A Review of the Samsung 4K UHD-QHD UE590 28-Inch Screen U28E590D LED-Lit Monitor
The prices of 4K monitors just keep going lower as quality specs become more common. This is definitely the case with the Samsung UE590 and for that reason, this anticipated monitor has a good chance of becoming a best seller in 2015’s roster of 4K PC displays, much like Samsung’s 2014 U28D590D.
While each brand and model of 4K display has its strength and weak points depending on specs and overall intent of design, the U28E590D does a very good job of balancing everything out in a way that makes it ideal for multiple uses. It’s highly affordable, offers great color and delivers a very nice greyscale while also delivering an excellent response time for the gaming crowd.
Once calibrated properly, the UE590 does an even better job of delivering the on-screen visuals and turns into quite a remarkable performer for its price. It can not only be used for gaming and causal home entertainment in 4K, it also makes a more than decent 4K office monitor.
Let’s start with the physical appearance of the U28E590D. Like almost all Samsung display products and even many of the company’s 4K monitors, it looks good. This is more than can be said for many 4K monitors on sale today, which sometimes look boxy enough to be outcasts from a first generation flat screen PC blowout sale. Featuring a fairly narrow bezel, lovely black/grey/silver color and an elegantly minimalist design, the U28E590D simply looks good, whether it’s place in your office or in the gaming den.
Next, there is the fact that this particular monitor comes with AMD FreeSync technology built into it. This is an absolutely crucial feature for anyone interested in 4K gaming that’s smooth and minimal on glitches. FreeSync is designed to match refresh rates between your PC’s GPU and the monitor itself, causing the two to synchronize smoothly and prevent artifacts or stutter, just as the name “FreeSync” suggests.
Furthermore, we need to mention the connectivity of the U28E590D as one of its definite better features. This monitor can offer you 4K graphics at 60Hz through both DisplayPort 1.2 (which is common to all 4K monitors) and through HDMI 2.0, which is only now arriving to the latest 4K PC displays. We can expect to see this latter connectivity feature become much more common in the months to come but for now, you can enjoy it with the relatively low pricing of the U28E590D.
The Samsung U28E590D is also an excellent performer in color gamut ranges. For its price, it delivers more than its fair share of excellent color rendering. In both the sRGB and AdobeRGB color gamut ranges.
4.0 - 414 Reviews
As a TN monitor, the Samsung U28E590D offers an excellent grey-to-grey response time that more than enables 4K game responsiveness to the max. However, at the same time, its TN screen causes viewing angles to be much less than those of IPS 4K displays. Samsung has managed to work some technological magic in the U28E590D in order to minimize this problem inherent to TN technology but it still doesn’t create results that are comparable to those of IPS or the even more expensive IGZO panels.
However, TN is definitely part of the reason why the U28E590D is rather affordable.
Next, we should also mention that the real brightness of the U28E590D is not as perfect as it’s claimed to be. While Samsung claims an out of the box max luminance of 370cd/m2, the more realistic level you can expect is 300 cd/m2 or just below. Still not bad, but not spectacular either.
Finally, the U28E590D lacks USB ports despite its excellent inclusion of HDMI 2.0 to go with the DisplayPort 1.2. The USB absence isn’t a deal breaker but it’s unfortunate.
The Samsung U28E590D is definitely a 4K monitor worth taking a serious look at. If you’re a 4K PC gamer who wants a screen that performs very nicely and also offers exceptional PC gaming connectivity, this model is a great choice. IF you’re someone who wants a 4K monitor for office work or home use, the U28E590D is also an excellent affordable choice.
Weight: 11.61 lbs with stand, 10.31 lbs without stand
Dimensions: (WxHxD): 26.01" x 15.01" x 2.89" inches without stand/ 26.01" x 18.44" x 7.36" with stand
Screen size: 28 inches, measured diagonally
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Colors: over 1 billion colors
Brightness: 370 cd/m2
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Screen Lighting: LED
Response time: 1 ms grey-to-grey
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
OS Compatibility: Windows
Connectivity Ports: 2 HDMI 2.0, 1 DisplayPort 1.2, headphone jack
The highlights of the U28E590D come as several key aspects of the monitor that make it into such a powerful PC display despite its relatively low price and position compared to much more expensive pro monitors.
First, there is the HDMI 2.0 connectivity the U28E590D comes with. This is a very new feature to 4K monitors and only in the last couple of months have models been emerging with HDMI’s newer version. Previously, it was the domain of 4K TVs and other ultra HD-ready media devices. With 2.0 included, the U28E590D offers its users twice the options when it comes to connectivity at 60Hz for a 60 frame refresh rate while using third party graphics and media devices. This includes media players, set-top boxes and gaming units. As third party 4K entertainment media devices emerge down the road, they will almost certainly connect via HDMI 2.0 and the U28E590D is ready for that.
Then we have FreeSync from AMD. This monitor/PC GPU frame rate synchronization technology is similar to Nvidia’s G-Sync and either one of the two is found in only a select number of 4K monitor models. Thus, the UE590 is among that smaller circle of 4K displays which are much more ideal than normal for 4K gaming specific use. What FreeSync does is use the monitor’s DisplayPort 1.2 connection to the AMD GPU in your PC to make sure that both monitor and graphics card process frame rendering during games and video at the same rate of speed, that they synchronize, basically, as the name of the technology clearly suggests. This causes a reduction in screen stutter and jumpy graphics. It creates a much smoother graphics experience overall.
On top of FreeSync and HDMI 2.0, the UE590 offers a lightning fast 1ms grey-to-grey response time for onscreen movements based on mouse and console controls. This is also ideal for gaming and much better than the average 4 to 9 ms response times of many IPS displays and even some TN displays. In this regard, TN screen technology like that of the U28E590D is definitely better than IPS even though the latter creates much better color saturation and better off-angle viewing quality.
Finally, we should also mention Samsung’s Picture enhancement and splitting technologies, which seem to come standard with the company’s 4K monitors. First, directly relevant to the above-mentioned TN display specs of the U28E590D, there is the MagicAngle technology that this PC display comes with. Samsung, knowing that TN screens suffer from color and contrast distortion at off angles, has added the MagicAngle feature to improve on that somewhat and while the end results still doesn’t match the quality of IPS display at wider angles, it does make things look better than is conventional for a TN 4K screen.
Furthermore, Samsung has also added Picture in Picture and Picture By Picture options to the U28E590D. These two allow you to take two different screen shots and put them side by side, each occupying half the screen or to take a smaller Full HD image and load it into a single quadrant of the screen. The first of these is useful for graphics comparison during design work and the second one is great as a means of watching one thing while being able to keep an eye on a completely different piece of display content.
4.0 - 414 Reviews
In terms of visual specs, the Samsung U28E590D packs a solid package despite its fairly modest price and TN screen.
First of all, the monitor display surface uses a matte glare reducing screen design that makes using the U28E590D in brightly lit conditions a little bit less glare-prone than for glossy screen models. Matte may not look as pretty as glossy in screens but it’s a better design feature as far as practical quality goes.
The 4K ultra HD resolution of the U28E590D is your standard 3840 x 2160 pixels of 4K UHD instead of the more professionally oriented 4096 x 2160 pixels while color support on the UE590D is definitely superior. With 10-bit color and full sRGB spectrum coverage, the monitor provides a solid range of 1.07 billion colors and excellent saturation. It also offers a very decent Delta E color accuracy that errs from realism by a very small margin of less than 1.5. There are better color accuracy levels out there but this isn’t a bad level at all.
In terms of contrast and brightness, the U28E590D delivers a contrast ratio of 1000:1 according to Samsung but in actual practice this will likely range lower than that at between 700 and 900+ to 1, with some variation based on customer calibration of other settings.
The same goes for brightness. The formal brightness of the U28E590D is set at 370cd/m2 but in actual practice, most users can probably expect something closer to 300cd/m2. On the other hand, the U28E590D also offers a nice WLED flicker-free backlighting technology which reduces light-onscreen flicker of the kind that can make the eyes tired and it also comes with a Low Blue Light Setting for softer backlighting.
The connectivity package of the Samsung U28E590D is great and innovative without being spectacular. The real strong point of this monitor when it comes to connectivity lies in its HDMI 2.0 connection ports, of which there are two. On the other hand though, the U28E590D only features one DisplayPort 1.2 connection and no USB!. Most modern PC gaming is done completely via DisplayPort 1.2 connectivity and all of AMD’s GPUs (for which this monitor is optimized due to its FreeSync technology) rely mainly on DisplayPort to connect PC to screen at 60Hz. Thus, unfortunately, dual monitor connections via DP 1.2 at a full 60Hz for both U28E590D monitors aren’t possible here unless you go with Nvidia GPUs, whose connections include HDMI 2.0 for 60Hz gaming.
One of the stronger features of the Samsung U28E590D is its retail price. Right now, just a little while after release, it’s priced very nicely for its feature list at $486.99 on the Samsung website and we can definitely expect this price to drop as the monitor hits Amazon.com and throughout the year.
Update Nov 26: Looks like a big price drop on Amazon to $369.99. We are not sure if this is temporary for black friday / cyber monday or permanent but its the perfect time to buy this at this amazing price!
4.0 - 414 Reviews
To summarize briefly: The UE590’s less than ideal aspects consist of: the inclusion of only one DisplayPort 1.2 connection, a lack of USB ports, a TN screen with some off-angle viewing issues and less than ideal brightness.
• Excellent refresh rate
• Great color reproduction
• Two HDMI 2.0 ports
• Includes AMD FreeSync
• good color accuracy
• handsome physical design
• excellent response time
• No USB ports
• TN screen limits off-angle viewing