Samsung S27B971D review
Generally, if you want high specifications and great build quality, you have to pay a premium for it. How high a premium you are willing to pay is down to you, but there’s no doubt that the Samsung S27B971D’s svelte and slinky looks will help sugar that particular pill. Yes, from the solid and shiny metal base that houses the interfaces, the curved stand that also has touch-sensitive menu and on/off controls, to the brushed black metal back and chrome outer banding, it oozes style and quality. All of which is a good thing, because the price is a hefty £850, though street prices are from £735. The display is now matt black, compared to the glossy finish the predecessor model had, which makes this much easier to see in well-lit environments.
This is a PLS (Plane-Line Switching) monitor, which is Samsung’s version of IPS, and it has interfaces for HDMI (v1.4), DisplayPort (v1.1), Dual link DVI, there’s a USB hub (v2.0, one up, two down) and you even get a decent 7w speaker. The power goes to a brick on the floor, then feeds into the base, consuming 0.5W on standby, typically 53W when running, up to a maximum of 63W when you’re sucking juice from the USBs. There’s a handsome number of cables included for the money, covering all the interfaces and a MHL cable which has a HDMI to micro 5-pin connection. Physically, the monitor slides up and down the stand, but it doesn’t rotate and neither does the base, but it does tilt back and forth.
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The clean, smooth lines of the Samsung will appeal as much as the high resolution and colour accuracy.
Besides superior looks, what you’re getting for your money is 27” of screen space at 2560x1440 resolution. There is a fair size bevel running around the screen but everything feels very solid and there is no apparent light leak. Calibrating the display showed a good 99% sRGB coverage and a decent 77% AdobeRGB, with 72% for NTSC. A 5ms grey to grey refresh rate is good for all general photography and design uses.
At 100% Brightness the screen uniformity is very good, the highest discrepancy being 4.4% darker in the bottom left corner, with the bottom left side overall showing the main variation. At 67% Brightness this was repeated with the bottom left now at 5.9% darker and either side at 4.0% and 4.3% respectively. Everything else was minor so overall a good result. At 100% the Brightness registered at 285.5 cd/m2 which is respectable, if not glaring, while the contrast ratio was a fairly mediocre 510:1. It certainly isn’t a monitor to use is very bright office conditions, even with the change from glossy to matt screen finish. Where the Samsung does bring home the bacon is in terms of colour consistency. Here the top right and top left corners, at 100% Brightness, showed a variation of Delta-E 1.6 with everything else under 1.0. At 67% that dropped to Delta-E 1.1 and 1.2 in the corners. On actual colour accuracy, more good cheer. Dark grey and blue were out the most, the latter up to Delta-E 5.88, but everything else was under 2 with most being under 1. This gave an overall result of Delta-E 1.55 which is very good indeed.
The Samsung offers a good 99% coverage of sRGB but this is only half the story regarding colour.
The street price for this Samsung is £730+ but it’s still expensive. You can’t argue with build quality or colour consistency and accuracy as both are excellent. For photographers and designers who want something stylish and don’t mind paying for it, there’s lots of screen space to enjoy.