With its white LED backlight the Samsung S27B971D is only capable of the sRGB gamut and nothing larger. So for all of this testing I used CalMAN 5.1.2 with an i1Pro spectrometer and a C6 colorimeter that is profiled off the i1Pro. Our targets are 200 cd/m^2 of light output, a gamma of 2.2, and the sRGB color gamut. The pre-calibration measurements are done using the sRGB mode as I can adjust the brightness to 200 cd/m^2 and it is more accurate than the Standard, High Brightness, or Cinema modes.

 

Pre-Calibration

Post-Calibration,
200 cd/m^2
Post-Calibration,
80 cd/m^2
White Level (cd/m^2) 199.19 198.86 80.07
Black Level (cd/m^2) 0.4146 0.4266 0.1761
Contrast Ratio 480:1 466:1 455:1
Gamma (Average) 2.2195 2.1989 2.4188
Color Temperature 6257K 6533K 6460K
Grayscale dE2000 3.2326 0.4453 0.491
Color Checker dE2000 1.8896 0.6109 0.4321
Saturations dE2000 1.8564 0.4521 0.3985

From the report that comes with the S27B971D in box I expected better results. Out of the box, the grayscale has a definite lack of blue, and the error levels are much higher than you want. The gamma is more of an S-curve than a slope, and the contrast ratio is only 480:1. Color accuracy is good but cyan shades are particularly bad compared to others. Skin tones are very nice and we usually notice those errors first.

Give the Samsung a calibration with CalMAN and now you have a monitor. The only negative is the contrast ratio of 466:1 as the black level has risen from when the backlight is set to maximum. This is very strange behavior, but it is what I measured and I double-checked the data. Look beyond that and you see perfect numbers. Every single dE2000 value is below 2.0 so you won’t see a flaw in the display. Images look incredibly accurate and the accurate gamma helps make the contrast look reasonable.

Going to our other target, 80 cd/m^2 of light output with the sRGB gamma curve, and the behavior is the same. The S27B971D has an okay contrast ratio and is amazing everywhere else. Our maximum dE2000 values are even lower with some of the bars being practically invisible. Post-calibration the Samsung S27B971D produces amazing results that are as good as any display I’ve seen. The contrast isn’t fantastic but you can use the preset Cinema mode if you are going to watch a movie or play a game where contrast is perhaps more important.

Brightness and Contrast Uniformity Data
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  • hbsource - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    As someone once said, 'There's no such thing as a bad product, just bad pricing.' That seems to be the case here. Reply
  • Da W - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    For that price i got 3 ASUS PA248Q monitors, which are pretty good. Reply
  • hero1 - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Tell me about it. That is way more than the Dell U2713HM that I have. Samsung screwed up here. Reply
  • Silma - Saturday, November 2, 2013 - link

    Very happy with the Dell U2713HM, far less expensive and superior in almost all ways to the Samsung. Reply
  • Gothmoth - Saturday, November 2, 2013 - link

    the dell 2713HM is complete crap fro real work.
    it´s a gaming monitor but no match for people who need a good colormanaged monitor.

    no sane person intersted in accuracy would use the dell over a eizo or nec.
    the samsung is better then the dell but no match to eizo or nec monitors aroun 1000 euro.
    Reply
  • wavetrex - Sunday, November 3, 2013 - link

    Who said every monitor must be for GRAPHICS work ?
    I can work my programming just fine on the 2713HM and do everything else on the computer without noticing any real "color" problems. Excellent monitor for the price !
    This Samsung however breaks the bank. 27" WQHD really need to come down in price, not up...
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Friday, November 1, 2013 - link

    The PA248Q is only 1920x1200 so Apples to Oranges, but yes the price is wrong. If the measured performance had matched the data sheet, it would have worked at $1,000 for a certain audience. That after a WQHD display with really accurate color and uniformity but that doesn't need a color gamut beyond sRGB. As the post-calibration numbers show, it is capable of very high performance.

    Unfortunately it didn't meet that. I don't know if mine was a bad sample or if they measure a different way, but it didn't hit the level of performance the price point would require. It's a nice display, I've been using it post-calibration and it's really great, but most people lack $1,000+ in calibration gear to bring out that performance. Hopefully Samsung can get it right in the next generation, because it has a lot of potential.
    Reply
  • deeps6x - Friday, November 1, 2013 - link

    "The PA248Q is only 1920x1200.."

    Quite frankly I'd rather have the extra 120 pixels in screen height than the higher resolution.

    2560 x 1600 monitors please.
    Reply
  • Bakes - Friday, November 1, 2013 - link

    I have to agree with you. I think 16:10 just seems more usable. I don't mind that movies are letterboxed. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, November 1, 2013 - link

    Have you used a 27" 1440p monitor? Sure, 1600p is great, but they usually cost twice as much and there is much less competition. I came from a 24" 1920x1200 monitor to a Samsung S27A850D (luckily without the complaints many people had with it, lots of backlight bleed and other stuff), and the narrower picture doesn't really bother me, the higher resolution in all axes is much more important for me. And since Win7 with the easy side-by-side view of applications, productivity is even higher. Reply

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