With its white LED backlight the Samsung S27B971D is only capable of the sRGB gamut and nothing larger. So for all of this testing I used CalMAN 5.1.2 with an i1Pro spectrometer and a C6 colorimeter that is profiled off the i1Pro. Our targets are 200 cd/m^2 of light output, a gamma of 2.2, and the sRGB color gamut. The pre-calibration measurements are done using the sRGB mode as I can adjust the brightness to 200 cd/m^2 and it is more accurate than the Standard, High Brightness, or Cinema modes.

 

Pre-Calibration

Post-Calibration,
200 cd/m^2
Post-Calibration,
80 cd/m^2
White Level (cd/m^2) 199.19 198.86 80.07
Black Level (cd/m^2) 0.4146 0.4266 0.1761
Contrast Ratio 480:1 466:1 455:1
Gamma (Average) 2.2195 2.1989 2.4188
Color Temperature 6257K 6533K 6460K
Grayscale dE2000 3.2326 0.4453 0.491
Color Checker dE2000 1.8896 0.6109 0.4321
Saturations dE2000 1.8564 0.4521 0.3985

From the report that comes with the S27B971D in box I expected better results. Out of the box, the grayscale has a definite lack of blue, and the error levels are much higher than you want. The gamma is more of an S-curve than a slope, and the contrast ratio is only 480:1. Color accuracy is good but cyan shades are particularly bad compared to others. Skin tones are very nice and we usually notice those errors first.

Give the Samsung a calibration with CalMAN and now you have a monitor. The only negative is the contrast ratio of 466:1 as the black level has risen from when the backlight is set to maximum. This is very strange behavior, but it is what I measured and I double-checked the data. Look beyond that and you see perfect numbers. Every single dE2000 value is below 2.0 so you won’t see a flaw in the display. Images look incredibly accurate and the accurate gamma helps make the contrast look reasonable.

Going to our other target, 80 cd/m^2 of light output with the sRGB gamma curve, and the behavior is the same. The S27B971D has an okay contrast ratio and is amazing everywhere else. Our maximum dE2000 values are even lower with some of the bars being practically invisible. Post-calibration the Samsung S27B971D produces amazing results that are as good as any display I’ve seen. The contrast isn’t fantastic but you can use the preset Cinema mode if you are going to watch a movie or play a game where contrast is perhaps more important.

Brightness and Contrast Uniformity Data
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  • Alan G - Saturday, November 2, 2013 - link

    Yes, writing to the monitor's LUT which is why NEC monitors are so easy to work with. I've used both their own Spectraview software or the ArgylCMS freeware to calibrate it. Of course the needs of photographers are quite different from those who game on their computer for which this monitor might be sufficient. Reply
  • Gothmoth - Saturday, November 2, 2013 - link

    well EIZO or QUATO is the goto. but NEC spectravies are not bad below 2000 euro. Reply
  • bobbozzo - Friday, November 1, 2013 - link

    Hi, please include the Aspect Ration on the specs chart on the first page of all monitor reviews.

    This one appears to be 16:9 :(

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Friday, November 1, 2013 - link

    arg... Aspect Ratio! Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, November 1, 2013 - link

    30ms lag is unacceptable, and 67% gamut is bound to look dull next to a wide gamut playing any game. Too expensive, too. Reply
  • Gothmoth - Saturday, November 2, 2013 - link

    test EIZO and QUATO monitors... why do you test all the dell and samsung consumer stuff but not the more pro oriented monitors out on the market?

    eizo CX240 or CX270... they are the competition to the NEC PA271 or PA272.
    not these dell or samsung monitors.
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Sunday, November 3, 2013 - link

    As soon as Eizo or Quato will send me a display I'll test one. Until then I can't! Reply
  • hoboville - Monday, November 4, 2013 - link

    Holy cow, I was thinking "Hmm this is a nice monitor, I've been wanting to get 1440p". Then I saw the price. What are they thinking? Reply
  • JakeLee - Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - link

    Aren't you people aware that Samsung got caught cheating customers with fake calibration reports last year?

    Part 1: (partially English)
    http://colormgmt.com/60166005864

    Part 2: (Korean only)
    http://colormgmt.com/60166308743

    Samsung's excuse (Korean)
    http://samsungtomorrow.com/2914
    They admitted that the reports are "accidentally" misprinted, although the monitors are hand calibrated each through four stages.

    It might be true, but Samsung has a very long list of shady practices....
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - link

    Thanks for posting that. I hadn't seen that before so it is good to see. That would certainly explain why the measurements on the included data sheet didn't match up to the performance I measured with CalMAN myself. Reply

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