Samsung SyncMaster S27B970 LED monitor review

You have to hand it to Samsung, the company knows how to design a sexy looking monitor. The snappily-titled S27B970 is huge 27” PLS monitor with a brushed metal base, curved stand containing touch-sensitive menu controls, dark glass front and metal rim around it’s svelte frame. The stand allows the monitor to move up and down and tilt back and forth. If you want to rotate it, you have to move the entire base. Speaking of which, this is used to house all the inputs, so while it means they are packed together, once everything is plugged in, it makes the monitor very neat and tidy. The power supply is a separate transformer while the interfaces include Samsung’s own Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL), dual link DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort.

This is Samsung’s Series 9 LED monitor which features Plan to Line Switching (PLS), or the company’s version of IPS if you will. On the front is Crystal Clear Glass, much like you get on the iMac, which consequently looks great, but means on a bright day in a well lit office, you pick up lots of reflections. That could be an issue because the brightness rating isn’t spectacular at 220cd/m2 in standard mode and 285cd/m2 in high bright mode. The contrast ratio is an average 1000:1 in static mode but, as with most mid-range and upwards monitors, has a dynamic mode as well. Being IPS-based you’ll expect two things. A modest refresh rate but great viewing angles. The viewing angles are good, but you shouldn’t sit too close to the monitor because then moving off-centre will cause the outside edges to darken. On the refresh rate, it’s a fairly impressive 5ms and in truth, after testing with everything from games to films, there was no ghosting or lag.

On to some tests then and no discernable darkening all the way round the screen, but in dim conditions, on a black screen, there’s some light leak all the way round. You won’t notice it in the day but you might well at night when displaying dark images. The colour consistency across the entire monitor is very good though, which is what you would expect, and the maximum resolution of 2560x1440 provides plenty of detail. There’s a very good brightness range with lots of detail in the highlights and only the bottom 5% of the shadows merging. Colours are rich and there’s 100% sRGB coverage.

OUR VERDICT

Looks fantastic but it’s also quite expensive. The stand doesn’t rotate into a portrait orientation and the display isn’t quite as good a quality as the price tag demands. There can be some issues with the glass front causing reflections, but the consistency of the display is admirable. The list price of £900 sees street prices around the £800 mark. The styling is rich consumer or plush-studio orientated and it will do a great job in either of those environments, if you can afford it.

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