Samsung S27A850 LED Ultra HD Monitor - Subjective Tests and Conclusion

Article Index
Samsung S27A850 LED Ultra HD Monitor
Features and Specifications
Testing the S27A850 LCD
Subjective Tests and Conclusion

Performance - Text:

The majority of my use and is text and internet browsing and I used theS27A850 in this regard as a primary display on a gaming PC for several weeks and was very pleased with the overall text quality.  The resolution on this 27" unit is very high at 2560x1440 and for many people the text size may be a bit on the small size.  I love the ability to have two web pages open side-by-side at a width of 1280px each.  It's a great thing - and extremely handy if you're working on documents, researching or even editing reviews.

Attached Power  

Performance - Video/Photo:

I didn't have much time to watch movies, but I did make sure to watch some HD movies on the S27A850 display.  The downside to having such a high resolution monitor is that standard definition movies look pretty bad.  Even Blu-Ray scales up a bit and doesn't look as crisp - although it is very acceptable.  When it comes to working with photos, once the display is calibrated properly, it is pretty much flawless.  I know there is a lot of debate on whether this is a 6-bit or 8-bit panel, but when calibrated and working on 14-bit RAW images, I never had any issues or noticed any color degradation.

 

Performance - Gaming:

I'm spoiled when it comes to gaming on LCD displays.  I currently use a 30" Samsung 305T or a ASUS 120Hz 3D Monitor and am used to having things run like butter.  Thankfully the S27A850 can deliver a very good gaming experience.  The 5ms GtG rating is fast enough for most games and I noticed there was less "ghosting" on this unit than on the 305T and even the MD230X3 Eyefinity setup we tested a while back.

Even though the screen was completely calibrated for color and brightness, I found that I had to boost up the brightness a bit in game when compared to an uncalibrated display in order to see better in maps like MW3's Village.  Overall, it was a great experience and once I adjusted in-game brightness levels, all was good to go.

 

Eco Action:

Eco(nomical) functions of this display include a motion sensor that can dim or turn off the backlight after 5, 10, 20, 30 or 60 minutes.  This can be adjusted independently of the ambient light sensor.  The ambient light sensor can be tuned to high, medium or low sensitivity.  I recommend medium as a good tradeoff or you'll find that when you pass your hand near the LCD and create a shadow on the sensor the display will dim.  Medium is a much better choice that high in this regard.  Once the ambient light sensor is engaged, you can adjust the current display brightness to be dimmer, the same or brighter than it is by default.  You can also turn on the "Eco Icon Display" that pops up and shows the display dimming or brightening up - depending on the situation.

It comes off as more of a gimmick than a handy feature, but for most of the day I do leave it on.  It's odd to see your LCD adjusting brightness on the fly.  When actually working though, I turn it off so that the brightness stays where I put it.

 

Conclusion:

There is probably a lot more we could cover with the S27A850 LCD from Samsung - such as USB 3.0 port speed and such.  In the end, if you're buying this 2560x1440 panel, you are probably buying it for the resolution and not the USB functionality.  The panel itself is very good and I have absolutely no complaints regarding the screen itself.  It is clear, and has a very fine dot-pitch; making it a great display for photo work.  I do love the ability it has to rotate on the stand to view long text pages easily.  I've used this when doing some coding work at BCCHardware and it's wonderful.

 

The overall build quality of the bezel and stand make it feel like it should be a cheaper display however.  While it won't fall over or break, it doesn't feel as solid as the stand and display that are on other monitors, such as the older 245BW unit that was very popular.  Samsung sacrifices some form for some function here and I'm not sure if it's the best way to go.

The "Eco" options are fun - and while they certainly could help the environment as far as auto dimming your display and auto-off and on when movement is detected, they won't be used by a lot of "professional" people.  If you're editing video or working on photos - or even gaming, you want the display to stay at a certain brightness, and not adjust automatically.  To their credit, Samsung managed to keep the color temperatures the same under different brightness conditions and this is a bonus as the image on the screen will still reflect the true color of the source - and it's not dependent on the brightness to keep things even.

At the end of the day, I could certainly recommend this display to anyone that wants more resolution that the standard 1920x1080 display and although it comes at a very high premium over 1080p 27" displays, for the individual who needs extra resolution - it's a bargain.  Consider that the 305T and other 30" displays that offer 2560x1600 are still priced around $1100 - the $700 price tag of this display that offers 160 less lines of resolution is not a bad deal.

 

Pros:

  • High resolution - 2560x1440
  • 3x USB 3.0 Ports
  • Lots of height adjustment
  • Display can rotate
  • Multiple inputs
  • Good color quality

 

Cons:

  • Construction feels a little cheap
  • No Display Port Cable
  • Premium price for the extra resolution

BCCRating 

Silver

 

I'd like to thank Samsung for sending us this display for the review.  It will be a shame going back to a "small" 24" screen that only allows a width of 1920.  If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.