Menu and Features
The monitor’s menu follows the style of Samsung's newest products.
There is a list of menu sections on the left. The contents of the sections are displayed in the right part of the menu screen.
Besides conventional settings, the Picture section has an item called 3D. Let’s open it.
Here is a list of methods the monitor can use to produce 3D visuals. It can automatically transform a flat image into a 3D one (“2D->3D”), work at 120 Hz and alternate frames for the left and right eyes (“Frame Seq.”) and produce 3D visuals out of video content which contains left and right-eye images in each frame (“Side-by-Side” and “Top-Bottom”).
Thus, the SA950 doesn’t need a special driver to show 3D visuals. It doesn’t even have to be connected to a computer. You can take 3D video recorded, for example, in the side-by-side format (the image for the left eye takes the left half of the frame and the right-eye image is in the right half of the frame) from YouTube, open it in full-screen mode and enable the Side-by-Side method in the monitor's menu. I will talk about 3D imaging in more detail in the next section.
Magic is the next subsection in the Picture section. It contains Samsung’s exclusive technologies including MagicBright, MagicAngle and MagicColor. The first one is a very handy means of quickly changing the monitor’s screen brightness with a single button. The second technology is an inconvenient way of software compensation for the small viewing angles of TN matrixes. It is not necessary for a home monitor and doesn't enjoy high popularity. And MagicColor is an intellectual “color enhancer” which in fact increases image saturation.
The Color section offers standard color rendering controls: gamma, tonality and manual RGB setup.
The next section is where you can adjust the size and position of the onscreen menu as well as of the onscreen picture (this is only necessary for analog connection and thus virtually useless for the SA950; they must have forgotten to remove this option from the firmware).
There is an item called ECO among the monitor's housekeeping settings. It allows you to enable the motion sensor for checking out if there is anybody in front of the monitor. If there is no one, the monitor is turned off. The downside is that the detection is based on motion sensing, so if you've got a habit of sitting motionlessly (for example, while watching a movie), the sensor may assume that you are gone and turn the monitor off.
The purpose of the PC/AV Mode is rather unclear. When in AV mode, the monitor enables overscan (the onscreen picture is increased by a few percent so that its edges were beyond the screen borders). I don’t know who might need this feature in our era of digital media, digital monitors and HD movies when visual content is reproduced on a pixel-to-pixel basis.
The second page of this section – the setup options could not all be fitted into the first one – allows you to set up the 3D button on the monitor's front panel. Lower yet, there are settings of the timer that can turn the monitor on and off. You can also reset all the settings to their factory defaults here.
The last menu item reports you information about the monitor’s current status.
Cutting it short, this is a standard Samsung menu. It is neat, handy and comprehensible. The 3D option is of course the most exciting one. I will dedicate the next section of my review to it.