Samsung UR59C 4K Curved Monitor Review: Premium Image, Budget Price

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Brightness and Contrast

To read about our monitor tests in-depth, check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. We cover brightness and contrast testing on page two.

Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

UHD VA monitors are somewhat rare. We had to look hard through our database to find appropriate screens for comparison to the UR59C’s. Ultra-wides are represented by the ViewSonic XG350R-C and MSI Optix MAG341CQ. Then we have the AOC AG322QC4, also a curved 32-inch 16:9 panel but with QHD resolution. For flat screens, we’ve included the Philips 326E8FJSB and BenQ EW3270U. All panels are VA.

Samsung claims the UR59C’s max brightness as 250 nits, but our sample measured about 333 nits, which is much more useful. That’s plenty of output for brightly lit rooms. VA panels aren’t always the brightest, but if you like a lot of light, this one is a great choice.

Black levels are nice and low at just 0.1256 nit with the backlight maxed. Even though the Samsung isn’t at the top of our chart, its blacks are far deeper than any IPS or TN panel can produce. Resulting contrast is an excellent 2,684.4:1, within striking distance of first place. It doesn’t get much better.

After Calibration to 200 nits

The UR59C takes well to calibration. When we set it to 200 nits brightness, it earned a second-place finish in the black level test, missing first place by an imperceptible amount. You won’t notice the difference in contrast with a final 2,590.5:1 score (compared to 2,468.4:1 before calibration). That is excellent performance surpassed by only a handful of monitors in our database.

Overall ANSI contrast was excellent at 2,204.7:1. This bodes well for finely detailed images, tiny fonts and icons. Windows tasks were a pleasure with great visibility of small objects. Just as in food, where fat equals flavor, in monitors, contrast equals clarity. Photos and video on this monitor have depth far beyond what IPS or TN delivers. We can tell the UR59C sports good quality control and component selection.

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Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

  • AlistairAB
    An entire review that doesn't mention the existing flat version? The UJ59 for $350? Weird... just get the same monitor for less and without a curve? Been on sale for 1-2 years already.
  • DookieDraws
    Christian, under the large monitor image on the first page, where the specs are located, you have the screen size listed as 35 inches.
  • truerock
    I prefer my video monitors not have speakers, audio ports, floppy disk drives, can openers... etc.

    I would like to see DisplayPort and HDMI ports replaced with USB-C ports.
  • mjtartist
    I just received this monitor yesterday. The clarity is great and color without any adjustments is very good. Since I do color specific work in Photoshop for many clients, after setting up the monitor I looked for 2 files:

    A driver for the monitor, and, a color profile provided by Samsung. I found nothing. Samsung's website shows no driver/color profile for the monitor. I contacted support via chat. The support tech sent me a executable file that supposedly was the driver/color profile for this monitor. Just the title of the file aroused my suspicion. Today I called Samsung support and was told that the file I received yesterday was for an entirely different model. I was also told that no driver/color profile for this monitor is available from Samsung. Really?

    My question to the reviewer of this product is did you use the default driver/color profile that Windows installs when the monitor is attached?

    I also asked the tech at Samsung about profiling the monitor with a colorimeter and 3rd party profiling software. That confused him. I doubt that he had ever heard of a colorimeter, and, even implied that this monitor could even be profiled. For me....end of conversation!

    I plan to keep this monitor was at least a few more days. I will then make a decision about returning it.
  • cheekykid
    The HDMI black level once turned from Low to Normal completely kills my black level. Can there be such a stark difference between my monitor and the one tested here? I advise everyone to use a dark background and try between Low and Normal to see what am talking about.
  • roxton
    Hey Tom's! Why don't you mention PWM in your future monitor reviews? My eyes react on PWM quite badly and I'd love to know if a monitor uses it to adjust brightness.
  • toke lahti
    You only measure gamut against sRGB?
    Is this Tomshardware in 2020?
  • MisterCheesy
    Took me a while to find it, so I thought I'd post it for posterity...Drivers and profile are here: Curved UHD Monitor (UR59 Series) | Owner Information & Support | Samsung US
  • AnAtom
    MisterCheesy said:
    Took me a while to find it, so I thought I'd post it for posterity...Drivers and profile are here: Curved UHD Monitor (UR59 Series) | Owner Information & Support | Samsung US
    Did Windows Smartscreen flag that driver as suspicious and prevent it from running in your case?
  • chmedly
    Does this monitor, by any chance, accept 30Hz signals? As in broadcast professional video and security camera signals?