Customer Reviews: Samsung SB970 S27B970D 27-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor
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on November 21, 2012
Was using a Apple cinema 30" for some time running 2560/1600 resolution and it was a very good monitor for many years. I used the Apple for gaming primarily. The Samsung is a bit smaller but you would never know the difference after having it on for an hour. I'm running the native 2560/1440 resolution and its simply the most amazing looking monitor I've ever seen. I was debating going with the Dell 30" but once I saw this it wasn't close.
The PLS technology used in this monitor is something special. Buy this monitor for high end gaming rig or any thing else you can throw at it. At this review time I'm using Nvidia GTX 680's in SLI.
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on February 1, 2013
I bought this monitor to replace my old Cinema Display which had developed a red tint after using it for many years. I considered buying another Cinema Display (the non-Thunderbolt model) but Apple hasn't updated it in over 2 years so I figured for $200 more, I could get this. I have it hooked up to an early 2009 Mac Pro via a mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable (note, the monitor doesn't come with one of these so if you have a Mac, make sure to buy one separately).

The picture is fantastic and I'm loving the really high resolution. Text is crisp and colors look great. I hooked it up at night and haven't seen it during the day but so far the reflection in minimal (I don't have a direct light source behind me).

I've read some complaints about a lack of ergonomic settings. You can adjust the height and the tilt of the monitor but you cannot pan it from the base. Panning ins't a requirement for me (it's just sitting on my desk in a static place) so I really don't care about not being able to do that and my old Cinema Display couldn't do it either.

So far the only annoyance that I've had is with the software. I made the mistake of installing Samsung's Natural Color Expert v2 which came on a CD that shipped with the monitor. Maybe it was the $1200 price tag that made me expect more but I should have known better than to install their software. Once the installation was done, I had to restart my computer. When the computer started again it booted at 800x600! After changing the settings back to 2560x1440 I then ran Natural Color Expert v2, didn't change anything, and then quit the software. It immediately changed my color profile and washed out the screen (it set the monitor to color calibration mode). It took me awhile to figure out how to get back to the standard display mode after that. So, unless you really want to mess with their software, I recommend against installing it.

Overall, this monitor is fantastic! I'm just starting to use it so I'll update this if anything comes up.
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on February 2, 2013
I want to start with thanking the awesome customer service of Amazon - I've had very few returns and exchanges over the years, and they've always been quick to respond and hassle-free to deal with, including with this monitor. The upshot of my review is that the back light bleed is so bad and uneven that I'm exchanging it for what I hope is an improved unit. But more on that later. Let's start with more positive attributes of the monitor.

First Impressions
Out of the box, this is a good looking monitor. From the base to the frame, this think looks sleek. The base is stable, as well, and when I tried to slide the monitor back on my desk I was surprised to feel that it resisted strongly - it grips the desk well and certainly won't slide on its own. The monitor can wobble a bit if I intentionally shake my desk, but as I have a very stable desk the monitory sits motion free during normal activities, such as typing and playing games. The monitor can easily be elevated or lowered, and tilted back, but don't expect much range in terms of tilting it forward.

Once set up, I plugged in the cords (using a DVI cable in lieu of HDMI) into the ports, which are a bit cramped in the back, but nothing I found too difficult to accomplish, and powered on my computer. After touting the benefit of PLS providing better off angle viewing, I was caught off guard by a frankly washed out screen from where I was standing. The horizontal viewing angles look better than other monitors, but the vertical angle actually turns out to have a very narrow sweet spot. So narrow, in fact, that even just sitting down in front if it, looking at it straight on, I can see color shifts between the top of the monitor and the bottom. To get the most even color experience, I had to tilt the monitor back (to face the ceiling slightly) despite sitting actually a bit too low for the monitor's height (my desk is tall and my eye level hits just below the middle of the monitor). Suffice to say, this wasn't a particularly inspiring start to a $1K+ monitor.

Colors and Resolution
This is why you buy this bad boy, and dang, do they amaze. The marketing doesn't lie here folks - the colors are rich, vibrant, and not over saturated. Details in blacks and whites shine through, and blacks still look deep and inky. The factory calibration was good, but left black levels a bit too high and whites and light greys were a bit yellowish. And yet Samsung installed the most feature rich set of calibration tools within the monitor's OSD, and it took very little time to tweak the display to my liking. It also comes with calibration software, which I didn't have a chance to try. But honestly, the colors look so fantastic that the calibration software may just be a nice to have.

The 2560 x 1440 is stunning as well. However, it's certainly not unique to the Series 9, and other manufacturers offer it as well, and for lower price points. So while it does dramatically improve the quality of the picture, it's not the reason you'd pick the Series 9 over the competition. You're buying this for the colors, plain and simple.

Features and Other Attributes
Others have commented that this lacks some additional features that other high-end monitors may come with. I'm really just a consumer looking for the best quality picture I can afford to get my hands on, so I'm not the best person to comment on everything else. A great set of OSD options to improve colors and gamma is all I ask for, and this monitor has those in spades. Now this does come with a glossy screen as opposed to matte. Everyone has their preference, and if you want a matte version, I read that one may be coming out later this year. I personally prefer glossy due to the low levels of ambient light in my study, and the amount of reflection I see in this model is as low or better than previous glossy displays I've owned.

For gaming purposes, I noticed no ghosting or input lag. Games look crisp and just plain beautiful. This is a 60Hz monitor, so anyone migrating from a 120Hz monitor may notice a FPS drop if they were getting more than 60fps before. Also, the higher resolution means more demanding graphical processing, and your games may take a further hit to their FPS. Highly populated areas in WoW, for example, are down to ~40fps for me when I got ~70fps before.

Quality and Back Light
So this was the deal breaker. After playing around with the monitor for a bit, I noticed that colors in the bottom right corner (and not the edge of the corner, mind you, but about 1/8th of the monitor's total area) appeared very washed out. At first I attributed this to the PLS display not really handling off-angle viewing as well as advertised. But then, just for kicks, I thought maybe I should test the back light. And by test, I mean the super-easy method of turning off all lights in the room, and changing the monitor's input to one that isn't broadcasting. In other words, observe a true black displayed image in a completely dark room with no ambient light. Now, every LCD monitor I've owned has had back light bleed - and I've owned quite a few, buying an upgrade every 2yrs including models from Samsung, LG, and Dell. And I'm not too picky about it. I'm fine observing some bleed in scenes that are completely black, as long as images that involve more normal amount of lighting are unaffected.

But what I saw was by far the worst back light bleeding in any monitor I've ever owned. And it was horribly uneven. There was minor bleed coming out of the top corners, a moderate but tolerable amount from the bottom left, but the bottom right bloomed like someone had stuck a flashlight there. It was night and day compared to the other areas of the monitor. And once I switched back to my DVI input and played some Diablo 3, the amount of washed out scenery in the bottom right was obviously far worse than the bottom left. I'm assuming this is a defect - if not, this degree of back light bleed certainly doesn't deserve the $1K+ entry fee. A bit more disturbing is that these monitors undergo a 1hr hands-on calibration per Samsung's description, and yet the personnel involved in the calibration felt that this was totally acceptable to ship out the door.

Bottom Line
Samsung focused their efforts on color quality, and it shows. However, they ignored the rest, and I'm not sure it's worth dropping a grand for great colors while the rest of the package is average at best. I would rank this 3-stars if the price was right, but honestly the cost simply isn't justified. Even if my replacement model improves the back light, Samsung's QA process for an elite monitor needs to be better and I wouldn't raise my rating for that reason.
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on April 1, 2013
I researched this monitor for quite a while, and agonized over the expense before I purchased. I am NOT saying that the pricing was out of line with the product value or performance, just that it a large expense (kept checking back and took advantage of a sale - $899.99). Further, it is said that if you have no regrets after a purchase and after using the item extensively, you chose well. That is my feeling about this monitor. It replaced a venerable Viewsonic P815 professional 21" graphics CRT ($1200 in 1997 - top rated monitor four years in a row). I have the same feeling about the SB970 that I did about the P815 sixteen years ago.

I have chosen to leave the SB970 in the factory calibrated mode (with DVI input, driven by dual GTX 460's in SLI, Win 7). Using subjective judgment, have not observed any backlight bleeding, uneven brightness issues, dust under display glass, pixel irregularities of any kind, or any of the issues occasionally mentioned in some reviews. I do feel a bit guilty about how much I'm enjoying working with this display. For example: I'm experiencing some of the signs of aging (62) such as requiring separate glasses for reading and working with the computer. The old P815 used to be razor sharp (at 1600x1200), but I've been squinting for a couple of years. Granted the default text size on the new SB970 seems nearly half that size, but it's significantly clearer. On the web, clicking the Zoom to 150% (bottom screen, right-side) makes fine text amazingly clear.

I putter around with some video, photos (Photoshop), and a few PC games. I really enjoyed launching Mass Effect 3 and having it automatically detect and display in the SB970's native 2560x1440 with all the specs max'd out. I hadn't realized the detail available in the game (bloodshot eyes, iris patterns, etc.). I observed no blurring of any kind in any of the action sequences.

The little Quick Setup Guide had a good Tip that explained that the monitor screen would typically state "Check Signal Cable" when the computer is booted for the first time with the SB970 connected. This is because the monitor is defaulted to a different video input than the DVI. It tells you to simply press the little double screen icon on the monitor base to switch from input to input. After a couple of pushes... breathtaking color (hope you have a great background elected for your desktop)!

I'm not adding to the highly technical jargon as several excellent reviews have already been done, and I have not invested that amount of time, expertise and effort to hope to add anything new. I would like to thank those who have shared their findings as they helped me make my purchasing decision.

I would recommend the Samsung S27B970D monitor to whoever wants or needs the extra screen real estate, clarity, and absolutely stunning color afforded by this display. If you do, I hope you feel as good about your purchase as I do about mine.
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on June 29, 2013
I'm the type of person who becomes obsessive over researching to find the best product fit for myself. This monitor may not be for everyone - make sure you're comfortable with a high gloss screen. I work in a low-light room, and have it next to my other 27 inch monitor which is a matte screen, and this monitor is on a whole other level of amazing. Clarity, color, pre-calibrated... Samsung's PLS technology is downright excellent. I haven't had any issues with backlight bleeding like some others on here. That's really unfortunate for them.
While I do feel the screen quality/clarity is top of the line, my favorite thing about it is the design. It simply drives me crazy that Dell, HP, Asus, and other companies are selling similarly priced qhd displays that are all made out of the same flat black plastic throughout the whole body of the monitor. If I'm going to spend this kind of money to buy a top of the line monitor, why in the world would I want it to look so boring! The design and the materials used for this are by far the best looking I've ever seen. Everything about this monitor looks better in person, and I couldn't be happier with my purchase. The only "negative" I can see from it is that yes, the stand could be sturdier.. But unless your constantly bumping your computer desk, it shouldn't be an issue at all.
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on May 9, 2015
Meh. For $1000 it's underwhelming. The colors are great, obviously, but that's about all this product has going for it. The stand is terrible. The screen reflects way too much. The auto-detect is useless. However, it looks sexy as heck with the glass covering the entire panel. The brushed plastic on the back looks nice and more importantly isn't a fingerprint magnet. Base looks fine, I guess, much I would have much preferred a more traditional stand that didn't wobble! I'd look at ASUS's offerings. Not recommended.
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on December 4, 2013
Best monitor I have ever used or seen bar none. It's really pretty turned off but it's stunning turned on. I use it as an external monitor for Macbook Pro or Macbook Air using the mini-display port and the picture is just perfect. Both of my laptops support the native resolution of the Samsung monitor and I've never had any issues. I have not tried the monitor with a PC or cable box or HDMI. My primary use is editing large spreadsheets, comparing documents side by side, and other office work. I have not done any professional photo editing with this so I have no opinion on the subject.
1080p monitors weren't cutting it for me and a bigger 1080p monitor would just be a bigger problem. Yes, it's expensive but it outshines everything else I have ever seen by far. I expect years of satisfaction with this monitor.
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on December 9, 2014
Very high standard monitor but yes is expensive and is not 4k if you want something that look nice good quality good resolution fast monitor and you don't care about the price this maybe is for you.

But i have to admit that there are some cheaper and almost same quality monitors. also the connectors at the back are a bit hard to reach them they are to close one for the other.

I recommend to see it physically and compare with others is a complicate product.i think to much before buying it.
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on May 27, 2013
If I had a Mac I would've gotten an Apple Thunderbolt display, but instead us PC owners are left with a variety of less-than-perfect alternatives for a high-end/high-quality 27" display -- this Samsung, Dell U2713HM,ASUS PB278Q,ViewSonic VP2770). The Amazon reviews for these products are all very revealing but a bit mixed so satisfaction is not as guaranteed as with the Apple displays.

I really liked this monitor's performance and how it looked, but the reports of bad pixels and stuck dust particles really scared me so I held off for awhile. Eventually I decided to commit but purchased it from a local retailer in case I had to exchange it. I received a panel with a few tiny smudges (dust particles I guess) and one dark pixel. These are only visible if I set the screen to a solid bright color. Given the other reviews here, it seems hard to get a perfect panel so I'm not going to go thru the time and overhead to exchange with my local retailer -- They don't keep these in stock, so it's not like I can check each panel before taking delivery.

Overall I'm happy with this display and while it's unfortunate that it's not perfect, the flaws don't affect normal use so it's only a mental annoyance. Otherwise, the display looks beautiful (the pixels and how it looks on my desk).

One thing I didn't realize is that these displays are all digital and don't support analog VGA at all. This is only a problem with an old work laptop I occasionally use.
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on March 27, 2013
Use this for light photo editing and computer games. Play both strategy and FPS games and this monitor handles everything perfectly. Text is crisp, colors are great, no image lag and a great design.
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