A quality display is no more ‘just a monitor’ than a Ferrari is ‘just a sports car’. You pay a significant premium to get a high-end panel like IPS, rather than the TN panels found in most affordable monitors. That’s why the likes of the Dell U2410 tend to cost several hundred pounds, rather than the hundred and fifty or so that a lesser equivalent will set you back. And in the past, if you wanted a really large monitor, you expected to pay serious money!
Thankfully, a new generation of large (27in) high resolution (2,560 x 1,440) panels have brought high quality, big screen viewing to affordable levels - even the Apple Cinema Display 27in is reasonably priced. And there’s a shining new entrant to this 27in market: the largest model in Samsung’s Professional SA850 series, the S27A850D.
Until now, an LG-manufactured IPS panel was your only choice for a 27in 2,560 x 1,440 display, regardless of the brand incorporating it (Dell, NEC, Hazro, etc). Now rival Korean electronics giant Samsung has finally brought its own option to the field. The SA850 is one of the first monitors available to use its proprietary PLS technology, which is an evolution of IPS, and which we first saw ‘in the flesh’ on the Samsung Slate 700T.
In the case of this monitor we’re talking about an eight-bit panel with 72 percent NTSC (100 percent sRGB) colour gamut. Some might be disappointed with the lack of wide colour gamut (i.e. approaching 100 percent of the extended AdobeRGB colour space), but for the majority sRGB suffices and is in many cases preferred. Other specs include 300 cd/m2 brightness and a 5ms GTG response time.
Samsung has backed up its largest PLS screen with edge LED lighting for an incredibly slim frame and low energy usage compared to CCFL (until now, Apple’s Cinema Display and the Hazro HZ27 were the only widely available LED-backlit choices in the UK for this size and resolution). There’s a matt screen coating and frame, metal stand offering full adjustability (including pivot), and a good selection of connections, including dual DVI, DisplayPort, and an integrated USB 3.0 hub! On paper then, the S27A850D is one of the most desirable high-end monitors around, especially since it’s priced very competitively.
We certainly have few complaints with its design. Though it’s not quite as easy to set up as one of Dell’s UltraSharp range, it’s nonetheless a very simple procedure. Simply secure the base to the stand with the provided thumb-screw, take out the holding pin and attach the power brick (more on which in a bit), and you’re good to go.
As far as looks go, it’s unashamedly industrial, and from the front it’s very similar to the award-winning Samsung SyncMaster F2380. Indeed, the matt black plastic with metal stand and angular edges is an aesthetic shared by Samsung’s entire Professional monitor range, and we would say it works very well. The only differences this time around are that the bezel is a little thicker, and the stand’s base and bottom bezel strip are faux brushed metal. It’s also far slimmer than a 27in F-series would have been, at only 2cm deep at its edges.