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Video Perspective: Samsung U28D590D 28-in 4K Single Stream 60 Hz Monitor Review

Author:
Subject: Displays
Manufacturer: Samsung

3840x2160 for Cheap!!

It has been just over a year ago when we first got our hands on a 4K display. At the time, we were using a 50-in Seiki 3840x2160 HDTV that ran at a 30 Hz refresh rate and was disappointing in terms of its gaming experience, but impressive in image quality and price ($1500 at the time). Of course, we had to benchmark graphics cards at 4K resolutions and the results proved what we expected - you are going to need some impressive hardware to run at 4K with acceptable frame rates.

Since that story was published, we saw progress in the world of 4K displays with the ASUS PQ321Q, a 4K monitor (not a TV) that was built to handle 60 Hz refresh rates. The problem, of course, was the requirement for a multi-stream connection that essentially pushes two distinct streams over a single DisplayPort cable to the monitor, each at 1920x2160. While in theory that wasn't a problem, we saw a lot configuration and installation headaches as we worked through the growing pains of drivers and firmware. Also, it was priced at $3200 when we first reviewed it, though that number has fallen to $2400 recently.

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Today we are looking at the Samsung U28D590D, the first 4K panel we have seen that supports a 60 Hz refresh rate with a single stream (single tile) implementation. That means that not only do you get the better experiences associated with a 60 Hz refresh rate over a 30 Hz, you also gain a much more simple and compatible installation and setup. No tricky driver issues to be found here! If you have a DisplayPort 1.2-capable graphics card, it's just plug and play.

The Samsung U28D590D uses a 28-in TN panel, which is obviously of a lower quality in terms of colors and viewing angles than the IGZO screen used on the ASUS PQ321Q, but it's not as bad as you might expect based on previous TN panel implementations. We'll talk a bit more about that below. The best part of course is the price - you can find the Samsung 4K panel for as low as $690!

Continue reading our review of the Samsung U28D590D 28-in 4K 60 HZ Monitor!!

The Samsung U28D590D is 4-in smaller than the ASUS PQ321Q and is also of a much more modest build quality. You can easily tell by the diffrence in build quality based on the  weight and materials used on the units, but for most people a monitor remains on a single desk for its entire lifetime, and this probably won't be a big concern. 

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The stand quality feels - suspect. It lacks features like swivel or height adjustment and only very modest tile support. It doesn't seem very strong and the display will wobble back and forth quite a bit with just minor force applied to it. It looks nice, but if its made of metal it sure doesn't FEEL like it. It may not matter to most, but the lack of height and swivel is kind of annoying. Considering the TN nature of the panel, and the need to make sure you are looking at the screen at the best possible angle, this is something Samsung should have thought about more closely.

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This is as far back as the tilt capability goes with the U28D590D - not much to brag about.

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Also problematic is the fact that Samsung didn't include VESA mount compatibility, so changing thestand or mounting it to a wall is not going to happen without some serious modification.

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Connections on the back include a pair of HDMI ports, a single DisplayPort, stereo audio output (that comes from the HDMI or DP source) and the power connection. The cables actually plug into the monitor at a perpendicular nature which is only acceptable because you can't mount this monitor on a wall anyway.

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The Samsung U28D590D does support a couple of nice features including picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture. In the photo above you can see PiP at work. We have the monitor hooked up to a system running at 3840x2160 with an unscaled 1080p camera source in the right hand corner. You can move that image around to any corner as well as down size it if you like. If you often have another PC around that you want to use or maybe even want to direct input some outside source (TV, movies) then this could be a handy feature. You do lose the screen real estate behind the 1080p image.

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Picture-by-picture is just what it sounds like - you can use either a DP+HDMI or HDMI+HDMI source combination and put a different source on either side of the monitor, much like what is possible with the dual stream ASUS PQ321Q. You can run a 1920x1080 source on either side (though with a lot of black area to deal with) or 1920x2160 on each side. That is kind of an interesting usage scenario as HDMI 1.4 can support that resolution at 60 Hz.

So it runs at 4K, is inexpensive compared to other options, but happens to be a TN panel. How does this affect our experiences using it? The truth is that this monitor will not compare well to an IGZO or IPS panel. Viewing angles are going to be much lower, and you'll color shifting moving around the display on your desk. While this is true in both horizontal and vertical angles, the most apparent issue happens with vertical viewing angles.

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Here you see a photo of the Samsung U28D590D from above. Notice the center of the Windows logo and its inverse color shift. Using the monitor in a desktop environment you will likely see much less color shift as you move and rotate around your desk, but it will be there. To be clear though, the performance of this TN panel is better than most of the other TN panels I or our anyone on our team has seen previously. At CES we got to see this monitor in person, and both Allyn and Josh (discerning monitor users) noted that while not perfect, the U28D590D was exceptional for a TN monitor.

You can see some more images and video of the viewing angles in our video review at the top of this story.

Closing Thoughts

There are highs and there are lows for the Samsung U28D590D 4K monitor. Even though the panel is built on TN technology, and viewing angles suffer more than you would see on an IPS screen, I think it's good enough for gamers and productivity users that aren't working on color-crucial workloads. (Think video editors or Photoshop users.) The stand could have used some more attention, and the lack of VESA mounts hurt the long term usage scenarios for multiple panel configurations.

Still, from my time gaming on this display I can tell you that 4K gaming (3840x2160) continues to be a dream! You must have some competent gaming hardware to make it work of course, likely a GTX 780 Ti or Radeon R9 290X at least, but if necessary you can game at 1920x1080 or 2560x1440 scaled until you can afford the hardware upgrades. 

The price is the biggest selling point. At just $693 as we write this, that is more than 3x lower than the ASUS PQ321Q! That is a lot of money for a display but, if you are a serious gamer (owning a GTX 780 Ti / R9 290X is a good indicator of that), these types of investments seem reasonable. The fact that you don't have to worry about configuration and compatibility issues is also noteworthy.

UPDATE: This monitor is already selling for $599 direct from Amazon...a steal at this price!

We have more monitors from the likes of Dell, ASUS and LG coming out using a similar panel and scalar implementation. This summer could truly be the big push to 4K for PC gaming!

May 9, 2014 | 01:43 PM - Posted by End Timekeeper (not verified)

Awesome review Ryan that is one sweet looking monitor. I really wish I could go out and buy one, but will need to wait for a bit longer before I can move up to 4k. Quick question how will game's work on this monitor with one R9290x if I where to get one in the future?

May 9, 2014 | 02:03 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It's been $599 since launch in Canada.

May 9, 2014 | 02:14 PM - Posted by ttl=0 (not verified)

Is Nvidia going to release a GTX 880 or 880ti any time soon.

May 10, 2014 | 11:56 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Next year,

May 11, 2014 | 04:10 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

fall is when the 880s will be out

May 9, 2014 | 04:31 PM - Posted by Adam (not verified)

Great review Ryan, can't wait to hear more on TWiCH tonight. I think I will hold off til the Asus ROG swift pg278q comes out so I can compare the two. Two premium monitors at the same price point, only separated by a couple of months (hopefully).

May 9, 2014 | 04:55 PM - Posted by RGSPro (not verified)

I switched from dual Dell u2711s to two of these and the experience is far better, however I don't need accurate color reproduction. I do agree that the stand is lacking, but I have gotten used to it. I had to throw a third graphics card (750 ti) in my computer to keep SLI (780 ti) enabled on the main display while keeping the 2nd on at the same time since they both need a dedicated Displayport cable.

May 9, 2014 | 05:20 PM - Posted by Daniel Masterson (not verified)

I am definitely going to grab this monitor, twould be cool if it were IPS but oh well.

May 9, 2014 | 05:22 PM - Posted by Daniel Masterson (not verified)

Does the monitor come with a display port cord or will I have to purchase that separately?

May 10, 2014 | 01:37 PM - Posted by dave (not verified)

it comes with display port and HDMI

May 9, 2014 | 06:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How does the monitor handle 1080p content using internal scaling? does it use something like pixel doubling?

May 11, 2014 | 10:37 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Not 100% sure on the technology being used in it, but for gaming the 1080p scaled content looked just fine. On the desktop it was more apparent but surely you wouldn't run this monitor at 1080p in desktop mode...

May 12, 2014 | 08:02 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks for the info!
Yeh of course the desktop should be native but its good to know games will look good at 1080p until a reasonably priced, single GPU can handle 4k.
I guess the other option is keeping a second 24" for gaming.

May 9, 2014 | 08:58 PM - Posted by RGSPro (not verified)

It comes with a power brick, displayport and hdmi cable. The ones I purchased were shipped from Korea and came with a US plug adapter, but I just swapped the power cord going to the brick.

May 11, 2014 | 10:37 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Yeah, actually ours was the Korean version as well. :) Took a bit to figure out how to change the on-screen display. 

May 10, 2014 | 12:48 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ryan,

What GPU setup did you use? Were the settings in Metro completely maxed?

May 11, 2014 | 10:38 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

That was being run with a single GeForce GTX 780 Ti at 3840x2160, Very High presents. PhysX disabled.

May 10, 2014 | 05:09 AM - Posted by SetiroN

I see no mention of input lag: that is by far the most important thing in a gaming monitor to me. A proper analysis at various resolutions is necessary, or at the very least 1080p, which can be displayed without scaling by pixel doubling on 4K panels; that should allow processing times to not increase almost at all, but needs to be checked. I'd be fine using 1080p in games and 2160p in windows.

I'm sad to see Gsync not making it into new monitors by the way... I would have seriously considered getting this display if it did implement it. It's too big of a thing for me to spend hundreds on a new monitor and not get rid of the single largest gripe I have now that I know it can be fixed.

Stupid nvidia, they could have made such a big difference in the world without keeping their stuff proprietary. Just license your technology, goddamn morons.

I'll keep dreaming of the day I'll be able to play synced with <10ms of input lag.

May 10, 2014 | 01:39 PM - Posted by dave (not verified)

1ms response time

May 10, 2014 | 05:06 PM - Posted by OctaveanActually (not verified)

Maybe the coming Asus PQ287Q 4K monitor would be more to your tastes. It presumably uses the same TN panel as the Samsung U28D590D 4K monitor but has features like a better stand, USB hub and so on. It might even be G-Sync upgradeable but I couldn't say if that is true or not. It will be ~$799.99 MSRP though so that ~$100 more then the Samsung.

Then there is the upcoming Lenovo Pro2840m which should be similarly priced and speced at ~$799.99. I think the Lenovo has edge to edge glass.

Then there is the upcoming Philips 4K monitor the 288P Ultra but the bottom line is if you want a little more then the Samsung U28D590D offers you'll have to not only pay more but wait too.

Also note that when the Samsung U28D590D first came out there were elevated prices, poor availability (stock) and misappropriation (AKA the Korean version sold outside of Korea at high prices here in the USA for example).

So waiting for other makes and models will also likely mean waiting for price gouging to subside and becomes sane or near MSRP.

May 11, 2014 | 10:39 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Input lag is pretty damn good actually. I didn't have a test in here because I didn't have a "scientific" way of testing it, but others have done some demonstrations to show favorable to this display. Check out LinusTechTips review for an example.

May 10, 2014 | 10:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

even for creative pros, they can use this as a work monitor and preview the out put in a better 10bit monitor. Since this have better density they dont need to scroll around to find a layer.

May 11, 2014 | 05:34 AM - Posted by Mac (not verified)

Can you change the Hz-erage when you scale down the resolution or are you stuck at 60 Hz at 1440 and 1080p?

May 11, 2014 | 10:40 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Hmm, I don't know, I'll check!

May 11, 2014 | 11:43 AM - Posted by OctaveanActually (not verified)

I have a Samsung U28D590D (American version) which I bought directly from Amazon (not a reseller) at the MSRP of ~$699.99.

I admit its not a perfect monitor but I really like it and think its worth the price.

However, I will ask Ryan and anyone else who has actually used a Samsun U28D590D 4K monitor if they have noticed that the screen might be offset a little at an angle with respect to the bezel? For example, on my unit the upper right corner of the screen's active area practically touches the bezel but trails off a bit leaving a small inactive screen area gap on the upper left corner.

Think of it as a square within a square and the smaller inner square is rotated slightly causing the lines be off angle / not parallel. Its fairly slight, not necessarily a big deal but I think I spotted it on a review sample here (about two minutes in when they show a closeup of the screen):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5YXWqhL9ik&app=desktop

I'm wonder if there is a systematic error in construction that causes this small oddity and if it shows up on every unit of the model.

May 12, 2014 | 04:04 AM - Posted by Irishgamer01

Have one o these for a month.
(Got it in korea...ebay)
Review is spot on.
If you game on TN already its a no brainer. You will love it.
If you use IPS....things are not so straight forward. You will notice the colour differences.
(I run both TN and IPS)

4K gaming just looks great. Not worth extra expense if you just use it for every day use. Things are just too small to read without straining your eyes....but then I am an older PCPER reader.

One of the best TN panels I have seen.

Think its overpriced,though, by about 150.

May 12, 2014 | 02:18 PM - Posted by Daniel Masterson (not verified)

Ryan have you heard about the current issue with Nvidia SLI not working with 4K? I was going to grab one but then heard they have not fixed this issue with multiple cards.

May 13, 2014 | 01:46 AM - Posted by Polycrastinator (not verified)

How's setup? I ask because I've been fighting with a couple of 32" Dell 4K monitors at work the last few days, and getting them to display at 60Hz has been a nightmare. The setup was not easy, and the reliability of the systems (on AMD FirePro cards) remembering after reboot how they were configured has been poor.
I was hoping the single stream solution fixes that (or maybe it's just an idiosyncrasy with these particular monitors?). How big a difference does that single stream make?

May 14, 2014 | 11:34 AM - Posted by OctaveanActually (not verified)

Are you running OS X or Windows with your 32" Dell 4K monitors,....?

I've heard OS X 10.9.3 should bring some noteworthy improvements with respect to 4K once its released. Windows should be OK with 4K but still needs some work. Drivers for both OSes may need some work too.

The setup is or should be relatively seamless and painless on these new single stream 4K monitors though. In my experience Windows 8.1 update 1 just worked at 3840x2160 at 60Hz via DisplayPort and OS X 10.9.2 just worked at 3840x2160 at 60Hz via DisplayPort.

I had to update OS X though because 10.9.0 would only go as high as 2560x1440 on DisplayPort and just wouldn't even give an option for 3840x2160.

IGZO on the Sharp, Asus and Dell at 32" is going to yield better visual fidelity then a TN 28" so your probably better off getting a fix or waiting for single stream IGZO monitors.

May 13, 2014 | 06:29 PM - Posted by Zurv (not verified)

I'm having no problems with the dell tiled 30 4k (i also have the sharp 30 tiled) But i'm using Nvidia. No setup needed other than putting the monitor in MST mode.

note! any SST 4k is limited to one card now as SLI/Crossfire's bridge is overloaded. Lets not fool ourselves - Multi GPU is required to play games at 4k. Hell, bf4 needs a single 780 to run maxed at 1080p.
(I used quad SLI titan, but 3 SLI 780 or 780 ti should be fine)

Nvidia should have a fix for the multi GPU on a SST screen "soon"

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