Samsung SD390 monitor, hands (and eyes) on

Nate Swanner - Jun 4, 2014
Samsung SD390 monitor, hands (and eyes) on

Choosing which monitor is best for you can be a tough proposition. Go to any electronics store, and the array of screens is often mind-boggling. Samsung’s 23.6-inch SD390 ToC display brings an elegant touch to your desk, but does it provide a great experience? We went hands (and eyes) on to find out.

The hardware itself is gorgeous, with a glass accent around the monitor handsomely framing the screen. A similar touch is found on the base, where a glass arm tethers your screen to its foundation, bringing the entire aesthetic together. A matte black dark screen pulls your eye center, begging your focus as you turn it on.

Once the monitor is on, the LED panel shows it’s true prowess. The 1920 x 1080 screen is more than adequate, and a static contrast ratio of 1000:1 with 5ms response time will only help get the best experience possible. The 250cd/m2 brightness is just fine for us, and the Mega ∞ DCR make colors pop. Samsung’s ToC illuminates the clear edges with a light blue hue in certain situations, further adding to the experience.


A 178-degree viewing angle both horizontal and vertical make this monitor usable in any scenario. Couple that with the vertical adjustment from the monitor stand, and you just can’t miss. No matter which way you view it, this monitor delivers crisp imagery.
D-Sub and HDMI are your input methods here, and the monitor is usable for both Windows and OS X. Scaling can be an issue, especially with Windows, but this monitor does something really handy. Samsung calls it “magic upscale technology”, which sounds a bit silly. It works like a charm, though, scaling images from a smaller screen to its larger one with no degradation or warping. You see it on your laptop, and it will be the same on the larger screen — it’s just that simple.

Game mode is another curious tweak here, where your monitor redlines its frame refresh rate and enhances colors. The contrast is also tweaked a bit, so any gamers or media consumers out there should give this monitor a hard look. Your games and video are adequately keeping pace, are more colorful, and also end up a bit more immersive; all you have to do is press a button. The blue ToC material around the monitor adds another nuance to make the entire experience just a touch better than some others out there.

Controls are handled via a series of buttons on the bottom right on the bezel, but they’re not the clumsy, clicky variety. These are touch sensitive ones, with each becoming a directional or selection button in the menu display. This is also where you’ll turn the screen on, and enter game mode quickly. It’s a subtle, yet actionable array that doesn’t take away from the overall experience in any way.


If it’s a monitor for the desk you want, here it is. Colors are bright and beautiful, and the monitor with ToC adds a touch of class in addition to color. Whites are clear and bright, and blacks are true to form. A matte finish makes extended viewing a pleasure. The branding is minimal, too — something we prefer.

If you’re looking to mount this to a monitor branch or wall, look elsewhere. This one was made for the stand it’s on, and while handsome sitting atop it, we’d have preferred other mounting options. Perched on its acrylic arm, the monitor is striking, but it’s a WYSIWYG scenario. There is adjustment, of course, but certainly no easy way to mount it elsewhere.

In repose, the monitor looks the part. Performance yields similar results, where colors are gorgeously displayed and gaming mode ups the ante with media of all kinds. We’d have liked additional mounting methods, but this one is still a winner.

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