Review Price £499.00
The Samsung SyncMaster CA750 is elegantly controlled through a selection of responsive white and blue-backlit controls on the base. The main menu offers all the usual Samsung adjustments, including MagicBright image presets and MagicAngle to combat TN's inevitably weak viewing angles, letting you opt for several gamma presets which compensate according to your selected viewing position. There's a handy separate 'Hub' menu with its own dedicated activation 'button', allowing you to monitor the status of all the monitor's connections.
On the image quality front, Samsung's edge-LED-backlit, 27in C27A750X holds up reasonably well, offering up great contrast for excellent dark detailing in films and games, a fast 2ms GTG response time (overdriven from the panel's original 5ms) and punchy colours without obvious artefacts.
These positives are marred somewhat by uneven backlighting resulting in noticeable clouding. Although this is slightly worse than on many rival models, there's no sign of backlight bleed and it's only noticeable when displaying dark material in a dark environment, so it might not be an issue for you. Samsung's engineers have also promised us that it will be reduced or even removed completely on retail models.
Horizontal viewing angles are not as strong as on some TN rivals either, most notably the 27in Philips E-Line 273E3, which performed remarkably well in this regard. Vertical viewing is as poor as usual with this panel technology, though MagicAngle can alleviate this if you can be bothered going through the settings to alter it.
Finally, though sharpness is reasonable, spreading the 1080p resolution beyond 24 inches starts to show up individual pixels when sitting close to the screen, giving a grainy impression. Although this is a negative that applies to all 27in monitors sporting this resolution, it's a reason to consider the C27A750X's smaller 23in sibling.
Finally, we come to price, where again the £379.99 C23A750X makes a far more tempting option than the £499 MSRP of our 27in review sample. In the 27in segment, competition is becoming ever more intense. The E-Line 273E3, for example, offers superior viewing angles for around half the price.
If the C27A750X was just a monitor, this would be bad news for Samsung. However, keep in mind that the CA750 series gives you the equivalent of the £100 Toshiba Dynadock U10, a wireless video and audio device (which will easily set you back over £150 if bought separately and usually can't cope with 1080p video, not to mention USB and networking data at the same time), and a £20 USB 3.0 hub all integrated into an attractive, height-adjustable display. Quite simply, there's nothing else like it on the market.
If you just want a good monitor and can afford this kind of expenditure, go for something like Hazro's new HZ27WA, which offers a 27in, 10-bit IPS panel with better colour, contrast and viewing angles, a higher 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, support for HDMI, dual-link DVI, component, digital optical audio out and integrated speakers.
On the other hand, if this Samsung offers the features you want and you're not a stickler for image quality (i.e. you're an average business or home user), the Korean company offers a very attractive solution, and we hope it's but the first set of many similarly-equipped models to come. If the price comes down to the £450 level, it will be a real stunner, and its sub-£400 smaller brother is already an excellent value proposition.
It might not offer the best image quality or ergonomics around, but with its impressive wireless capabilities and well-thought-out hub, Samsung's attractive and innovative new CA750 series offers the most extensive feature-set going. Considering that no other monitor in the world offers this kind of wireless convenience - and that even when using separate devices it's quite difficult to get 1080p video streaming combined with audio and data - the C27A750X is actually decent value too, though the £120 difference with its 23in sibling is difficult to justify.
Addendum 05/04/11: Samsung engineers have displayed a retail sample using the same panel where backlight inconsistency (clouding) was virtually eliminated, so the version of the C27A750X available to buy in May shouldn't suffer from this issue as mentioned in the image quality section of our review. This just about pushes the image quality up to eight. Also, Samsung is aiming to lower the MSRP of this product in light of our comments. In anticipation of a reduced price making the C27A750X better value, we are upping the relevant score and provisionally awarding it a Recommended Award. We will update the rest of the review once we receive confirmation of the new price.
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