CF391-NiceView.jpgThe computer monitor has gone through so many changes over the years. I remember hooking up my first computer to a black and white TV and then enjoyed the monochrome crispness of something called a TTL monitor. I then upgraded to composite monitors and RGB ones before getting to more sophisticated models. I remember being in pain over the words “Multi sync” and we had to put up with monitors that supported some resolutions but not others. There were VGA monitors and SVGA (the S was for “SUPER”) and finally all of that seemed to settle down. When LCD monitors came into play I thought we had kind of left all of that stuff behind forever.

The truth is that most monitors today seem beyond innovation. In the flat panel world we have gone through phases of resolution and colour depth and mostly response time in terms of what our eyes can discern. Beyond that it didn’t seem like anything would change or get much better, until the curved monitor came along.

The debate on whether or not curved TVs are the way of the future still has many rounds to go. It would seem like the downside to the curved TV has to do with the shared experience, and that doesn’t really apply when it comes to a computer monitor since it is usually a solitary experience. The Samsung CF391 curved monitor is definitely targeted towards gaming on a PC although it can certainly be used for general applications as well.

Connecting with a Curve

CF391-Back-Small.jpgThe CF391 is rated as 1800R (which translates into a curvature radius of 1,800 mm if you are wondering what all these fancy numbers mean) and the back of the monitor is relatively simple in terms of its inputs. You have the connection for the external power brick, an HDMI input, a DisplayPort input, and a headphone jack. You can use headphones of course or connect external speakers to the jack as well.

Samsung CF391 32″ Curved Monitor Key Specs

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Screen Curvature: 1800R

Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Brightness: 250nit

Display Contrast Ratio (DCR): 5,000:1

Viewing Angle: 178 degrees

Response Time: 4ms

Colour Support: 16.7 million

Comes in white high glossy colour

Samsung is promoting the idea that the CF391 (and many of their other curved monitors) reduce eye-strain for users that spend a long time staring at the screen. In addition to the 178-degree viewing angle, the display includes the embedded AMD FreeSync Technology over HDMI functionality. This synchronizes screen refresh rates with users’ AMD graphics card and will reduce stutter, lag, and input latency which can be a noticeable issue with some configurations. The overall idea here is to reduce eye movements, thus lessening the fatigue typically associated with staring at monitors for long periods of time. You also have to remember to blink from time to time.

A World of Colour

The CF391 also boasts a 5000:1 static contrast ratio (which is nearly three times higher than standard monitor alternatives) that is going to give you deeper blacks and more pristine whites. For gamers, the curved monitor will offer a more immersive experience and the game mode will automatically adjust picture conditions based on the gameplay itself which gives you the most optimal experience all of the time.

To round out the technical specifications, the monitor features a 1920×1080 resolution and a 4ms response time. The refresh rate is 60Hz and it comes with an adjustable swivel stand that lets you get the optimal viewing angle tailored made to suit you, and only you.

Trying it out

I spent some time with this monitor as both a primary display and as an extension to my laptop display. I used it for normal everyday applications and watched way too much YouTube on it. I also played some games to test out its response times and immersive properties.CF391-Gameplay.jpg

I normally use a smaller display for my everyday work so adjusting to the bigger 32” size took a little getting used to, and now that I’ve adjusted, I am not sure I want to go back to the smaller size.

When opening the box I was also happy to find that in addition to the power supply there was also an HDMI cable in there which I used for this review. No hapless cable hunting for this guy!

Just before the ill-fated CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors went out of style they were boasting new “flat” screens that took the convex curve out of the display. This new style of flat started to be confused with the “flat panel” displays that started coming out that are now the norm. So here we are, years later, and now the curve is coming back but it is now the new style. The biggest difference now is that it is concave rather than convex, but I still find it slightly ironic that we once worked so hard to get the curve out and now we’re putting it back in—albeit the other way around. It just goes to show you that what goes around comes around, especially in computer technology.

Drawing your own conclusions

You might be on the fence about whether a curved monitor is right for you and before making a final decision I can encourage you to spend some time with a monitor like the CF391. Get a real sense of what it looks like and feels like over the course of at least a few hours to decide if it is right for you. I wasn’t sure at first with it myself but the more I used it the more I enjoyed its benefits.

There is not a lot to complain about with this monitor. I found myself sometimes wishing that speakers were built-in, the same thing can be said of any computer monitor. It’s a world where monitors and TVs are often so similar that it can be hard to decide. The 32” display is very big and immersive and yet it’s very light and easy to move around. I wasn’t initially sold on the curved monitor idea but the CF391 has certainly changed my mind. I’m not sure the path to the great PC gaming experience is all that flat any more.

Check out the monitor section at the Best Buy.