There are very few pieces of hardware that can have such a profound effect on your PC experience as a high quality monitor. Even with the best graphics card, the fastest processor, and the latest audio system, a high end monitor can still make you sit back and go “wow”.
Samsung made a splash in the television market when they released their highly coveted curved monitors. While these screens are upwards of 40 inches, Samsung has just released a more compact line of curved monitors.
With a higher color depth and pixel density than most monitors on the market, we couldn’t wait to see what these screens could do. We went hands-on with the CH711 to see if this technology was ready for prime time, and if this revolutionary new monitor has a place on your desk.
Samsung made sure that the CH711 Series Curved 27 Inch QHD Monitor had a sleek and simple appearance. From the first time you see it, you can tell that it isn’t your ordinary monitor. It’s quantum dot technology means that colors are more vibrant and defined than you’re used to, and the QHD resolution means that you’ve got a display that looks even better than Apple’s Retina displays. There is no doubt that this monitor blows everything else out of the water on paper, but we’ll have to take a look and find out how it stands up in the real world.
In the modern technology market, design is extremely important. Consumers don’t just want hardware with impressive performance. It’s certainly a factor, but we want something that will look good at the same time. Because a monitor holds a prominent place on your desk, this is even more important than usual. Fortunately, Samsung didn’t disappoint.
The shiny white plastic has a well-polished sheen that goes beyond what you’re used to seeing from monitors. The simple circular stand and cylindrical supporting arm are very minimalist, but remain pleasing to the eye. Where the display itself is concerned, there is actually very little to see. The monitor has absolutely no bezel on three sides. All you see is a shiny silver bar along the bottom, stamped with a reflective Samsung logo.
One major part of the design doesn’t come from the components that you see, but rather the ones that you don’t see. No matter how your computer is set up, you’ve likely spent time dealing with a tangled mess of cables. Samsung has a built in cover on the back that covers all of your ports, with a single outlet that allows you to keep your cables neat and tidy. Many of you who care about cable organization already have a 3rd party tray to keep things organized, but for those of you that don’t this is one of the easiest ways to keep your cables neat and tidy.
One of the main advantages to this stylish display is the curve. This seemingly small change can actually make a huge difference in your gaming or movie experience, and it all has to do with the way your eyes work. The front of your eyes are curved. Your brain translates an otherwise “fisheye” style image into the image you see. For objects in the real world, this looks great. However, a monitor works more like a window into another world. Having the monitor simulate the natural curve of your eye makes images much more lifelike and believable. At any point, the image you see on your display is an equal distance from your eye, moving from left to right. The same effect is used in IMAX theaters, and more recently on home television sets.
The curve on this monitor – rated at 1800R – is much more aggressive than what you’d see on a television. There is good reason for this. The closer you sit to the screen, the more aggressive of a curve you need. This isn’t the curviest screen on the market, but at 27 inches it’s the perfect amount. You’ll likely sit closer to a 20 inch monitor than you would a 27 inch screen, so we support the fact that the curve is a little less aggressive.
Color & Contrast
When shopping for monitors, resolution is often the most highly advertised specification. From a marketing standpoint, this makes sense. It’s easy to tell that a 4k display is better than a 3k display. However, we often find that how a monitor reproduces color has more of an effect on the image quality than the resolution does. This is one of the main reasons we liked the CH711. The color is much more vibrant and pleasing to the eye than we’re used to seeing.
This is made possible by something Samsung calls “Quantum Dot Technology”. In standard monitors, each pixel is made up of a red, a green, and a blue subpixel. A large portion of all the colors in the world can be made up from these three colors, but there is still a limit to it. This limit is known as the sRGB color spectrum. With quantum dot technology, this screen can make 125% of the total colors in the sRGB spectrum. This is done by adding a fourth sub pixel, yellow, into the mix. This technology will be most advantageous to gamers, although movie buffs will also enjoy the unique coloring.
Contrast – the difference between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks – is also quite impressive in the CH711. With some of the earlier high resolution monitors, the dividers between the individual pixels were quite thin. This means that when one pixel was fully illuminated, it would inadvertently illuminate the ones next to it. This reduced the contrast ratio, and gave the image a very washed out look. But Samsung has been in the display business for a long time, and the CH711 has an excellent contrast ration of 3000:1. The blacks are very deep, helping the image to appear crisp and sharp.
Resolution & Refresh Rate
A high pixel density helps keep still images looking crisp, and a high refresh rate keeps motion smooth. With this in mind, consumers often think that the fastest refresh rate and highest resolution mean that a monitor is the best. But the Samsung CH711 is neither of these, and we still feel that it’s a better option than many other monitors. Why is this?
First, it’s important to consider pixel density over resolution. There comes a point where your eyes cannot make out individual pixels. In our tests, it was virtually impossible to tell 4K resolution apart from 2.5K resolution. At 27 inches, the pixels are so dense you cannot see them. This might not be the case for a larger 30-inch or higher model, but in this case we think the resolution is ideal.
The next thing to consider is the refresh rate. You can use a 240 Hz monitor, but that doesn’t mean that you’re gaming at 240 FPS. This monitor has AMD FreeSync built right in. This means that the refresh rate will match the output of your video card, giving you the smoothest video possible. Combined with the fact that the lower resolution makes it easy for high end graphics cards to push out high frame rates, these two features mean that the Samsung CH711 is perfect for gamers.
It’s important to understand, that Quantum Dot Technology is not the same as HDR technology. From a technical standpoint, HDR displays add a fourth sub pixel and display content that enables additional colors to be used. When you are sending standard RGB data to it, the fourth sub pixel is not used. When you’re sending HDR content, you gain access to the additional color spectrum. Samsung’s monitors do not work that way. Data is always transmitted in RGB since HDR is not yet fully available on PCs. The fourth sub pixel is always used.
What this means is that you’re not seeing the real colors. It’s simply taking your image, and making it look a lot more vibrant. For gaming and movies, the effect is very enjoyable. But if you’re trying to edit videos or photos, you’ll find that the inaccurate colors make this process challenging.
Although this isn’t the first curved monitor on the market, in our eyes it’s one of the best. We’d recommend the CH711 primarily for gamers. The ultra-vibrant colors, pixel perfect resolution, and FreeSync refresh rate all make this the perfect monitor for you. That being said, this screen is still fantastic for movies, even if you aren’t able to take advantage of all the high end features.
Looking for something better suited for documents? Check out our review of the LG 32MA68HY. This 32 inch screen has incredible color accuracy, and a huge 32 inch panel. It might not have the vibrancy of this Samsung screen, but the color accuracy is unparalleled.