VP2770-LED Vs. S27B970D: 27" Monitors At 2560x1440

If you demand maximum pixel density and the highest resolution on your desktop PC, these 27-inch screens from ViewSonic and Samsung do not disappoint. Today, we put ViewSonic's VP2770-LED and Samsung's S27B970D to the test. Is QHD right for you?

There's something to be said for running a Full HD (FHD) display at its native resolution, be it a monitor or HDTV. At 1920x1080, the mainstream adoption of a truly high-definition mode gave us enough screen detail to create film-like picture quality without a glaringly obvious pixel structure. It ushered in a new era where TV and PC content were finally in sync.

But alas, all good things must come to an end, and we know full well that nothing stands still in this business for very long. There is always something better just around the corner. Enter Quad HD (QHD) screens sporting 2560x1440 resolutions. Quad refers to the total number of pixels these displays employ, which is multiplied by the minimum standard for HD: 1280x720. Whereas 720p has a total of 921,600 pixels, QHD has four times that number, or 3,686,400 pixels. This is still a high-end technology though, and monitors sporting QHD resolutions are priced significantly higher than their 1080p counterparts.

It's unfortunate that screens with a 16:10 aspect ratio are becoming as rare as they are, commanding unusually high prices. But the slight loss of vertical resolution you experience on a big 27" monitor running 2560x1440 (corresponding to 16:9) isn't that big of a deal. The greater pixel density means you can sit a little closer to the screen without being bothered by the pixel structure. Both of the monitors we're reviewing today pack 108.8 pixels into every inch, while 27-inch FHD monitors only give you 81.6. By comparison, the 15-inch Apple MacBook with Retina Display has 220 pixels per inch, and the iPhone 5 boasts an incredible 326!

We're looking at flagship models from ViewSonic and Samsung: the VP2770-LED and S27B970D. These are premium products with a price tag to match. When you spend this much, you should expect a high degree of color accuracy, excellent contrast, and plenty of light output. Do these two screens offer more than just extra pixels? Let’s take a look.

ViewSonic VP2770-LED

The VP2770-LED comes securely packaged in a double-layer box. Since you're most likely to purchase this monitor online, its sturdy container is essential. We're glad to see that ViewSonic doesn’t skimp on its bundle either, providing dual-link DVI, DisplayPort, VGA, and USB cables, along with a standard power cord. The setup CD contains all necessary drivers and an electronic copy of the user manual.

This monitor features minimalist industrial styling, with everything enclosed in a matte black non-reflective plastic. The attached base is wide and stable, and it allows for swivel, tilt, rotate, and height adjustment. The bezel is 22 mm wide on all four sides, and the actual image goes right to the edge of the glass, leaving no visible black border. A dark grey ViewSonic logo is stenciled in the center of the bottom bezel. Touch-sensitive menu controls and power button are located to the right of the logo. A small status LED peeks out of the lower-right corner, though it can be disabled in the menu.

Speaking of the menu, its logically-arranged array of controls will be instantly familiar to anyone who has previously owned a ViewSonic monitor. It’s evident from the start that the VP2770-LED is a very solidly-built piece of gear.

The rear panel includes a complement of downward-facing inputs and a 100x100 mm VESA mount. Four screws detach the base if you want to mount this panel on a wall bracket or swing-arm. Inputs include DVI, HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort, and VGA, though only the DVI and DisplayPort inputs support the panel’s full native resolution. USB is enabled through one Type B uplink, two USB 2.0 ports underneath the monitor, and two USB 3.0 ports on the side. We noticed an audio jack as well, which was a bit of a mystery since there are no speakers built in. As it turns out, this is an output for headphones. It may come in handy if you want to connect a DVD or Blu-ray player via HDMI, since that standard includes an audio signal.

Samsung S27B970D

The new Series 9 panel from Samsung is practically drenched in high-end features and aesthetics. The first thing that falls out of the box is a calibration data sheet with the test results of the monitor inside. That’s right folks, each panel is hand-calibrated at the factory before delivery. Priced at $1,199, however, you pay handsomely for that service. This is the first factory-calibrated display we’ve ever tested, so we’ll see how our own results compare to Samsung’s later on in the benchmarks.

Despite all the attention paid to the S27B970D at the factory, its shipping carton is not quite up to the task of protecting such an expensive piece of hardware, and our sample arrived with a hole in the box. The cardboard is simply too thin. Fortunately, the panel was undamaged thanks to the large amount of empty space inside. We urge online buyers to inspect their purchase promptly. Inside is a full kit of cables, including one for DisplayPort, HDMI (with a Mobile High-Definition Link connector), dual-link DVI, and USB. On this monitor, the power supply is located in an external power brick.

Visually, this is one of the nicest-looking monitors we’ve ever seen. The screen is covered by a glass panel that sits flush with a thin, polished-metal bezel. The image border is 24 mm on the sides and top, and 42 mm across the bottom. The glass has a non-reflective coating, though it’s not quite as effective as the plastic covers used on most displays. Depending on your room lighting, you are likely to see at least some reflections. On the plus side, the image is tack-sharp.

The base is a large silver disk around 1.25"-thick, and it performs double-duty as the housing for the input jacks and touch-sensitive control panel. The display is attached to a slim vertical arm, made of metal, which is adjustable for tilt and height. Unfortunately, there is no swivel or rotation on this unit, and since the base is permanently attached, any sort of bracket mount is also out.

The input complement is all-digital; no VGA option is available. The three included ports are HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort. The HDMI input doesn’t support the monitor's full native resolution, but that doesn't appear to be its purpose anyway, since it supports MHL, allowing you to hook up a phone or other device to view its output. More and more portable electronics seem to have this feature nowadays, so it’s nice to see it supported on the desktop end. USB 2.0 is supported as well, with a Type B connector on the back and two Type A ports on the screen's right side. You need to connect the rear port to your PC if you want to use the NCE calibration software. More on that later.

Brand
ViewSonic
Samsung
Price
$856 MSRP
$1,200 MSRP
Model
VP2770-LED
S27B970D
Panel Type
IPS
PLS
Backlight
LED
LED
Screen Size
27"
27"
Max Resolution
2560x1440
2560x1440
Aspect Ratio
16:9
16:9
Response Time (GTG), mfr
12 ms
5 ms
Brightness (cd/m2), mfr
300
285
Speakers
No
Yes
VGA
1
-
DVI
1
1
DisplayPort
1
1
HDMI
1
1
Energy Star-Qualified
Yes
Yes
Refresh Rate
60 Hz
60 Hz
Dimensions w/Stand (W x H x D), inches
25.3 x 18.5 x 13.7
25.4 x 18.4 x 9.7
Dimensions w/Stand (W x H x D), millimeters
642.6 x 464.8 x 348
645.2 x 467.4 x 246.4
Warranty
Three years
Three years


Before we get to the results, let’s go over how we test, and run down some of the unique calibration features of Samsung's S27B970D.

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    Top Comments
  • Anonymous
    Why not do a review on those $330 Korean 1440P monitors that enthusiasts talk about? I like to see what i am missing with the extra $900. Really i'm serious i really want to know what justifies the 1 grand price tag.
    32
  • cangelini
    jupiter optimus maximusWhy not do a review on those $330 Korean 1440P monitors that enthusiasts talk about? I like to see what i am missing with the extra $900. Really i'm serious i really want to know what justifies the 1 grand price tag.

    It's coming. We're ramping up our display coverage, so we took note of the requests after the last display piece and put in the requests. You'll see this soon. Of course, if there are any other requests from you guys, do let us know. Christian is doing a phenomenal job of applying his extensive experience on Tom's Hardware.
    21
  • mayankleoboy1
    Quote:
    Why wouldn't you want a QHD screen like one of these two?
    Everything gets smaller.


    So increase the DPI scaling ?
    11
  • Other Comments
  • mayankleoboy1
    Quote:
    Why wouldn't you want a QHD screen like one of these two?
    Everything gets smaller.


    So increase the DPI scaling ?
    11
  • MauveCloud
    BigMack70I'm glad to see 1440p monitors getting some attention, but I just don't see the prices of these being justifiable to most users over the USA-based Korean 1440p IPS panels that are starting to become more numerous.$800-1200 is just nuts for anyone using these for home use or gaming, IMO.


    Agreed. I bought a Dell U2711 a few months ago, but if something forced me to replace it, I'd probably go with one of those cheap Korean panels -- or a TN panel 2560x1440 monitor if somebody would actually make one - I doubt I'm the only one who likes the resolution but isn't so picky about color quality. I had no objection to the color quality on my Samsung P2770HD, and the color shifts of a TN panel are affected by the physical size of the monitor, not the resolution, right?
    3
  • Anonymous
    Why not do a review on those $330 Korean 1440P monitors that enthusiasts talk about? I like to see what i am missing with the extra $900. Really i'm serious i really want to know what justifies the 1 grand price tag.
    32
  • cangelini
    jupiter optimus maximusWhy not do a review on those $330 Korean 1440P monitors that enthusiasts talk about? I like to see what i am missing with the extra $900. Really i'm serious i really want to know what justifies the 1 grand price tag.

    It's coming. We're ramping up our display coverage, so we took note of the requests after the last display piece and put in the requests. You'll see this soon. Of course, if there are any other requests from you guys, do let us know. Christian is doing a phenomenal job of applying his extensive experience on Tom's Hardware.
    21
  • EzioAs
    Dell's UltraSharp U2713HM is less than $600 in my country if we go by standard conversion. Would you guys say that's a good price?
    2
  • festerovic
    cangeliniIt's coming. We're ramping up our display coverage, so we took note of the requests after the last display piece and put in the requests. You'll see this soon. Of course, if there are any other requests from you guys, do let us know. Christian is doing a phenomenal job of applying his extensive experience on Tom's Hardware.

    That's great to hear, I agree with the others that the price of these models is too much to consider unless they were generating $$$s for me. $3-400 seems like the range I would be willing to spend on these. And as for the USA based korean cheap models, are there any legit retailers of these? Please point me at them.
    3
  • JOSHSKORN
    Just bought a ASUS VS278Q-P for $310. It's a 60Mz monitor and I do game, but I'm happy. My previous monitor lasted 8 years (Samsung SyncMaster 213T, bought it for $1k). I'll upgrade when this one dies, hopefully 4k/UHD will be affordable. Supposedly, only serious gamers can tell the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz. I'm not a serious gamer, so it works just fine for me. 120Hz monitors of that size are nearly twice the price.
    1
  • mannam
    Anonymous said:
    It's coming. We're ramping up our display coverage, so we took note of the requests after the last display piece and put in the requests. You'll see this soon. Of course, if there are any other requests from you guys, do let us know. Christian is doing a phenomenal job of applying his extensive experience on Tom's Hardware.


    Here are the inexpensive $300-$400 27" korean monitor brands: Yamakasi Catleap, Achieva Shimian, Crossover, PCBank, Potalion, Auria

    "The reason these monitors are cheap - LG makes IPS panels for apple cinema displays. Apple only accepts grade A+ panels. That means the all the grade A,A-,B+, etc are not accepted and returned to LG. LG resells those IPS panels to other manufacturers. You can get the whole story on google if you're interested. In addition, you're getting no support and no manufacturers warranty."

    Source: http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm?game=239&view=forums&post=5192222#5192222

    It would be really interesting to get a review of these monitors that go for 50% or less of the price of the Big Brand stuff. If it's even 85-90% quality compared to the big brands, then they are worth the plunge. :D
    1
  • ubercake
    Personally, I was not impressed with the Auria monitor. My Acer HN274H TN monitor has better contrast. Viewing angles are far better on the Auria, but that's to be expected on an IPS. At any rate, I returned the Auria after a day of use because after many attempts to adjust the contrast/color, it didn't hold a candle to the colors or contrast on my TN. The Auria definitely had deeper black, but the in-betweens seemed to be missing no matter how I set the contrast and color. I honestly couldn't justify the tradeoff of higher resolution to lack of contrast. Maybe I got one of the LG B+ throw-away panels?
    1
  • sanilmahambre
    Don't want too much ? Think again!
    1
  • wanderer11
    cangeliniIt's coming. We're ramping up our display coverage, so we took note of the requests after the last display piece and put in the requests. You'll see this soon. Of course, if there are any other requests from you guys, do let us know. Christian is doing a phenomenal job of applying his extensive experience on Tom's Hardware.

    Don't forget the Auria at Microcenter. Many Toms users, myself included, have them.
    1
  • ZippyPeanut
    $856.00 and $1,200

    Both 60 HZ

    No need to read any further.
    1
  • warezme
    I'm waiting for this or higher resolution in a 24" size monitor that has very, very narrow or no bezel, true 5ms response time and refresh rate of 120hz. Perhaps I'll live long enough to see one but I'm starting to doubt.
    4
  • cknobman
    I refuse to spend more than $400 on a computer monitor no matter what resolution it is running at.

    I just dont see QHD picking up any traction in the main consumer market until they get prices down to reasonable levels.

    Heck I can pick up two 1080p 23/24 inch panels for
    2
  • mayankleoboy1
    Hey Toms, you interested in an experiment where you cut off the bezels on 3 1080p monitors, and stick them together for a seamless experience ?
    4
  • rush21hit
    I understand the reason why Windows 7 had Magnifier Tools just recently as I move on from 1366x768 to 1980x1200. And these things at even higher res, I don't think my focus is that good even with Magnifier Tool...

    Even with my recent resolution, I experienced some hard time to adjust myself when gaming is involved. The HUGE screen about 60 inch from my eyes still hurts my respond. I'm too focused on what happen on the middle of the screen and never had a chance to look at details on corners, when I do, it's already too late...

    I don't think I'm ready for such resolutions, even if someday my rig is.
    2
  • guzami77
    MauveCloudAgreed. I bought a Dell U2711 a few months ago, but if something forced me to replace it, I'd probably go with one of those cheap Korean panels -- or a TN panel 2560x1440 monitor if somebody would actually make one - I doubt I'm the only one who likes the resolution but isn't so picky about color quality. I had no objection to the color quality on my Samsung P2770HD, and the color shifts of a TN panel are affected by the physical size of the monitor, not the resolution, right?



    I have the Dell U2711 also. Im a very visually detailed person. Audio I cant tell the difference between low to mid, or mid to high end systems... but visually I notice. My friends and family dont notice visual details or color accuracy. They think my monitor was a waste of money, but I dont. You need to know yourself before making a purchase on these. Also, if your gaming, you'll need a beefy system.. the jump from 1080p requires more hardware than youd expect.
    1
  • biggestinsect
    I run a 3 monitor set-up; use it mostly for 3d modeling and CAD, and occasional gaming. 2048 by 1152 23" Samsung on the left; 32" Samsung TV in the middle and LG 23" IPS on the right.

    Want to replace this mess with 3 27" QHD IPS panels. VESA mounts are mandatory; minimal/no-bezel cases would be preferred. I don't see that combination of features available anywhere.

    Also at $700 - $1000 dollars apiece it would be impossible for me to get all three at the same time. I could swing the cash for three of the Korean panels but spending that kind of money on a scary warranty, quality gamble is a bit un-nerving.

    So I guess some comprehensive reviews of the lesser panels and comparisons to the name brand monitors would be extremely helpful for me at this point. I could have worse problems!
    4
  • Onus
    rush21hit...I don't think my focus is that good even with Magnifier Tool...Even with my recent resolution, I experienced some hard time to adjust myself when gaming is involved. The HUGE screen about 60 inch from my eyes still hurts my respond. I'm too focused on what happen on the middle of the screen and never had a chance to look at details on corners, when I do, it's already too late...

    This certainly applies to my 53-yr old eyes. I have two 1920x1080 monitors now, and I use the smaller one (21.5") on my primary PC because I am a little less likely to miss things than on the 23" one. Also, it isn't just the cost of the monitor; for games you're looking at $400-$600 price of graphics card(s) to go with it, plus a beefier PSU... I just can't justify it. I'm not knocking those who can, but I can't.
    I am happy with 1920x1080; I suspect my next monitor upgrade (unlikely to be soon) will be to get a 120Hz monitor for 3D, but not to get more real estate.
    3
  • xPandaPanda
    More correctly, it's WQHD (2560 x 1440)
    QHD is more generally 3840 x 2160, but in regards to being 4x 720p, it's acceptable. Just not too... correct.

    For example, 720p shouldn't be HD if 1080p is HD. Like... 720 should have been 720miniHD but for marketing use, it's HD because HD is always good. So QHD is more reasonably 4x 1080p.
    -1