Samsung S27B971D 27-Inch QHD Monitor, Reviewed

Calibrating The S27B971D With Natural Color Expert

If you’ve worked with a wizard-based calibration package like Datacolor Spyder, Natural Color Expert should be easy to adopt. Rather than the workflow system used by CalMAN, NCE walks you through each image parameter prior to the actual calibration sequence. The only preparation you do after installing the software is connecting Samsung's S27B971D to your PC or Mac using an included USB cable, and then hooking your preferred instrument up to the monitor’s USB port. The supported meters are X-Rite’s i1 Pro, i1Display Pro, and ColorMunki; Datacolor’s Spyder 4; and Minolta’s CA-210 spectroradiometer.

Here is the initial screen.

You can save multiple profiles with NCE, and they're managed here. You can also import and export profiles for use on other systems. The tabs at the top switch between calibration, uniformity, and verification modes.

This is the uniformity control panel:

Computer-based lookup tables don’t always include uniformity compensation. NCE, however, does. If you want fine resolution, you can measure up to 49 points. This routine doesn’t just evaluate and adjust luminance uniformity, but color as well.

We were unable to improve the out-of-box results; the display’s uniformity is already superb (though we also know that not every sample will measure the same).

If you initiate a calibration, this is the next screen you encounter:

When you set the Profile Mode to Advanced, you can access all the parameters on a single screen. In Basic mode, each parameter appears in a separate window with before and after photos so you can see its effect on the image. The process couldn't be any easier. Simply specify maximum brightness, black level, white point, gamma, and color gamut. There are presets for the most frequently-used standards, or you can enter the xyY values yourself for a custom calibration.

Once NCE verifies your meter, the process runs without user intervention. If you are doing a uniformity procedure, you have to move the meter to each measurement point when instructed.

Here’s the result screen:

Clicking the Before/After button toggles between the sample images, illustrating the effects of your adjustments. All of the data is presented in the lower-right corner. When you’re satisfied, save the result and it appears in the profile list.

After experimenting with NCE, we can see that it is quite effective at calibrating the S27B971D. But it doesn't improve on the results you can get through the OSD. Really, its chief benefit is that you can calibrate to a precise standard with only a meter. You don’t need additional software or patterns. It’s also a snap to set custom parameters. And if your particular sample has uniformity errors, you can fix them easily.

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    Top Comments
  • blackmagnum
    Gamers... move along. Nothing to see here.
  • Other Comments
  • cats_Paw
    1000 dollars for a monitor 27 inch... nah.For that you can get a huge plasma TV if its for single player or a 300 dollar 27 inch monitor and use the 700 on something else.I still cant understand how companies expect to sell those expensive monitors to anyone but art/graphics/textures developers who actually need that picture quality.
  • damianrobertjones
    @cats_Paw: Did you read the article? It's FOR art professionals etc
  • c123456
    @damianrobertjones: Do you know what comparable products cost? Apparently not. Look up a Dell U2713HM.
  • blackmagnum
    Gamers... move along. Nothing to see here.
  • Ceee9
    u2713h can be get around 500$usd...
  • ubercake
    Contrast (even post-calibration) blows for that price. But you get a cool partially metal stand (?).
  • BoC_Gryphon
    To my knowledge, Toms has never done a review of the Korean 27" QHD monitors that can be had for ~$300-400. Please do.
  • Bolts Romano
    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
  • Bondfc11
    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.
  • ceberle,3465.html

    We covered the Auria EQ276W last April.

  • Gurg
    To my knowledge, Toms has never done a review of the Korean 27" QHD monitors that can be had for ~$300-400. Please do.,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.
  • ubercake
    Anonymous said:
    To my knowledge, Toms has never done a review of the Korean 27" QHD monitors that can be had for ~$300-400. Please do.,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)?
  • W123
    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.
  • 10tacle
    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.
  • ikyung
    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.
  • SuckRaven
    How would this compare to something like an EIZO ColorEdge CG276 (also 2560 x 1440 IPS), or say something like the NEC MultiSync PA302W? (30" 2560x1600)'s should do a comparison between them.
  • falchard
    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.
  • Crzy1
    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.
  • computerguy72
    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.
  • natoco
    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.