Remember the days when you happily gazed into the gigantic CRT monitor on your desk, never fretting about the lack of a flat screen or the boxy aspect ratio as you worked away?
Well the ’90s are gone and the monstrosities that were once acceptable computer displays are gone along with them. The only place you’re likely to spot such screens now are in thrift stores, or just placed out on the curb because people literally can’t give them away. Replacing them have been sleek LCD flatscreens, introducing us to the rectangular view of digital content that offer refresh rates much easier on the eyes, often with hardly any dead pixels to distract us.
We’ve been happily contented with these new portals into the virtual realm for a good while now, but is it possible a new product might come along and offer a newer and even better display? Enter the curved LED monitor, and specifically for the case of this review, Samsung’s S27E650C (admittedly not a very catchy name), known generally as the Curved LED Monitor for Business.
While you won’t go tossing your LCD monitors to the curb side so you can replace them all with this, it does feel like a step up. For a price tag of $450 it probably should, but considering that gives you a full 27″ of real estate, it’s not such a bad deal. And if you’re like me, spending approximately 23.9 hours per day in front of a computer screen, then you’ll thank yourself for the investment.
If you had a childhood where a 27-inch screen would have been a massive television, it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact you could sit just inches away from one and work on it as a computer monitor. But a subtle curve to the screen helps you literally do just that.
The curved panel is hard to notice if you’re looking at the display head-on. The idea is that since each side is curved slightly towards you, your eyes don’t have to reach as far as you scan from left-to-right across the screen. In other words, this monitor is so large that it necessitates a curve in order to remain equidistant to your gaze.
The high resolution offered by the monitor and the excellent contrast ratio make it even more of a pleasure to use. My desk setup involves the screen on my MacBook Pro and I used Samsung’s monitor as my second screen. Yet I quickly moved any content I had to read for a long time to the curved monitor, finding it easier to stare at for long periods. It’s interesting this is geared towards the business line, because the gamer in me is tempted to launch into a first person shooter and enjoy the extra immersiveness offered by such a display.
There’s extra trimmings on the monitor as well that some may put to use, but I ignored. Four USB ports line the bottom, next to several options to connect video inputs – DVI, HDMI, and Display Port. Having a monitor double as a USB hub is probably convenient for some, but I already have a laptop stand that serves that job.
Another gimmick is the monitor’s ability to be physically moved around on its stand. You can move it up and down, or literally spin it around and use it at a 90-degree angle to achieve more vertical viewing space than in your wildest display fantasies. (Admit it, you’ve daydreamed about what the ultimate array of monitors at your desk would look like if you weren’t limited by money and self-respect.)
I see this as a fun thing to do, but couldn’t really find a good use for it. Perhaps if you wanted to work on a spreadsheet with many, many rows that you absolutely needed to see all in one view. Or if you just really hate scrolling with your mouse wheel and wanted to read long articles on the web in profile view.
The Curved Monitor caught the eye of my co-workers as they walked by. Certainly the size was one factor – it looks huge on my adjustable desk. Yet its base is still small enough that I can fit it beside my laptop and confidently switch the desk between sitting mode and standing mode.
The most telling aspect that this is a superior monitor is that my old monitor has sat unused, set aside in my office for the past eight weeks. Now that I’m sending back the review unit, I’ll go back to using it, but my eyeballs will miss it as they strain to see that text at the edges of my screen, now an extra few millimetres distant.