Samsung’s new 24″ gaming monitor with Quantum Dots

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been testing out Samsung’s new 24″ Curved Gaming Monitor featuring Quantum Dot display technology, and overall I’m extremely impressed with how it elevates the gameplay experience. If you’re not familiar with Quantum Dots, Samsung has been using this cutting-edge tech in their line of SUHD 4K TVs over the last couple of years, but this is the first time I’ve seen it in a gaming monitor.

Technically speaking, quantum dots are microscopic nano-crystals that emit specific colours when given energy, in this case the monitor’s blue LED backlights. You can think of quantum dots and being an extra layer that enhances the performance of traditional LED displays. The result are pictures that are more colourful, have greater contrast, and are generally much nicer to look at. From the moment I started playing games on the Samsung 24″ Curved Gaming Monitor, the richer palette of colours was immediately noticeable, and the luminance brought out striking details I had never seen before.

samsung_gaming_monitor_1Gaming presets

To make your games visually look as great as possible, the monitor includes factory-calibrated Picture Mode presets for popular genres, including FPS, RTS, RPG, and AOS (a.k.a. MOBAs). The presets will instantly optimize black equalizer levels, contrast ratios, and sharpness to draw out important elements in each of those specific gaming genres. For example, when I tested Gears of War 4 using the FPS mode (the closest preset since Gears 4 is actually a third-person shooter), the monitor automatically reduced the black gamma levels so I could better see enemies in the dark, and the strong contrast brought out finer details in the battle-scarred maps, like the burning infernos on Impact and the rusting maze of pipes in Dam. Later, I switched over to playing Tales of Berseria on the RPG preset, and the anime-style graphics were presented in a warm, rich palette of colours that were very pleasing to the eye. I was especially impressed with the range of lush greens and earthly browns seen in the landscape, and the bright neon colours when casting spells in battle.

samsung_gaming_monitor_6In addition to the genre presents, the Samsung gaming monitor includes presets for High-Brightness, sRGB and Cinema. For me, high-brightness turned up the white light too much for my liking (quantum dots can produce very bright whites), though it did give me an appreciation for just how much luminance this monitor is capable of. sRGB is a very useful present since most internet images are presented in the sRGB colour space, so if you’re preparing a PowerPoint presentation or editing a photo for web this preset will approximate the colours others will see. Cinema, as you can expect, makes the picture look as “realistic” as possible, with warmer hues and more muted gamma settings so images don’t appear too bright or too dark.

samsung_monitor_5Customize your settings

Presets are fast and convenient starting places, and easy to switch between in a pinch, but fine-tuners like me will quickly gravitate to the gaming monitor’s vast Custom settings. You can tweak settings for the monitor’s brightness, contrast, sharpness, colour, black level, as well as activate an Eye Saver Mode that reduces the amount of blue light to lessen eye strain and viewing fatigue (very useful during the hour or two before bed.)

Samsung has also provided a wealth of “Game” customization options that can make a huge difference in the performance quality of your games. The default settings are very impressive: 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and a widescreen screen size at 1920 x 1080 resolution. These specs are particularly impressive when you consider that VA (Vertical Alignment) monitors such as this typically sacrifice refresh rate and response time performance in exchange for greater contrast and colour capabilities. Samsung has overcome this technical hurdle and produced a display merging ultra-fast performance with unrivaled picture quality, all in one.

samsung_gaming_monitor_2The default performance settings made games like Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare run buttery smooth, with no perceivable input lag and the frame rate keeping pace with the 144Hz refresh rate. Some games are better optimized at lower refresh rates though, and in the settings you adjust the rate down to 120Hz, 100Hz, or 60Hz. You can also change the response time between three modes—Standard, Faster, and Faster—with the faster settings reducing the ghosting or streaking effect often associated with changing images in games or moves. There’s also a FreeSync option you can toggle on/off, and this will eliminate screen tear and lag by making the refresh rate adjust dynamically based on the game’s frame rate. In order to take advantage of FreeSync, however, you need a compatible AMD graphics card that supports this feature.

samsung_monitor_6Control features – JOG Button and Game Setting Keys

From a usability perspective, Samsung has really delivered here. My favourite feature is the JOG button located at the back of the monitor in the bottom right-hand position. The button has the same look and feel of a traditional analog thumb stick and it’s used to navigate the monitor’s on-screen display. It was such a great design choice on Samsung’s part to mimic an analog stick as it took me no time at all to be completely comfortable using it. By placing the JOG on the back, this also means the bezel retains its sleek, uniform shape all the way around the screen.

Another convenient (and likewise subtle) feature are the three Game Setting Keys positioned on the bottom on the monitor. These keys allow you to quickly flip between up to three saved custom setting configurations at the push of a button. I created and saved custom settings for Battlefield 1 and StarCraft II, as keys one and two respectively, with the third key having my preferred settings for browsing the internet and desktop publishing. You can save any combination you want—from custom settings for three different games, to other types of media like watching movies, editing photos, or surfing the net. Whenever you want to update your keys, it’s as simple as using the JOG button to change settings on the on-screen display and hitting save.

samsung_gaming_monitor_7samsung_gaming_monitor_8Ergonomic – Adjustable Stand and Curved Screen

As I went over in my video review, the Samsung monitor also features a dual-hinge arm design that offers great ergonomic flexibility. Different ways you can adjust the screen include: swivel (15° left to 15° right), tilt (2° forwards to 17° backwards), height adjustment (140mm), plus you can pivot the monitor 92° clockwise for a vertical orientation. No matter how I was sitting in my chair (reclining for gaming, sitting up straight for desktop publishing, etc.), or how far my eyes were from the monitor, the range of flexibility meant I could always find a comfortable monitor position. My only complaint is how much desk space the monitor takes up at its lowest position; you can see in the photo above that the arm extends further back the lower the monitor is positioned. For this reason, the monitor is better suited for deep desks.

samsung_monitor_4Another significant feature of the Samsung gaming monitor is its appealing 1800R curved screen. This is a higher curvature than in other gaming monitors and it really adds to the immersion when playing games. The curve also matches your natural field of view, so you perceive games to have a wider view and enhanced depth. For me though, the best benefit of the curved screen was the reduced eyestrain, as a I often found myself gaming for hours at a time during my review.

Overall Impressions

If you’re a gamer and are looking for a monitor that will give you a rich, clear picture, with a fast refresh rate and incredible contrast to really bring out the colours and details in your games, then Samsung’s new 24″ Curved Gaming Monitor could be the monitor for you. I particularly loved the large range of colours, contrast and vibrancy, thanks to Quantum Dot technology, and the 144Hz refresh rate + 1ms response time made every game run exceptionally smooth. Physically navigating the monitor using the JOG button and game setting keys were a snap, and the monitor’s range of movement was impressive. Overall, an amazing gaming monitor that’s right in the sweet spot of exceptional image quality and ultra-fast responsiveness.

Final Score

Performance 4.5/5
Features 4.5/5
Design 4/5
Value 5/5

Overall Rating 4.5/5 (90%)

To see all Samsung monitors available at Best Buy, visit the dedicated section on BestBuy.ca

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