4K TVs and monitors aren’t necessarily new technology, but until recently, you had to be willing to give up your newborn children in order to afford a decent unit. Even today, most are well above our budgets, but the Samsung UHD 28″ bridges the gap between quality and price, with a few minor setbacks.
Love at first sight
After watching an overview video from KelbyOne’s RC Concepcion, I made sure to hit up the Samsung booth at last year’s Photoshop World to see it in person. Having never really set my eyes on a 4K device in the flesh, I was blown away by the amount of pixels (I couldn’t see). It was crazy sharp, and the colors were gorgeous! I had a chance to speak with RC, who further sold me on this beauty!
The first thing you’ll notice about this monitor, is its minimalistic, sleek design, featuring a slim bezel, brushed metal base and back, and matte screen.
- Minimalistic, distraction free design
- Very accessible ports in the back
- Matte screen for glare-free working
- Very limited tilting
- No rotation or height support
One of the setbacks of this monitor, is the lack of tilt/rotation/height adjustments. You can tilt the screen backwards a few degrees, but there’s absolutely no rotation or height adjustment support. If you’re looking for a monitor that can rotate 90 degrees, or if you’re specific about the height of the monitor, this may not be for you. Personally, I don’t typically rotate my monitors, so I found no issue with this setback.
Let’s start with the obvious. This monitor contains a lot of pixels. Somewhere around 8 million of them! With a resolution of 3840×2160, your images and videos will be insanely sharp. Well, not all of them. We’re still at a strange point where 4K content isn’t mainstream. It’s certainly becoming more popular, but most videos you watch probably won’t take advantage of this display, but we’re starting to see more and more 4K footage being released daily. The good news is, if you’re a photographer, chances are your raw images will be well over 4,000 pixels and look great – even when zoomed in!
So what about the non-4K content? Anyone who’s ever brought a small image into Photoshop and attempted to resize it up, knows exactly where I’m going with this. 4K is quite a bit larger than 1080, so the majority of images and videos that you come across will be digitally enlarged. Samsung claims to have magic upscaling to help enlarge and sharpen up smaller images/videos. Does it work? To an extent, it does, but it can only fix so much. Unfortunately, some content is small enough that even magic technology can’t figure out what to do with it, resulting in a bit of artifacting.
Responsive, under the right conditions.
Samsung boasts that this display features a response time of 1 millisecond, and a refresh rate of 60Hz, which is perfect for movies and games. What isn’t made clear, is that in order to achieve crystal clear playback, you’ll need to connect using a Displayport cable, and not HDMI. The monitor comes equipped with both an HDMI and Displayport cable, but seeing that my Mac Pro only sports Mini Displayports, I was initially only able to hook it up with HDMI, reducing playback quality pretty noticeably. (For those wondering, my Mac Pro is sitting on the BookArc from Twelve South)
However, I noticed that in the monitor’s built in settings, the response time is set to “Faster” by default. Switching this to “Fastest” will reduce ghosting and improve video playback a touch.
Menu > Picture > Response Time > Fastest
This still won’t improve the refresh rate. In order to increase it to 60Hz, you’ll need to utilize the Displayport. Once my Displayport to Mini Displayport cable came in, playback was as smooth as butter! If you’re going to be playing a lot of videos, or gaming, you’ll want to make sure to hook up video Displayport.
Some users have reported that on lower powered computers with only a single GPU, increased ghosting or lockups are present
1 billion colors
Unless you have superhuman powers, you probably won’t be able to see all 1 billion colors that this monitor is capable of displaying, but having 64 times the amount of colors results in incredibly rich images and beautiful colors! There’s not much more I can say about this. The colors are great on this display!
Some have told me that “you don’t even need calibration!”. While the colors are incredible, if you’re planning any photography/video work, you’ll want to calibrate using your method of choice.
- Picture-by-Picture (PIP) for displaying two computers on a single monitor at once
- Game Mode, to optimize your gaming experience with enhanced colors and contrast
- Two HDMI ports for additional devices, such as game consoles
One of the biggest selling points of this monitor, is the price. While it’s usually listed at $600 directly from Samsung, you’ll be able to pick it up at a discount on Amazon or other retailers. At the time of this review, it’s available for $499.
If the few setbacks listed in this review aren’t deal breakers for you, $499 is an absolute steal for a 4K (UHD) monitor! I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an entry level 4K monitor!
- Beautiful design
- Sharp, high quality images/video
- Very responsive (under the right conditions)
- Unbeatable price!
- Limited tilt, no rotation/height support
- No Mini Displayport cable/adapter included
- Limited 4K content available
- Upscaling adds occasional artifacts