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Samsung S27A850D (SA850 27in) review

Ardjuna Seghers



  • Recommended by TR
Samsung S27A850D (SA850 27in)


Our Score


User Score


  • Generally good image quality
  • 2,560 x 1,440 resolution
  • Decent value
  • Fully adjustable
  • Generous connectivity


  • Contrast shift
  • Fiddly controls
  • No HDMI

Review Price £536.75

Key Features: 27in PLS panel; 2,560 x 1,440 resolution; LED backlighting; Fully adjustable (height, tilt, swivel, pivot); 2 x DVI, DisplayPort, 3 x USB 3.0

Manufacturer: Samsung

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.

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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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