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Samsung U32E850R review

Michael Passingham
15 Aug 2015
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
900
inc VAT

A practical 4K office monitor, but it's about as expensive as they come

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Like most of Samsung's high-end monitors, the U32E850R makes no concessions when it comes to specifications, with an impressive list of features that will make any display enthusiast's mouth water. The 32in Ultra HD panel uses Samsung's own PLS technology, combined with AMD’s FreeSync adaptive sync refresh rate. With so much desirable tech on board, though, the price is extremely high, making it one of the most expensive non-colour-professional monitors we've ever reviewed.

We're actually a little disappointed with the E850’s styling. Samsung monitors typically have brushed silver bezels that taper into the screen surface, but that’s definitely not the case here; instead, you get huge 15mm bezels in black plastic. Considering the price, it’s irksome that you don’t get the design Samsung is capable of.

Luckily, the frame and stand are robust, as they need to be with such a large monitor. Give your desk a shake and you'll get a bit of wobble, but this is to be expected. There's around 130mm of height adjustment up to a very tall 200mm, and the monitor also swivels and rotates on its arm so you'll never have a problem getting it into the right position.


Image quality

Ultra HD monitors became a whole lot easier to use with the arrival of Windows 10; creating a three- or four-window set up, with one window taking up half the screen and a couple of other windows sitting alongside it with a quarter of the screen each, is now just a click or two away. Depending on your eyesight, however, you may wish to bump up Windows' scaling options - we had no problem reading size-11 text at 100% zoom settings, but anything smaller will require 125% or more. Viewing angles are wide, which is especially handy with such a large screen because the corners of the screen are always a fair distance away from your eyes.

Colour performance is very respectable, although with our calibrator measuring a default colour temperature at 6291K things look a little warm for our liking. The monitor was able to display 98.6% of the sRGB colour gamut, producing colours that are undeniably vibrant but slightly softened by the over-warm factory-set colour temperature. Office users probably won't be so bothered by the slightly warmer tones, as it's softer on the eyes and keeps things a bit more mellow.

We found Samsung’s Magic Bright setting worked best in Standard mode, as it drops brightness to 30% - much more manageable than the default brightness setting of 100 that produces in excess of 350cd/m2. Dynamic Contrast and Cinema modes are available too, but Standard was undeniably the most comfortable for work.


^Samsung U32E850R uniformity data - click to enlarge

There are some backlight uniformity issues, with the bottom right corner nearly 20% brighter than the top left corner. This is definitely noticeable, with objects in the bottom-right of the screen appearing brighter than those around it. This harms the E850’s appeal as a monitor for photographers and designers, but it shouldn't cause many problems for general office work.

We measured black luminance at 0.4cd/m2, which is a little higher than we'd have liked but perfectly adequate for office conditions, even if it has an effect on darker movies and photos. Contrast is relatively high at 891:1, with plenty of detail visible in subtle shades, particularly in brighter and more vibrant images.