To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Samsung SyncMaster S27A850D review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £544
inc VAT

The S27A850D's adjustable stand and 2,560x1,440 resolution are all good, but it's the new PLS panel, with its amazing contrast and colours

We don’t normally review monitors that cost over £500, but Samsung’s S27A850D is no ordinary monitor; as well as an impressive features list – a 2,560×1,440 resolution, fully-adjustable stand and three-way USB3 hub – it’s the first monitor we’ve seen using Samsung’s new Plane-to-Line Switching (PLS) technology, which is meant to produce deeper colours, better viewing angles and stronger contrast.

Samsung SyncMaster S27A850D

It’s the same screen technology that’s used in Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, and in our review we remarked that the tablet’s screen was incredibly bright and sharp, with excellent viewing angles. The same applies to the S27A850D, but on a screen almost four times as large. Our current Ultimate award-winner, the Hazro HZ27WC, suffers in comparison, with the Hazro screen’s colours looking washed out.

Colours are almost too deep and vibrant. Reds in particular can take on an almost radioactive glow if the source image is already over-exposed: in some of our test shots of fruit, the strawberries looked fit to explode. In our more restrained test shots, the increased depth of colour meant that finer gradients of contrast were possible, giving objects more shape and depth. Our only complaint was with black-and-white shots, where Hazro’s monitor still had an edge, producing better highlights and reflections.

The menu controls are clearly labelled and sit just under the screen, and the menu itself is clear and easy to follow. Unlike Hazro’s stripped-down HZ27WC, the S27A850D has a full suite of image quality controls, including Samsung’s Magic settings, which we don’t get on with. Magic Color blows colours out of proportion, even on the lowest (Intelligent) setting. On Full settings, normal colours become almost fluorescent, so we left it turned off entirely.

Samsung SyncMaster S27A850D

Magic Brightness works better, and merely acts as a repository for preset modes, such as Standard (which puts Brightness down to 35%), Game, Cinema and Dynamic Contrast. We had the most luck with Game mode, which brightened the image without making colours oversaturated, while Dynamic Contrast produced distracting changes in brightness. Choosing a preset disables the normal Brightness, Contrast and Sharpness controls, too, so we kept it at Custom and set brightness as required by our viewing material.

Really, you want to keep the image as free of processing as possible to show off the PLS panel. In our film tests, watching Casino Royale, Bond never looked so red-blooded – again, maybe a bit too much red – while we could still see the buttons on Le Chiffre’s black velvet dinner jacket in the dark casino scenes. Gaming tests were impressive too, with the larger colour palette adding more depth and realism to Call of Duty 4’s multiplayer maps.

Pages: 1 2

Basic Specifications



Viewable size27 in
Native resolution2,560×1,440
Contrast ratio1,000:1
Horizontal viewing angle178°
Vertical viewing angle178°
Response time5ms
Response time typegrey-to-grey
Screen depth45mm
Base (WxD)356x223mm
Screen elevation80-238mm


Portrait modeyes
Wall mount optionyes
Height adjustableyes
Internal speakersnone
Detachable cablesyes
USB hub3-port USB3
Integrated power supplyno
Kensington lock lugyes
Display extraspower supply mount, 1x DisplayPort, 2x Dual-link DVI
VGA inputno
DVI inputyes
S-video inputno
Component inputno
Composite inputno
HDCP supportyes
Audio inputsnone


Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption on53W

Buying Information

Warrantythree years onsite

Read more