Samsung S27D590P review

The S27D590P offers strong image quality for the price, but we wish it had different inputs, and a better stand.
The S27D590P offers strong image quality for the price, but we wish it had different inputs, and a better stand.
The S27D590P offers strong image quality for the price, but we wish it had different inputs, and a better stand.

Highs

  • Thin bezel
  • Easy to use on-screen controls
  • Good color accuracy
  • Bright picture with reasonable contrast
  • Affordable

Lows

  • Stand does not adjust
  • No VESA mount
  • No DVI input

DT Editors' Rating

Anyone looking for an inexpensive 27-inch monitor these days can now claim to be spoiled, due to the abundance of choices out there in this area. Prices have dropped dramatically over the last year, and more advanced panel technology has proliferated as well. The result is a number of big, entry-level models that promise solid image quality.

Samsung’s S27D590P is one of many such options. Like other affordable monitors from the company, it uses a PLS panel, which is essentially Samsung’s version of IPS. It also provides 1,080 horizontal pixels. The monitor comes in 23-inch and 27-inch flavors. The larger of the two, which is the one we reviewed, sells for $299.99 from Samsung’s official website as of this writing.

The price is only mid-range by today’s standards. Some competitors sell 27-inchers for as little as $209, so the S27D590P can’t claim to be complete bargain. Still, only LG and ASUS sell a wide range of IPS monitors for less. Let’s see if Samsung’s entry is worth the extra bucks.

Thin is in

The S27D590P’s most striking trait is its thin bezel, which is only a third of an inch thick on all sides. Few displays can match the thin frame of this Samsung monitor, no matter their price, and it endows the S27D590P with a sleek, modern look.

Few displays can match the thin frame of this Samsung monitor, no matter their price.

Bezels aside, however, there are signs of this monitor’s budget-ish nature. For instance, plastic is the dominant material here. In some areas, like the back panel, it feels a bit cheap. We also dislike the stand, which is little more than a prop that the monitor sits on. You can’t make ergonomic adjustments, and a VESA mount is absent. Adjusting the monitor to a comfortable position is only possible by stacking it on top of other stable objects, like hardcover books.

Video input is handled by two HDMI ports and a single VGA connector. This gives the monitor one extra HDMI port than its sibling, the Samsung S27D390H, which is priced $10 higher on Samsung’s site. We would have liked to see a DVI input too, because many computers that are three to five years old have one. You can use a DVI to HDMI cable of course, but for many users, this is an extra that they wouldn’t need with a different monitor.

Arcade-like controls

Another feature that separates the S27D590P from the S27D390H is the on-screen control scheme. The S27D590P upgrades to a joystick-like controller located on the lower right hand edge of the display. Though it’s hard to find at first, it’s easy to use once you get the hang of it. It’s also far better than the finicky touch buttons used on the S27D390H (and many other monitors).

The controls themselves are a bit limited, however. Brightness, contrast and sharpness are available, along with basic RGB adjustments. There are also presets for color tone and gamma but, as is often the case, they don’t conform to any specific standard.

There are two additional settings, dubbed Magic Bright and Magic Upscale, that are unique to Samsung displays. Magic Bright offers a selection of preset modes that help users select settings which are (theoretically) ideal for specific content. For the most part though, it seems to exaggerate colors and contrast, an effect that may look good in a store, but offers little real benefit.

Magic Upscale is similarly ineffective. Samsung tells us that the feature uses an up-scaling algorithm to enhance low-resolution content, but to our eyes, it did little but unnaturally boost sharpness. Video clips viewed at 480p and 720p resolution looked no better with Magic Upscale on than they do with it off. The main benefit can be found in fuzzy text, which is sharpened slightly with Magic Upscale on.

Pre-calibration image quality

The Samsung S27D590P offers solid color accuracy out of the box. The average delta error was 1.19, which is great. A DeltaE of one or less is generally regarded as unnoticeable by the human eye. Better still, most of the error was in Cyan, which is typical of LED monitors. Other colors all had an error rating below one.

The panel also rendered a respectable 71 percent of the AdobeRGB gamut, reached a contrast ratio of 610:1, and generated a maximum brightness of 321 lux. All of these numbers are strong. Gamma was a bit out of alignment, coming in at 2.3 instead of the target 2.2, but that’s a reasonable result for a mid-range 27-inch monitor.

Our only real complaint is sharpness. The S27D590P’s 1080p resolution is stretched thin across the display’s width. Individual pixels become visible when fine details like small fonts are displayed. HD video also doesn’t look as crisp as it could.

Still, our eyes were pleased with what they saw. The accurate colors provide a vibrant, life-like look to high quality video, and the contrast ratio is good enough to create depth in movies and images. The monitor’s default brightness setting is far too high, however, and can become distracting when viewing in a dim environment. A powerful backlight is hardly necessary, because the panel features a matte coat that does a good job of diffusing ambient light.

Post-calibration image quality

The out-of-the-box picture quality, though satisfying, isn’t perfect. We tried to improve it using our calibration tools, but this was mostly futile. The additional gamma and color presets are all less accurate than the default settings, and in some cases, dramatically so. Decreasing brightness to a more manageable 120 lux made the picture easier to enjoy in a dark room, but also decreased the contrast ratio to 570:1.

Software calibration with Datacolor’s Spyder4Elite yielded a slight expansion in color gamut, from 71 percent of AdobeRGB to 72 percent. We also noted very minor improvements in color, though Cyan’s DeltaE remained above 5, and the average DeltaE dropped by just a hair to 1.17. Gamma absolutely refused to conform to the standard 2.2 curve.

Samsung S27D590 screen settings

As the numbers suggest, calibration had minimal effect on image quality. A straight head-to-head comparison between pre and post-calibration settings made it apparent that some unnatural warmth was taken out of images, but it was difficult to see even while switching back and forth at the click of a button. No difference was visible in movie clips or photos.

While improvement would be nice to see, we can’t complain much, given the monitor’s strong performance at default settings. The S27D590P outperforms more expensive monitors like the ultra-wide LG 34UM95, and the older Samsung S27C750P. Only Acer’s K272HUL can match up. It has a narrower color gamut, but better gamma.

Samsung’s S27D390H, which we’ve also reviewed, offers nearly identical performance, though it did manage to hit a 2.2 gamma curve instead of 2.3. The S27D590P’s advantages over the S27D390H can be found in design and features, but not image quality.

Conclusion

The Samsung S27D590P offers strong image quality at an affordable price. Both it and the S27D390H can beat much more expensive monitors from last year, and they hold up well against current competition also. They’re not perfect, but they do provide good color accuracy, and enough contrast to create a sense of depth.

Image quality aside, the S27D590P’s poor stand and basic connectivity options are issues that any buyer must take note of. We gave the S27D390H a bit of a pass here because of its low price, and considering that the S27D590P is actually $10 cheaper directly from Samsung right now, we feel compelled to do the same again. Most competitors that sell displays priced above $300 at least offer tilt, but the S27D590P costs $300 even. Some monitors, like the Dell S2740L, include a VESA mount. Alternatives from Dell and LG often include DVI, too, while Asus and LG bundle speakers into many comparable monitors.

This leaves the S27D590P a bit short on features. Make no mistake; this is an excellent monitor – but it’s limited connectivity and inflexible stand keep it from being a total knockout.

Highs

  • Thin bezel
  • Easy to use on-screen controls
  • Good color accuracy
  • Bright picture with reasonable contrast
  • Affordable

Lows

  • Stand does not adjust
  • No VESA mount
  • No DVI input
Computing

Don’t expect to see the new Dell XPS 15 with OLED display until April

There could be a delay in the release of Dell's new laptops with OLED panels. A new tweet from Dell executive Frank Azor suggests that these new devices might not come until a month later.
Computing

One of these monitors will look great next to your new MacBook Pro

Apple doesn't make its beloved Cinema Display monitors anymore, which makes finding the best monitor for the MacBook Pro more difficult. In this guide, we break down some of our favorites and offer something for every size and budget.
Computing

Calibrate your display to get it looking just the way you like it

Want to see images the way they're intended to be seen? Here is our quick guide on how to calibrate your monitor using your operating system or another tool, to make what's on the screen look as good as it can.
Home Theater

OLED or LED? We pick the winner in the battle of competing TV tech

The acronyms OLED and LED sound and look very similar, but the two technologies are vastly different in terms of engineering, performance, and capabilities. Which technology wins when you pit OLED versus LED in a TV?
Deals

Take $250 off the HP Spectre x360 laptop with this Presidents’ Day sale

If you're hoping for something more powerful that will last more than a few months, you'll probably need to invest $1,000 or more. Unless, of course, you take advantage of the Presidents' Sale on the HP Spectre x360 13t.
Computing

Think crypto’s dead? JPMorgan to offer first cryptocurrency backed by a U.S. bank

J.P. Morgan Chase is making history by rolling out a trial, over the next few months, of the first cryptocurrency, dubbed JPM Coin, which is backed by a large United States bank.
Computing

Opera web browser targets enhanced accessibility with major redesign

The browser wars are heating up. In the latest move for Opera, a new development release pushes it even closer to Chrome with a redesign and overall goal of redefining the modern web browser. 
Computing

Breaking: Amazon won’t build headquarters in New York in face of opposition

Amazon has canceled plans for a New York City headquarters afer citizens, civic groups, and politicians pushed back on Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's exclamation of economic joy over Amazon's earlier…
Computing

DLSS is finally arriving in games, but how does Nvidia's super-sampling actually work?

Nvidia's new DLSS technology is exciting, but what is it and how does it work? It's not quite anti-aliasing and it's not quite super sampling. It's a little bit of both and the end results can be impressive.
Computing

A new Mac Pro is supposedly coming in 2019, but what will it be like?

Our Mac Pro 2019 rumor roundup covers all the top news, leaks, and rumors about the new Mac Pro set to be announced sometime in 2019. Here's what Apple has said, what the experts think, and what's likely to show up with the new Mac Pro.
Gaming

Take to the virtual skies with these free flight simulators

You don't have to spend the entirety of your paycheck to become a virtual ace, at least when it comes to flight simulation. Our list of the best free flight simulators will let you unleash your inner Maverick.
Gaming

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.
Computing

Enjoy Windows on a Chromebook with these great tips and tricks

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only software.
Computing

Switch your WMA files for MP3s with our quick conversion tips

The WMA codec may be great when it comes to multi-channel surround sound, but unfortunately, it falters in terms of compatibility. Check out our guide on how to convert WMA files to MP3 via web-based or desktop methods.