Samsung S27B971D Monitor Reviewby Chris Heinonen on October 31, 2013 12:00 PM EST
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.
|White Level (cd/m^2)||199.19||198.86||80.07|
|Black Level (cd/m^2)||0.4146||0.4266||0.1761|
|Color Checker dE2000||1.8896||0.6109||0.4321|
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.