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Samsung S27A850D - Adjustability, Connectivity and Controls/OSD

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



  • Recommended by TR
Samsung S27A850D (SA850 27in)


Our Score:


Build quality on the S27A850D is generally good. The stand and metal are sturdy and solid, and only on the chassis is there a little more creak than we would like. Adjustability is excellent, covering pretty much everything. You can tilt it 25 degrees backward and three forward, adjust the height (lifting the screen’s base from 6cm to 20.5cm off your desk), swivel it and pivot it through 90 degrees to have it in a portrait orientation (this you can do without having to tilt the screen back, as on some rivals).

Connectivity is likewise impressive, though it doesn’t match some offerings from Dell or Hazro. This monitor has some very unusual arrangements and features, and its connection setup is primary among these. You see, ports are arranged to either side of its protruding centre section, with twin DVI inputs and DisplayPort on the right, while the left houses 3.5mm audio in and out, and that much-appreciated three-port USB 3.0 hub.

We’re really loving the USB 3.0 hub, as it’s the first monitor to offer this and dedicated hubs are quite expensive. While some might bemoan the lack of HDMI, this is primarily a display aimed at professionals and business use, so its absence is not surprising and hardly critical, especially since a DVI adapter can be used.

Having the connections pointing out to the sides rather than the bottom makes plugging cables in and out a piece of cake, while still allowing flush wall-mounting. A cable clip on the arm ensures there’s no untidy clutter. Also noteworthy is the SA850’s ability to display two digital signals from its DVI ports side by side simultaneously. While many rivals have picture-in-picture (PIP), they usually only support it on analogue connectors such as component or VGA.

Yet another interesting feature with this Samsung is its external power brick. The cable running from the screen to it is very short, it has its own power switch and the power lead comes out of it at a right angle. But there’s method behind the madness: ingeniously, the brick can be clipped into a holder at the rear of the chassis, thus turning it into an ‘integrated’ PSU of sorts. Not only does a removable PSU allow for great flexibility, but it also reduces potential heat-related issues and is good for wall-mounting (which the S27A850D supports with 100 x 100 and 100 x 200 VESA mount holes). Altogether, it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into this monitor’s design.

This being a ‘Professional’ display, Samsung hasn’t hesitated in sticking the monitor’s buttons front and centre, with plainly visible labels. However, the buttons are neatly integrated, and to be honest we far prefer this more practical approach to the hidden controls that can often be difficult to distinguish between without having to crane your neck to see around the side.

Overall the buttons have a good action and intuitive secondary function shortcuts. Our one concern is that the equivalent to the Enter key (when navigating the OSD) is set to the other side of the proximity and light sensors from the rest of the controls, making navigation an absolute nightmare in darkness. We hope this is something the company will fix in future iterations.

The OSD itself, meanwhile, is the usual well-laid-out Samsung affair, if not quite as colourful as we’re used to. Every option you might want is there, including colour temperature and RGB levels, dynamic or static contrast, GAMMA and response time overdrive settings. There are a few niggles, such as that colour temperatures are set by selecting variations on Cool, Normal or Warm rather than giving you the actual temps in degrees Kelvin, but these are minor concerns.

One real disappointment is that there is no 1:1 pixel mode. The only aspect ratio options are Wide or Auto, so if you feed this monitor a 4:3 resolution it will inevitably stretch it. However, while this is an annoyance, its impact for most users is likely to be minor. Speaking of stretching, it’s also worth noting that the S27A850D does a great job of scaling non-native widescreen resolutions.


October 4, 2011, 2:42 pm

"While some might bemoan the lack of HDMI, this is primarily a display aimed at professionals and business use, so its absence is not surprising and hardly critical, especially since a DVI adapter can be used."

HDMI won't go higher than 1920x1200, so including it on a screen of this resolution seems a bit pointless to begin with..


October 4, 2011, 3:08 pm

Actually, xenos, that is not true with the newer revisions to the HDMI spec :). HDMI to DisplayPort or DVI adapters are cheap enough though.


October 5, 2011, 9:33 pm

You're both right - HDMI 1.4 supports 1920x1080 at up to 60Hz (which is what most creatives would want as a minimum refresh rate for professional design work) - whereas it can also support the much higher '4k' family of resolutions, such as 4096×2160 but only at slower refresh rates (from what I gather 24 Hz).

Whilst 24P is fine for movies - it results in a stuttery experience with desktop apps and makes your mouse pointer feel slightly spaced out!

Maybe HDMI 1.5 will move the standard forwards - but suspect it'll be a few years before we see 4K editions of Star Wars being launched.


February 27, 2012, 3:18 pm

I've recently returned a Dell U2711 as I found the anti-glare coating ruined the image, particularly areas of white, giving the image a rainbow sparkle effect.

Does anyone know what the anti-glare coating is like on this screen?


September 26, 2012, 5:53 am

@Jasonn : the anti-glare coating is what you could call, "semi-glossy" ... if you look for it, and at certain angles, there are definite reflections visible but they are subdued (though still being somewhat well defined).

Having come from a U2711, myself ... I can say quite matter of factly that the S27A850D anti-glare (semi-glossy) coating is *miles* better than the horribly aggressive and grainy coating on the Dell (as well as most other monitors other than the actual, full glossy screens). The whites are amazing on the S27A850D...truly stunning, actually.

My only complaint with the first unit I received was genuinely HORRID backlight bleed. I mean, *serious* bleed. I returned it and my new monitor is practically 100% bleed free . .. with a *tiny* area at the top that is noticeable when I really look for it (but non-existent to my otherwise occupied eye when watching a movie with black bars or when gaming in dark scenes). Had the Series 9 monitor not come out and had it not been so well reviewed, I would most likely have kept the S27A850D as it's really the most impressive monitor visually, that I've ever used...but I think I'm going to go ahead and return it in favor of the Series 9 since it has a full glossy screen, reportedly better out of box color and zero bleed. Also, the series 9 just dropped to 999.00 a lot of places on line.

Anyway ... hope that helps.

Oh yeah, don't know if you game or not but the response time and input lag is quite dramatically noticeable as better over the Dell U2711 as well ..



March 8, 2013, 12:16 pm

I just got my hands on this monitor. it is excellent, my only con about the thing is the included cables are way to short. I'm sure that most people can get away with 2 1/2 ft of video cable and a 2ft usb cable. unfortunately my pc is setup beside quite a large desk and there is no way to manoeuvre it all around to reach. I've noticed this with other Samsung monitors I've owned, all cables supplied seem to be a bare minimum. For a monitor that's designed for workstations Samsung really should've increased cable length, it doesn't cost them much and we shouldn't have to pay more for more cables considering the asking price.

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