A Review of the Samsung U32D970Q – 32″ 970 Series UHD (3840 x 2160) Professional LED Monitor
Among the wide selection of professional IPS panel 4K ultra HD monitors available right now for higher price ranges above $900 or even well above $1000, many great options exist but alongside them there are also more than a few monitors with crucial specs like solid Adobe RGB coverage or key connectivity features missing. Monitors that have everything a professional designer needs and to a high degree of quality are in fact quite expensive.
This is where the Samsung U32D970Q comes into the picture. No, it’s certainly not a budget 4K monitor but it does deliver a full range of excellent pro design specs while not costing several thousand dollars. Full color gamut and great connectivity combine in a 4K screen that’s large enough to be very roomy at 32 inches. The U32D970Q is definitely Samsung’s best 4K PC screen option for high-end home or small business use.
To start things off, the UD970 comes with a simple, elegant and thinly bezeld design that’s quite typical of Samsung display monitors and 4K TVs as well. In contrast to many 4K monitors on sale today (some of them even highly expensive models) this particular PC monitor genuinely looks good sitting on your desk.
Furthermore, the UD970 offers a wonderfully matte screen finish that delivers color and brightness as well as it can but without the more annoying aspects of “prettier” glosst LCD screens which not only reflect glare more but also show off fingerprint stain and grime much faster than their matte counterparts. So in this design detail, the UD970 does a great job again.
As far as technical specs go, the U32D970Q is a serious piece of hardware and offers a full plethora of connectivity, color enhancement and brightness features while also giving its users interesting extra highlights such as full adjustability for tilt, swivel, height and orientation between portrait and landscape modes.
Furthermore, the monitor can be used nicely in a range of multitasking situations thanks to technologies like picture by picture (PBP) support for four different sources, picture-in-picture mode and a wide range of color, brightness, sharpness, contrast and gamma calibration controls via real, sturdy physical button menus. The adjustable spectrums which are covered by the U32D970Q include those for custom mode, Adobe RGB, SMTE-C, BT.709 and others.
4.1 - 23 Reviews
Not everything is perfect in the Samsung U32D970Q and it suffers from a few deficiencies which, although not deal breakers by any means, are slightly annoying.
For starters, this PC monitor is a bit expensive. There are pricier models on sale but many of them are much more finely crafted for hardcore professional use in order to justify their price. The U32D970Q offers some excellent pro specs too but its price means that it’s only moderately better than many average 4K monitors while being considerably more expensive. This isn’t an entirely “fair” trade-off.
Furthermore, the contrast on the U32D970Q is not excellent. It’s decent but it could certainly be better and it would improve most from improved brightness. These sorts of specific details might vary from unit to unit regardless of formal in-the-box settings but one U32D970Q unit tested with a contrast ratio of just 480:1. This is definitely not the kind of low ratio you’d expect with the price at which this 4K monitor is selling for.
Finally, and this is a universal deficiency of IPS panel monitors, the Samsung U32D970Q offers a slow response time of several milliseconds. While this isn’t problematic in graphic design and visual editing scenarios (for which this particular monitor was particularly designed) it would be disappointing to some gamers, who are probably better off with a more compact 4K monitor that offers a TN screen.
As a gamers monitor, the Samsung U32D970Q leaves a bit to be desired and in terms of contrast ratio it could also do better for its price, but those issues aside, this is one excellent piece of PC display hardware that any visual and graphic design professional would probably love. It comes with some excellent color settings and menu controls.
Weight: 29.3 lbs with stand, 22 lbs without stand
Dimensions: (WxHxD): 28.7" x 16.8" x 2.4" inches without stand/ 28.7" x 19.3" ~ 24.4" x 11" with stand
Screen size: 31.5 inches, measured diagonally
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Colors: over 1 billion colors
Brightness: 350 cd/m2
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Screen Lighting: LED
Response time: 8 ms grey-to-grey
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
OS Compatibility: Windows
Connectivity Ports: 1 HDMI 1.4, 5 USB 3.0 ports, 2 x DisplayPort 1.2, headphone jack
The highlights of the Samsung U32D970Q revolve mainly around its professional quality, color and screen breakdown capabilities. Furthermore, the monitor’s appearance is a major highlight (considering the way many other 4K monitors look).
Thus, the U32D970Q is an excellent business and design monitor by virtue of its screen size alone. Instead of the often overly compact 27 and even 24 inch screens of many cheaper 4K gaming oriented PC monitors, the U32D970Q offers you a very expansive 32 inch screen. Some people have complained that this results in poorer 4K resolution clarity but that complaint is nonsense. If a 65 inch 4K TV looks spectacular at 4K resolution, then a 32 inch PC monitor will definitely deliver amazing pixel density.
Furthermore, this large screen size goes well with the screen splitting capabilities of the U32D970Q. This monitor offers both qua-screen viewing and multi-screen functionality, both of which really work much better on a large 32 inch monitor display. The quad screen viewing lets you break the full 4K screen down into four smaller Full HD displays that each deliver their own full visual load at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
As for the multi-screen functionality: the U32D970Q gives you split-screen Picture-in Picture, letting you connect two separate sources to the display via its dual DisplayPort 1.2 ports. Thus, you can view both screens at the same time by simply connecting the second PC source and avoiding the Microsoft Windows multi-screen functionality interface. This means details like having one image under editing in one PC screen while another image is beside it for reference or comparison. In other words, a great graphic designer’s tool.
Another useful highlight for designers who decide to use this monitor is its very accurate color simulation capacity. The U32D970Q was designed for “color critical applications”, according to Samsung and as such, it delivers 99% of the Adobe RGB spectrum and a full 100% of the sRGB color range. There are also a full 11 other color space calibration options in the menu that really make display quality modification into something quite versatile and flexible.
In addition to these, the six function buttons that are located under the bottom bezel of the U32D970Q can be used to navigate the rest of the on-screen settings menus and work as easy to use hotkeys for quickly change picture mode, select input sources, activate Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture and adjust audio volume. Furthermore, there are 9 preset picture modes which include sRGB, Adobe RGB, High-Brightness, SMPTE-C, BT.709, EBU, DCI, Custom, and DICOM.
On top of these modes, the monitor comes with three calibration modes that can be used to store individual calibration profiles which have been programmed into the display with the help of the included Natural Color Expert software that comes with the U32D970Q.
Finally and once again, this is a really nicely design PC monitor. The Samsung U32D970Q genuinely looks elegant, unlike many rather utilitarian, boxy looking 4K PC displays on the market.
The visual specs and performance indicators in this particular monitor are definitely high quality, although they have their minor flaws. This PC screen’s 4K ultra HD resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels is below par for the True 4K resolutions of many pricier, more broadcast-level oriented 4K monitors that we’ve reviewed previously. Thus, while 3840 X 2160 pixels of display space is wonderful, it’s not quite as workflow-friendly as the full 4096 x 2160 pixels of higher end monitors, which matches the native resolution of most studio 4K video cameras.
The monitor’s speed performance sits at a pixel response time of 8 milliseconds (grey-to-grey). This is a definite no-no for gamers who might be interested in the U32D970Q. They’re much better off with a TN screen that offers 2 or even 1 millisecond response times. Furthermore, the 33.6 millisecond input lag (time in which a controller command makes the monitor react accordingly) of the U32D970Q is seriously problematic for 4K UHD PC gaming.
As far as backlight uniformity on the U32D970Q from Samsung goes, we get the usual manufacturer quality of full, smoothly uniform brightness across the screen. Samsung is good at this, but they’re also good at developing some extremely bright LEDs for their 4K displays and in that department they disappoint somewhat with the U32D970Q. Its nominal brightness of 350cd/m2 is much more likely to fall well below that under conditions of practical use under both Adobe RGB and sRGB settings.
The same thus goes for the contrast ratio, which, far from being 1000:1, is much more likely to offer between 400 and 680:1 contrast levels.
On the other hand, the colors really do reproduce beautifully on this particular 4K screen and this is to be expected with the kind of coverage for both sRGB and AdobeRGB that Samsung is promising. Furthermore, the fact that this is an IPS panel monitor helps color vibrancy further still. The IPS panels also dramatically improve viewing angle, which are rated and genuinely deliver a very nice 178 degrees horizontal and vertical.
The connectivity options of the Samsung U32D970Q are pretty much your standard package and getting to be slightly out of date at this point in 2015. This is one minor possible deficiency of the U32D970Q. It offers 5 USB ports, one single HDMI 1.4 port and dual DisplayPort 1.2 connections. It’s through these latter two that the monitor can have two different PC GPUs fed into it at a full 60Hz.
On the other hand, just one single HDMI 1.4 port is a bit weak. The newer 2015 4K monitors (even the really budget-priced models) are now emerging with HDMI 2.0. Okay, the U32D970Q was released in 2014, so the lack of HDMI 2.0 is understandable, but they could have at least given it a second HDMI port.
The price of the Samsung U32D970Q 32" UHD Professional LED Monitor has definitely gone down from its original MSRP of $1,999 and currently sits at $1,299 on Amazon.com.
4.1 - 23 Reviews
To quickly summarize, the U32D970Q could have done with a better brightness level and thus also gotten some better contrast. Furthermore, the connectivity options could have included more HDMI ports. Finally, the price tag of this monitor is a bit on the stiff side for its feature list.
• Excellent refresh rate
• Excellent sRGB and AdobeRGB color ranges
• Excellent screen size
• wonderful Delta E color accuracy
• Dual DisplayPort 1.2 ports
• No HDMI 2.0
• Very slow 8 millisecond response time
• Poor brightness and contrast levels