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August 20, 2012

Samsung Series 9 27” PLS Display: Amazing Picture

It’s hard to describe if you’ve never experienced it. It’s the day you get glasses with a new prescription. When you first put on the new glasses, it can be like seeing the world in a new way. You notice details you didn’t realize were there. Everything looks amazing. This is similar to what I experienced when I first upgraded to a high-end display for photo and video work. I was amazed at how much more detail my camera was producing when I could see the images on a high quality display. The first question I asked myself was “Why did I wait so long to get a good display”? And then “How did I ever get by with a consumer-grade monitor”?

Display technology keeps getting better, and Windows supports these advanced displays with features like 30 bit color support (10 bits per channel). Today’s high end displays can really enhance your pro photo/video workflow, and also provide great gaming and media experiences.


Recently, I’ve spent time using a truly amazing display from Samsung: the Series 9 27” PLS display (See the HP Z820 post, and the NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti post for more details). PLS (Plane to Line Switching) technology is an enhanced form of IPS (In-Plane Switching), and the resultant picture is top-notch. Supporting beyond-HD resultion (2560 x 1440, 16×9) these displays look great at 27”. This display also features what Samsung calls “Magic Angle” which yields a 178° viewing angle (vertically and horizontally).

Samsung Series 9 Monitor 1 500

In addition to the awesome picture, these displays are also quite nice to look at. Featuring a sleek black, aluminum, and glass design, they would look right at home in a modern office or home. With a heavy base and chassis, these monitors have a solid feel. In order to raise or lower the panel, you just grasp the frame and push up or down (quite smooth in operation).

Connecting the Samsung Series 9 display is straightforward, and you have multiple options for connectivity. Power is supplied by an AC adapter, and you have the choice of DisplayPort (30 bit color supported), HDMI, or DVI.

Samsung Series 9 Monitor Base 1 550

In addition to video connections, there’s also a USB 2.0 hub integrated into this display which I used for my keyboard and mouse. This USB hub would also be handy for things like card readers, digital sound recorders, microphones, and cameras.

Samsung Series 9 Monitor Base 2 550

So far I’ve used these monitors for general office productivity (Microsoft Office, etc), Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and gaming as well. For photo work, I was impressed by the smooth gradients, accurate colors, and high resolution of these displays. Games look amazing, especially the latest line-up of DirectX 11 titles like Battlefield 3 (featuring HDR lighting effects), and Max Payne 3. What made these experiences even better was the fact that I was running two of these displays!

To sum it up in the form of an equation: 2 x (2560 x 1440) = Awesome.

Samsung Series 9 Monitor Samsung Closeup 600

You have to look close to really appreciate how these monitors are put together. Samsung carefully considered every aspect of the design, and it shows in the materials and construction. One of the details that I appreciated was the fact that my displays came pre-calibrated from the factory. Calibrating displays takes time (they have to warm up before calibration can be performed) and I appreciated the fact that they came calibrated.

Samsung Series 9 Monitor Calibration Report 600

Samsung also provided a detailed report with each display I got which outlines the metrics collected during the calibration process. That’s a nice touch!

Specifications: (Samsung Model S27B970D)

  • Resolution: 2560 x 1440 (16×9)
  • Brightness: 285 cd/m²
  • Response Time: 5ms
  • Static Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
  • Viewing Angle: 178˚/178˚
  • Connectivity: HDMI (1), DisplayPort (1), DVI (1)
  • Weight: 18.04 lb

For more information about this display, please see the Samsung website.

You can follow me on twitter here: @GavinGear