Walk into any enterprise now, and you will see dual monitors in almost every cubicle. The Samsung 27-inch CF591 curved monitor has become the staple of the business world. With good reason.
There are several issues to address in any dual monitor review.
- Why dual monitors?
- Why curved monitors?
- What are they best for?
- What to features/resolution to look for?
- Hardware to drive them?
Rather than make this a ‘Monitor 101’ let’s answer these questions using the Samsung 27-inch CF591 (Australian website here) as a reference. This review focuses on business and home use for office productivity tasks, web surfing, and occasional TV/Movie viewing. Gamers need not read on.
Why dual monitors?
Workers are demanding more and more real estate. Be it for productivity or convenience.
According to a Jon Peddie Research survey dual monitors increase office workers productivity by an average of 30%.
According to a study by the University of Utah dual monitors save around 2.5 hours a day in performing the same tasks on a single monitor.
The sweet spot for dual monitors is a curved 27-inch, 16:9 format.
Why curved monitors?
Flat monitors are so yesterday. Place two side-by-side, and you take up a lot of desk space. Angle them at 135° (typical dual monitor setup), and you have a definite ‘V’ in the middle which is very distracting.
A 19° gently curved monitor has been proven by a Harvard University study to reduce eye-strain, blurred vision and focus issues (compared to flat monitors).
The CF591 can work in single, dual or triple monitor setups and take up less desk/cubicle space.
What are they best for?
The answer is that you can display three A4 sheets side-by-side (at 80%) or two at 120%. If you are visually impaired, ramp up the magnification as much as you need. That is real working space.
Similarly, and Excel spreadsheet can display 45 lines out to column AB – sweet.
But the key to dual monitor use is very narrow side bezels. The CF591 has 8mm bezels including the stainless-steel edge band. When put together the image is not too broken by the bezels.
What features do you need?
The higher the resolution, the smaller the pixel dot size.
For example, a 27” 1920 x 1080 (16:9 format) has 2,073,600 pixels. Put simply; a 10-point font looks like a 10-point font.
If you up that to WQHD or 2560 x 1440 (still16:9), you have 3,686,400 pixels. A 10-point font looks 6-point. Typically, these screens need to be scaled up by 200% to see a similar font size.
Then there is 4K or 3840 x 2160 (still16:9) has 8,294,400 pixels. A 10-point point font looks an unreadable 2-point, and scaling needs to be 400% just to see it. Bad luck Windows can only scale 300%.
In office use 1920 x 1080, 16:9 is the best resolution for a typical worker.
Other features you should look for
- Brightness of about 200-250 nits (under office lights this will appear bright and white). The CF591 has 250 nits typical brightness
- Reasonably full sRGB coverage. The CF591 has 119.3% sRGB (means it displays more colours than you need).
- Flicker Free: Many monitors show an imperceptible flicker (try taking a smartphone photograph of the screen to see what I mean). That leads to eye fatigue. It’s due to a thing PWM (pulse width modulation) used to turn on and off the LED light source. The CF591 uses a more expensive VA panel and DC switching to produce a flicker-free panel.
- At least two different connection methods – HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI or D-sub. The CF591 has three.
- It is important to have a 3.5mm audio-in jack and a headphone out jack to avoid too much sound pollution in an office.
- Speakers are good to have. The CF591 has stereo speakers that are fine for personal movie viewing.
- USB Hub. Yes and no. All hubs require an expensive USB-B 3.0 Type-B upstream cable from the PC/laptop to split it into two USB-A down-stream ports. If you are low on ports, use a simple dongle instead. The CF591 does not have a USB hub.
- AMD Freesync adjusts the monitor frequency to the video card in your PC/laptop. It can help tearing of high motion scenes and reduce flicker. The CF591 has this.
- Power consumption. Some monitors burn as much as a 100W light bulb. The CF591 uses around 36W and over a working year (48 weeks x 8-hour x 5 days) will use 69kW or about $25 in electricity.
Hardware to drive them?
Almost all PCs have at least an HDMI or DisplayPort and DVI or D-Sub outlet. HDMI and DisplayPort carry sound as well as video – connect at least one monitor this way. The DVI/D-sub and USB options still provide full HD support but no sound (then a 3.5mm audio jack is good).
If you are lucky, last year’s laptops will still have an HDMI and/or DisplayPort (usually a mini-socket). In this case, simply plug in the two monitors. Or you can get low-cost USB-A to dual monitor dongles.
Most laptops now are moving to a single USB-C or USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports. There is a range of low-cost adapters (dongles) that support dual HDMI or DP monitors. Or you can buy a more expensive Thunderbolt 3 docking station.
This is equally applicable to Windows or macOS.
So, to the review of the Samsung 27-inch CF591 model LC27F591FDEXXY
Well, we have covered most things. I like it so much I pensioned off my dual 24” monitors, and I am using two of the 27” CF591 as my production setup. I am cheating a little by also using a Microsoft Surface Pro (a third screen) and Dock to drive them. You just have to love the vast vista the monitors provide.
- Very narrow bezels suited for dual or triple monitor use
- The sound is perfect for personal movie viewing
- Amazing colour, clarity and crispness
- High brightness and contrast
- Extremely economical to run
- None really but while it has a game mode, you would be better looking at a Samsung Quantum Dot monitor with
Rated as a single, dual or triple, business class 27-inch monitor
- Overall: 4 out of 5
- Features: 5 out of 5 – All required features
- Value for Money: 4 out of 5 – shop around and add an extra point
- Performance: 5 out of 5 – Full range sRGB and connectivity
- Ease of Use: 5 out of 5 – Plug and play
- Design: 5 out of 5 – Elegant white suits most décor. Love the flat tray foot.
Samsung CF591 price
Price is $450 and its available from the Samsung Store in Pitt Street Mall, Sydney. JB Hi-Fi has them for $419. Online you may find them for 10-20% less. Business buyers may negotiate a bulk price.