Samsung S24A850DW Monitor Review

Introduction

This monitor is Samsung’s respond to a cheap kind of monitors based on e-IPS matrix. These cheap monitors appeared on the market about two years ago being supplied by such manufacturers as Dell, HP, Asus, and others. Their monitors had really cheap price for the IPS category of monitors. As they entered the market space they found their firm position among average-priced monitors. They even had almost equal price with the monitors of TN matrix. As it is known these monitors do not have normal viewing angles and the picture quality itself is much worse. Samsung could not stay aside of such an intensively growing trend on the market. It offered the models based on C-PVA matrix: Samsung meant it to be the analogue for IPS matrix. But in reality the matrix had many disadvantages such as slow response time and slightly violent color rendering. These all were reasons of a low popularity among users. Thus, in the end of 2011 Samsung presented and issued at the market new monitor models based on the new matrix type of PLS. This matrix appeared to be a true analogue of IPS by most of parameters. The Samsung S24A850DW model is one of the monitors on this matrix. It is still not considered to be outdated and on the market it is successfully sold at a very attractive price.

The aspect ratio of the monitor is 16:10, and maximal resolution is 1920 x 1200. The current price for this monitor is about 450$. I consider this price to be very appropriate for the corresponding characteristics. Actually the idea of PLS matrix was to create a competitive sample to the e-IPS matrix, but in reality e-IPS monitors are now 20% cheaper than PLS or IPS ones. Thus, now PLS monitors compete by their price with the full IPS variants more than with the e-IPS ones. Particularly the model under review was initially oriented at the corporate customers, in medical or professional media spheres (as photo and video editing), for example. The home use was meant to be the last aim but to my mind this model is underestimated as for this criterion. Nowadays it is hard to find a better variant of the home monitor at its good price of 450$. Samsung claimed the PLS technology would offer a higher brightness of monitors at a cheaper price than IPS analogues offer. The statement about price did not come true. The actual prices of both monitor types are at the equal level. To be honest, the PLS technology itself is an insignificant remake of IPS in Samsung version.

Attention! All the pictures and screenshots presented in the article are clickable. Click at the picture you need and you will see its full size, or open it in a new window pressing a right mouse button.

Specifications and delivery set

Screen Size 24 inches
Aspect ratio 16:10
Covering Matte
Resolution 1920 x 1200
Screen Type PLS
Highlight LED PLS (W-Led)
Brightness (cd/m²) 300
Response Time 5 ms (GTG)
Viewing Angle (Horizontal/Vertical) 178°/178°
Communications D-Sub (VGA), Dual DVI, DisplayPort, 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x mini Jack
Display Position Adjustments Tilt, Swivel, Rotation, Height
VESA-mount Yes
Power Consumption (operational) 64 watt
Dimensions (W x D x H) 22 x 8.9 x 17.6 inches (559 х 225 х 447 mm)
Weight 12.8 lbs (5.8 kg)
Approx. cost 450$

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It is not quite clear why they did not find a spot for HDMI port, provided four USB 3.0 ports: why as many as four?! It is not clear, but anyway four are better than none. An absence of HDMA port is a big omission of the manufacturer. It is worth mentioning, all the ports are located on the back panel in a very inconvenient position. You can see them on the picture below. It will be very inconvenient to connect flash cards or external HDD/SSD often. They are rather meant for the static use: you can connect a printer, scanner or some other equipment that do not demand disconnection for long. The package of the monitor supplied is a standard cardboard box similar to the boxes of other manufacturers though Samsung decided not to provide an extra luxury as a hand grip to carry the box. As a result it is very uncomfortable to carry this box alone. The weight of box with all the stuff inside is 17 lb (7.7 kg), I think it is a very reasonable figure. The monitor itself is quite light. The standard supplied set includes the monitor, stand, power cable, power unit, VGA cable, USB cable, user manual, and guarantee check. All is within the frames, actually Samsung is known for its reserve. It was quite surprising to find VGA cable and none of other variants. In 2014 no one uses VGA already! Was it a big problem to include in the set at least one more DVI-D cable, or all the available variants even better? I have no idea, provided the manufacturing cost of these cables is so low for Samsung.

Design, ergonomics and interfaces

Monitor design is very moderate and classical that is never out of trend: such monitors are not influenced by the fashion at all. Their look hints at the professional or corporate purpose of use. All users are for sure very thankful to the designers of this model for the matted plastic. The perfect surface does not show any finger prints. I have no idea how some review authors managed to blot the same monitor and to complain after about the trouble with cleaning finger prints. I did not face such trouble at all. The stand is made of plastic that looks like anodized aluminum. All the signs are middle-sized and non-ornate not to distract your attention from work. The monitor is quite flat and thin: it looks nice and it is very comfortable for fixing at the wall. Here I mention about mounting, the corbel can be fixed with some offset as 6 slots are meant for mounting. There is the cable holder in the form of a simple construction – a plastic ring located on the stand leg. There is a special spot behind the monitor meant for placing a power unit. When this section is empty, it serves as a grip for carrying the monitor. On the top of the power unit there is “on” button. The only minus is that it is very difficult to take the power unit out of the connector, though it easily fits in. The power unit does not produce any sounds or background noise. In this respect you may enjoy complete silence in your room while working. I personally have no complaints against the assembling quality, though I faced some comments and reviews where the quality of assemblage was severely criticized. That might have been preproduction prototypes or pilot lots. My version is assembled precisely without any body backlash. The push buttons are implemented solidly and this is something to complain about but we will speak of that later. Samsung presented their know-how technology in this monitor – anti-glare surface cover. It is a new secret invention so little is known of it, but it successfully fulfills its task so there is nothing to complain about. The reflection in the monitor is very mild and blurred. You can make sure in that checking the picture below. It depicts the reflection in the monitor when it is brightly illuminated by the light source under certain angle.
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As for available ports, it is worth to mention, there are D-Sub, DVI-D and Display Port. Thus, all modern digital ports are present here but for the HDMI one. Nowadays this port is essential and it is a mystery why it is absent in this version. But there is such an interesting thing as a screen display of data out of two sources. This function may be very useful in some spheres of professional use, in addition it is very easy to switch this function on with one touch of the button. The stand is stylish, solid, firm, and professional too. Its professional feature is presented in a main bearing of a high quality. It allows adjusting the monitor’s main positions smoothly and precisely. If you ever used German mixer taps of Grohe or Hansgrohe brands you may imagine the way this bearing works in the stand; the same smoothness and accuracy (for some reason this comparison came to my mind). There are also possibilities to adjust the slope angle, height of monitor’s position or its orientation, to turn left or right. The adjustment is possible in any direction. I would like to mention that monitor does not sit on the stand completely, it was a minus for me because my monitor did not fit a little into the space between the computer table and shelves above. I had to saw the shelves and these two centimeters could serve a good deal for me. I advise you to measure your dimensions before you buy the monitor if the space meant for monitor is limited. The stand has a metal frame and base with six rubber pads which prevent slippering.

Interfaces of Samsung SA850

Interfaces of Samsung SA850

Interfaces of Samsung SA850

Interfaces of Samsung SA850


Stand of Samsung SA850

Stand of Samsung SA850

Stand of Samsung SA850

Stand of Samsung SA850


Minimum position of height

Minimum position of height

Maximum position of height

Maximum position of height


Portrait position

Portrait position

Backside of stand

Backside of stand


Backside of monitor without power supply

Backside of monitor without power supply

Backside of monitor with power supply

Backside of monitor with power supply


Sheet of tech specs

Sheet of tech specs

Menu and settings

The monitor, settings, and access to the menu are controlled with 6 buttons on the front panel. Near the buttons you see LED indicator of “on” mode in a traditional blue color, Asians’ favorite one: it is not too bright to weaken the sight especially at night. All the buttons do not have LED, it was strange of manufacturers to save money that way. By the way all the push buttons are monolithic together with the monitor body, so when you press one the whole panel suffers from your pressure. It does not influence anything; just feels and looks not right.

Control buttons on the front side

Control buttons on the front side

Let’s go through the menu content and examine the setting options.

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On the left screenshot you see the option bar that is activated by pressing any button. From here you can enter the menu, ECO regime settings, volume settings, and display position settings. On the right screenshot the main menu itself that consists of several entries. On this screenshot Picture entry is activated, here you can adjust brightness, contrast, sharpness, response time and Magic function. Magic function presents a setting with two options Magic Bright and Magic Color, but I will speak of them later.

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We skip the entry of Color in which you have custom settings of color and choice of ready-made color temperature profiles. All these settings are not active in the Magic regime that is considered to be basic by default. The manufacturer finds this regime to be the most appropriate one so I go on describing settings out of it. On the left screenshot you see an active Size & Position entry where you can adjust position of the picture of display. On the right screenshot we have an active Setup & Reset entry in which you can set ECO regime, menu transparency, choose the language, switch on the auto identification of the signal type, change options of some buttons and reset settings.

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On the left screenshot Information entry is active. It shows the current monitor regime. On the right screenshot you see the contents of the response time settings, you may choose one of three options: normal, faster, fastest.

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On the left screenshot we return to Magic Bright. On the right screenshot we choose custom settings.

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Now on the left screenshot Magic Color is available. On the right screenshot you see 4 modes: off, demo, full, and intelligent. Let’s choose demo mode to see what we get from this picture improver. On the picture below it is obvious how effective this function is.

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On the left screenshot you see Image Size entry in which we adjust picture type with only two options Wide and Auto. On the right screenshot we enter the ECO settings, there is a nice tree depicted. Its counter denotes how many trees you have saved by using this menu option.

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On the left screenshot there is Eco Motion Sensor entry that I want to tell about in details. Its point is in watching you with a help of monitor sensor located in the bottom. If you are out of the jobsite, this sensor switches off the monitor to save the energy. It is a good idea but implementation is a disaster. Sensor watches you until you stop moving, once no movement is sensed (if you are reading something deep in your thoughts) it may consider you are absent and switch off the monitor. But luckily it happens very rarely. On the right screenshot there is Backlight function that may either be on or off. The on-mode is titled Dimming. To tell the truth I tried hard to get used to it for a week but failed. Its function consists in decreasing the brightness of monitor when it thinks the light in the room is good enough to decrease monitor brightness. It also follows an aim to save electricity (and your sight as well). But this function does not work properly either. In reality your monitor will often change brightness levels without necessity. When the room light gradually turns weaker the monitor starts freaking out and changing brightness every two minutes. In addition I never felt comfortable with a low bright regime, you just have difficulty in seeing display and that’s it! This way I have suffered a week from this function thinking I might not understand it properly, but in the result I just switched it off considering it to be stupid.

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On the left screenshot we have Eco Icon Display entry that allows switch on or switch off Eco icon displaying on the screen, it is some unnecessary thing so I switched it off. On the right screenshot you have Menu Transparency option that has only two variants: transparent or non-transparent. Transparent mode is by all means more convenient.

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On the left screenshot you have the whole list of available languages where you can find any of main languages. On the right screenshot you see how to set the time period the menu will be displayed: in case of no actions when the chosen time expires, the menu disappears.

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On the left screenshot it is shown how to set Key Repeat Time. It allows setting the time necessary to start repeating button functions: after holding the button pressed for 0-1-2 seconds it starts or does not start repeating. This is what you choose. On the right screenshot there is Eco setup that offers two more options, rather useless.

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On the left screenshot Off Timer On/Off entry allows switching on or switching off the function of monitor auto switching off, this entry is another unnecessary backup function. On the right screenshot there is volume setting.

Viewing angles. Highlight.

Samsung did managed to create the proper matrix or to remake IPS, but we got the result that even exceeds IPS analogues in certain ways, this is my opinion. The pictures below show that the picture quality does not worsen with the viewing angle changed. The picture contrast does not fade. Under large angle a yellow shade is slightly appearing from the top, but you view it only under the angle that cannot be meant for work at all. In all other cases the shades of colors do not change with the viewing angle. However glow effect takes place but no more than analogue IPS models have. The same way contrast and brightness are slightly decreasing.

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There are evident problems with the highlight uniformity. It is not the problem of this monitor only, but other models too, still it is something to be unsatisfied with. On the picture below you can see how non-uniform the highlight is. Big light spots are in the corners. In addition it is visible the shade varies in some parts of the screen. But out of my two months experience of work with this monitor (for 12-15 hours per day) I cannot see or experience any problems with the highlight. I have another 24” Dell monitor on the IPS matrix. That one has much more considerable problems that are evident while working. Samsung does not have such.

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There is one more monitor of mine – ASUS PA246Q on full IPS matrix. You may see the comparison of two pictures: Samsung at left and Asus at right. By the way Asus is more expensive, I remember. Please, take into account that Asus runs at maximal brightness and most appropriate color spectrum set by means of numerous experiments. This yellow shade is the lesser of evils among which you choose on this model, I have really suffered for a year! Asus does not just concede in quality, it is really an awful product that I finally gave to my parents. I could not keep on working with that monitor, even a cheaper Dell was much better. I tell these things to prove that price and even brand do not always guarantee the quality of the product. That is why before buying the monitor it is recommended to examine all sorts of reviews and to see the monitor in use if it is possible. Actually the experience at the Samsung monitor and this review bring me to the thought this monitor has a slightly improved IPS matrix. All the parameters are very close to IPS and even exceed the competitors in some ways.

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I would like to add some words about Pulse-Width Modulation. Initially I was buying this Samsung monitor due to the absence of Pulse-Width Modulation effect, not to weaken the sight. I was fully satisfied with the picture quality my cheap Dell on e-IPS gave me but the eyes were so tired after the work at this monitor because of the highlight blinking and even a simple pencil text reveals it. So I have bought Samsung S24A850DW because of no blinking at all. My eyes were so thankful. In addition the picture is of a higher quality as a nice bonus, the price was almost the same as Dell had.

Conclusion and estimation.

When this monitor just appeared on the market, I would not recommend it because of its price or it would take one of the last positions of preferable monitors. The initial sale price is always higher. But now the price is 450$ and it is so attractive! Moderate and stylish design is one of plusses, I think. Another plus is matted plastic though the idea of monolithic panel buttons is a failure. I personally did not like the sense when the whole body is affected by the finger touch at the button together with the creaking sound as if you deal with cheapest variants.

The evident problem is non-uniform highlight that was described above. It does not disturb the actual working process but it leaves a bitter trace inside your mind: you have bought rather expensive monitor but the highlight does not correspond expectations. But most people will not even care of such moral troubles. According to the reviews of most modern monitors, similar problems concern the most number of monitors to higher or lower extend.

This monitor does not have Pulse-Width Modulation, or it would be right to say the monitor has Pulse-Width Modulation but it is evidently so high-frequency that you cannot recognize it with your eyes. In the result your eyes do not get tired and the sight weakens less than at low-frequency blinking. Some people do not feel Pulse-Width Modulation at all, but there are people who are very sensitive to it. I know the situation when a person turned into disabled person because of sight loss after a year of work at the monitor with bad Pulse-Width Modulation. For long he could not guess why his eyes turned so weak, when he discovered it was too late. This story is a lesson for all, do not save money on the monitor, better on everything else.

Matrix is fast enough. I tested most of modern games at this monitors. I have watched dynamic action movies. And there were no problems at all. In general, colors, brightness, and contrast do not present any problem. The picture looks even better in comparison with the most IPS competitors. You know, the monitor quality resembles Apple monitors or iMac all-in-one PC. They have just fantastic screens, I would not even compare with other IPS panels- the difference is visible. But this Samsung is very close to these top-class monitors giving a perfect picture.

All is excellent with the viewing angles, no single reason to criticize. In addition you get 4-USB hub, it is a very nice complement. Another pleasant detail is the fastener for Vesa corbel. I mention that the monitor does not heat up, I have not measured the exact temperature but I know the deal. For the last years I have dealt with so many monitors from the higher price class and all of them overheated. The power consumption is only 64 watt, actually it is so little in comparison with the competitors. The absence of noise is also very important. Power unit is located in the monitor, actually it usually produces noise but not in this case, you enjoy complete silence with this monitor.

I would consider inadequate movement sensors to be a minus of this monitor. I advise to save your nerves and to switch this function off right away because it does not work properly. Also body monolithic with push buttons is not a wise idea. But still it is not pleasant to sense the whole body responding under your push. I find too many useless functions in settings and many functions and regimes that repeat one another. Though if you pay some time to it once, you will not return to these settings anymore and forget of them after. Once again I repeat about a slight glow effect no more than other IPS monitors have. HDMI port is absent and it is a big minus, if you need it you will have trouble with cable connectors and extra cables. USB ports have very inconvenient location, evidently meant for permanent connection. The push buttons do not have LED indicators – some strange way to save investments.

In general, this monitor has much more positive characteristics than negative ones. To be honest, all negative moments are just pretty objections which do not influence operation negatively. With its 450$ price it is a great sales offer. It is known Samsung product quality assure your monitor will serve you at least 5 years.

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Author: Eric
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Comments

  1. David 10 May 2014 :

    I would like to buy the same monitor. I am not well educated in all these stuff which deals with options and characteristics. I would like to know is it possible to pay less for this model?

  2. Kelly 25 August 2014 :

    I guess it will be cheaper to order such monitor through the internet. Who knows, maybe in some months the price will be lower. Looking forward to this moment.

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