This has been an adventure, but finally at long last I have this monitor home. After a week and a bit of bartering between different shops and then a week on order this monitor came in. I didn’t take the car to my local shops, but in optimistic fashion I was like, its only a monitor. I can carry this! Oh god, it is about two times as wide as me. What have I done.
Optimism!!!! *Cough* sheer bloody mindedness *Cough*. I set out from the shops, the clouds had gone away. My arms were overextended as I clutched this monitor for dear life and began the walk home (This is just like the time, I bought a 25kg dumbbell set in a brief case and carried it across the train network home). Unperturbed by the odd stares, I commenced crossing the bridge and the wind struck me. It would not have my monitor! But boy if I had a boat, I would have a great sail. I checked the distance and in the end I wrestle this chunky monitor about 2.5-3km all the way home.
Anyway purchase story aside, what did I buy. I bought a Samsung 32″ curved monitor CF397. Its full name LC32F397FWEXXY, but that’s a mouthful. Let’s open her up. I am kind of excited, as I haven’t bought a computer monitor since 2000.
Ok typical goodies I suppose, your stand, a power cable, HDMI cable and the paper work.
Now how am I meant to get the actual monitor itself out…..
The answer is very very carefully. Square monitor you are all good, straight up and down. Curved monitor I was very nervous I was going to snap it.
So having gotten it to the desk, I realise reading the instructions it is upside down and needs to face the desk to put the stand in. Back to the box it goes. Now looking at the stand, it was a very sleek and easy to assemble. It pretty much clips together. You the screw two small screws in and that is the stand assembled. Having assembled the stand and juggled the monitor bank onto the desk. I then had the nerve racking job of clicking the stand into the monitor. But click it went after feeling the strain exerted on the monitor. Monitor dance time! Juggle juggle juggle.
Ta da! Holy crap it takes up so much desk real estate. What have I done! Oh well she’ll be right. You have to admit it looks pretty smart. Final stage is plugging HDMI in and power cable. Naturally it is very straight forward you can’t get them in the wrong slots. In my case there is an extended step because I went out and bought a 3 or 5 metre hdmi cable so I could elevate my standing desk and also a display port cable to hdmi so I could dual screen my computer to the TV to watch Netflix still. Not that you really need a TV after you have a monitor this size.
In reality the monitor doesn’t take up that much desk real estate. I can comfortably get a keyboard, a HOTAS and mouse on the desk with it. In reality, if you shift everything around a bit, there is room for my laptop. That just means shuttling things back towards the monitor. But having finally gotten all the paperwork off my desk and experienced it without all the clutter, I decided on a more spartan setup.
Now down to the experience of the monitor. It has one of the crispest images I have seen on a monitor, the colour reproduction is really rich. I have had use of an IPS screen mainly in the past and well this really does wow me. Walking around a gazillion shops looking at turned on monitors this was the screen that really kept drawing me back. Lots of the research trail kept trying to take me away from it, but the on paper versus the in person experience kept bringing me back. To be honest that is kind of the way you have to do it though, go in person and look at the monitor turned on. Paper specs can say a world of things, but if the experience doesn’t fit to what you need then it kind of is silly buying that amazing beast on paper to get it home and be disappointed. For example, Samsung have a similar monitor which was about $500 more which had its quantum dot technology. I couldn’t see it in person and in the research I was getting a little bit stuck on it. I mean you have to semi-future proof right, a monitor will last you forever and a day. In the end though, I made the call against it because I couldn’t see it in person.
So what have I used it for thus far, well I have watched Netflix on it and it kind of leaves my TV for dead (Ironically my TV is only 8″ bigger). The colours and contrast just seem to have that edge. Now what about gaming? I mean lets be honest, the intention was to be able to play Star Citizen after all. Well it does an excellent job. I keep seeing in my research that VA (Vertical Alignment) panel monitors have great colour reproduction and contrast, better refresh rates, but don’t get it for gaming it will suffer from ghosting due to the slow response times. Well from my experience, I haven’t seen any ghosting or visual distortions in Star Citizen, Elite Dangerous, Cities Skylines or Stellaris. I haven’t even put it on gamer mode or adjusted any settings, beyond the brightness (It was up full and a 32″ flood light is no fun).
How can this be? Well Freesync for AMD graphics cards may be the answer. I do have an AMD graphics card, but it is older than dust so I doubt it has the capabilities to make use of the monitor’s Freesync capabilities. I doubt I have even downloaded the necessary driver software for it. So let us assume that it is the monitor doing its thing. Freesync for those who don’t know is AMD’s adaptive synchronisation technology, the equivalent is Gsync for Nvidia. It aims at eliminating visual tearing, frame stuttering and lag in response time. If memory serves for AMD’s variant it puts the graphics card in the drivers seat for governing refresh rate. Don’t quote me though haha.
What about the screen being 32″ with only 1920 X 1080 resolution? Well in my research journey there seems to have been people with the people that if you are going to get a big monitor especially a 32″, you really need a resolution above 1920 X 1080. This is because you will get large pixels you can see. Well I am going to debunk that one. The main time I can see the pixels is when my face is 2cm metres from the screen, but hey I can also see my laptops pixels when my face is 2cm from the screen. So I kind of shrug at that. I don’t find that 1920 X 1080 on this 32″ detracts from it.
Now what about the curved screen? Well to be honest I thought curved screens were a bit of a gimmick when they first came out. I kind of still feel this for curve screens on TVs, as I really don’t notice what it adds. In case of the monitor well that is a different kettle of fish. You are up really close so you do notice the difference. I don’t have to turn my head to use the screen. Some say it is better for your eyes, well I don’t know about that. I am not an optometrist. What I can say though, is that the screen draws you into what you are viewing and is far more immersive. To the extent in some ways it feels almost 3D, well I am not sure that is the best way to describe it. It just draws you in and in its own way it is easier to look at, as it is so big.
A comment I must make is that, I have to sit back at my desk. It just feels more comfortable looking at the screen sitting all the way back in my chair. This is probably personal choice for me, I bet there are plenty of people who would be up much closer. When my desk is in standing mode, I similarly am slightly back a little. Sometimes to the extent of the length of my arms. In part I feel you get a better experience of viewing the screen, but also because it is so big it doesn’t really matter if you sit back or walk a little bit around the desk. The size of the screen and really good viewing angle mean it doesn’t really matter where you are. I can quite happily sit 2.5 metres away at my dining table having coffee and watching the morning news (Apartment living).
Some people like to have two screens. I find this does the trick of having two in one. There is enough screen you can quite happily split the windows and look at multiple documents. It works from my writing I can research and write or go back to my stories notes as I go. In that same sense I guess if you were needing to eagle eye the stock market and fluff about on market announcements it work also be a valuable asset.
Is there any downsides or things I would like differently. it didn’t come with speakers. That was a little bit annoying. I have gotten so used to having laptops that I forgot about speakers so I had to go out and grab something. In my case it was a Corsair headset, but that is a story for another day. It is only a small annoyance that is easily solved and monitor speakers never seem that good anyway. The other oddity is the Eyecare mode, it dulls the colour and cranks the brightness up really high. I would really like control over the brightness in this mode as it is a bit bright. I guess it just takes a bit of getting used to.
Here are the major specs:
1800R Curved VA Panel
3,000:1 Contrast Ratio
Full HD Resolution 1920×1080
4ms Response Rate
60Hz Refresh Rate
1 x HDMI Input
1 x Display Port Input
1X Headphone Jack
Nobody had done any reviews on this Samsung monitor or the more expensive range of Samsung monitors available. So I had to do a bit more research. I’d have to say the best advice is go and experience the screen in person, even if it checks out on paper. This is a nice monitor, clean sleek design, immersive and offers amazing images. I am a very happy chap and would give it a 10/10. At the end of the day it was a final calculated leap that saw me go with it and it looks like I got it right. Anyway back to the novel writing, have a good one!