Having a screen such as this made me want to go and re-evaluate some snaps I took on a recent day out. The colours and clarity were outstanding, in particular grass, with fabulously lush greens. What’s more, there’s plenty of detail in darker areas. I could see things such as freckles on faces that I just hadn’t noticed before. I’ve seen the contrast ratio listed as both 600:1 and 700:1 in different places on the Samsung web site, while another review I found online referred to it as 1,000:1. Either way, it’s a decent black level.
Viewing angles are also imperious, with virtually no colour shift right out to the sides or from way below or above. It’s the best performance from an LCD I’ve seen in this regard.
Running DisplayMate, I could find nothing to object about – the results are essentially the way it’s meant to be displayed. Colours are rich, while greyscale levels and colour fading are essentially perfect. You’ll be hard pressed not to notice the richness of the colours, be it video or gaming. The response time is listed as 8ms, but I did sense that I’ve seen smoother motion from super low response time 2ms gaming panels, though of course image quality wouldn’t come close.
Certainly, the XL20 is a master class in what LCDs can do with the most intense colours I’ve even seen from an LCD. I’ll find it hard to go back to the relatively poor LCD fare that is standard these days. I’ll know that I’m not seeing my pictures to their full potential. While the £900 you can pick this screen up for is a relative bargain, it’s still an expensive technology and so isn’t ready to go mainstream, though screens like this are the first step. We’ve already seen it in a few high-end notebooks, let’s hope we see it in even more affordable displays before too long. If your work is colour critical though, then this would have to be an essential purchase.
With the XL20, Samsung has clearly tried to bring the benefits of LED backlit displays to a more affordable price point and thereby a greater audience. On that score, it has succeeded admirably. I’ve never seen an LCD display with colours as rich. If you want access to a wide colour gamut display, without paying earth shattering prices, then right now this is your only choice.
Score in detail
Image Quality 10