CES 2015: Samsung Monitors and ATIV Computers

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2015 - 04:52 PM |
Tagged: UD970, Samsung, S34E790C, ces 2015, ATIV One 7 Curved, ATIV Book 9, ativ

I was invited to a meeting with Samsung on my last day at CES.  The Samsung Pavilion was absolutely packed, but I was able to see a handful of products that should pique the interest of people that are passionate about their monitor technology.  I was led around by Sara and we checked out not only a few monitors, but the latest ATIV PC products.

Up until this point, I thought curved TVs were a gimmick.  I still think curved TVs are a gimmick.  For a living room seating multiple people that will have a different angle to the TV, I believe a flat screen is still the best overall experience.  When it comes to PC usage, my mind has been thoroughly changed.

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Samsung has forged ahead with a curved 21:9 panel that they give the very unwieldy product name of S34E790C.  This is a 34” VA based panel that features a resolution of 3440x1440.  This is not quite 4K resolution, and of course it features the ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio.  This means that it is a bit easier on a video card than a full 4K monitor.  This is simply a stunning looking unit.  The design features a thin bezel and a really solid looking base that adds to the aesthetic rather than detracts.  The rear ports include two HDMI, DisplayPort 1.2, 3.5 mm audio output, power, and a 4 port USB 3.0 hub.

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The base is a solid, curved unit that allows users to raise and lower the panel.  The bezels are again relatively thing so that multiple monitors can be placed together without the bezels becoming distracting.  The unit also features a 100x100 mm VESA mount so that other stands can be used with this monitor.

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Three of these monitors together would make for a tremendous Surround or Eyefinity setup.  There would have to be some serious horsepower in terms of graphics to push that many pixels though.  The curve is not extreme in the least, and the monitors curve around the user in a subtle way.  This would be outstanding for flight sims, racing, and pretty much any game that can utilize a wide FOV.  Samsung showed five of these together, and they blend nearly seamlessly together.  This monitor currently retails around $1400, but MSRP is supposed to be $1,199 US.

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On the professional side they were showing the UD970.  This monitor was released around mid-year in 2014, but they were happy to put it on exhibit at CES.  This is a 3840x2160 (4K) monitor that is aimed directly at professionals with color calibration done at the factory.  When this comes out of the box, it should be in good enough shape to start working directly on professional applications which require a nicely calibrated monitor.  This monitor is the typical flat style rather than the curved unit described above.



Away from the monitors Samsung was showing off their latest all-in-one.  The ATIV One 7 Curved is a 27” AIO that features the latest Intel i5 processor (Broadwell) with the HD 5500 graphics option.  It has 8 GB of memory and a 1 TB hybrid HD (flash and spinning 5400 RPM drive) and runs Windows 8.1.  The screen is a 1080P unit, which is a little disappointing considering the availability of fairly affordable 1440P panels, but that extra cost would drive up price from the very reasonable $1,299 MSRP.

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The machine seemed very snappy and the curved screen again seems very appropriate for PC usage.  Since the user is fairly close, the curve does allow better use of peripheral vision.  The unit is only about 1.5” deep, so we can see exactly why they are using a Broadwell based chip which does not require a tremendous amount of cooling.  It features HDMI in and out ports for use with consoles and other display options.  There are also two 10 watt speakers integrated into the machine which will provide for some pretty impressive integrated sound.  Most speakers in this class are around 2 to 4 watts, so by putting in a couple of 10 watt units there will not be a need by most people to utilize other speaker peripherals.

Probably the most interesting aspect of this product is the SideSync 3.0 software platform.  This application allows users to control their Samsung based Android device.  The demonstration I was given used the Galaxy S5.  The user will see a representation of the phone on their screen and they have access to all of the applications installed on the phone.  Here is what Samsung has to say about SideSync 3.0:

“Through SideSync 3.0, ATIV One 7 Curved users can receive phone calls and text messages forwarded from their Samsung smartphone right to their PC. Users can also control their smartphone from their PC screen, mouse and keyboard through SideSync 3.0’s sharing mode, as well as share content between devices with Samsung Link 2.0. This means that users can save all of their photos, videos, music and more in the ATIV One 7 Curved’s ample 1TB flash drive, and then easily access it from other devices from anywhere in the home.”

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The demonstration was actually pretty slick and it is useful.  It was really funny to see the cursor go from the screen and over to the smartphone and be able to click on the programs icons.

The final product shown to me was the ATIV Book 9.  This is a 12.2” laptop that weighs in at a pretty light 2.09 lbs.  It has a very dense screen that is 2560x1600.  Samsung is bringing back the 16:10 aspect ratio as they found it more useful for productivity work on this particular laptop.  The laptop features the new Broadwell based Intel Core M 5Y70 processor with 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD, and around 10.5 hours of battery life.  This particular configuration goes for around $1,400 US when it is released this quarter.

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This probably would have been a much more impressive looking laptop if I had not seen the Dell XPS 13 with an edge to edge display.  That model is around 11” wide and weighs slightly more at 2.6 pounds (2.8 pounds with the touchscreen version).  Still, the ATIV Book 9 is an impressive performer with its 2560x1600 screen and half pound less weight.

After all is said and done, I really want 3 x S34E790Cs.  Now if I can only get more desk space and a couple graphics cards that can push that resolution.

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Samsung

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January 10, 2015 | 08:57 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks Josh for the write-up. It would be fun to have three of those monitors in a flight sim, for sure.

January 11, 2015 | 08:02 AM - Posted by Dom (not verified)

that 27" AIO being 1080p is a tad upsetting, i mean if it was a value AIO i'd understand, but $1299?

January 11, 2015 | 09:10 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

ATIV with Core M 5Y70, 2 cores 4 threads, at $1400, what an over priced "Thin and Light" netbook, and some netbooks may have more power, and better graphics than this! Where are the mainstream core i7(quad core) Broadwells, and there will be Skylake arriving before regular Laptop SKUs arrive from Intel, and any more powerful, than underpowered core M SKUs, make it to market. Is this the new Laptop market, getting weaker CPUs and more overpriced, there is a reason not many people buy Apple's product, and I realize that the Build quality on Apple products is not too bad, but they are overpriced for the amount of processing power that they provide. Is this Intel's real intent, giving the PC/laptop market underpowered product, that is way overpriced, even by Apple's standards, in the name of "thin and Light", at $1400, does this Samsung come with thunderbolt ports, or even USB 3.1? Get over this Intel, or PC/Laptop sales will never recover, Samsung is on the way to becoming the next SONY.

January 11, 2015 | 01:23 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Yeah, everyone is jumping into the new thin and lights.  It is like netbooks reborn.  Thin, decent battery life, and a dense screen... seems like everyone has a version that contains those things.

January 12, 2015 | 11:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

More like Intel has an obsession with "Ultrabooks" The screen resolution is welcome, but the underpowered CPU/SOC and the price are not. And I'll bet that the main market demographic that these SKUs are meant for, have their devices plugged in, be it the coffee shop, or the Google commuter bus(has power plugs and WiFi), Trains(have power plugs and WiFi), ... So most of these people have Apple laptops, Samsung wants to shoot for Sony's market, but for the price of this Samsung, the MacBook Pro offers a better feature list. I wish HP would begin offering higher resolution screens on their Probook line as standard, there are always are Probooks on sale at Fry's/micro center/etc., last year's model, new, with a quad core i7, and considering Intel's relative improvements with its mainstream SKUs, I'll stay a year behind bleeding edge, and save a bundle. Everyone is getting the "thin and lights" that Intel provided the OEM's with marketing assistance(Contra revenue), not so much because the ultrabook is a successful design, but because Intel decided that that's what they were going to push. In what "healthy" competitive marketplace does a mere supplier of CPU/SOC parts hold so much sway over the OEMs, IBM never had that problem with Intel, and IBM's supply of CPU parts for its PCs, and IBM got completely out of the laptop/PC business once Intel's market domination removed too much profitability from the OEM market. So it's "thin and Light" and overpriced and underpowered, that's what Intel is pushing, take it or leave it, but Intel has mountains of these SKUs to push, and it will be a while before they are out of the supply chain.

January 12, 2015 | 12:10 PM - Posted by obababoy

Sure Samsung is overpriced. I picked up the Acer S7 9439 last year and it is the nicest laptop "Ultrabook" ive ever owned. I has an over the top raided SSD 256GB, i7 4500u 1440p, touch screen, Gorilla glass screen on the front and and gorilla glass lid, .5" thick, 2.8 lbs, 8 hours battery life and less than $1225. Is that really a bad deal?

The thing is never bogged down and basic time wasting games work fine!

Definitely not a netbook reborn.


January 11, 2015 | 09:35 AM - Posted by nathanddrews

The whole point of curved movie screens is to accommodate the geometry, color, and brightness distortion that goes hand in hand with large scale projection. Curved direct view displays distort a geometrically perfect image for no reason at all and severely hamper living room viewing angles. It is literally the worst of all worlds.

Even a curved LCD as a gaming monitor has a limited future. When you're not gaming, you're left with a terrible display that you can't ever hope to use for CAD or any other application requiring straight lines or perspective. CRT monitors at least weren't nearly as curved and offered geometry calibration tools.

Let the fad die.

January 11, 2015 | 12:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes let the FAD die, not good for any sort of 3D design work, including the making of 3d game models, WTF is the TV/Display industry trying to push.

The same thing goes for the new USB Type C standard, to a lesser degree, USB type C is a plug(form factor)/electrical standard, and yet it is being hyped as intrinsically giving USB 3.1 abilities on its own! Just wait until folks buy into that, and purchase laptops with the Type C, USB plug, but only get USB 2.0, or 3.0 speeds, because the Type C plug standard is backwards compatible with the USB 2.0/3.0 controllers, and mobile devices will be able to use the Type C plug, but not have the expense of offering a USB 3.1 controller on the laptop/mobile/PC. OEMs will take advantage of this in their advertising.

For sure the Type C plug is a technological improvement, but how many tech websites take the time to explain what USB Controller/Controllers there are on a laptop, that is being reviewed, and it's the controller/s that gives the bandwidth(USB 2.0, 3.0, 3.1) speeds and not the plug's form factor/Pin-out, per say. Ever wondered just how much bandwidth those 2 USB 3.0 plugs, on some laptops, provide, do they each have that ability to provide 5Gb of bandwidth each, or are they sharing one USB 3.0 controller, or a root hub that shares bandwidth with other IO ports. Better do your homework, when the mobile/PC devices start arriving with Type C plugs, and do not expect any slack-jaw at the local big box electronics retailer to be of any help.

For sure the USB Type C will be adopted(its thinner, and smaller), and it will be compatible with all USB 2.0, 3.0, 3.1 controllers, if the devices' OEM chooses to provide the necessary controller/s, but how long did it take for USB 3.0 controllers to come with devices, or even be incorporated into motherboard chipsets.

The Hype is overwhelming, more so with each passing year, in the high tech gadgets market, it's just too bad the PC/Laptop market got pulled in to the madness.

January 11, 2015 | 01:28 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Certainly if you were doing any kind of professional work, you would jump on that UD970 rather than curved.  For my usage, namely writing, watching videos, and gaming, those curved monitors would work fine.  Having said that, I am in no rush to replace my 3 HP S-PVA based units.

January 11, 2015 | 05:51 PM - Posted by nathanddrews

I'll concede that first- and third-person gaming on curved computer monitors (sitting relatively closer than in a living room space) is quite fun, but beyond that I can't justify it.

I'll also admit that I am still butthurt over Samsung dropping OLED production in lieu of this curved crap, so I'm somewhat biased. It's just a weak attempt to keep LCD relevant until they can ramp up quantum dot production... another dead end.

January 11, 2015 | 11:37 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Price of that curved display is rediculus - you can get "normal" 32" 1440p MVA screen for 600 euro.

January 12, 2015 | 08:51 AM - Posted by collie

The curved screen idea, I dont like, it but I'm afraid It's for "GrandPa" reasons. When I was a boy we watched together as a family, in the living room. YES we stared at that box with our dinner plates on the coffie table, yes we SHOULD have been talking to eachother, but we watched TOGETHER. When I was watching stupid kids shows my mom would be there on the couch next to me. Videogames were a group activity, there coulda been 10 kids in that room watching while only 2 had controlers, and it was fun for everyone. There was one screen and it was shared by the family.

The curved screen, be it tv or monitor or any other form factor (I wonder how long till we see a curved tablet or phone) is just more isolating. Just feels like one more nail in the coffin for "The Family Unit"

January 12, 2015 | 02:45 PM - Posted by Chuck (not verified)

First, I just wanna point out a minor typo. In the third paragraph (between the first two photos) you stated that the screen had a 3.5" audio connector. Pretty sure you meant millimeter.

Second, to all the people in the comments complaining about the curved monitors, you don't have to like them, and that's fine. However, I don't think that this "fad" is going to die any time soon. These aren't marketed as professional monitors, and are pretty squarely marketed towards gamers and people who like to watch movies. For those purposes, the curved screen will make a positive impact. Whether or not the idea goes mainstream is another thing entirely. It will probably remain a small niche, such as 1440p was until very recently. Your flat panels aren't going away any time soon.

Great first impressions. Really interested in seeing your views on one of those curved displays if you get around to using one as your primary monitor for a while.

January 13, 2015 | 10:38 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

But what if it was a solid 3.5" plug?  How much would that weigh?

January 15, 2015 | 07:17 PM - Posted by Chuck (not verified)

I weep for the children if the industry is moving towards 3.5" audio connectors.

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