I have enough ambivalence about curved monitors to fill a 34-inch screen. For games? No question it’s good. For movies and work, though, it gives pause. Most movies use a 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio so at best they float in the middle of a 21:9 screen. And, for example, you can comfortably fit three windows side by side, but if you only need two neither one is directly in front of you — you’re staring at the space between them.
It’s great for gaming, with sufficiently fast response times, a solid AMD FreeSync implementation (with a 100Hz max refresh, you’ve also got some leeway on lower-power Nvidia GPUs), vivid colors and a reasonable amount of configuration flexibility. Field of view, people.
It’s not cheap, but I don’t think its $950 price tag is unreasonably high for what it offers. In the UK it costs £800. I don’t see it offered in Australia, at least not yet (for reference, the US price directly converts to AU$1,050). Samsung also offers a less-expensive display — Samsung prices it higher but it has a lower street price — the SE790 (technically, the LS34E790CNS). However it doesn’t support FreeSync or use the company’s Quantum Dot($42.39 at Amazon.com) technology, and it’s less curved.
|Price (MSRP)||$949.99; £799|
|Panel type||VA/QD LED|
|Degrees of curvature (smaller is tighter)||30|
|Pixel pitch (mm)||0.23|
|Maximum gamut||125 percent sRGB|
|Typical brightness (nits)||300|
|Maximum vertical refresh rate (at HD or higher resolution)||100Hz|
|Gray/gray response time (milliseconds)||4|
|Release date||December 2016|
Setting it up is dead easy, mostly because the stand is integrated. It rises or lowers as it slides along a track that simultaneously tilts it. In other words, at its highest, you’re viewing it directly ahead. At its lowest, it tilts back so you’re looking down at it. You can adjust the amount of tilt, giving it a cockpit feel that’s a comfortable way to give your neck and upper back a change. It’s probably a really good fit for standing desks.
You can configure the HDMI and full-size DisplayPort inputs to display simultaneously in Picture-in-Picture or Picture-by-Picture modes, and there’s an HDMI out for passing the signal through to another monitor or TV.
|USB Type-A (out)||2xUSB 3.0|
|USB 3.0 (in)||1|
|Built-in speakers||2×7 watts|
Since they’re positioned on the left side and not blocked by the arm, the connectors are really easy to reach. And while I’m not crazy about the white and silver, it’s much easier to read the connection labels than with many of the dark cabinets.
I also like Samsung’s single-control joystick design for navigating the onscreen display and options. But it means there’s no way to map custom presets or FreeSync modes for direct access. The Samsung Magic Bright setting actually refers to its preset modes rather than brightness, and its “Basic” mode is sRGB. In fact, there’s a lot of ambiguity in the OSD: Gamma choices are Mode1, Mode2 and Mode3, for example. But there’s a respectable set of options, including dynamic contrast, HDMI black level (which I believe is necessary to compensate on Quantum Dot panels). Magic Upscale basically oversharpens everything.