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Conclusion

The Samsung SyncMaster SA850 with its Super PLS matrix is not an ideal monitor, but it’s good.

Samsung has indeed begun to manufacture LCD matrixes which are similar to IPS and capable of competing with e-IPS in price and beating them in specs, especially in terms of viewing angles. PLS matrixes do not have the annoying effect of e-IPS ones which show a brighter black when viewed from a side. Considering the comparable price, PLS makes a more appealing option.

On the other hand, it is yet too early to talk about any competition with e-IPS on the market of desktop monitors. PLS is only going to be available in a single product so far. And while the 27-inch SA850 (S27A850) is interesting due to its high resolution, it can hardly challenge mainstream 21.5- and 23-inch e-IPS based monitors.

It should also be noted that Samsung becomes the only company to produce LCD matrixes of all possible types: TN, VA (C-PVA for the SyncMaster F2380 and S-PVA for TV-sets and large info boards), and now PLS which is functionally similar to IPS technology. This may be due to the company’s ongoing search for the most promising and demanded solutions. Instead of making its decisions in labs and at internal meetings, the company releases products with all technologies available to it in order to check out the reaction of real users. This approach brings about more choices but, on the other hand, the buyer may easily get confused.

As for the SyncMaster SA850, this particular product seems quite competitive to me.

Highs:

  • Serious exterior design, good functionality and handy controls
  • High native resolution
  • Low response time, good color rendering, excellent viewing angles
  • Full coverage of the sRGB color space
  • Matte coating of the screen that is free from glares and graininess
  • Three digital inputs and a USB 3.0 hub
  • Ambient lighting sensor

Lows

  • Low contrast ratio
  • Poor uniformity of backlight for black

Even now, three months prior to its official release, this model has more highs than lows. If the manufacturer gets rid of the backlight irregularities, the SyncMaster SA850 will easily become one of the best products in its class and an indispensible solution for people who need a high resolution and good color rendering but cannot afford a 30-inch monitor. The SA850 will also be good as a versatile home monitor.

I hope that PLS matrixes will go beyond 27-inch monitors and into 23-inch and 24-inch products at prices comparable to those of the same-size e-IPS models. After all, if PLS is planned for such different devices as 10-inch tablet PCs and 27-inch desktop monitors, there must be no technical problems with producing a 23-inch PLS matrix. I’m now waiting for Samsung to release one! 

 
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