate thread for the issue.

Hello,

have you ever figured this one out? I have the same problem with this monitor.
After I reboot and enter windows, it is in very low resolution.

My solution so far is that I press [source] on the monitor 2 times while booting up windows.

After I press it once, the monitor goes into split screen, I then notice that one of the split screens is suddenly in full resolution. I then press it again and the full screen will be with the right resolution again.

Very silly solution ofcourse. Now I'm thinking about returning the monitor.

Thank you
 

xoleras

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I bought this monitor (from amazon.com) and want to say, this thing is FANTASTIC. WOW.

I switched from a dell u2711 and HP ZR2740w. Those both had great uniformity / image quality but the aggressive anti glare coating was a deal killer. Its really ridiculous - anything with a white background looks dusty or grainy. I could not stand it because I do tons of text work.

The AG is so bad in fact, that it detracts from image quality. Small font black text is somewhat blurry due to the glimmer from the AG coating.

Now this monitor looks *perfect*. Whites are *white*. It has a light AG coating that is perfect. Not overbearing like the other IPS panels. I have heard some users have issues with backlight bleeding but my unit has none. Just in case though, buy from a retailer with a good return policy.
 

Finny76

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I bought this monitor (from amazon.com) and want to say, this thing is FANTASTIC. WOW.

I switched from a dell u2711 and HP ZR2740w. Those both had great uniformity / image quality but the aggressive anti glare coating was a deal killer. Its really ridiculous - anything with a white background looks dusty or grainy. I could not stand it because I do tons of text work.

The AG is so bad in fact, that it detracts from image quality. Small font black text is somewhat blurry due to the glimmer from the AG coating.

Now this monitor looks *perfect*. Whites are *white*. It has a light AG coating that is perfect. Not overbearing like the other IPS panels. I have heard some users have issues with backlight bleeding but my unit has none. Just in case though, buy from a retailer with a good return policy.

+1


I just purchased mine from AMAZON as well. Have been using it for 3 days. Indeed it is a GREAT monitor! Very bright and vibrant colors NOT to mention native 2560x1440 resolution and USB 3.0 ports!
 

wteiken

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Dec 23, 2011
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I got the monitor a few days back (ordered it via Amazon), it's great. Great colors, very minor backight bleeding, very slim, very light (installed on a wall mount, so the latter was somewhat important)I also like the little detail of the audio being routed through the display port, saves me another cable needing plugging into the laptop.

The only real annoyance up to now is the USB hub. At least for me it does not work (connected to a USB2.0 upstream). According to the support that behavior is "normal" eventhough the USB standard clearly specifies a USB 3.0 hub has to work with a 2.0 computer connected to it. Does anybody actually use the USB hub? Does it work for anybody with a USB 2.0 computer?
 

Finny76

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im using the USB 3 hub and works perfectly connected to my USB 3 computer input...
 

kingduqc

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Hi guys, I was looking at buying a new monitor, this pls one seems the best.

But... I wonder If my gtx 580 can play games at 2560*1440, It seems like I have a cpu bottleneck cause I can't really get over 55-65 fps while playing bf3 in 1680*1050 (I lowered the settings and the resolution to 720p and the frame rate really didn't go up so I guess my phenom II 955 is the bottleneck...) And because of that I'm not sure at witch point in the resolution my video card would struggle.


On that note, if the video card can't play the game well (probably cause of the Vram more than anything, I have 1.5 gb version) is there a way to enjoy the game at lower res? I know my friend that own a crappy pc that play game windowed but I was wondering if you set the game to 1080p then play fullscreen will upscaling look bad?

Kinda hard for me to put about 1k on a monitor But I'd probably never upgrade until hier res become standard.


Humm and last but not least... how big it is? what's the dimension, cause the monitor is sitting infront of me and there is about 20 inch of space on the desk (Also have the keybord on it)
 

wteiken

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im using the USB 3 hub and works perfectly connected to my USB 3 computer input...

@finny76: Would you mind checking if it works when connected to a USB 2 port on the computer? I just want to confirm if it's a general problem or a defect of my monitor.

Thanks!
 

SuperSubZero

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But... I wonder If my gtx 580 can play games at 2560*1440, It seems like I have a cpu bottleneck cause I can't really get over 55-65 fps while playing bf3 in 1680*1050 (I lowered the settings and the resolution to 720p and the frame rate really didn't go up so I guess my phenom II 955 is the bottleneck...) And because of that I'm not sure at witch point in the resolution my video card would struggle.
I'm a 2560x1440 monitor owner, and I have an "antique" nVidia GTS250. I can do 2560x1440 in final Fantasy XI and DC Universe Online, but the former is an old, old game and the latter is an Unreal 3 engine title which isn't too stressful by 2011 standards. That said, I'm sure as you get into newer titles with more demanding graphics the framerate will taper off fast. The worst case is you'll need to lay off the AA settings, but at 2560x1440 you can afford a little less anti-aliasing.
Humm and last but not least... how big it is? what's the dimension, cause the monitor is sitting infront of me and there is about 20 inch of space on the desk (Also have the keybord on it)
The depth should not be much of an issue. It's not going to be significantly deeper than any other LCD besides the size of the stand. It will be big from side to side of course. Newegg says: 25.3" x 17.42" x 8.84"
 

djsinae

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Can you please take a picture of the d850 27inch backlight with total black background in dark room??

My 850DW contrast is simply mediocre..black is grey/white but maybe, everybody on the net only had mediocrity in their monitors so they think it's acceptable...
 
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