Samsung S24C650PL high-end display review

The one flaw with stylish monitors is that they tend to not have a great deal of flexibility in positioning the screen, which invariably results in an awkward viewing angle or sparks a hunt for a more appropriate height chair. The Samsung SyncMaster SC650 is of course a business class monitor that takes viewing position as an essential element and matches it with Samsung’s AD-PLS technology, an alternative to the standard IPS format. The stand is quite sturdy, telescopic and allows the screen to be tilted and rotated through 90 degrees. The base, an unassuming square block, offers a small surprise by having a USB 2.0 hub (one up, two down) on the side. Around the back of monitor itself are D-sub, DisplayPort and HDMI interfaces along with a audio in/out. There are a couple of built-in speakers, but at 1W each the best that could be said of these is that you can hear them.

Stylistically, it’s all very dull and square with an extending bevel and protruding menu buttons. This produce the usual monitor controls that would require some familiarisation, but this is eased thanks to on-screen guidance that makes navigation very quick. Unfortunately only the power button has any lighting, so in dim conditions the glare from the screen renders them almost invisible.

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The 98% sRGB coverage is only half the story on colour as the panel features tremendous colour accuracy and consistency.

The screen size is 23.6” and the viewing angles are 178degrees in both directions, which in practice was borne out as you could sit at any kind of oblique angle and still read the screen. The colours were also bright and well saturated with a crisp display. Look beneath the surface though, and there are problems, starting with quite noticeable light leak all along the bottom and on the right side of the screen. On the actual tests screen uniformity results were duly unimpressive, with 12% variation in the top left and registering 13.2% darker in the top middle portions of the screen at 100% Brightness. The top right was also over 10% out, while the bottom right was 7.9% darker. Quite uneven in fact. At 50% Brightness, it was the top middle and top right that were still the poor areas, both over 10% darker than the middle. The Luminace Uniformity test at 100% Brightness backed this up and was in fact worse. The top third of the screen showed 16%, 17% and 15% variation at 100% Brightness and at 50% there was still 18% and 17% variation respectively. Now that’s fine if you’re looking at spreadsheets all day, but you wouldn’t want to look at your photos under those conditions.

It’s a pity really because the star feature of this panel is the colour and that scores well in both consistency across the display and also actual accuracy. At 100% Brightness, only the top left corner was above 1 Delta-E, at 1.4, and at 50%, only the bottom right was Delta-E of 1 with everything else at or below 0.6. For accuracy, the main colours were really tight, yellow a maximum of Delta-E 1.01, and even factoring in the greys and dark cyan colours, the average of Delta-E 1.29 is a fantastic result. The colour gamut results were quite acceptable, with 98% of sRGB and 80% of AdobeRGB and even though the monitor claims a brightness of 250 cd/m2 it actually managed to pump out a respectable 273.4cd/m2. For an office monitor you might reasonably expect a bit more though. The contrast ratio was also quite good with 800:1 being well up with what you might expect.

OUR VERDICT

Fairly bland looking 24” PLS screen offers excellent colour accuracy and consistency, but is let down by light leak and quite dramatic inconsistency in luminosity. For general use, the viewing angles make it a good screen to demonstrate ideas to a group, but for designers and photographer there are better options.

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