Samsung has been producing high-quality monitors and TVs for some time and it now appears that the design team have found their feet, beginning to push their look away from standard monitor guidelines.
The design of the Samsung SA950 23-inch Series 9 3D LED monitor is a bold push in a market that has little to fawn over, though perhaps it is worth noting that the key aspect of a display is to direct surrounds. This is where the Samsung falls flat for me. While the brushed-aluminum finish and razor-thin screen are appealing, they add very little to the overall effect. The base is significantly deeper than your typical monitor stand and the connector ports protrude horizontally from the rear of the base. This is a nice touch as it reduces the fiddling required when attaching cables.
Unfortunately there is evidence of form over function in the adjustability of the screen. There is single, stiff pivot hinge on the base that only allows the screen to be tilted back away from your vision. No height adjustment means you may well have to fit out your new monitor with a couple of yellow pages or perhaps a more carefully designed monitor stand.
Luckily, after all my complaints about the adjustability of the stand, the panel itself is crisp. Even in a well – lit office environment with bright natural light you wouldn’t want it at full brightness, though the panel has a very glossy finish so you will have to get used to staring at your face in the wrong conditions.
Text is sharp and easy to read and the full 1080p resolution 23-inch TN panel is a pleasure to use. With 96 DPI, even content that you already thought was sharp really pops. Colors are well saturated and the LED backlighting is uniform across the panel. Viewing angles are impressive on both the horizontal and vertical axes and I haven’t seen a better performing TN panel in this respect.
The menu controls are handled by capacitive touch buttons on the bezel which only light up when necessary. This allows for easy adjustment of power saving features. These include the Eco motion sensor and the Eco light sensor. The first dims the monitor when you are away from your dash, with the latter adjusting the brightness depending on the ambient light in the room. These power-saving advancements are depicted using the aptly named ‘Energy Tree’ which functions as a handy diagrammatical encouragement to save power.
3D is still an underdeveloped feature at this stage and graphics card manufacturers NVidia and AMD have competing standards. Samsung has dealt with this by utilizing TriDef software. It is a cumbersome, unattractive piece of software though the final results can look good with modern games. The Samsung SA950 also has the ability to convert content to 3D but this produces mixed results and isn’t a key feature in my eyes. The supplied 3D glassed are comfortable and are about as nice a design as active shutter glasses get this point.
Whilst I have reservations about some of the design choices and the relevancy of 3D, the picture quality is impressive and the style is refreshing.