2015 was the year that 4K monitors, aka Ultra HD monitors, really hit the market. While last year brought the first wave of affordable TN-panel models, this year we saw a wider range of screen diagonals, panel technology and prices. Samsung recently introduced their second generation of UHD screens, and we took the opportunity to test the Samsung U24E590D and the Samsung U32E850R, two very different 4K monitors.
The two screens which we'll discuss in this review represent two very different parts of the market. The U32E850R is a high-end 32-inch screen with the kind of price that you'd expect from a model like that. It's comparable to the six models that we reviewed earlier. The U24E590D represents a group which will be mainstream in a couple of years: a 24-inch screen with a decent price, which combines the advantages of a high pixel density and a smaller format.
Of course, we've seen a 24-inch UHD screen before, the Dell UltraSharp UP2414Q, which reigned supreme in 2013, but that monitor was really targeted at a specific audience. Upon introduction, it cost 1500 Euros, and the software used at the time was not ready for the extremely high pixel density on a screen that size with that resolution. We noticed this problem in our first HiDPI compatibility investigation. Most software has since improved to be better suited to a very high pixel density, as you can see in the follow-up to that article.
So, now the market is ready for affordable 24-inch UHD monitors, and we'll be seeing lots of them in the upcoming year. A little later than we expected, but it's not the first time we've seen an unexpected delay. Samsung's U24E590D is the first unit to arrive at our lab.
The Samsung U24E590D costs about 499 Euros at the time of writing, and its lowest price in our Price Comparison is around 400 Euros. That's roughly twice as much as a Full HD 24-inch Samsung monitor like the S24D590PL. Technically speaking, it's a good deal - you get four times as many pixels for twice the money - but it's still too pricey for most people, seeing as you don't really get more space to work with, just a clearer image. Having said that, anyone who has tried 184 ppi is probably just as eager to return to 92 ppi as one would be to go back to a first-gen iPad after having tried a retina one.
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The Samsung U32E850R is significantly more expensive at 1000 euros, but you do get a much larger screen for your money. Samsung also offers a 24-inch version, the U24E850R, which is quite a bit cheaper, but still more expensive than the U24E590D. Let's find out how well the U32E850R can hold its ground compared to other 32-inch UHD monitors.
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