A couple of notes: To make things simple, I’ll be referring to the monitor as the Samsung Curved Monitor. On the Samsung US website, you’ll find that it’s called the 27" CFG70 Curved Gaming Monitor. On the Malaysian site, it’s called the 27" Curved Gaming Monitor with Quantum Dot Display (Update: There is a 24-inch variant of the monitor too).
Second, the pictures in the article do not provide an accurate representation of the Samsung Curved Monitor’s actual visual output in real life, so please don’t rely on them to render your own judgement. Also, apologies if the pictures in this article aren't of great HD quality (they're not).
The Samsung Curved Monitor is the first desktop monitor I’ve had in my possession in at least a decade, and the fact that it’s built specially for gaming makes it all the more special. As a laptop owner and with the current lack of desktop PCs in the office, I wasn’t too keen on going about my business with an external monitor sitting at an angle at first. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried, and now having my laptop connected to the monitor feels utterly ordinary to me.
I warmed up to the Samsung Curved Monitor the moment my lockscreen wallpaper of NieR: Automata’s 2B appeared on it, on Tuesday morning. Before that, I struggled a bit with the set-up (removing the parts from the box was alright) but that was purely due to my paranoid fear of accidentally breaking something. When my colleagues helpfully stepped in, things went smoothly and quickly enough, with only the act of slotting the dual-hinged arm into the base providing a short delay.
That dual-hinged arm allows you to adjust the height of the monitor, and also enables you to hang things like headphones on it. The second bit isn’t a coincidental benefit, but an intended feature. I like what the arm provides, but it doesn’t feel quite as high quality or as stylish-looking as the monitor itself.
Ah, that monitor. My fellow writers and I aren’t tech geeks or experts, but it was easy to admire the visual display it provided. I’ve been happily using laptops for a while, but the 27-inch curved display has spoiled me now. One of the first things I did post set-up was to fire up Battlefield 4. This was before making any changes to the display settings. The number of filled-up servers meant that I had to enter a match taking place in Operation Locker, which isn’t really the best map for testing the monitor’s capabilities, I thought. But a few minutes in, I started to notice an extra element of sharpness that wasn’t present on my laptop. Meanwhile, the monitor's wide screen did well to immerse me into the game.
I later played on Hainan Resort and Golmud Railway, larger and more open outdoor maps. The improved visual quality was immediately more apparent on these maps, especially Golmud Railway. I never paid much attention to the environment on it before, but on the Samsung Curved Monitor, I was staring and admiring my surroundings and their crispness. I was actually in marvel.
Funnily enough, I was less impressed with Crysis 3. This was after I had fiddled a bit with the settings, and assigned the FPS, RTS and RPG game modes (there’s also one for MOBAs) to the three game setting hotkeys at the bottom right of the monitor, and I naturally spent most of my time with Crysis 3 with the FPS game mode. It presents a slightly more washed out and lighter look than the darker, more vibrant visuals of the RPG mode (RTS offers something in-between). It looked nice, of course, but the environments didn’t stand out the way Battlefield 4’s did.
Maybe it was because the current mission I was on featured a gloomy landscape, but I had to devote a little more focus to appreciate the visuals. On the other hand, the gun in my hands looked noticeably more gorgeous than before.
I tried about three other games on that same day. For RTS, I went with 8-bit Invaders, and the simplistic-looking game looked rather pretty on the Samsung Curved Monitor. I tried out a third FPS, Day of Infamy, to see how the Source engine-powered title would fare with its more modest visuals. The monitor obviously couldn’t magically make it look like a new Battlefield game, but the added sharpness was palatable.
Third-person shooter Warframe delivered the most disappointing results. The noticeable improved sharpness I found in the previous games seemed barely apparent here. It looked well enough, but there wasn’t anything special.
A third-person game that looked better on the Samsung Curved Monitor was Mass Effect: Andromeda, which I tried out just a bit yesterday. I never played it using my laptop’s own screen, but I didn’t need the comparison to appreciate the visuals. Even my colleague, Kin Boon, commented on its beauty. Naturally, I went with the RPG game mode, which suited the colours and sci-fi aesthetics of the game.
I also played a bit using the FPS game mode, but the duller look doesn’t suit Andromeda. Overwatch however, which another colleague, Kurtis, played with his own laptop plugged into the monitor, seemed fairly suited to even the RTS and RPG game modes.
I didn’t delve a lot into the settings and technical sides of the monitor much this week. To simplify matters so I could just hop into my games, I set the response time to the maximum and left the refresh rate as 120 Hz. Regardless of what game was being played and whether the screen was showing a space ninja slaughtering colourful creatures or a soldier speeding across a large, populated map on a quad bike, things looked smooth and free from anything unpleasant. The low input lag option was left on, and so I didn't experience or noticed any input lag.
The Samsung Curved Monitor is also meant to be easy on the eyes thanks to its curved design, and also offers an eye-saver mode to free you from the horrors of blue with a layer of orange. Personally, I preferred to just manually calibrate the colours myself to lower the amount of blue present onscreen without seeing orange everywhere. As for the curved aspect, I did find it more pleasant to look at it rather than at a flat monitor, and it doesn’t make what’s onscreen look weird.
I wore my standard, non-blue light reflecting glasses throughout each day in the office, and I never felt the need to take a break from looking at the monitor. Based on my experiences with my laptop screen while wearing my anti-blue light glasses, I think it’s safe to say that the curved nature of the monitor does deliver a positive impact.
The only negative experience I’ve had so far was the monitor not displaying anything when waking my laptop from sleep. One time, I had to press the small joystick/power button at the back of the monitor to make it show my lockscreen. The next time I tried it, the screen remained pitch black. I can’t remember exactly what I did, but after a bit of random fiddling the lockscreen showed up again. The first time it happened, I thought that the screen issue applied to my laptop as well, but unplugging the HDMI cable revealed that that wasn’t the case. I’ll have to try looking into this.
That’s about all for now. Come back next week for Part 2 (which is also the finale)!