Today we are going to discuss a pre-produciton engineering sample of the Samsung SA850 monitor. Note that the characteristics of production units may be different. As soon as first mass production SA850 monitors become available, we will post an update to this review.
Samsung Electronics frequently releases new LCD monitor models but, unfortunately, it is rarely that there is something really innovative about them. A new Samsung monitor may have an original exterior design, a slightly revised menu, a couple of added “image enhancement” features, but is almost sure to have the same matrix, electronics and specifications as its predecessors.
Over a year ago Samsung made an attempt to introduce an alternative to mainstream TN-based products by releasing monitors with C-PVA matrixes. The SyncMaster F2080 and F2380 were not much of a success, however. Although Samsung claims that corporate users were eager to buy them, these models were not interesting for home users due to their high response time and some color rendering problems. Later on, Dell and some other brands introduced their e-IPS based products which met the mainstream requirements by having a reasonable price and well-balanced specs.
In late 2010 Samsung responded to e-IPS with its PLS technology. The name itself (it spells out as Plane-to-Line Switching) was quite a surprise for specialists because it was not a variant of the proprietary PVA technology but seemed to resemble IPS matrixes which were produced by Samsung’s largest competitor LG.
PLS technology was at first advertized as a solution for tablet PCs and mobile phones (high-quality matrixes are quite popular in these devices thanks to Apple’s backing and LG’s active participation) but then one monitor from the new 8 series, namely SyncMaster SA880, was declared to have a PLS matrix.
As you have already guessed, I’m going to discuss that monitor in this review. Please note that the monitor we had was a pre-production engineering sample and, according to Samsung, the actual production units may be different.
The SyncMaster SA850 is a 27-inch monitor (the screen size is encoded into the full model name, S27A850, which is far less popular than the shortened SA850). It has a screen aspect ratio of 16:9 and a native resolution of 2560x1440 pixels. Such products are highly interesting in my opinion. Being only half as expensive as 30-inch monitors with similar resolution (2560x1600 pixels), they are going to be demanded by people who need to output a lot of visual information.
At the moment of my writing this, I only know that the SA850 is scheduled for release in August 2011, but its price is not yet disclosed. I guess it’s going to be about $1000, similar to the Dell U2711 which is its closest rival. On the other hand, Samsung has made claims of a rather low manufacturing cost of PLS matrixes, so there may be surprises.
The SA850 will be the only PLS-based monitor so far. The 6 series models CA650 and SA650 that have similar positioning will be based on MVA matrixes from AU Optronics.
Use the following link for a description of our testing methodology and the equipment we use as well as for a brief explanation of what the specified and tested parameters of LCD monitors mean: X-bit Labs Presents: LCD Monitors Testing Methodology In Depth. If you feel overwhelmed with the numbers and terms this review abounds in, check out an appropriate section of the Methodology for explanation.
You can also check out the Monitors section of our site if this review doesn’t cover the model you are interested in.