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Measurement And Calibration Methodology: How We Test

Samsung S27B971D 27-Inch QHD Monitor, Reviewed
By

To measure and calibrate monitors, we use an i1Pro spectrophotometer and version 5.1.2 of SpectraCal’s CalMAN software.

For patterns, we employ an AccuPel DVG-5000 video signal generator. This approach removes video cards and drivers from the signal chain, allowing the display to receive true reference patterns. Connections are made via HDMI.

The AccuPel DVG-5000 is capable of generating all types of video signals at any resolution and refresh rate up to 1920x1080 at 60 Hz. It can also display motion patterns to evaluate a monitor's video processing capabilities, with 3D patterns available in every format. This allows us to measure color and grayscale performance, crosstalk, and ghosting in 3D content via the 3D glasses.

The i1Pro is placed at the center of the screen (unless we’re measuring uniformity) and sealed against it to block out any ambient light. The Accupel pattern generator (bottom left) is controlled via USB by CalMAN, which is running on the Dell XPS laptop on the right.

Our version of CalMAN Ultimate allows me to design all of the screens and workflows to best suit the purpose at hand. To that end, we’ve created a display review workflow from scratch. This way, we can be sure and collect all the necessary data with a concise and efficient set of measurements.

The charts show us the RGB levels, gamma response, and Delta E error for every brightness point from zero to 100 percent. The table shows us the raw data for each measurement. And the area in the upper-left tells us luminance, average gamma, Delta E, and contrast ratio. The individual charts can be copied to the Windows clipboard to easily create graphics for our reviews.

Every primary and secondary color is measured at 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 percent saturation. The color saturation level is simply the distance from the white point on the CIE chart. You can see the targets moving out from white in a straight line. The further a point is from center, the greater the saturation until you hit 100 percent at the edge of the gamut triangle. This shows us the display’s response at a cross-section of color points. Many monitors score well when only the 100 percent saturations are measured. Hitting the targets at the lower saturations is more difficult, and factors into our average Delta E value (which explains why our Delta E values are sometimes higher than those reported by other publications).

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    blackmagnum , February 19, 2014 4:19 AM
    Gamers... move along. Nothing to see here.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    damianrobertjones , February 19, 2014 1:12 AM
    @cats_Paw: Did you read the article? It's FOR art professionals etc
  • 5 Hide
    c123456 , February 19, 2014 4:12 AM
    @damianrobertjones: Do you know what comparable products cost? Apparently not. Look up a Dell U2713HM.
  • 13 Hide
    blackmagnum , February 19, 2014 4:19 AM
    Gamers... move along. Nothing to see here.
  • 0 Hide
    Ceee9 , February 19, 2014 5:43 AM
    u2713h can be get around 500$usd...
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , February 19, 2014 5:52 AM
    Contrast (even post-calibration) blows for that price. But you get a cool partially metal stand (?).
  • 2 Hide
    BoC_Gryphon , February 19, 2014 8:32 AM
    To my knowledge, Toms has never done a review of the Korean 27" QHD monitors that can be had for ~$300-400. Please do.
  • 1 Hide
    Bolts Romano , February 19, 2014 9:44 AM
    is it better than Apple Cinema Display in terms of color gamut and contrast?I wish i can find this monitor here in Canada so i can compare myselfSamsung Canada is very weird, it has its own flag stores here but it does not carry all the products
  • 0 Hide
    Bondfc11 , February 19, 2014 10:33 AM
    You know this a pay to play for a review right? Of course Tom's doesn't do the korean models - or heck the Overlord Tempest lineup. What people don't get with QHD, and this includes Tom's staff, is LG has strict Tier 1 requirements for companies buying their panels that include minimum price points.
  • 1 Hide
    ceberle , February 19, 2014 10:42 AM
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/auria-eq276w-review-ips,3465.html

    We covered the Auria EQ276W last April.

    -Christian-
  • 1 Hide
    Gurg , February 19, 2014 10:45 AM
    Quote:
    To my knowledge, Toms has never done a review of the Korean 27" QHD monitors that can be had for ~$300-400. Please do.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/auria-eq276w-review-ips,3465.htmlMy Auria was great for 4 months and then while gaming had a wavy pattern and quickly went black and died. Haven't tried to warranty yet.
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , February 19, 2014 11:55 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    To my knowledge, Toms has never done a review of the Korean 27" QHD monitors that can be had for ~$300-400. Please do.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/auria-eq276w-review-ips,3465.htmlMy Auria was great for 4 months and then while gaming had a wavy pattern and quickly went black and died. Haven't tried to warranty yet.


    Poor contrast was also observed with the Auria in the reviews. Sure... The Korean IPS monitors can accurately display colors, but you don't get all of the in-between shades (contrast)?
  • 0 Hide
    W123 , February 19, 2014 12:52 PM
    Having a Samsung S27b970D, i can say either your testing methodology is wrong, equipment faulty, or Samsung sent you a ringer. There's no way the black level you measured was correct. Average contrast ratio on the 970d is 800:1. Your numbers are WAY off. Also, considering the 970d's glass panel that makes the blacks look grey instead of black, i'd say this model is better. Im dumping this one and getting a Dell or Asus though.
  • 2 Hide
    10tacle , February 19, 2014 5:54 PM
    I don't care what segment this monitor is geared towards: gamer, professional graphics, or photography and video creation. This is just too much money these days for a 27" QHD. Even as admitted in this review, most people hold on to their monitors for many years. Anyone who spends a grand (or more on a 30" QHD) will regret it within two years when 4K monitors dip below the two grand price point.

    Love ya Samsung, have many of your HDTVs and monitors here, but this thing should be $799 tops. Even high end QHD monitors are not brand new technology anymore. Time to adjust the prices to reflect it.
  • 1 Hide
    ikyung , February 20, 2014 12:49 PM
    Quote:
    BenQ makes all Samsung Monitors, better off going straight to the source and buy a BenQ, and save a ton of money.
    What? Source? Why would BenQ make Samsung monitors? BenQ doesn't even make PLS panels, or any panels for that matter.
  • 0 Hide
    SuckRaven , February 20, 2014 10:05 PM
    How would this compare to something like an EIZO ColorEdge CG276 (also 2560 x 1440 IPS),http://www.eizo.com/global/products/coloredge/cg276/index.html or say something like the NEC MultiSync PA302W? (30" 2560x1600)http://www.necdisplay.com/p/desktop-monitors/pa302w-bkTom's should do a comparison between them.
  • 1 Hide
    falchard , February 22, 2014 12:24 PM
    Watchout Samsung, Apple sells monitors to artists that are rectangular in shape and come in some degree of gray. People may confuse it for an Apple product.
  • 0 Hide
    Crzy1 , February 22, 2014 5:17 PM
    I have the S27B970D and it's a great monitor. I'll have to admit that I purchased it for looks alone, but it has one of the most impressive panels I've laid eyes on. I would not, however, think to compare it to a true 10-bit professional display. While it may be able to hold it's own with similarly priced monitors, I doubt that it will come close to a $2.5k+ monitor that is meant for nothing but professional video or image editing.
  • 0 Hide
    computerguy72 , February 24, 2014 12:22 AM
    Wow on balance that Planar PXL seems to really hold up. If nothing else compares to it's price/performance over the next few months I think that will be my next monitor. For future I bet IGZO panels might be the thing to beat in years to come. Time will tell.
  • 0 Hide
    natoco , February 25, 2014 4:18 AM
    Even though its only a 60hz screen, if it had Nvidia G-Sync I would have taken a lot more notice since it would have been a very nice screen to look at as well as smooth enough for gaming. If only these things had the sales volume of tablets, maybe then we would get something that's not oh so 2009.
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