Getting a color-accurate display is now more important than ever. Between content creators and homegrown digital artists, the market for affordably priced tools is bursting at the seams. Now, Samsung wants a piece of that pie. 

Samsung has announced its new 5K IPS display that has been designed to not only appeal to content creators and post-production artists, but to compete head-to-head with Apple’s high-priced Studio Display. It can allegedly do it for hundreds of dollars less. Let’s break it down.

Apple v. Samsung

The 27-inch Samsung ViewFinity S9 IPS Display offers a resolution of 5120 x 2880, a DCI-P3 color gamut rated at 99 percent, and a standard matte finish to reduce glare for no extra charge. While the new S9 may not enjoy the superior black levels of Apple’s MiniLED or LG OLED designs, Samsung states that “its HDR600 capability further improves image shadow and highlight details,” even in the most complex and demanding color situations. However, with HDR standards still a bit of a mess, we'll have to see if the proof is in the pudding when these displays finally meet creators.

What is the  Samsung ViewFinity S9 5K DisplaySamsung ViewFinity S9 5K DisplayCredit: Samsung

Samsung falls a bit short of offering details on whether the monitor has local dimming or what contrast ratio it provides, but the press release does go into how users can harness the power of their mobile phones and the Samsung Color Calibration app to connect to the monitor via WiFi and then use the Samsung Smart Calibration Engine to dial in the display’s color gamut to the artist's preferences.

“The built-in color calibration engine ensures precise screen color and brightness,” the company states in the release, “allowing users to adjust white balance, gamma, and RGB color balance for perfect accuracy with their smartphones through the Samsung Smart Calibration application.”

Samsung Smart Calibration application.Samsung Smart Calibration application with new Samsung ViewFinity S9Credit: Samsung

The app can calibrate in either a “Basic mode,” where the user places the phone against the display, then uses the camera to provide measurement data to the Color Calibration app, or “Professional mode,” where the app takes more intricate measurements from the phone at a distance while mounted to a small tripod.

Either way, Samsung is making the technique a selling point for the S9, showing that digital artists and photographers have a lot of options when it comes to getting the kind of color accuracy they’re looking for. When color accuracy is a critical factor, this is a nice touch for creators that they likely borrowed from theiPhone and AppleTV. However, if your contrast ratio isn't up to snuff, color accuracy might not mean much for HDR workflows. That said, it'll do just fine for SDR, which should net creatives a few long years of use.

AppleTV 4KAppleTV 4KCredit: Apple

In addition, the ViewFinity S9 also has a 4K Slim Fit webcam, which offers face tracking and zoom control similar to Apple’s Center Stage feature. This is a great tool to use in video conferencing and video streaming. While it'll be a great asset for remote production workflows, that webcam will have to work overtime to impress Twitch streamers. 

Other features include Thunderbolt 4 and USB-C ports with power delivery for charging devices up to 96 watts of the draw, making it able to charge laptops, as well as support for transferring high-density video files.

The display also supports standard DisplayPort and HDMI, though it stops short of specifying if it can support HDMI 2 or 2.1. Here’s hoping that Samsung has chosen to future-proof the design with the latter. The display stand also rotates to support portrait orientation.

Who Is This For?

While the specs of this display should suffice for hobbyists, today's content creators, streamers, and gamers demand more. 

There is no mention of a price point for the S9, but considering the ViewFinity S8 Series 4K display was released in mid-2022 for a price of around $500, it’s reasonable to assume that Samsung will list the ViewFinity S9 for an MSRP that will dramatically undercut the $1600 price tag of Apple’s Studio Display, especially since they’re offering a no glare matte finish for no extra charge.

Will this display be the Apple killer? Probably not since each display is marketed to different demographics and (most likely) at different price points. But from what we're seeing on paper, this would be a solid and affordable choice for a general-purpose monitor whether you're editing, gaming, or streaming. 

Look for it to be prominently featured this weekend at the Samsung Booth at CES 2023 in Las Vegas.

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Source: Samsung