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Gear & Apps

Samsung Releases New Curved Monitors | Easier On The Eyes, And The Wallet

By Kishore Sawh on April 3rd 2015

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If you’re alive this century, that is to say you have a beating heart that pumps blood to a brain that can still evoke arousal, you do get a little excited with new technology. From cameras to lenses, to headphones, to Teslas, somehow these collections of metals and wires still are able to get our heart rates up. When a new camera comes on the market, like a Nikon D750, or a new 5D, that excitement is palpable, and the same goes for some new Sigma prime. What tends to get little love in comparison are monitors.

Strangely, we still ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at the new televisions, but then again, they are a centerpiece of a room (sadly) and still the entertainment hub for the time being. Computer monitors are still viewed as second class citizens of your living space, and that should change. If you’re used to a small monitor size, like a laptop, upping to something like an iMac is a transcendental experience because the screen real estate is that much bigger and better, and thus what you can do with it is that much more. So that Samsung has released a series of a bit more affordable curved PC monitors is something to appreciate.

The unveiling of 3 new monitors joins the SE790C unveiled at last year’s CES. But as the SE790C was a 34-inch behemoth with 3440 x 1440 resolution and an equally massive $1200 price tag, these new offerings 23.6, 27, and 31.5-inch sizes, and all have 1080p panels, with the priciest version costing half the SE790C at $599.

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Computer monitors are generally associated with single person use, unlike a television, and that sort of makes the curved screens a bit more sensible, and suitable, as they work best when seated directly in the center.

The idea is that the curves go to the edges and curve towards the viewer which more naturally fits the natural curve of the eyes as the corners are now closer to the center’s focal distance, requiring less focal adjustment. The curvature on the range varies from 3000R to 4000R, and they offer 5,000:1 static contrast ratio, offering better darks.

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Furthermore, these new monitors apparently have an ‘Eye Saver Mode’ that reduces the sheer volume of blue-light output (which apparently strains the eye), and is flicker free. All of this means less strained and tired eyes, and in a time when we are spending fortnights in front of the screens, often laser-focused as we are within the bowels of a retouching session, this is a welcome set of changes. There are also other changes for those who use their monitor for Netflix marathons and gaming, such as a 4-millisecond response time, which means movement is shown naturally without jitter nor blur.

[REWIND: Should You Be Calibrating Your Monitor?]

Thoughts

There is one thing to consider, in my opinion and experience, however. If you’ve ever been in front of a curved television or monitor, it is actually quite a nice place to be. The sense of panorama and engulfment in your media is noticeable and enjoyable, but it really works better past a certain size, and larger is better in this case. I would recommend bypassing the 23-inch SE510C in favor of either the 27 inch variant of it, or the 27 inch SE591C, and preferably the 31.5 inch SE590C. If you’re going to get a curved monitor, you may as well make it worthwhile.

Find out more here.

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Scottie Nguyen

    I was at Bestbuy and found myself starring at the Samsung curve for 30 minutes kinda in awe of the picture quality. I am not sure if it’s because of the curve, or because it was 4k. But all things aside, I was just standing and admiring the picture quality. I have no idea if the curve has anything to do with it. But I did notice ONE and it stood out was the depth. I stood there for 30 minutes, I found a 2D image to have more 3D feel. It wasn’t playing a 3D video nor was I wearing 3D glasses. Yet I felt the picture had much more depth than a flat one. I don’t know if it will catch on, but if money is not an issue, I can see myself buying it !!! But we live in a real world where money is a factor especially if you are married and have a family :-) But yeah, I have to say, I liked it.

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  2. Leslie Troyer

    My next monitor will be a IPS 100% sRGB 4k or QWHD in the 32-34″ form factor. It would run thunderbolt, DP, and usb-c. As a topper if it could work as a dock and KVM for the MacBook pro & a windows box would be icing on the cake.

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  3. Karl Petersson

    I don’t really get it, why is this so interesting.
    Ok so the viewing angle is slightly improved from being curved, but from a photographers point of view there is no info as to what this will be like.
    If it will in any way be close to a Adobe RGB it might be interesting.
    I am holding my breath for the Benq SW2401PT that for aprox 400$ supposedly is offering a 99% Adobe RGB.
    Sure it is a 24 but I am a lot more interested in a correct 24 with 99% Adobe RGB then 90% something sRGB at a 27-30 inches.
    As a photographer the colour rendering are a lot more interesting then size or new features.

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    • Hannes Nitzsche

      That BenQ Monitor looks really tempting but I’m a bit confused as to it’s availability… The initial reporst were from late last year but when I look at B&H it says “discontinued” … anyone got any idea whether this monitor is yet to come or already gone?

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  4. desmond chislom

    AWESOME

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  5. Rafael Steffen

    I think 1080p now is too low for working with photography after you are used to retina screens.

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  6. Dylan Martin

    Wow that is a big jump down in price, pretty cool. Has anyone had experience with these monitors?

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  7. Dave Haynie

    Curved screen looks interesting — I’d have to try it. But 1080p is the past, far as I’m concerned, since I’ve been using 2560×1440 monitors, 27″, on my home PC, and my laptop is 3840×2160. I’d need a 4K monitor for upgrade, preferably a quantum dot display like the laptop — less power, better color.

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    • robert garfinkle

      4k / 8k? (it’s out there – I think Sony / LG has an 8k coming up)

      Interestingly enough, when I think of my camera being 7360 x 4912, I think 8k, or just a tad under. 8k should be 7680 x 4320 – but I’m thinking width only between my camera and 8k TV, of course the complementary crop to aspect…

      So, since the D800(e)/D810 came out, What I’ve been prone to is reduction to fit to a standard HD (can you imagine using that term “Standard HD”). but now that I think about it, maybe the industry, when referring to versions of HD, should just use 1k, 4k, 8k and so on… makes sense… but they use HD, as they always did for what I now know as 1k…

      at any rate – I still contend that for at least tablets which don’t respect the 16:9 aspect ratio they could come up with a true photo-centric aspect ratio 1.5:1, but no one does… seriously I think it’d be so sought after / marketable. I mean Apple rides a 1.33:1 (close to, but not) and other’s are slight variants… but none to my knowledge sit on a 1.5:1 aspect…

      What I’d like to see is a series of tabs for portfolio use, where the photographer does not have to crop-to-fit – the unit, at most, would scale etc… In this day and age cameras are so pixel heavy with DR, the scaling would be “down to” vs. up, which gets messy… Now, pepper that with a calibrated tablet, well, there ya go… PONO thinking… I think :)

      More on that idea – see, if they had a tab with 1.5:1 aspect it’d be ripe for the pickin’ – I’d get one that is, well, portable, one I can quickly whip out to show clients (if I were in the business), similar to the ipad / samsung / etc…; small enough, great… But, if I were exhibiting, I’d buy the larger Gallery / Studio version – one that I could pop onto an easel or hang on a wall either in portrait or landscape – Imagine if you will, a gallery, nothing but high-res 1.5:1 screens which could effectively be based off of the 4k or 8k frameworks – therefore if for say a photographer was using 24mp cams for work, well they’d pick a 4k version, suffer a tad of downscaling but the aspect would be there… and of course the 50mp or higher (coming soon to a sensor near you…) could sit on an 8k framework, downscale a little, there ya go… calibrated, right aspect…

      heck, I’d even go as far to let the photographer, using his / her photo editing software save a profile / catalog (of adjustments) for a series of images (like how lightroom does) and upload that to the device along with the raw images – which keeps the originals in tact, yet allows for adjustments to be “viewed” – now that would be just so cool IMO…

      and all the tablet versions would be 4k too, with the same features as the gallery / studio versions – ripe!!!

      just sayin’

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    • Dave Haynie

      My Samsung Galaxy Note 12.2 has a 1.6:1 screen, which is probably the closest you’ll see on any tablet or laptop these days. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot anyone could do about 1.5:1, since there aren’t all that many companies actually making panels these days, and you need a pretty gigantic volume to customize. I was actually kind of surprised the latest crop of Samsungs (well over a year old at this point) didn’t go 1.78:1 like so many things these days.

      And sure, it’s a general purpose device — you have to make compromises if it’s going to do more than one thing at all well. And of course, a tablet is just dandy for WiFi-ing or USBing a few photos off a camera, making small adjustments, and uploading, but it’s not in for composite merging, color balancing, serious editing, etc.

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    • Dave Haynie

      And 8K is some serious resolution… yeah, they’ve been showing these off at CES or NAB for awhile, but mostly as a tech demo. That’s a 32Mpixel display, nominally. Not sure I need that anytime soon. Then again, I wasn’t sure about 4K until I got a 4K laptop… now I kinda wish every display I own looked that good.

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  8. robert garfinkle

    For me, the killer monitor is based on two points –

    1. Color accuracy
    2. Aspect ratio, as it relates to a photograph, in this case, 3/2 – more so, I have yet to see a tablet that has a 3/2 aspect. for that matter, some, but not all are 16×9 {HD} etc.. I’d like to have a tablet that is made for displaying ALL of the image without crop and it’s true colors.

    Yes, is a wrap-around monitor cool. Would I throw it out of bed, no….

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    • Hannes Nitzsche

      Actually, the wide aspect ratio has the advantage of displaying your image on a maximum scale and still leaving enough space on the left and right hand side to see the control panels of your editing software. I quite like that tbh, but perhaps it’s a personal choice.

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  9. Austin Swenson

    I have liked the curved screen idea, they look nice and they seem like an okay enough idea, but I just wonder of they are here to stay or of they are a trend that won’t catch on… I certainly can’t afford to drop money on one right now, but who knows? Maybe fortune will look my way…

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  10. Andrew Von Haden

    This article is surprisingly light on details. I would even think about buying a monitor before I knew the color gamut (best at least be 99% sRBG for me if not better).

    Also, I wouldn’t even think of getting a monitor above 24″ with a 1080 panel. 1080p at 31.5″ sounds horrendous.

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    • adam sanford

      The gaming industry is a part of the 1080p problem. As many PC/Mac games are co-developed (or first developed) for consoles attached to 1080 TVs, manufacturers are leery to offer a monitor potentially aimed at gamers with res higher than 1080p.

      If you get a monitor with a resolution higher than 1080p, as most games either lack > 1080p support and force you to use a non-native lower resolution which aliases the heck out of the graphics or (for better gaming PCs) they *do* have a > 1080p support but it crushes their video card to cover those pixels realtime in-game.

      In other words, photographers love more screen pixels, but gamers get better framerate with fewer.

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    • Hannes Nitzsche

      True that. Color reproduction, I believe, should be our foremost concern – followed closely(very closely) by resolution.
      I had a browse around and found this: http://www.samsung.com/uk/consumer/pc-peripherals/monitors/design/LS32E590CS/EN
      Seems like it supports 16.7m colors, so sRGB is covered, but if you want to print and need 1b colors, the Dell P2715Q (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1106149-REG/dell_p2715q_27_3840x2160_dh.html) seems like a better option, especially at that price.
      Would be interesting to hear if anyone has had experience any with this model.

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    • Andrew Von Haden

      @Adam – As a computer gamer and photographer, I have no hate of 1080p. It’s not a bad resolution as long as it is in a 24″ or smaller monitor (though monitor graphics cards have made it much easier to drive higher than that). a 24″ monitor at 1080 is ~92ppi, which is good, not great. Put that on a 31.5″ monitor and you have ~69ppi, which laughably bad unless you plan on sitting yourself pretty far away from your monitor.

      This then brings in the argument of going 1440p or UDH. As a gamer, UHD might not make a lot of sense since it is such a high pixel count to drive. But since it is exactly 4x 1080p, you can run games in 1080p without all weird interpolation…so for me, I am waiting for a really nice 4K IPS monitor with g-sync.

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    • Kristian Hollund

      Adam: I disagree that it is related to the game industry. In fact most console games aren’t running natively at 1080p anyway, most Xbox One games are made at 720-940p and upscaled. Nvidia offers supersampling on their graphics cards now because there’s so much extra power on the graphics cards so that people who run 1080p can render the games at upwards to 3000 horizontal pixels and downscale to 1080p for “natural” antialiasing.

      I am pretty sure it’s related to two things.
      1. Windows 8 doesn’t have great support for high DPI screens. The few laptops that have gone past 1080p have usability problems. Windows 10 in the summer will fix that.
      2. Cheap panels are fast and decent, and nobody cares about color gamut, 1080p is cheapest and has an enormous production. The common man isn’t looking at 1440p screens then.

      I personally think 1440p is a must have for photography/vfx/editing etc. And I am sure we will see it become more common after Windows 10 makes it easier for laptops to take the leap to high dpi too.

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  11. robert garfinkle

    Is a curved monitor a natural way to look at something?

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    • Greg Silver

      Good question. I’m not convinced a curved monitor is necessarily better for a single user. I can seen benefit say for a curved 70″ TV in a living room to cut down on viewing angles but if it’s just a single user – a 27″ flat screen would suffice IMO.

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  12. Kim Farrelly

    Looks good but no mention of PPI (I’m not going to work that out) However taking Apples 5K screen with it’s 218PPI, 5120×2880 27′ as the one to aim for, I’m guessing it’s about 109PPI. When going high end, go high end. Are we just paying for something different looking or is it a [that much] better viewing experience?

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  13. Greg Silver

    Looks like a great monitor. I haven’t used any curved monitors yet but am happy with a regular 27″ for editing.

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  14. adam sanford

    Apple’s Retina 5K iMac is not the finished article, either. I’ve read a few articles about folks getting headaches from using it. Whether it’s from their eyes ‘adapting’ to the resolution (I’m leaning towards calling BS on that), folks cranking their brightness or some technical snafu causing that to occur, I don’t know.

    But I have to wonder: mo pixels, mo problems? Or did Apple just drop the ball with a subset of its customers?

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