Samsung S34E790C Review - Image Quality, Screen Modes, Uniformity and Verdict Review

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Samsung S34E790C – Image Quality

The Samsung got off to a good

start in the benchmarks, with victories over its rivals in a couple of

key tests. The powerful backlight delivered a measured brightness of 320

nits, outstripping the LG and Philips screens, which topped out at

250 nits and 258 nits respectively. Of course, we’d never run the

monitor at that level, but at least the option is there.

Colour

gradation was impressive too. The Samsung’s Delta E averaged 1.65, which is

finer than the LG’s 1.76 and the 2.65 average of the Philips.

A

black level of 0.15 nits means dark tones are inky and deep, and they

help the Samsung to deliver an astonishing contrast ratio of 2,133:1 –

that’s double the level we consider to be very good – making this an

ideal screen for watching movies and playing games. While both of those

scores trounce the LG, the Philips delivered even deeper blacks and

better contrast – although, arguably, not to the point of making a

noticeable difference.

Samsung S34E790C

The

Samsung’s gamma value of 2.18 barely deviates from the ideal figure of

2.2, and the panel delivered an sRGB gamut coverage of 97.3% – another

good result.

It faltered only in colour temperature, where it

scored 7,032K. That’s a little way off the ideal of 6,500K, making it

appear cooler than the LG but still warmer than the Philips.

Despite

that, Samsung’s factory settings are pretty spot on: it benefits from

bright, accurate colours, good black point and contrast levels, and

impressive sRGB coverage too. We prefer this screen to the LG, and it’s

better balanced than the Philips, too, despite that screen’s higher

contrast and deeper blacks.

We calibrated the Samsung using our

X-Rite i1 Display, but received mixed results. While the Delta E

improved to 0.94, the contrast ratio worsened to 2,033:1 and the colour

temperature became cooler at 7,514K – so this is a step we’d skip. If

you’d like to use it, at least it was simple to achieve: we only had to

turn down the green slider by four notches.

Viewing angles are

consistently excellent, with no deviation visible, which isn’t

surprising given the gentle curve and that this is an VA panel.

However, the curve does make it less suitable at times whenmultiple

users may want to view the same screen.

Samsung S34E790C – Screen Modes

Several

of the S34E790C’s screen modes revolve around Samsung’s Magic Bright

options, which alter the backlight’s intensity for different usage.

The

Standard mode drops the backlight to a more manageable 158 nits, and

improves the Delta E to 1.21 – an even better result than the Samsung’s

factory settings. The contrast and colour temperature both improved a

little to 2,257:1 and 7,263K.

Samsung S34E790C

There

are two other Magic Bright modes, but neither were as impressive.

Cinema mode bumped the brightness to 329 nits at the expense of black

levels, contrast and colour accuracy, with colours looking oversaturated

– the exact opposite of what you’d want from a cinema mode. The Dynamic

Contrast mode also saw the Delta E and colour temperature results

decline.

Four options are available to alter colour temperature,

but neither provide the correct balance. The two cool options chill the

colour temperature to 8,485K and 10,178K, and two warm modes heat up the

screen to 5,531K and 5,002K. Unless you’re keen on making your images

appear icy cool or far too oversaturated, we can’t see why you’d use

these options.

The final two screen modes concern energy

efficiency. The first, Minimum mode, drops the brightness to 242 nits

and reduces the power consumption from 54W to 44W. The result of the

second is more dramatic – with Maximum mode enabled, the power draw

decreased to 33W with the brightness at 156 nits. The Samsung is more

frugal than the Philips, which began at 73W and reduced its consumption

38W.

The Magic Bright Standard mode is the best option here, then

– the brightness level is ample for office work, and other attributes

are improved. Many of the other settings, however, we’d leave well

alone.

Samsung S34E90C – Uniformity and Input Lag

Samsung’s

monster screen impresses with its imposing build and consistent

benchmark results, but it struggles to maintain its performance across

its 34in diagonal.

The S34E790C’s top-left corner lost 11% of

its brightness, while 15% was lost in the top-right corner and around 9%

in the middle of the top edge. That’s poorer than the LG, which only

lost 25 nits at its worst point – and it’s worse than the Philips, which

lost 7% and 13% in its top corners.

Things didn’t improve for

the Samsung along the bottom edge, either, with 14% of the backlight’s

power disappearing in each corner. Again, this is marginally worse than

both competitors.

Colour temperature proved a little inconsistent: it improved along the bottom edge but was cooler along the top of the panel.

So

the uniformity results aren’t good, then, but they’re not disastrous.

If you’re using this screen for work – which isn’t colour critical – or

watching movies and playing games, it’s unlikely to have an impact.

Input

lag was better. The Samsung averaged an input time of only 10.9ms,

which is twice as good as the Philips. It’s also the sort of result wed

expect to see from dedicated gaming screens; we’d bet that few gamers

will notice the input lag, which adds to the widescreen’s impressive

credentials as a gaming monitor.

Samsung S34E790C

Should I Buy the Samsung S34E790C?

If

you’re after a premium monitor with all the bells and whistles then the

S34E790C certainly delivers. Samsung’s screen impresses in most

departments, offering solid image quality, good viewing angles and

impressive build. At £731, however, it’s pricier than even the Philips;

it’s undeniably a luxury product for a niche audience.

That money

buys you plenty, though: a huge, high-resolution VA panel, a

height-adjustable stand, and superb all-round imaging performance. Plus

that curve, too, is something for which you’re paying a premium.

You

can save around £100 and opt for a non-curved screen such as the AOC

U3477PQU, or if you just want the size but aren’t as concerned about

image quality or resolution then the 32in, 2,560 x 1,440 pixel BenQ BL3200PT is available for £350.

There

are two main reasons why the Samsung would fall short for you. First,

is if you really value image quality, since there are other flat-screen

monitors out there that provide better accuracy for the money. Also, if

AMD’s FreeSync or Nvidia’s G-Sync technologies for smooth, tear-free

gameplay are of interest, then you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Verdict

The

Samsung S34E790C’s curve feature is far from essential, but it adds a

sense of immersion to games and movies while at the same time offering a

great setup for day-to-day work. A snazzy design and good overall image

quality combine to make this an excellent, if rather pricey, all-round premium

monitor.

Want some top-quality games to play on your new sidescreen panel? Check out our round-up of 2015’s best RPGs – or have a read of our verdict on the best racing games you can play right now.

Score


Score in detail

  • Image Quality 9
  • Design 9
  • Value 8
  • Features 8