Review: Samsung S27D390H 27-inch LED monitor

Samsung workhorse monitor delivers good color accuracy (August 8th, 2014)

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Product Manufacturer: Samsung

Price: $299 retail

The Good

  • Good color accuracy
  • Quality panel

The Bad

  • Bad ergonomic adjustments
  • VGA and HDMI? Why not DVI and HDMI?

Buzzwords and acronyms abound when talking about monitors. HDMI, DVI, HD, Full HD, 4K, and these just skim the surface. With the proliferation of super-high resolution computer monitors adding to the alphabet soup, there is always a need for a midrange but physically large display for computers implementing fewer of the codewords, just to give a bit more real estate to workers, or a fast responding display for gamers. Samsung is attempting to bridge both worlds with the S27D390H 27-inch LED monitor. How well does it straddle the line between affordability and performance?

First, the specifications. The S27D390H is a 27-inch panel, with PLS LCD display techology. Resolution is 1080p (1920x1080) - rather low for a 27-inch monitor - and inputs available are VGA and HDMI. Specs listed are a contrast ratio of 1,000:1, with a 2.2 gamma curve and a brightness of 300cd/m2. Response time is <5ms, with a max refresh rate of 60Hz. On-screen calibration and adjustment is invoked with touch-sensitive buttons at the base of the display, which we found far too easily activated in a work environment.

We used the Datacolor Sypder4elite calibration suite to check the actual delivered picture, and were pleased. Most impressively of all for the market class of monitor that Samsung is aiming for, we got a color gamut spanning 74 percent of the Adobe RGB standard. Additionally, we achieved a gamma curve meeting Samsung's claim of 2.2 with no oddities or unusual spikes.

While Samsung didn't shirk on the panel, they made up the cost difference in the overall construction of the display. The glossy black, oddly partly-translucent plastic far too easily picks up fingerprints, and feels slightly oily. We trekked out to our local PC superstore, and found the same in a few very lightly-used display units that they had in their training center, so this wasn't a localized experience. Despite the oiliness, the display bezel itself is solidly built, and we weren't afraid of breaking it with casual use.

The stand, on the other hand, isn't great. There is no VESA mount, and the stand is wobbly at best, even with the counter-weight in the base. We didn't have any drift when we found a good angle for the display, but finding that angle was problematic, with the monitor wanting to be just a little steeper or a little shallower than we might like. The monitor won't rotate on the base, but we don't really have a problem with that, as the 10-pound weight allows us to lift it up and rotate it manually, if needed.

The S27D390H is a no-frills, mid-range monitor, that isn't well-suited for detail work -- it's not what you'd call a Retina-class display by any means, but then again it doesn't promise to be one. The monitor is an example of an unremarkable, yet quality, office workhorse with good color accuracy. It's got a high-quality panel good for most uses with an excellent color gamut, but is held back by its no-frills on-screen adjustments, strange choice of inputs, and surrounding plastics, particularly the base. That said, you could do a lot worse in the price range than this display if you just need a little extra real estate on your desk, or as a display for gaming.

by Mike Wuerthele


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