Unfortunately the F2080’s performance wasn’t quite perfect, however. Banding across gradients was present, though so subtly it’s unlikely to ever be much of a problem. A bigger concern regards response times. Samsung claims an 8ms response time for the F2080 which it dubs MagicSpeed, but while films were mostly fine we found there was some ghosting in fast games, even with response time acceleration set to maximum. Of course, this panel is aimed at colour professionals so it’s hardly fair to criticise it for this issue, especially since many semi-casual gamers are unlikely to notice. Still, we wish Samsung wouldn’t advertise ‘magic speed’ on a panel this slow.
Finally for true image professionals it’s worth noting that Samsung only states its monitor matches 100 per cent of the relatively lowly sRGB colour space and obviously it’s not wide-gamut, meaning that if you professionally work with higher colour spaces or require extended colours, you’re still better off looking elsewhere.
Nonetheless, the performance the F2080 delivers for its price is quite simply amazing. While not quite up to the professional standard its classification suggests, this is as close as we’ve ever seen a sub-£200 monitor get. If you have the extra cash to spare you’ll probably want to get the 23in F2380, available for around £230, which nabs you not only a larger working area but also a desirable Full HD resolution. However, for anyone who can’t afford the extra £60 the F2080 is well worth considering.
So who’s it for? Enthusiast photographers and budding digital artists on a budget, or just anyone who enjoys accurate colours, good contrast and excellent ergonomics but can’t afford the premiums this usually demands and can live with the lower resolution. Keep in mind though that while most films are fine (and indeed a pleasure to watch thanks to the aforementioned qualities), gamers should look elsewhere.
Offering quality that's in a whole other ballpark to displays based on TN panels but at only a slight premium, the Samsung F2080 with its 'cPVA' panel is quite simply one of the best monitors available for its £173 asking price - both in terms of image quality and ergonomics. It's just a pity that poor response times keep it from holding wider appeal.