Product Listing

Samsung UD590: An all-round 4K monitor that doesn't break the bank

By Ng Chong Seng - 23 Oct 2014
Launch SRP: S$899

Introduction, Design & Settings


8 million pixels on your desktop

In our review of Samsung’s latest 4K TVs, we said that buying a small-screen 4K TV makes no sense as one won’t be able to notice the image quality difference between that and a similarly-sized 1080p set. Naturally, that’s assuming a typical TV viewing distance, which is at least 3 to 4m away for most people.

But what if the 4K display has to be placed very close to you, you know, like your notebook’s display or your desktop monitor? Due to the much closer proximity, it’s now much easier to make out the improvements that the extra pixels bring, like the sharper text and icons and the increased level of detail in photos and games.

For professional users like photographers and videographers, a 4K monitor will also enable them to edit their work at native (or close to native) resolutions, not to mention more desktop real estate for controls and other windows.

Like how it makes little sense to buy a small 4K TV, from a visual, productivity, and (especially) comfort standpoint, it also makes little sense to buy a small 4K desktop monitor. Probably the smallest we’d go is 24 inches, like Dell’s UltraSharp UP2414Q.

In our opinion, the more logical size for a desktop 4K monitor (to strike a balance between gaining useful screen real estate and being able to discern the improvements without the need to squint your eyes or sit dangerous close) is 28 inches. Manufacturers clearly think so too, as this is the size class that saw the most activity recently. For example, there’s ASUS’ PB287Q, Dell’s P2815Q, and Samsung’s U28D590DS, the last of which is what we’re taking a closer look in this article.


“Minimal design”

Like its TVs, Samsung’s current crop of monitors adopts a minimalist design approach, which means clean lines, a nice and simple-looking aluminium stand, and very, very few control buttons. The black enclosure that houses the 28-inch, 3,840 x 2,160-pixel TN (twisted nematic) panel (for a pixel density of 157ppi) is made of plastic, but Samsung has given it the brushed metal treatment. You can tilt the panel (about -1° to 15°), but you can’t swivel or rotate it. The height isn't adjustable either.

The rear of the UD590 is very clean too. You’ve two HDMI inputs, a DisplayPort terminal, and a 3.5mm headphone jack smacked right in the center, alongside a DC input jack for hooking up to the external power brick. Speakers, USB ports, and provision for a VESA mount are conspicuously missing.

For those with deep pockets and are considering a dual-UD590 setup, the monitor has a glossy black bezel that measures 1.7cm all round.

The stand is pretty enough, but the lack of ergonomic adjustments means that more effort is needed on the user's part to achieve a comfortable viewing position.

Naturally, it's an all-digital video input affair for the UD590.

While navigating the OSD with a 5-way controller isn't as straightforward as dedicated physical controls, we've to admit that we'll take it over touch buttons anytime.

And at the bottom left corner at the back is the ‘Jog’ button, which is a directional pad with a Power/Enter button at the center. Suffice to say, this is used for navigating the onscreen display (OSD). When the center button is pressed, an onscreen guide would appear, telling you which button to press next for a particular function. Frankly speaking, we’d very much have preferred dedicated buttons, simply because we can adjust settings faster this way. Not to mention that unlike a TV, there’s no remote control we can fall back on here.

This menu pops up when the center button is pressed. From here, you can choose to either fire up the full OSD, or toggle the source, PiP/PbP, or power settings.

Pressing any of the directional buttons instead of the center button will land you on this menu. From here, you can quickly jump to the brightness/contrast/sharpness or volume sliders.

Protip: To quickly reach the brightness slider, press the up button twice.

In other words, the main OSD is three presses away.


Magic settings

Beyond the usual brightness, contrast, and sharpness settings, the Picture menu in the OSD is also home to two proprietary settings called MagicBright and MagicAngle.

In a nutshell, MagicBright houses the different presets, each with its own picture parameters. There’s Standard; Dynamic Contrast, which gives a sharper image and higher contrast than Standard; Cinema, for video content; and Custom, which lets you adjust preferences to taste.

Then there's MagicAngle, which attempts to give you the best possible looking picture according to the angle you’re looking at the screen from, by playing around with the monitor’s brightness and contrast automatically. For example, there are two Lean Back modes for when you’re looking at the monitor from a lower angle; a Standing mode for when you’re standing and looking down at the screen; a Side mode for when you’re looking from the sides; and a Group View mode for when you’ve other people around you looking at the same screen. This is a pretty clever idea considering TN panels are known for their restrictive viewing angles, though we don’t see this being a key or heavily used feature for the type of audience this 4K monitor is targeted at. 

Think of options in MagicBright as presets for different types of content.

A long-time feature in Samsung's monitors, MagicAngle attempts to optimize colors and contrast based on the angle you're looking at the screen from.

For tweakers, the Color sub-menu houses settings for color tone (color temperature), gamma, as well as red, green, and blue levels.

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
  • Design 7.5
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Value 8
The Good
Good brightness, grayscale and color performance
Affordable for a 4K monitor
Useful PiP & PbP modes
Very decent input lag and response time
The Bad
Stand lacks height, swivel, and rotation adjustments
No VESA mount support
Average black levels performance
Still restrictive viewing angles
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.