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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.

Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.