Samsung SyncMaster S27A850D review

Price when reviewed

Samsung’s SyncMaster S27A850D is the first of a new breed. It shares the same 2,560 x 1,440 pixel resolution as many high-end 27in monitors, but the panel technology is new: Samsung’s latest marks the debut of its own Plane-to-Line Switching, or PLS, panel technology.

The physical differences are evident right away. Where most 27in IPS-based monitors are thick-set affairs, the Samsung’s LED-backlighting and external power supply make for a slender, elegant profile.

Samsung SyncMaster S27A850D

A tubular stand allows the monitor to smoothly rise up and down by 150mm, and also swivels round into portrait orientation. You need two hands to guide the panel into position, but the large rectangular base helps to keep it stable on a desk.

Connectivity is excellent. In addition to two dual-DVI sockets and DisplayPort inputs, Samsung has also packed in a three-port USB 3 hub. With the ports positioned at the monitor’s rear, pointing left and right rather than straight down, it’s easy to connect and disconnect cables without craning your neck underneath.

Samsung SyncMaster S27A850D

Power saving is top of the SyncMaster’s agenda. Brightness and proximity sensors in the display’s lower bezel automatically adjust brightness and activate standby mode, and the PLS panel itself draws precious little power. Calibrated to a brightness of 120cd/m2, the Samsung drew a modest 29W from the mains. Even pushed to its blinding maximum brightness of 380cd/m2, power consumption rose to just 50W – about half that of an equivalent IPS display.

There’s no doubt Samsung’s fledgling panel technology does a lot of things right. Colours are rich and vibrant and the SyncMaster SA850 delivers vivacious, larger-than-life images. While black levels aren’t deep enough to rival VA panels, the measured contrast ratio of 826:1 is still a match for the IPS-panelled competition.

Samsung SyncMaster S27A850D

Viewing angles are superb, proving easily as wide as our reference Eizo ColorEdge CG275W, and while response time isn’t as quick as the best TN panels – there’s still a trace of blur in fast-moving games – an effective overdrive circuit means that it never veers into ugly smearing.

It isn’t a perfect showing, however. Colour accuracy lags behind the best models we’ve seen, with an average Delta E of 3.8 and a maximum deviation of 6.9. Contrast is merely on a par with the competition, hitting 826:1. Far more disappointing is the leakage from the Edge-LED backlighting. In darker movie scenes, an obvious glow seeps into the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

Yet, for a technology still in its infancy it is an impressive first outing. Sensible design and green credentials go hand-in-hand with good image quality, and the price is reasonable given the features on offer. Consumers will be better served by Hazro’s cheaper HZ27WC, but businesses after an adjustable, high-quality display should definitely put the Samsung SyncMaster S27A850 on their shortlist.


Image quality4

Main specifications

Screen size27.0in
Aspect ratio16:9
Resolution2560 x 1440
Screen brightness350cd/m2
Pixel response time5ms
Contrast ratio1,000:1
Pixel pitch0.233mm
Horizontal viewing angle178 degrees
Vertical viewing angle178 degrees
TV tunerno
TV tuner typeN/A


DVI inputs2
VGA inputs0
HDMI inputs0
DisplayPort inputs1
Scart inputs0
HDCP supportyes
Upstream USB ports1
USB ports (downstream)3
3.5mm audio input jacks1
Headphone outputyes

Accessories supplied

Other cables suppliedDisplayPort
Internal power supplyno

Power consumption

Peak power consumption59W
Idle power consumption1W

Image adjustments

Brightness control?yes
Contrast control?yes
Colour temperature settingsWarm 1, Warm 2, Normal, Cool 1, Cool 2


Forward tilt angle5 degrees
Backward tilt angle20 degrees
Height adjustment150mm
Pivot (portrait) mode?yes


Dimensions643 x 224 x 441mm (WDH)

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