In monitor land, there is a saying – you can never have enough space. The Samsung 32″ 4K curved monitor UR590C is enough, well a pair is – for now.
In COVID times, the Officeworks shelves are stripped bare of any work-from-home tech. Fortunately, Samsung makes most of this monitor – the panel and electronics, so you are more likely to both see it in the shop, and if it is out-of-stock, there will be shorter delivery times.
More and more, GadgetGuy is required to test computers, laptops, and docks with 4K monitors – in fact, a standard test now is dual 4K monitors. Samsung kindly agreed to loan us a pair for the testbed.
Off to Samsung’s monitor webpage to explore
Our requirements included a true 3840 x 2160 resolution, 16:9 format and preferably from 30-34″. We also had limited space – a 1200x660mm desk.
We started at Samsung’s monitor webpage to find something suitable. And in doing so went through the lot – Smart, Gaming, High Res, Curved, Flat, and Business. It has a handy filter section that allows you to set screen size, resolution, and more to narrow down the search.
Smart M-series is interesting, and we will be reviewing these shortly. These have a Tizen Samsung TV OS to ‘Do it all’ smart monitor. But mainly, being flat ruled them out.
Gaming G-series looked awesome but did not have a 4K in the size we were looking for
Hi-Res is where we found the Samsung 32″ 4K curved monitor UR590C that fit the bill perfectly – 4K, 16:9, 1500R curve and as a bonus 10-bit, 1 billion colours that would improve GadgetGuy’s image quality as well.
Flat – well, we rule this out as 32″ means a pair is too wide for the desk. Still, the 32″ S7 UHD was tempting.
Business offered some with the new USB-C interface, but our tests did not need that.
We found that there is something for everyone – 8-bit 16.7 million colours, 10-bit 1 billion colours, gaming low latency, HDMI/DP/USB-C interfaces, flat and curved. And you are more likely to find Samsung at your retailer or Samsung online.
This is not the flat UJ590 with Quantum Dot (SKU LU32J590UQEXXY), but it has similar specs. This is a premium product to fill the need of ‘in your face with space’. It is not a gaming monitor with all those performance tricks. What it excels at is a damned good 4K monitor at a reasonable price.
You may see it advertised as Samsung U32R59X or UR32590.
32” 3440 x 2160, 139ppi, 4K, 1500R curved; 16:9, 60Hz Samsung VA panel
1.07 billion (8bit+FRC)
Not factory calibrated but >100% sRGB
4ms Grey-to-Grey but 60Hz limits games appeal
No, but plus 3.5mm audio out from HDMI or DP
HDMI 2.0 (cable supplied) and DP 1.2
712.7 x 515.0 x 237.9 mm x 5.5kg inc stand
V-shaped, Tilt only +/- 1-17° – NO VESA mount support
19V/3.1A/59W plug pack, 3.5 stars based on 10 hours a day – 177kWh per year Average power use is 30Wh
But when we replaced these with the pair of Samsung 32″ 4K UR590 UHD curved monitors, the difference was palpable (intense). There is nothing wrong with 1920×1080, 16.7m colours until you see 3840×2160, 1 billion. I stare at monitors all day long, and I can tell a good one! This is superb.
The first impression is tall because to get 3840 x 2160 4K resolution; you need a 16:9 ratio. So, yes, you have a lot of ‘tall’ real estate compared to a wider 21:9 3440 x 1440, 21:9 monitor. Does that matter? Well, in Microsoft Word, it means you can display a full A4 page height at 150% scaling (so you can read the text) and still see the ribbon bar at the top. You get a huge 32″ diagonal page in a browser able to display 11 tabs at 150% scaling. It does not take long to appreciate the extra height.
The second impression is that the 1500R curve is perfect for business use. I have tested 1000R radius, but it is too severe for all but games users. The R (radius) is in millimetres – the distance from the circle’s perimeter to its centre.
It also loosely means the maximum distance you can sit from it, but as we tend to all sit between 600-800mm away, that is less important. It also means that eye strain and ache are 60% less prevalent on curved monitors.
Dual monitor set-up
The second difference between 1500R curved and flat is that placing two flat monitors (about 720mm each) side-by-side takes 1440mm width – wider than my desk.
However, two 1500R curved monitors can nicely fit into 1150mm (less than the typical desk width) with minimal visual distortion. A win for smaller desks.
Next is how to drive them. Each monitor has full-sized HDMI (2.0) and DisplayPort (1.2 or later) capable of driving these monitors at 60Hz. They are not gaming monitors that can go up to 144Hz – for one simple reason. You would need a dedicated NVIDIA or Radeon GPU to drive these.
Our testbed uses a Microsoft Surface Pro 7 and a Kensington Surface Dock. Neither supports 2 x 4K@60Hz, but that has not been an issue with the dual 1920×1080@60Hz we had. But the dock does support 1 x 4K@60Hz and 2 x 4K@30Hz. If you wanted, you could drive one from the dock at 60Hz and one from USB-C 3.2 Gen Surface port at 60Hz (you need a 60hz capable USB-C to HDMI cable).
But much of our testing is now with Thunderbolt 3 or 4 devices, and the Plugable Intel Titan based docks are terrific for this. They do support 2 x 4K@60Hz.
What did you learn? Make sure your PC/laptop and dock supports 2 x 4K@60Hz, although for office use, 30Hz is fine. It is interesting to see a tiny Surface Go (now GO 2) support 2 x 4K@24Hz monitors.
Apart from screwing the base to the monitor and attaching an HDMI 2.0 cable (supplied) or DP 1.2 cable (not supplied), that is it. The Y-shaped stand is not very adjustable (some tilt only), and there is no VESA mount available.
We recommend that you download the Windows U32R59C@.ICM profile from here. It is an exe file (check in Downloads), and it allows you to apply it to each monitor. An ICM profile is the next best thing to calibration and ensures consistent colour, especially when using dual monitors.
As usual, Samsung’s typical jog button (joystick) is behind the right lower left of the monitor. The first thing is to go to Menu, System and reset all (standard operational procedure).
I won’t regurgitate the manual here but point out a few interesting things.
Magic Bright has standard (office/text), cinema (movies), dynamic contrast (auto contrast) and custom modes. Leave it at Custom (default) for most things
Colour – you can adjust RGB, colour tone and gamma for manual calibration using a calibration camera
Upscale – I don’t think this is for true 720/1080p pixel additive upscale – it is just two levels of gamma adjustment
Eye saver mode – TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light Content – leave it off
Game mode – when connected to an older Xbox or PS4 via HDMI, it achieves 4ms G-t-G. This is a 60Hz screen and has no AMD or NVIDIA sync
Picture-by-Picture – connect two computers (one each by HDMI and DP) and display them side by side on one monitor
Sound – it has volume control for sound from HDMI or DP and output via the 3.5mm port. It has no speakers.
Self-Diagnosis – displays a green test screen that can reveal any latent issues
Out of the box (not factory calibrated), the panel is capable of 100% sRGB and about a Delta E of about 4 (<4 is good). After fiddling, that gets to 105% sRGB, and Delta E comes down to just below 1 (excellent).
Brightness depends on settings. Samsung claims 200-250nits typical, and we agree. But we managed to get 320nits when pushed.
Contrast is 2500:1, which is not bad, reflecting reasonably strong black levels (around .13), and we pushed this to nearly 2700:1 after suitable fiddling (about .1)
Anti-glare is excellent with a matte filter.
Uniformity – under most viewing circumstances, you won’t notice any hot spots or vice versa. When pushed to the limit you see a familiar VA edge-lit pattern.
Viewing angles (claim 178°) are smaller for a VA panel. If you shift off-angle over 135° (+/- 45°), you will see a marked brightness, colour and image shift. That is OK as monitors are for closer, straight-on view. It is not an issue for a dual monitor set-up.
Image clarity is excellent, and it has crisp black text.
Response time. While most monitor makers quote Grey-to-Grey (4ms), the reality is that from full black to full white (a measure of contrast), it is more like 20ms. This is a test of video and fast action tearing – we did not notice any issues.
Although the Samsung 32″ 4K curved monitor UR590C has been available for a couple of years, it just keeps getting better. Our review units were week 11, 2021, and, if anything reflects quality manufacture and assurance.
My only criticism is that the panel can be so much more out of the box, and for a few ‘won’ more, it could be breathtaking.
Now I don’t want to suggest that it needs anything – USB-C, Thunderbolt 3/4, Quantum Dot, VESA mounts, speakers or more because it is perfect for what it is. A great office and casual gamers monitor and perfect for dual monitor set-up.
A perfect monitor would have 100% SRGB (web colours), 100+% Adobe RGB (print colours), 100+% DCI-P3 (movie colours) and be factory calibrated out-of-the-box. The perfect monitor is a BenQ DesignVue (review here 10/10), but it costs $2199. This costs $799 – I can get 2.75 of these for one DesignVue!
So, we need to rate it as a 4K, VA, 1 billion colour, curved monitor, and you start to see it is the class leader and, to an extent, price-leader in the sub $1000 bracket.
Samsung 32" 4K curved monitor UR590C
Value for money
Ease of use
In your face, 4K space
In your face space 1500R curve is just right for dual monitor set-up
Excellent colours, clarity and brightness
Would have liked factory calibration – that would have made this unbeatable
No possibility of VESA wall or monitror arm mounting