Samsung Series 9 S27B970D Monitor

By Muhammad Faisal 0 comments

Big, expensive and life-altering? Well, two out of three ain't bad

Monitor, IPS TechLike most PC peripherals, monitors mostly sell on price. That's because consumers are largely a feckless bunch of mouth-breathers who can't see past pricing and a small half handful of headline specs. It's $200? It's 27 inches? It's shiny? It's sold. In that context, Samsung slinging out a premium-priced 27-incher is either bold or bonkers.

Samsung's own Series 8 model is around the $800 mark, and recent months have seen a glut of $323 efforts being bought from Korean eBay merchants. Meanwhile, you can pick up a number of 30-inch alternatives for roughly the same money as this 27-inch screen. One thing is for sure - the Series 9 will have to be life-alteringly good.

So what do get? First up is the PLS panel. It's the same type used in the Samsung Series 8 27-inch screen, which is effectively Samsung's take on IPS technology with one or two twists. So far, so good.

Next up is what you might call premium industrial design. That includes a proper metal frame, a brushed metal rear enclosure panel, soft touch controls and a general lifestyle vibe. The stand is height and tilt adjustable, which puts it somewhere between tilt-only cheapo monitors and more widely adjustable pro displays.

Then there's connectivity, which not only includes HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort, but also MHL or Mobile High-Definition Link, which allows you to hook up Android phones. And that's about it. There's no integrated TV tuner or app support. This is a pure PC monitor.

The Series 9 will therefore live or die on a combination of image quality and physical desirability. Unfortunately, we're not entirely convinced by either. The chassis and stand are superficially sexy, but we'd rather have more adjustability and easier access to the inputs. The latter are buried in the base, which makes plugging things in tedious.

Clear as mud

The Series 9's biggest problem involves image quality. That's not a result of a flawed LCD panel - it's lovely. The problem is that it's behind a so-called Crystal Clear Glass panel, so you can't actually see that lovely pannel very well at all.

It's a shame, because Samsung's PLS technology is lovely. You get all the benefits of IPS technology, including superb viewing angles and color accuracy, along with what certainly seems likes improved contrast and definitely involves a smoother, less sparkly anti-glare coating.

Still, the good news is that you can buy the Series 8, which has the same PLS tech, in a more unassuming but actually more ergonomic enclosure, minus the stupid panel cover. Okay, you miss out on the MHL, but it's $485 cheaper, so it's no-brainer.

Technical analysis

IPS stands for In-Plane Switching. PLS stands for Plane to Line Switching. And for the most part, it is indeed a case of I say tomato you say, er, tomato. This analogy isn't really working, but the general gist is that Samsung's PLS technology is very similar to IPS. The biggest difference is that Samsung uses a much nicer, smooth anti glare coating than the horrid, sparkly things you get with most IPS screens. It's a shame it's hidden behind a silly glass cover in the new Series 9.

Vital Statistics
Price $1,292 approx..
Manufacturer Samsung
Size 27-inch
Native resolution 2,560 x 1,440
Panel type PLS
Contrast 1,000:1
Inputs DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI (with MHL support)

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